Queen-The DVD Collection: Greatest Video Hits 2 (2003)

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Released 12-Nov-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Booklet
Menu Animation & Audio
Bonus Track-4
Audio Commentary-Brian May and Roger Taylor
Interviews-Cast-Band member interview featurettes
Featurette-Montreux Pop Festival performances footage
Featurette-Making Of-Making "The Miracle" videos
Featurette-Making Of-"One Vision" documentary
Featurette-Making Of-Making "The Miracle" album cover
Easter Egg-2 alternate clips for Who Wants To Live Forever
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 70:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Various
Studio
Distributor

EMI Music
Starring Brian May
Roger Taylor
Freddie Mercury
John Deacon
Case 4-Way Cross-Dual
RPI $36.95 Music Queen


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (1536Kb/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 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles French
Italian
Dutch
Spanish
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

    Warning:  There are some annoying disc authoring and/or player glitch errors affecting at least all initial batches of Region 4 and Region 2 disc pressings for this title. The errors affect not all, but certainly several different brand DVD players, playing the video transfer in isolated sections of the DVD playback, and these issues are highlighted in the review below in red. Should you experience the problems noted below, we would recommend you first take the DVD back to the store for an exchange, and then if the same problems persist a second time, contact the distributor. The distributor, EMI International, originally advised us, via their local distribution arm EMI Australia, that they were "aware of the problem" and officially "looking into the issue", but to our knowledge no subsequent action appears to have been taken to correct the disc authoring issues in subsequent disc batch pressings. We will update this review if/when any further details come to hand.

    At last, the wait is over. For many years, Queen fans have had to suffer the frustration of not having even the Greatest Hits music clips of one of the world's most popular rocks groups available on DVD, whilst it seemed that fans of just about every other rock and pop music artists you could name were enjoying one or more Greatest Hits or music clip compilation DVDs. For many years now, Queen fans could be found in DVD stores, tentatively flicking through the music titles under "Q", in a moment of purist optimism, just in case, on the slight off-chance, one of the numerous existing Queen VHS titles such as "Queen's Greatest Flix 1" or "Greatest Flix 2" might have received even just a bare bones transfer onto our beloved DVD format. But all to no avail. "So what the hell is EMI Records and Queen doing?", we would ask ourselves. "Why isn't EMI jumping onto the DVD bandwagon and re-releasing the available Queen product on DVD, just like every other record company is doing for every other rock name?". "Surely", we would reason, "there is clear market demand for it". "And surely, any marketing consultant could have told them that a release of Queen's Greatest Hits on DVD would be an obvious and sure-fire seller?"....

    Well, in hindsight, thank goodness they didn't rush onto that DVD bandwagon back in 1999 or 2000, when many others artists did, as experience has shown that many of those initial rock music DVD titles were rush releases, with in many cases no effort put into cleaning up and re-mastering the video content, no remixing of the audio into 5.1 (or else poorly done remixes), and no extras. The wait was finally rewarded for Queen fans in October last year, when Queen-The DVD Collection: Greatest Video Hits 1 finally hit the shelves. A lot later than many other rock artists, but as you can read in my review of that title, the long wait was well and truly justified by the painstaking effort put into the release by both the band members themselves and the producers. The release boasted clean, remastered and enhanced video treatment, newly remastered, remixed, reference quality dts audio, bonus music clips and a mixture of other insightful new extras to satisfy both the die-hard fans and the newly-curious alike. What's more, making it a "Greatest Video Hits 1" package to match its namesake CD, VHS and book releases, rather than trying to squeeze all of Queen's music clip catalogue onto just one DVD release (what a nightmare that would have been!), meant that Queen fans could be assured of a follow-up "Hits 2" DVD release; a follow-up that just like the first volume would be guaranteed to be a red-hot seller - probably more so, judging by the popularity of Queen's songs and video clips over the second half of their career. Well, my friends, the wait for that second instalment on DVD is now finally over......... well, I should say mostly over, as the good news is that there is rumoured to be more to come with a "Hits 3" DVD release!

    Greatest Video Hits 2 picks up right where Greatest Video Hits 1 left off Queen's career in 1980. Hits 2 covers the singles material over the 1980s, specifically the years from 1981 through to 1989, in which time four best-selling albums were released. Note that this differs to the time period covered by the namesake "Greatest Hits 2" CD and "Greatest Flix 2" VHS releases, both of which actually cover the period all the way through to 1991 and right up to Freddie's death in November of that year. The fact that the new Hits 2 DVD release does not include four music clips from the "Innuendo" album that were included in the previous "Flix 2" VHS release will, I'm sure, be an initial disappointment to many fans out there who own the VHS tape and were looking forward to seeing them here on DVD. But fear not; rest assured that we will indeed still get to see these songs in all their remastered glory on the upcoming The DVD Collection: Greatest Video Hits 3. Now, to make matters just a bit more confusing, note also that there were a couple of Queen singles from the 1980s period that didn't find their way onto the "Greatest Hits 2" CD or "Greatest Flix 2" VHS tape, but did subsequently resurface on "Queen's Greatest Hits 3/Flix 3". These two songs (Las Palabras de Amor and the non-UK 7" single release Princes Of The Universe) have now been rightfully brought forward from the "Greatest Hits 3" CD and VHS line-up and inserted into the line-up for this Greatest Video Hits 2 DVD, so that this DVD now clearly and unequivocally covers Queen singles over the 1980s, without straying into 1990s territory. But better still, in order to balance the equation and compensate by number for the loss of four tracks from "Greatest Flix 2", an additional two bonus 1980s film clips have now also been brought onto this DVD. One of these clips, Body Language, is an extremely rare one and until now has not been commercially available to Queen fans in any format. Princes Of The Universe, the anthem from the film Highlander was (strangely) never released as a single in the home territory of the UK, as it was deemed "too heavy", but was released in both the US and Australia and has since become a perennial favourite. So then, on balance, the loss of four 1991 songs from the "Flix 2" VHS line-up and the bringing in of four replacement 1980's tracks for this DVD is a very, very, very welcome trade-off in the track listing for Queen fans. The final track listing then for the Greatest Video Hits 2 is as shown at the bottom of this plot synopsis. An asterisk denotes the newly added/replacement clips compared to "Flix 2".

    The 80s decade showcases Queen as a rock group at the peak of their career, a group that had by now well and truly paid their dues and honed their collective writing and performance skills; a group well aware of the importance of using video clips as a marketing tool to get their message across, and a group not short of either the money, the resources or the creative input necessary to invest in this medium accordingly. In the decade where fashion and style (and hair styles!) went berserk, this collection of music clips showcases a group of four individuals with strong ideas who were not afraid to experiment (ahem, even indulge) a lot more visually than they did in the 1970s. The 1980s period also captures more than a fair slice of some of Queen's most popular singles material, including those from the best-selling "The Works" album  and of course the singles from the film Highlander. Many of these music clips are already well known to many people around the world, to the point of some of them having become almost synonymous with what rock music was all about in the 1980s. But yet the music clips for other very popular songs heard on the radio may not be as widely known to many. For all of these reasons, Queen's Greatest Video Hits 2 is a DVD that will appeal to a very wide audience - possibly an even wider audience than its predecessor DVD, Hits 1. Just like its namesake releases on CD and VHS, Greatest Video Hits 2 is bound to be a sure-fire best-selling music title on DVD.

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Track Listing

1. A Kind Of Magic
2. I Want It All
3. Radio Ga Ga
4. I Want To Break Free
5. Breakthru
6. Under Pressure
7. Scandal*
8. Who Wants To Live Forever
9. The Miracle
10. It's A Hard Life
11. The Invisible Man
12. Las Palabras de Amor*
13. Friends Will Be Friends
14. Body Language*
15. Hammer To Fall
16. Princes Of The Universe*
17. One Vision
18. Bonus clips: Back Chat
19. Calling All Girls
20. Staying Power (Live)
21. One Vision (Extended Vision)

Transfer Quality

Video

    I would love to be able to report that, as with Hits 1, the transfer on offer here is another brilliant video transfer. I would love to be able to say this, but unfortunately I can't. The transfer does indeed deserve high praise for the excellent video remastering effort put in by director David Mallet and producer Dione Orram. However, this is unfortunately somewhat overshadowed by some extremely annoying disc authoring and/or player glitch errors that impede viewing enjoyment in parts.

    The transfer is presented in (mostly) an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced - with a couple of exceptions noted next paragraph - and this compares to the original aspect ratio for these clips of 1.33:1 full frame. As with Hits 1, the newly presented widescreen aspect ratio has been achieved by cropping the source image top and bottom to the desired re-framing and then "zooming in" to give a 1.78:1 image. This will again upset the purists, however as with the Hits 1 review, I did a careful compare of each film clip to its original full frame presentation on the VHS version and concluded that the cropping has resulted in very little material loss of data in the process. Whether or not you find this practice of cutting back the source image to create a widescreen transfer "acceptable" will be a personal choice - personally I have no problem with it for music videos, so long as it does not impede or alter the original presentation, and here it doesn't. My personal view is that it is consistent logic to accept the need to update the video presentation of music videos for the DVD/home theatre environment, for exactly the same reasons we condone (and indeed expect) the updating of the audio presentation into 5.1 surround. (Perhaps if you find yourself arguing that it is completely unacceptable to alter the video for widescreen then maybe you should also be arguing it is unacceptable to alter the audio from stereo to 5.1 surround for the same reason.).

    Note that a couple of these music clips are the exception to the norm and were not originally shot in 1.33:1 full frame, as some were originally shot with a letterbox effect, such as A Kind Of Magic and Radio Ga Ga. The original aspect ratios for these clips is hard to state with authority (that d*** VHS tape just won't fit into my PowerDVD drive for me to measure it accurately!), but these clips were originally around 1.85:1 or greater (Radio Ga Ga in fact utilised a range of different aspect ratios, from a very wide letterbox down to full frame). On the DVD, A Kind Of Magic is presented at around 2.05:1 and Radio Ga Ga continues to make use of a range of aspect ratios, varying from 2.15:1 down to 1.33:1 - the use of the changing aspect ratios here is just great. Note also that The Invisible Man is the only music clip on this DVD transfer to have been left alone in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame - presumably this decision was taken to preserve the video-game feel of the clip, or possibly because this is one clip that simply would have suffered from a material loss of the image if cut back (have a look at how the shots of the house are framed and you will see what I mean).

    Note that owing to a DVD authoring error, you will probably find that A Kind Of Magic is not presented 16x9 enhanced, as was intended, and that Hammer To Fall has been enhanced to an incorrect aspect ratio, giving exaggerated proportions to the image. (Some further clarification of these comments: A Kind Of Magic appears to play in 16x9 enhanced format, as the flag has been set on the DVD to tell the player and TV to play the clip in full widescreen mode. However the clip itself is clearly not 16x9 enhanced, as evidenced by how "fat" Freddie and the rest of the band look! If you want to view this clip in correct proportion, you will need to manually revert to 1.33:1 screen size. It is also noted that the Hammer To Fall clip was originally shot by director David Mallet using a very wide-angle lens, to give a "fish-eye" effect to the original 1.33:1 full frame presentation. But clearly the clip should not now appear as "skinny" as it does in this new DVD presentation, when played in 16x9 enhanced widescreen mode.)

    The luminance portion of this transfer is superb given the age of the source materials, with all source elements having now benefited from a thorough digital restoration process and the music clips never having looked so good. Thankfully, Queen had the artistic integrity (read money to invest) to insist on shooting nearly all of their music clips on film, rather than video, and thank goodness as the quality now shows. Sharpness and shadow detail is quite high, with foreground resolution and (where intended) background resolution quite sharp. Most clips display very minimal grain or low level noise. A couple of isolated exceptions to these comments are as follows: grain is visible in I Want It All (exacerbated by an intentionally over-exposed film shoot); low level noise is notable during a single shot at the beginning of the clip Breakthru (a close-up shot panning down the front of the little black dress worn by Debbie (Roger's girlfriend)); and both grain and low level noise problematic throughout the clip Body Language (this is overall the worst quality film clip on the DVD, being one of the notable exceptions to the rule to be shot on video). Note that the blurred visual effect around the edge of the frame during the shoot of Las Palabras de Amor is an intended artistic effect (although it looks daft), and was presumably achieved in camera by shooting with a diffuser filter. These are only a few noted exceptions to what is for the overwhelming majority a simply great video transfer.

    Colour is also excellent, again thanks to the digital restoration effort. The transfer brings out bold, well-saturated colours across the spectrum, as best evidenced in the clips Breakthru, It's A Hard Life, Friends Will Be Friends and Hammer To Fall. Skin tones come across fine, excepting where impacted by harsh studio lighting. Blacks in the transfer are also for the most part quite solid, except for Body Language (a noisy video shoot in low light) and one or two backgrounds in A Kind Of Magic. Note I am unable to give precise time references for these examples, as the DVD has been authored in such a way that it does not display time-codes.

    No MPEG artefacts have been introduced in this transfer. Unfortunately, at least on the disc I reviewed (plus 3 other copies), it is the film-to-video artefacts that let this otherwise brilliant transfer down. The disc authoring/player glitch errors highlighted in red below are extremely annoying and make a complete mess of at least three music clips. Granted, the vast majority of the feature is unaffected by the problem. Putting this annoying issue to one side, it is true to say that in terms of other film-to-video artefacts, they are very well managed, with aliasing reduced to only a few very brief instances on my setup (the worst being on the stairs during It's A Hard Life, and the others very minor on a music stand during Who Wants To Live Forever and on Freddie's striped shirt during One Vision). Film artefacts have been significantly reduced with the benefit of the digital restoration effort and are now limited to only very infrequent and very minor film flecks here and there. Note that there are some obvious/intended film artefacts in both Radio Ga Ga and Under Pressure. The shots of Queen in the flying car in Radio Ga Ga were deliberately treated with scratches and marks to make the look of the film blend in with the Metropolis footage, and Under Pressure is edited from old newsreel footage of the great depression, plus old horror film footage dating back to the 1920s, so the film artefacts seen here are unavoidable and deliberate in the context.

    Owing to a disc authoring error or potential player glitch error (affecting multiple players), you may find the video image to "judder" in some songs. The problem manifests as an apparent field dominance error, whereby frames are being incorrectly constructed from adjacent fields. This has been found to result in the following image problems on several players: image flicker in between edits during  I Want To Break Free, a complete image judder in The Invisible Man, specifically when the boy closes his bedroom door, and worse on the disc 2 bonus track Back Chat, a complete and persistent image judder throughout the song. (Note, however, that the judder effect seen in the clip Calling All Girls, where Freddie pulls the front plate off the robot, is indeed an intended artistic effect in this clip.)

    In some instances, these problems can be corrected by reviewing or chapter selecting the affected song and playing again - although this does not always help. I have marked down the film-to-video score in this review as a result of these issues.

    There is no subtitle stream on this disc for the main feature. Strangely, whilst subtitles are indeed provided in French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese (note not English), this is to translate the Brian May and Roger Taylor audio commentary, not the feature programme.

    Disc 1 is single layered. Disc 2 is RSDL-formatted, but with the layer change occurring unobtrusively between featurettes.

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

Audio

    Like the audio transfer that graced Hits 1, the audio transfer on this DVD will absolutely blow you away. It is purely and simply a reference quality dts track. Kudos to audio producer Justin Shirley-Smith and audio engineer Kris Fredriksson for their painstaking investment in the remastering and remixing efforts here. As for Hits 1, they really have taken this project by the horns and delivered an astounding result.

    There are three audio tracks available on the DVD: a default LPCM 2.0 mix (at 1536 kb/s), a dts 96/24 5.1 mix (at full bit rate 1536 kb/s) and a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio commentary (discussed separately under Extras below). As with Hits 1, again you will note that there is no Dolby Digital 5.1 track, so if your equipment is not dts compatible you will not be able to enjoy the phenomenal surround re-mix. Also as with Hits 1, note that the dts track on offer here is the higher resolution 96/24 format - making this (to my knowledge) only the second ever such release on the DVD-Video medium (previously, these higher resolution dts 96/24 tracks have only been inlcuded on DVD-Audio discs). Queen/EMI are pioneering the inclusion of dts 96/24 onto the DVD-V format. (What is dts 96/24? For appropriately equipped decoders, it offers 24-bit audio (as opposed to the more usual 16-bit sample depth) and a sample rate of 96 kHz (as opposed to the usual 48 kHz). This offers superior audio resolution. But don't worry, if your equipment is not capable of decoding the newer 96/24 audio format, the track will be simply downsampled by your player to the more usual dts standard for playback automatically.) My review below is of the dts audio track (rather loudly!) in full, along with a comparison sample of the majority of the LPCM track.

    As with Hits 1, again I find myself making the same comments about the quality of the remixing of these songs, both for the dts and also the LPCM remixes. I have heard all of these songs countless times in countless different guises before, but never have they sounded as full and complete as they do here on this DVD. Even just with the LPCM stereo mix, it is apparent right from the start that these classics have been cleaned up, tweaked and embellished in subtle ways in the new mix, so that every single little guitar note and every single nuance of the original recordings is brought out to fullest effect. Consequently many songs sound much cleaner and fuller here even just in the LPCM mix than they do in any previous CD remastering of Queen albums. To cite some examples of the improvements even just in the stereo mixes, Radio Ga Ga benefits from more pronounced bass, I Want To Break Free benefits from a punchier kick drum and percussion, The Invisible Man mix sounds a notably different mix (fuller and heavier than before) and the ending of One Vision is completely different (paired back and more effective than the album mix). These improvements in the mix are only amplified further with the benefit of the bigger soundstage provided by the dts 5.1 surround mix.

    As with Hits 1, the 5.1 mixing here is very aggressive, but always complements and never overwhelms or detracts from the spirit of the original recordings. The new remix constantly makes use of all six channels from go to whoa to literally grab the listener by the ears and immerse them inside the centre of the songs, not letting go for the duration of the DVD. Aside from the mixing of Hits 1 and the DVD-A of A Night At The Opera, I doubt there would be many other audio transfers out there boasting a more aggressive and constant use of the left and right surround channels than this DVD. But despite this constant use of the rear channels, front to back weighting is kept well in check, so the soundstage refrains from toppling over unnaturally to the rear. Indeed, it remains extremely well balanced all-round.

    For the record, vocal quality/volume level is absolutely perfect in these mixes and you will have no trouble discerning any lyrics or backing vocals or, for that matter, any of the countless little background ad libs for which a Freddie Mercury song is famous. Audio sync is also OK in the main, but note that Queen were never the best mimers in the world and for TV appearances like Las Palabras De Amor on "Top Of The Pops" they make a deliberate point of lip syncing badly (Freddie) or putting no effort in at all (Roger) to get across how they are so obviously not performing live and detesting it. Of course, the audio syncing effort put into their own staged film shoots, such as in I Want It All or Scandal, is much better. The quality and mixing level of all other instrumentation is also spot on. The guitar solos have more pronounced bite, the bass more fidelity and the drums and percussion more impact in this audio transfer than ever before.

    The subwoofer is employed constantly and effectively throughout every single song, to accentuate the bottom end of bass guitar notes and wallop you with kick drums. Your sub will know it's alive if you play this disc at volume.

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

Extras

    As expected from the preceding DVD release, Hits 2 receives a quality extras package. Most of the bonus film clips and interview footage included here have been unavailable (commercially) before and it is just great to see Queen take the opportunity to release them now to the fans.

Booklet

    A 20 page booklet gives a brief background essay, colour pictures and direction credits pertaining to each film clip, detail on all of the extras material and DVD production credits.

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, are 16x9 enhanced and are well themed around the "morphing heads" album cover of "The Miracle". All menu screens contain audio underscore and it is worthwhile stopping and listening to the audio at each screen, as there are some great new instrumental mixes provided for songs The Miracle, Friends Will Be Friends and others. The menu screens on this DVD are considerably easier to navigate this time around than they were on the Hits 1 DVD, which had tried to be just that little bit too clever in menu design and suffered from being slow and cumbersome to use as a result.

Disc 1: Audio Commentary - Brian May and Roger Taylor

    Brian and Roger talk through each music clip in turn. Unlike their previous commentary track, this time around each has been recorded separately, with the resultant commentary edited together later on. Consequently, there is a definite lack of the interaction that helped to make the Hits 1 commentary more successful. Still, the commentary here is interesting, as they discuss topics such as filming the 1989 videos when Freddie's health was starting to deteriorate, the British press missing the point (completely) about the Radio Ga Ga film clip, exactly whose idea it was to dress in drag for the I Want To Break Free clip, and exactly how the band came to write and record the song Under Pressure with David Bowie. As with the Hits 1 audio commentary, neither Brian nor Roger are shy of coming forward and telling us which clips they like and why, and which clips, frankly, they hate and why!

Disc 1: Easter Egg

    There are two Easter eggs on Hits 2, being two alternative clips for the song Who Wants To Live Forever. The first egg, on disc 1, can be accessed by pressing enter on your remote control at the time when the title of this song appears. This will take you to an alternative clip that is basically identical to the original, but just with some footage from the film Highlander interspersed with the Queen footage; actually I think this version of the clip is better than the original, as the extra Highlander footage helps to break it up visually and make it more interesting to watch, not to mention putting the song into its proper context. As it is, we only get this "alternative" clip in 1.33:1 video and 2 channel audio.

Disc 2

    The extras on Disc 2 are broken down into four sections, dealing with the material surrounding the "Hot Space" album (1982), "The Works" album (1984), the "A Kind Of Magic" album (1986) and "The Miracle" album (1989). All extras on disc 2 are presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with LPCM 2 channel audio, unless otherwise stated.

Hot Space

Bonus Film Clips: Back Chat, Calling All Girls and Staying Power (Live) (12:54)

    Back Chat and Calling All Girls are lesser known singles (the latter released only in the USA) and neither was a commercial success. Consequently both these clips quickly went the way of the dodo, never to be seen again by Queen fans, save for enraptured viewings at Queen fan club conventions. It is just great to see these clips now not only finally released by the band, but also incredibly with a dts 5.1 audio mix! Both clips are quite interesting because of their rarity value. The Calling All Girls clip in particular is a real gem (even if the song itself might not be), as it based around the theme of George Lucas' first ever film, THX-1138 (ever wonder where Lucas derived the name for his revolutionary audio mastering standard from?). Anyone who has seen the film THX-1138 will appreciate the satire of this music clip. Both of these clips are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced and with the option of either dts 5.1 or LPCM 2.0 audio, as per disc 1 audio specs.

    Note that a disc authoring error affects the video transfer for Back Chat in a rather messy way as explained above.

    Staying Power is a great live version taken from a concert performance at the Milton Keynes Bowl, Buckinghamshire England in June 1982. The concert was filmed at the time for broadcast on BBC TV (let's hope they release the full 80-minute footage one day). This live version is quite different to the album version. The live sound is less funky and more guitar-oriented and so this a good inclusion as an extra to give an idea of what Queen's live performance was like around this time.

    The video and audio transfer for all 3 songs is fine (authoring error aside), although note Staying Power was a valve-video camera shoot and so suffers from image streaking as a result of this old technology.

Easter Egg #2:

    The second alternate clip for Who Wants To Live Forever can be accessed via the "Hot Space" menu. Move the cursor to the "Play All" option, then press cursor up, left then right and it will start playing. This is an alternate version of the song, re-arranged by Brian May in early 1989 so that it can be sung by children and released as a fund raiser for the British Bone Marrow Donor Appeal. The sad story surrounding this clip revolves around the death of a young girl of leukemia in early 1989 and the playing of the song Who Wants To Live Forever at her funeral. The young girl fought until the day she died to raise money for this appeal, being a charity set up to raise money for a computer register of bone marrow donors so that sufferers could be found a suitable donor quickly. When Brian found about this story, he agreed to become involved and help re-arrange and re-record the song for the benefit of the appeal. As it is, it doesn't appear from the clip that Brian actually played guitar on the track, however both John Deacon and Roger Taylor can be seen contributing bass and percussion. If there is a degree of "cringe factor" with the end result of this clip, with these young kids' rendition of the song, then it was certainly for a worthwhile cause.

The Works

Montreux Pop Festival (16:50)

    After a brief introductory interview snippet with Brian and Roger backstage, this extra shows footage of Queen's first appearance at the Montreux Pop Festival. It is hard to call this a "performance" as it is an obvious mime to tape - a fact made stubbornly clear by Freddie. Queen did this festival because they said they felt it was a great way to get across to a huge audience at once. After seeing this footage though, I struggle to see why anyone would bother turning up to such a festival when all you get to see is a very brief set list of each artist doing a painfully obvious mime to record. Songs "performed" here by Queen are Radio Ga Ga, Tear It Up, It's A Hard Life and I Want To Break Free. They may as well have just stayed at home and thrown the record on the PA! This footage is all pretty boring after a while, as for starters the stage is way too small for Freddie to do any effective strutting about on! Best described as a curio/collectable extra for the die-hard fans, more so than a seriously entertaining extra. Video quality is fine.

The Works Interviews (12:01)

    This is an edited collection taken from various interviews with the band members recorded around this time. Most Queen fans will have seen all of this material before, but  for those who haven't it proves to be a very entertaining - and at times very funny - insight into the four personalities. In particular, Freddie's handling of the not-so-subtle South American interview technique is a riot. This footage also includes the Freddie interview by Molly Meldrum on "Countdown", in 1985. Again, it is just great to have all of this material together and finally commercially released. (Have I said this before?) 

Freddie Mercury interview (15:41)

    As the blurb for this extra claims, this is probably the most well-known (among fans) Freddie Mercury interview. Seen here complete and uncut though probably for the first time, this provides a fascinating insight into the man behind the huge persona. It catches Freddie in a talkative and open mood. This is not a man concerned about saying the right or wrong things or protecting a big ego, but rather it is just..... well, Freddie! A humorous and enlightening interview.

    The videotaped footage for these interviews is quite grainy and comes replete with noise, washed out colour, a bit of bleeding and the odd minor tape tracking mark, but is still of acceptable quality for this kind of extra.

A Kind Of Magic

Montreux Rock Festival (17:12)

    Hello, it has suddenly been re-named a "rock festival" now! You guessed it, this is more of the same as the above extra, capturing Queen's second appearance at this useless festival in 1986. We get more deliberately bad miming, more annoying sound-of-the-crowd over the top of the sound of the record being mimed to, and more Freddie doing his best to strut back and forth across a tiny stage and interact with the crowd. Does this festival still run? If someone figures out what it's all about then please let me know. Another curio/collectable extra for the die-hard fans, rather than an extra of any real entertainment value.

The Magic Interviews (12:33)

    Interviews of the band members around this time. Well edited and quite interesting. It great to have this material all together, in context.

