24 Hour Party People (2002)

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Released 12-Aug-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Main Menu Audio & Animation
Informational Subtitles-Who's who in 24 hour party people
Audio Commentary-Steve Coogan and Andrew Eaton
Audio Commentary-Tony Wilson
Deleted Scenes-24
Theatrical Trailer
Music Video-New Order- Here To Stay
Web Links-Book details
Featurette-From The Factory Floor
Featurette-Michael Winterbottom - Profile Of A Director
Short Film-Shaun Ryder - Scooter Girl filmclip
Gallery-Poster-Peter Saville with commentary
Featurette-The Real Tony Wilson
Featurette-Playing People Who Are Still Alive
Featurette-Making Of-Genesis of 24 Hour Party People
Interviews-Character-11
Trailer-8 movies
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 112:13 (Case: 115)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (72:08)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Michael Winterbottom
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Steve Coogan
Paddy Considine
Danny Cunningham
Sean Harris
Shirley Henderson
Lennie James
Andy Serkis
John Simm
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $34.95 Music Various


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Information Smoking Yes, heavy drug use also
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

Genius (Ian Curtis). Poet (Sean Ryder). Twat (Tony Wilson).

    Steve Coogan is one of my favourite British comedians, having created some wonderful characters such as Alan Partridge and Paul Calf in his various television series. In 24 Hour Party People, Coogan gets a chance to try his hand at a proper film (I should say again, having recently watched his decidedly patchy earlier movie The Parole Officer).

    This film is a stylised commentary on the Manchester music scene from 1976 to 1992 - the "Birth of Punk to the Death of Acid". The film is not a documentary, but has a very documentary feel to it. It is not a pure comedy, but is often very funny indeed. It is a very clever piece of work, chronicling the origin of Factory Records (home to Joy Division who later became New Order) and The Happy Mondays amongst others. The record label was the brain child of Tony Wilson. Already a household name in the northwest of England due to his television news presenting career, Wilson hosted a music show which brought him into contact with the industry at a pivotal point in music history - the dawn of Punk Rock.

    The film begins with the first live performance of the Sex Pistols in Manchester - a gig attended by a seething mass of forty-two people, including the Cambridge graduate ex-hippy Wilson. He narrates the fantastic journey through the founding of the label and its affiliated nightclub The Hacienda. Along the way the movie charts the genesis of Joy Division, the tragic suicide of Ian Curtis, the creation of the most successful (and money-losing) 12-inch single of all time (the superb Blue Monday) and the drug addled anarchy that surrounded the ultimate nemesis of the label - The Happy Mondays.

     At times very funny, this movie also tells a rather sad story of the naiveté of Wilson in thinking a record label could continue to exist on the basis of a handshake and a contract written (literally) in his own blood. In the multitude of extras which are included with the film, the real Tony Wilson expresses his embarrassment at being used as the central theme to tie the storyline together. He should have no qualms if even half of the story is true - the man was a visionary. The film features a truly outstanding impersonation of Ian Curtis and all of the band recreations are very well done indeed. Coogan, too, delivers an excellent performance and despite the large time period and diverse musical styles which the movie covers, director Michael Winterbottom manages to hold your attention throughout. If none of the above names mean much to you, then you may suspect this movie is not your cup of tea. If you are an aficionado of British music from the late 1970s on, then you could do much worse than tracking down a rental copy of this film. If, however, you are a fan of any of the Factory bands (particularly New Order or Joy Division) then this will deservedly be an essential purchase.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality of this transfer is reasonably good although the footage does come from disparate sources, with home video footage of the Sex Pistols for instance, so the original grain and the occasional scratch is carried over onto the DVD.

     The video transfer is presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.78:1 and has been altered very slightly from its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The original footage was primarily shot on digital video, so I assume the frequent minor grain and other "film" artefacts have been deliberately added at the artistic discretion of the director. The grain is occasionally significant (for example around 38:50), but this seems to have been used to better evoke the feeling of archival television footage.

    The darker scenes exhibit satisfactory shadow detail, with black levels which are generally fine with little low-level noise evident. Colours are a mixed bag - again, I would assume intentionally to suit the period of the piece - with dreary almost monochromatic shots of Manchester nicely juxtaposed with bright (unsurprisingly, often oversaturated) primary colours cropping up for nightclub and stage performance shots. There are no major problems with colour bleeding. Skin tones look natural throughout the film.

    The transfer has no major MPEG artefacts. Edge enhancement was almost omnipresent and on a projector is likely to be mildly distracting (examples can be seen at 67:55 and 72:44 as noticeable bright halos around the characters). Aliasing was restricted to a few minor occurrences (for example on the rooflines at 5:04 or the pool table at 26:43 and the mixing desk at 69:55).

    There are no significant film artefacts in what is a generally clean transfer.

    There are unfortunately no subtitles available for the main feature.

    The feature disc is RSDL formatted, with the noticeable and mildly disruptive layer change cropping up at 72:08. This could have been more thoughtfully placed.

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

Audio

    The overall audio transfer is good and without significant flaw.

    The English audio track is of the Dolby Digital 5.1 variety, encoded at the full bitrate of 448 kbps.

    The sound is generally clean throughout, with no hiss, clicks or drop-outs noticed. Dialogue is almost always clear although the thick accents and slurred speech of some characters may occasionally require careful listening. Audio sync was fine throughout.

    Music, unsurprisingly, plays quite a large part in the film and is supplied as a mixture of snippets of memorable tunes from the likes of The Stranglers, Sex Pistols, Happy Mondays, New Order and Joy Division.

    The front speakers do the bulk of the work due to the documentary nature of the film, however the surrounds do get a reasonable workout and provide a fairly enveloping soundstage when required for the musical snippets and crowd scenes.

    The subwoofer is frequently used for musical support although the bass is never earth-shattering.

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

Extras

    You want extras? Boy have you got them here, in what is an outstanding two-disc presentation.

Menu

    The well designed menu consists of an animated collection of video windows with scenes from the film accompanied by the devilishly catchy tune Here To Stay performed by New Order. You have the choice of playing the movie, audio selection, choosing one of a paltry (given the feature run time) twelve chapter stops, or playing the fairly numerous extra features on Disc 1.

Who's Who in 24 Hour Party People

    A wonderfully entertaining subtitle track, which spits up little bits of trivia about the film, the script and the cameos throughout the film, in a bright yellow font.

Commentary Track 1

    Featuring Steve Coogan and producer Andrew Eaton, this commentary track is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 kbps. This is entertaining and sometimes rather funny. Worth a listen.

Commentary Track 2

    Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 kbps this track is the domain of Tony Wilson - the real one, that is. It is very entertaining and is rather frank at times. Mr Wilson is certainly a smart, and somewhat outspoken chap. Definitely worth a listen.

Deleted Scenes

    There are twenty four of the little blighters, presented letterboxed at 1.78:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 448 kbps. They are all worth watching as some are quite funny, although the sound and video quality on a couple is a bit rough. Unfortunately, there is no "Play All" option, and they have to be selected individually:

Original Theatrical Trailer

    Running for 2:08 the trailer is presented 16x9 enhanced at a ratio of 1.78:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps.

New Order "Here To Stay" Music Video

    Presented letterboxed at 1.78:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track encoded at 224 kbps and running for 4:18.

Exclusive Promotion

    A static page inviting you to visit the Madman website to win goodies.

Disc 2

From The Factory Floor

    Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 448 kbps, this is effectively a third commentary track. It features Peter Hook (New Order), Rowetta (Happy Mondays), Martin Moscrop (A Certain Ratio) and several other "friends of the era" talking on camera whilst we see the feature in a small window in the corner of the screen. This is once again genuinely entertaining.

Michael Winterbottom Profile

    An intelligent and well made featurette running for a very respectable 23:35. Presented fullscreen with good quality video and a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps. This is a refreshing series of comments on and from the director along with behind the scenes footage of the film making process.

Shaun Ryder Album

    A static page describing his latest album, which in turn allows the selection of a fullscreen video clip for his song Scooter Girl. The clip runs for 4:35 and features some great fifties-style educational film footage and numerous expletives in glorious Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 224 kbps.

Peter Saville Gallery

    Wilson discusses the posters and album covers for various Factory events and artists such as Joy Division, with the man who created them. This runs for almost thirty minutes and yet it is surprisingly interesting.

The Real Tony Wilson

    Presented fullscreen (1.33:1), various people, including the real Wilson describe his importance to Factory and music in general over a running time of 5:09. The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio encoded at 224 kbps is rather muffled in this segment.

Playing People Who Are Still Alive

    Presented fullscreen (1.33:1) and running for just 3:48, various actors discuss the intricacies of portraying characters who are still alive. The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio encoded at 224 kbps is very muffled in this segment.

Genesis of 24 Hour Party People

    Winterbottom discusses the origin of the film in fullscreen with muffled Dolby Digital 2.0 audio encoded at 224 kbps. This segment runs for 4:34 and is mildly interesting.

Interviews

     Eleven short but entertaining interviews with various members of Factory bands (including Hooky and the band James) and other related parties about their experiences with Factory, Wilson and each other. Shaun Ryder looks like his body is suffering from his excessive lifestyle. They are typically around four minutes each, presented fullscreen and with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track encoded at 192 kbps.

24 Hour Party People - The Book

    A static page inviting you purchase Tony Wilson's book detailing the "real" history of Factory.

Exclusive Promotion

    The same static page as on Disc 1, inviting you to visit the Madman website to win goodies.

Madman Propaganda

    A collection of trailers for other Madman films:

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 release retains the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, however it comprises only a single disc and misses out on a wide range of extras. Rather than trying to list what is missing, it would be quicker to describe what it does have in the way of extras. The Region 1 disc includes the following extras:

    The Region 4 two disc set, with its abundance of extras (see above) is easily the version of choice.

Summary

    24 Hour Party People is a very well made, funny, informative and entertaining movie presented in an excellent two disc package. Fans of New Order or Joy Division will love it. Fans of the Madchester scene will enjoy it. For those with only a passing interest in British music of the era, it is still worth a look. Highly recommended.

    The video quality is reasonably good, albeit with a deliberately aged, grainy look. The edge enhancement may prove a minor annoyance for those with projectors.

    The audio transfer is good, which is as it should be for a film about the music industry.

    The extras are numerous, of a very high calibre and add greatly to the value of the overall package. Very well done indeed.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDHarmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Angela A
Web Wombat - James A
impulsegamer.com - Yianni Pak

Comments (Add)
Comared to Region 2? - Dark Lord (Bio? We don't need no stinkin' bio!)
R2 DVD - Jace
Cure plus.... - wolfgirv REPLY POSTED
No subtitles - Neil