James and the Giant Peach: Special Edition (1996)
Music Video-Good News
|Year Of Production||1996|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Henry Selick|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.66:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, After Credits - Arcade game footage|
James and the Giant Peach is the film version of the classic Roald Dahl children's story about a boy who has a magical adventure with new friends and a giant peach.
James Henry Trotter lives with his Aunts Spiker (Joanna Lumley) and Sponge (Miriam Margolyes) after his parents are killed in a tragic rhinoceros accident. His Aunts are very mean to James and force him to do all the work around the house while only feeding him scraps. One day, James meets a strange man (Pete Postlethwaite) in the garden who gives him a bag of magical creatures and tells him that marvellous things will happen. Miraculously, a massive peach grows in the backyard and James takes refuge from his Aunts inside this.
Inside the peach, James makes friends with a large grasshopper (Simon Callow), spider (Susan Sarandon), ladybug (Jane Leeves), earthworm (David Thelis), centipede (Richard Dreyfuss) and a glow-worm. When the peach rolls into the ocean, James and his new friends set off on a journey during which they have numerous adventures.
This film is a blend of live-action and stop-motion animation and comes from the same team that created The Nightmare Before Christmas. This movie was produced by Tim Burton and features a soundtrack including numerous songs by Randy Newman; their creative influence is obvious when watching the film.
The film is based on the classic children's story of the same name by Roald Dahl that was first released in 1961. Despite a three-year production schedule, the film has a very short running time of only seventy-six minutes, but this is most likely due to budgetary constraints. The movie also differs from the original book in a number of ways but the majority of the storyline remains intact.
This DVD is proudly labelled as a Special Edition by Disney but the reason for this is not clear as the package only has very minimal extras and even excludes a number of small extras and the dts audio track found on the R1 release.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and it is not 16x9 enhanced. This film was presented theatrically at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 but it appears that the matte has been opened to reveal the original animated aspect ratio.
During the opening scenes of the movie, the transfer is extremely soft and this is quite distracting. The remainder of the transfer is notably sharper but always remains slightly soft. During the numerous dark scenes, a slightly disappointing level of shadow detail may be seen and it often feels that some details are lost.
The colours displayed during the transfer are always vibrant and well saturated. During the opening scenes, the palette is notably more dull and drab but this is done intentionally to reflect the depressing environment.
No MPEG artefacts were detected at any time during the transfer. A small number of aliasing artefacts may be seen during the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 0:21, 51:31, 52:18 and 56:07. All of these artefacts are very minor and only last for a short period; consequently these artefacts are never irritating.
No notable film artefacts were detected at any time during the transfer. Some obvious film grain may be seen throughout the transfer but this is not distracting.
Nine sets of white subtitles are provided on the disc. I extensively sampled the English stream and found it to be consistently accurate.
English, Italian and Spanish Dolby Digital 384 kbps 5.1 soundtracks are provided on the disc. I listened to the English track in full and briefly sampled the other two tracks. Unfortunately, the ability to switch audio tracks during playback has been disabled and must be done via the setup menu.
The dialogue is always clear and easy to understand at all times. No dropouts or problems with audio sync were detected at any time during the transfer.
The original score by Randy Newman makes its presence felt throughout the film and also includes a number of songs. This score always works with the on-screen action and received an Academy AwardŽ nomination in 1997 for Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score.
The surround and LFE channels are used aggressively throughout the transfer to create an enveloping soundfield with numerous directional effects.
|Surround Channel Use|
The non-animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.
This is a standard short promotional featurette that contains very little interesting information. The featurette is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish white subtitles are provided for the featurette.
This music video contains footage from the track's recording session and numerous clips from the film. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.
This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish white subtitles are also provided.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;
The Region 2 UK Pathe version of this disc misses out on;
The region 4 release of this disc is clearly lacking when compared to either the R1 or R2 releases. The R2 UK release provides a 16x9 enhanced 1.85:1 video transfer, while the R1 release includes a dts audio track and number of photo galleries. I personally would prefer the R2 UK release as the Dolby Digital audio track is of high quality but fans of dts tracks may prefer the R1 release despite it's lack of 16x9 enhancement.
James and the Giant Peach is an enjoyable family film that should appeal to any fans of the book or Roald Dahl's work in general.
The video transfer presented is acceptable but the lack of 16x9 enhancement is disappointing as is the relatively soft image and average shadow detail.
The audio transfer is of excellent quality and displays an innovative and enveloping mix.
The minimal extras provided on this disc are of little value and do not justify this title's Special Edition status.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Front left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)|
|Speakers||Front left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259|