Imagine: Deluxe Edition (1988)

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Released 1-Mar-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Informational Subtitles-John Lennon Trivia Track
Featurette-A Tribute To John Lennon: The Man, The Music, The Memories
Featurette-John Lennon: Truth Be Told
Additional Footage-Acoustic Imagine
Featurette-Island House
Featurette-The Headmaster Looks Back
Trailer-James Dean
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 101:43
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Andrew Solt
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring John Lennon
Yoko Ono
Paul McCartney
George Harrison
Ringo Starr
David Bowie
Phil Spector
Cynthia Lennon
Julian Lennon
Sean Lennon
Al Capp
May Pang
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music John Lennon


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
French
German
Greek
Hebrew
Hungarian
Icelandic
Italian
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Slovenian
Spanish
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
English Information
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

December 8 2005 marked 25 years since the murder of John Lennon. To mark the anniversary, Warner Bros. have released a deluxe edition of Imagine, a film biography on what would have been his 65th birthday. The name of John Lennon means many things to many people and Imagine, which was originally released in 1988, is a portrait made with the aid of his family and friends. Utilising priceless home movies, live performances, press/media conferences and interviews, Imagine is an attempt to humanise the legend that he is.

Imagine is narrated by Lennon himself as filmmakers sourced dialogue from over 100 hours of footage. The documentary is beautifully conceived and recalls pivotal events in the artist's life, beginning with his troubled childhood, the early days of The Beatles to their massive worldwide success, the subsequent unfortunate breakdown of his first marriage to Cynthia Lennon and his accidental meeting with future wife Yoko Ono.

The filmmakers have also included no less than 36 songs interspersed with exclusive interviews with Yoko Ono, Cynthia Lennon, George Martin, Julian Lennon, Sean Lennon, and May Pang which allow us a privileged insight into the private moments which made him who he is. Whether or not you agree with Lennon's political insights, his music remains forever relevant. If this illuminating portrait does cement a message it is that Lennon's music was essentially the culmination of his idealism, experience and dreams exhibited with a sense of vulnerability, much like the artist himself who spoke for a generation. Lennon struggled to be accepted as an individual artist after the demise of The Beatles, as he was expected to be witty John from The Beatles, not Lennon the political activist or Lennon the husband of Yoko Ono. As this portrait demonstrates, Lennon was a man of many facets and a quarter of a century after his passing, his infectious energy, persona and music continues to fascinate a new generation.

We have privileged access in the studio where his second solo album Imagine was recorded. Also included is the moment in which Lennon invites a fan who had been stalking his home inside for a meal. Lennon bluntly tells the stunned fan he is merely an artist who writes music for a living. (As seen in Gimme Some Truth - The Making of John Lennon's "Imagine".) Other key moments include cartoonist Al Capp's confrontation with Lennon and Ono during their Bed-In which was motivated partly by their honeymoon, a demonstration of performance art and a protest on the Vietnam War. Capp viciously attacks the couple proclaiming the protest to be a publicity stunt. In retaliation Lennon and the surrounding company broke into a spontaneous rendition of Give Peace a Chance. (As seen in John and Yoko's Year of Peace). Many of the criticisms of this documentary propose that the filmmakers did not go into depth regarding Lennon's alcoholism, brief drug use and 'lost weekend', but these issues are hardly of relevance as Imagine is a celebration of a man who gave the world so much and more.

As this documentary comes to a conclusion and the Lennon signature song Imagine plays over the final scenes, one can interpret that Lennon's growth as an artist, as a husband, as a father and as a public identity was starting to be accepted by his fans, the media and himself. His work had merely begun and he hoped to live a long prosperous life. His callous and unfair death at the hands of Mark David Chapman may have signified a cruel end but Lennon lives in the hearts and minds of a new generation.

Imagine (Deluxe Edition) complements the following must haves for any music DVD collection; Lennon: Legend - The Very Best of John Lennon (2003), The Beatles Anthology (1995), Concert for George (2003) and Paul McCartney - Live in Red Square (2003).

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Transfer Quality

Video

The transfer is quite good. It is presented in 1.78:1 Widescreen and it is 16x9 enhanced. As mentioned there is an abundant amount of archival footage edited together with the later interviews presumably recorded in 1987/1988. There are noticeable scratches, grain, artefacts and white specks on the elder footage but this isn't a deterrent as the most damaged footage looks like it has been presented in the best possible way, devoid of major restoration.

The colour ranges from notably faded to the more recent footage which is clear and looks natural. The transfer looks fine as there is no noticeable compression and the subtitles are true to the onscreen dialogue and remain unobtrusive.

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

Audio

The English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround) soundtrack is practical in regards to the documentary. The live performances are noticeably mixed slightly louder than the dialogue and the interviews. I suggest if you wish for the songs to be heard in the best condition, purchase Lennon: Legend - The Very Best of John Lennon (2003) which has optional DTS. All-round a clear soundtrack that has minimal impact in the surround sound departent but is a practical accompaniment to the documentary.

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

Extras

I don't think this DVD warrants a Deluxe subtitle as the extras are limited and don't particularly build from the main feature.

Trivia Track

The Trivia Track runs the length of the feature on disc one providing viewers with some finer points about John Lennon. The subtitle track aids the onscreen material mentioning important historical events that perhaps motivated his song writing as well as pivotal events in the life of Lennon. It isn't particularly futile but it is a nice addition in lieu of a commentary.

A Tribute to John Lennon: The Man, the Music, the Memories

This is a more recent feature which involves reflections from wife Yoko Ono, producer David Wolper, writer/co-producer Sam Egan, director Andrew Solt, supervising film editor Bud Friedgen, and editor Bert Lovitt. (14:51)

Truth Be Told

This BBC Radio interview was filmed by John and Yoko's film crew in 1971. The archival interview filmed at the Tittenhurst Park estate in Ascot, England is perhaps the most relevant to the main feature as John and Yoko discuss the significance of popular music. (5:39)

Acoustic Imagine

This supplement is perhaps the most interesting and valuable as it is a performance of Lennon's signature song in acoustic with an unbilled band. It is named as previously unreleased and it is taken from the Apollo Theatre performance in New York City on 17 December 1971. (3:37)

Island House

This is a home video of Lennon and his family and friends cavorting around the hand-made lake house on their Tittenhurst Park estate (8:24). This supplement is also billed as previously unseen footage.

Headmaster Looks Back

This is an interview with Lennon's former headmaster William Ernest Pobjoy (Headmaster Quarry Bank High School - John Lennon's Grammar School). This is an interesting interview with straight answers about John Lennon as a student (9:55).

Trailer

A trailer for the James Dean DVD Collection

R4 vs R1

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

R1 and R4 are identical.

Summary

An illuminating portrait of an artist gone but not forgotten. The DVD is produced with care but has an underwhelming set of supplements. It is nevertheless an anticipated release and the transfer and audio are of average but practical quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Monday, April 17, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

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