One Vision Documentary (12:31)

    Hmmm, calling this one a "documentary" might be stretching it a bit, as it's actually just a "fly-on-the-wall" shoot of the band in the Munich studios, witnessing them as they write and record the song One Vision together. There is no voice-over or documentary, as such. Extremely interesting nonetheless, this material gives you a very good insight into how the band members interact with each other and how they spur each other on in the studio - in fact having the raw footage provides this insight much better than a documentary proper would have done. Again, this is rare footage that most fans may have only seen once or twice before at fan club conventions, so it is great to finally have this material now commercially released.

One Vision (Extended Vision) (6:30)

    This is a full film clip to the extended version of this song. Unfortunately, though, we miss out on the 1.78:1 16x9 enhancement and dts audio option this time.

The Miracle

The Miracle Interviews (8:40)

    These are rarely seen interviews of the band members in 1989, promoting and shooting the videos for "The Miracle" album. Freddie is conspicuous by his absence from these interviews, for obvious reason.

      There is another disc authoring error at the end of this extra: Note that just before the extra fades out completely, a voice can very briefly be heard, apparently the beginning of an introduction to something. It is unclear what this voiceover even relates to, but clearly it should not be heard here. This is very sloppy DVD authoring.

Making The Miracle Videos (15:15)

    More extremely rare stuff from the "DoRo Twins" (Queen's documentarians), this time featuring fascinating never-before-seen behind the scenes footage - including a pale Freddie soldiering on like a trooper - whilst shooting the five music clips I Want It All, Breakthru, Scandal, The Miracle and The Invisible Man. This puts all five film clips in a much better context and is yet another entertaining and worthwhile extra.

Making The Miracle Album Cover (4:57)

    An interesting interview with Queen's (rather nervous) graphics designer Richard Gray, explaining how he created the brilliant cover picture of the morphed heads for "The Miracle" album. Again, interesting and worthwhile, without being laboured. The quality of all these "Miracle" extras is fine.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title has received the same release worldwide. The only minor difference is that Region 2 receives a different front cover picture (the same picture as appears on our disc 2).

    Note updated 29/11/03: It was initially unknown whether the other regions - and specifically of interest Region 2 - also suffered the same disc authoring errors as our Region 4 release. From the first Region 2 review just published, plus user comments and emails posted to me directly, it does appear that Region 2 suffers the same issues. It sounds like this problem is indeed widespread. My recommendation for now would be to opt for the Region 4 release over any other Region, as there are still no Region 1 reviews published as yet and it is unclear whether Region 1 also suffers the same fate - so no use importing at more cost. Hopefully, the distributor EMI will be forced to address this issue, if it is indeed a global problem and enough people complain, by doing the right thing and organising a stock recall and/or free disc replacement service to those who request it - however there is no word or indication from EMI yet that any action will be taken. I will update the review with any developments in this regard.

Summary

       At last, the long wait to have Queen's greatest music clips in your rock music DVD collection is finally over...... well, for now at least.

    This 2 disc DVD set is marred by some extremely annoying disc authoring/player glitch errors, detracting from what is otherwise a faithfully remastered widescreen video treatment of the source materials. Nothing detracts from the DVD's audio transfer however, with the disc boasting yet another truly reference quality dts track and another showcase example of surround remixing that raises the benchmark for music DVDs. To top off the package, we have an extensive collection of extras, both rare and entertaining.

    It has certainly been worth the long wait for this quality. But now, who's responsible for these d*** authoring errors and when are they going to be fixed?....

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Abberton (read my bio)
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using Component output
DisplayToshiba 117cm widescreen rear projection TV. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum/AVIA. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RXV-1000. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum/AVIA.
AmplificationElektra Theatre 150 Watts x 6 channel Power Amplifier
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora III mains, Orpheus Centaurus 1.0 centre, Velodyne CT150 sub and B&W DM303 rears

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Calling All Girls - James O REPLY POSTED
R2 has the same problems - uxbridge REPLY POSTED
Streaks in I Want It All - PhilJW REPLY POSTED
the disc error on disc 2, miracle interview section, at the end. - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
How to fix 'Hammer to fall' Video - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Directed by who?? - Geoff REPLY POSTED
R1 has the same problems - Anonymous