The Magic of the FA Cup-Classic Memories, The Legends, The Greatest Goals (2003)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||None Given|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Standard sponsorship logos everywhere|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Fans of the English game are probably familiar with spending their hard-earned money on football videos/DVDs that are often less than an hour or so of 1-minute goals or saves. I know I've certainly got more than my fair share of these types of recordings, and when selecting this DVD set for review I expected just a relatively short selection of some highlights from FA Cup matches over the years. How wrong could I be!
What we have here is a 2-disc set containing over four hours of joyous FA Cup action from the television broadcast era of the game (most of it from the colour era, it must be said).
It's true that the FA Cup final itself is often a let-down in terms of excitement and drama, and this has certainly been the case in recent years. However, there is no denying that some of the greatest stars of the game have lit up this tournament, and many of the earlier round matches have been absolute classics. There is also still something magical about the fact that anyone can enter a team in the challenge cup, and nowhere else will you see the likes of Chesterfield taking on Premier League teams. These discs try and capture the essence of all that is good about the tournament, and they do this by breaking things down into three separate features:
- Classic Memories (84:18): Highlights from seven choice matches, taken from the last 20 years. This feature has a "Play all" option, as well as giving you the alternative of selecting specific matches. The matches are as follows:
- The Legends (82:59): brief segments on 53 of the top players to have graced the FA Cup stage. As you can deduce from the running time and the number of players covered, "brief" is the operative word in the previous sentence. I found this to be the least satisfying of the features, partly because of the fact that so many players are crammed into the runtime, partly because some of the footage isn't even from FA Cup matches, and also partly because the action on-screen doesn't directly relate to the commentary.
It's still an interesting feature, with plenty of memorable moments and goals, and some interesting facts thrown in, but it's the weakest of the three. Like the first feature there is a "Play all" function as well as an option to select individual players.
Players covered include: Tony Adams, Ozzie Ardiles, Alan Ball, John Barnes, Peter Beardsley, David Beckham, Dennis Bergkamp, George Best, Liam Brady, Trevor Brooking, Eric Cantona, Gazza, David Ginola, Roy Keane, Ruud Gullit, Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, Glenn Hoddle, Ryan Giggs, Robbie Fowler, and many more.
- The Greatest Goals (87:26): Pretty self-explanatory really. 119 great goals from the FA Cup, spanning the 1970s (19 goals), 1980s (19 goals), 1990s (63 goals) and 2000s (18 goals). This feature gives you the option to select different decades and goals, or go for the "Play all" function.
I'd place this somewhere in between the first and second features as far as entertainment value goes. There are many amazing goals from the last four decades, and many great players on display. In fact, lots of people like myself would probably purchase a DVD with just this one feature on it.
One thing that I was pleasantly surprised about was that there wasn't much overlap in the material used in each of the features, so you're not watching the same stuff three times just from different angles. Also, the narration by the familiar voice of Paul Dempsey is excellent.
One not-so-positive point for some would be the fact that this is certainly only a record of modern era FA Cup tournaments. The first feature doesn't go back any further than 1987, and the other two also concentrate very much on recent decades. I wouldn't call this a criticism as such, but be aware that it's not a comprehensive record of the world's longest running football cup competition, going back to 1872. Rather it's a taste of some of its best moments in recent memory. If you're looking for some Stanley Matthews or Stan Mortensen action then look elsewhere.
A final general point concerns an issue that watching these DVDs did highlight; the sad changes that have occurred in the English Leagues over recent years. In most of the highlights on display there's a noticeable absence of the diving, play-acting, and gamesmanship that has been adopted from the continental leagues and is so prevalent nowadays. I almost felt like an old man as I reminisced about how it was "when I was a lad".
The running time for all features combined might sound a bit excessive, but I found that once I'd started on this smorgasbord of football action, I had real trouble stopping for food and sleep. I defy any fan of England's own unique brand of football to not enjoy this DVD package, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. Now, I think I might go and watch that Everton vs Liverpool game just one more time...
The video is taken from a wide range of sources of varying ages, so it's hard to really give it one overall score. The majority of it is taken from quite recent broadcasts though, and it reflects the good quality that we are now used to in television productions. Any problems that are visible in the older footage are I'm sure due to the source rather than any transfer problems.
The video transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, which is the original broadcast ratio.
Sharpness varies from pin-sharp for the most recent broadcasts to hazy and blurred for some of the oldest black and white footage. There's even ghosting in some of these older shots, but the majority of content fits into the former category of being sharp and clear. Shadow detail and low-level noise both had very occasional problems in the old black and white footage (and some of the earlier colour stuff), but for the most part shadow detail was excellent and no low-level noise was visible in any of the blacks.
Colour varies from vivid and exact to washed-out and sometimes bleeding (in the footage from the 1970s, for example). The new material, which makes up the bulk of the discs, is a pleasure to look at.
Video artefacts include overmodulation and slight aliasing in the older footage, but are almost totally absent in the newer broadcasts. There are no film artefacts to be seen as this is all taken from a video source.
There are no subtitles present on these discs.
The first disc is an RSDL disc, but I couldn't see any layer change and assume it was placed between the two features. The second disc is single-layered and hence there is no layer-change.
You don't expect to be testing your sound system's limits when watching a sports DVD (unless you want subwoofer action when the fans start stomping!). This transfer is more than good enough for the material we have here.
There is just the one audio track on these DVDs; English Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at a bit rate of 224 kbps.
Dialogue is limited to the commentary, mostly by Paul Dempsey, but also features a number of other well-spoken English commentators during the first and third features. It's very clear and easy to understand, and due to the nature of a commentary there aren't any sync problems (or if there were you wouldn't know it anyway).
Music is limited to the opening and closing credits, and little segments that play in the background throughout the second feature. It's not really an integral part of what's on display here.
There is no use made of the surround speakers or the subwoofer. Not surprising considering the material and the source.
|Surround Channel Use|
All Menus are 16x9 enhanced, with main menus containing the theme tune looping in the background along with a video loop. The main menu introduction contains some soccer action played to the sound of the theme music, and can be bypassed with the chapter skip button on your remote. Also of note is the fact that the second disc has a rather handy scrolling list of info on all the goals, which is displayed in the goal selection menu.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
As best as I could ascertain there are no other versions of this set currently available. I couldn't imagine any reason to get it elsewhere anyway, since this is a PAL DVD taken from a PAL source and the video and audio is as good as you could want (it's not a disc that's ever going to get a DTS-ES track).
An excellent selection of FA Cup footage from recent decades, with enough to keep any ardent football fan happy for hours. Although the second feature is not all strictly FA Cup action, I'd still have no hesitation in recommending this set.
The video, although widely varying due to the different sources, is on the whole very good. It's as good as you're going to see any of this footage looking.
Sound is perfectly adequate for listening to a commentary and hearing a football getting kicked.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Omni 3600, using RGB output|
|Display||Sony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS797- THX Select|
|Speakers||Accusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer|