Sex Pistols-Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols (Classic Albums) (2002)

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Released 20-May-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Bonus Material (13)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 49:57 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Matthew Longfellow
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring John Lydon
Glen Matlock
Steve Jones
Paul Cook
Sid Vicious
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music The Sex Pistols


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles German
Spanish
Italian
Dutch
French
Portuguese
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    As the 1970's reached its middle years, popular music was being dominated by over-bloated progressive rock that was out of step with the general times, especially in the United Kingdom. England was going through a very tough time with significant social problems arising from unemployment, rampant racism and the advent of Thatcherism. The youth of the country were disillusioned and the progressive rock was certainly not suiting their mood. Out of the despair of the times was born the reaction to progressive rock - regressive rock. By regressive rock I mean the devolution of rock away from over-bloated music to raw music of a most basic kind, or what is better known as punk rock. When it comes to the genre, there were plenty of big names. But the genre basically had its public face in one band - The Sex Pistols.

    The band had a relatively brief existence as far as major bands are concerned, but in their short 26 month existence there is little doubt that The Sex Pistols generated more press than probably all the other bands of the 1970's and 1980's combined. They became the public face of anti-establishment and as a result of one television appearance proceeded to be banned the length and breadth of Great Britain. There is nothing more sure of garnering press attention than controversy and the easiest way of generating controversy, especially in conservative England in the mid 1970's, was swearing a f***ing lot in public. The vilification heaped upon the band by the establishment was something that no band has ever achieved since. In that respect, The Sex Pistols were equally one of the best examples of manipulators of the media there has ever been. So great was the backlash against the band that within weeks of that television appearance, they had been sacked by their record company, EMI. They eventually signed with A & M but were sacked the same day they signed! Eventually they found a home with arguably the most innovative record company around - Virgin Records. They finally had an outlet for the one single album they produced as a band - Never Mind The B******, Here's The Sex Pistols. There had been nothing like this album before and there has been nothing like it since. It is the high point of the punk rock era and arguably only The Clash's London Calling approaches it in terms of importance to the music of the 1970's and 1980's. Considering the fact that the blokes could initially hardly play an instrument, this is no mean feat! Indeed, so bad was Sid Vicious (the replacement for Glen Matlock on bass guitar) that basically he could do little more than shoulder the bass and pretend to play...

    Probably best remembered for three great "anthems" of the punk era, Anarchy In The U.K., God Save The Queen and Pretty Vacant, Never Mind The B******, Here's The Sex Pistols featured plenty more than this and as an album it was a demonstration of the very best of the punk era. Holidays In The Sun, Bodies, Problems, Submission and EMI amongst others all point to this being anything but an average album by a bunch of talentless jerks. There is simply no way of describing the importance of this album on not only a personal level but on a global music level.

    There is no doubt that Never Mind The B******, Here's The Sex Pistols is a Classic Album in every sense. It's inclusion in the series is not just warranted but in a way legitimises the entire series. To have the thoughts of the main people involved in the album and the phenomenon twenty six years after the event is one of the highlights of the releases yet seen in the series. If you have any interest in pivotal music of the last fifty years, then this is an essential inclusion in your collection.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. This is not unexpected for a relatively recent programme made for television, but it does mean that the archival material has been cropped top and bottom to fit the frame and this is not always to the advantage of that material.

    The recent interview material is excellent in every way. Sharp, detailed and very well defined, you would have a hard time arguing with any aspect of the presentation. Shadow detail is excellent and there are no problems with grain and low level noise at all. The archival material, however, is a different story and reflects the fact that much of the material was low grade to begin with. Detail at times was shocking and the material generally had soft definition. Still, given how bad I know some source material of The Sex Pistols is, this is nothing more than what I expected here.

    The recent interview material is also really great to look at colour-wise: very nicely saturated and very vibrant. Oversaturation is never an issue and nor is colour bleed. The archival material is pretty much the exact opposite, exhibiting ropey colour (or poor grey scale definition in the black and white stuff) with a degree of undersaturation and flaring to boot.

    The source material might be variable but the quality of the mastering is not and there is nothing at all with respect of MPEG artefacting in the transfer. The only time the mastering is shown to be slightly less than excellent is in the obvious instances of aliasing floating around. The usual culprits come to the fore here: guitar strings (7:15 and 11:48 for example), writing (6:18 for instance), and mixing board (15:36) all demonstrate the effect of sharp, straight edges. Overall, I would classify the problem as slightly annoying. Film artefacts of every kind are a problem in the archival material, but not in any of the recent source material.

    This is a single layered, single sided DVD so there are no layer change issues to deal with.

    There are six subtitle options on the DVD, but not an English one which is rather disappointing.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is just the one soundtrack on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Whilst there will be some who will complain about that, I am more than happy with what we have. It suits the programme rather well.

    The dialogue and vocals come up very well in the soundtrack. The only issue with audio sync is in some of the performance material where John Lydon really was not very good at lip-synching.

    There really is sod all wrong with the soundtrack. Most of the archival material has poor sound but that is inherent in the material and not a problem of the soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There might not be a fat lot here, but what there is adds significantly to the actual programme itself and is very interesting.

Menu

    Clever, with modest audio and animation enhancement.

Featurette - Bonus Material (13)

    This is actually the easiest way of dealing with the extras, but in reality it comprises thirteen shortish mini-featurettes that delve into various aspects of The Sex Pistols or provide live performances. The thirteen actual sections are:

    In some ways this is better than the main programme and there is plenty to enjoy here - the mind boggles at the thought of John Lydon and Freddie Mercury meeting! The new stuff is of excellent quality, with just the same modest aliasing problems of the main programme. The live performances are somewhat different though - poor quality with somewhat hissy sound. The presentation is in the same format as the main programme. The main problem is that some demented idiot in the mastering process did not provide a "play all" option in the menu. This means that after every little segment finishes, you are annoyingly returned to the extras menu to select the next segment.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There appears to be no significant difference between the Region 1 release and this Region 4 release.

Summary

    I certainly agree that Never Mind The B******, Here's The Sex Pistols is a Classic Album in every sense. Its inclusion in the series is warranted and the presentation is as good as we could expect. To my mind, an essential purchase.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Monday, August 11, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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