The Simpsons-Viva Los Simpsons (1993)
|Category||Animation||Trailer-The Simpsons DVD Collection|
|Year Of Production||1993|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
The Simpsons - Viva Los Simpsons is another in the Simpsons Classics collection, which takes four Simpsons episodes loosely collected around a theme - in this case gambling, although in at least one episode the connection is tenuous at best - and collates them for those who are unwilling to wait for the season sets or who merely want certain episodes at a slightly cheaper price.
The collection leads with the standard Fox anti-piracy warning that I find not only makes me wonder whether pirated versions of the disc might not make me sit through the warning, but also makes me wish that there was some way of downloading a car over a peer-to-peer network. This is not the only irritating assertion of copyright - there is an option at the main menu to watch all episodes on the disc, but if you choose to watch a single episode at a time the disc puts you through multiple screens asserting copyright, each in a different language.
The episodes presented on this disc are:
Homer at the Bat - Episode 3X17
Homer and his magic bat lead the nuclear plant's softball team to the city championship game, but Mr Burns recruits a team of ring-ins from baseball's major league and benches the players that got the team there. This episode features one of my favourite pieces of Simpsons music - Talkin' Softball over the credits. This song was a parody of Talkin' Baseball (Willie, Mickey and the Duke) and performed by the original song's author, Terry Cashman.
$pringfield - Episode 5X10
In order to prop up its failing economy, Springfield legalises gambling. Marge quickly becomes a slot-machine addict, while Bart sets up his own back-yard casino. This episode features an alarmingly prescient episode featuring two characters remarkably similar to Sigfried and Roy.
Homie the Clown - Episode 6X15
Profligacy and gambling land Krusty with an outstanding debt to Fat Tony and Springfield's mob and he establishes a Klown Kollege to raise cash. Homer gains the regional Krusty franchise, but works out that when he's mistaken for Krusty he's treated as a celebrity - until Fat Tony tracks him down.
Viva Ned Flanders - Episode 1010
Ned starts to feel envious of Homer's carefree ways and lets Homer drag him to Las Vegas to learn the secret behind Homer's joie de vivre. Unfortunately, this includes a drunken stop for a quickie wedding.
It continues to irritate that The Simpsons can't seem to relate a DVD worthy of its source material. Three of the episodes on this disc are already released in season sets and are of the same quality that are presented there, but one can't help but wish that an effort had been made to clean up the prints before digitising.
The episodes presented on this disc are in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
While cel animation is hard to clean up for DVD without a long and expensive restoration process, The Simpsons feels as though it is due a more professional transfer. Soft lines are the order of the day and dot crawl is evident throughout. I was hopeful that the episode from the tenth series would show less evidence of these problems, but this was not the case. The nature of the material may take your notice away from these problems - especially on a small TV, and a young audience frankly won't care - but purists will find it irritating.
The Simpsons' colour palette is characteristically bright and is well represented on this disc.
Both black and white film artefacts are abundant on this disc - a fact held in common with almost every cel animation. Cross-colourisation is also relatively common and aliasing was very evident, such as when panning across Springfield pier at 27:53.
The English subtitle track is relatively poor. Many words and phrases are omitted, even where there appears to be no timing issue. Several words are substituted for homophones or are otherwise wrong, and (apart from closing music) lyrics are represented with nothing more than a tag reading "(SINGING)". There are, however, multiple subtitle tracks and those in non-English languages may be better.
The RSDL change is located between episodes.
In contrast to the video quality, audio is generally quite well presented on Simpsons discs and this is no exception.
The five language tracks on this disc were all Dolby 2.0 Surround encoded at 192 Kb/s.
The dialogue was very clear, although not always synced to the animation. A particularly egregious example can be found at 12:50 into the first episode.
Music is also well-presented, whether in the form of themes, incidentals or Robert Goulet "(SINGING)".
The Simpsons is renowned for the three-dimensionality of its sound stage and this is presented appropriately in the audio tracks on this disc.
The services of the subwoofer were not required through this disc.
|Surround Channel Use|
The only extra is a trailer ad for the first four seasons of Simpsons boxed sets and assorted compilation discs.
This disc appears to be identical to the Region 2 version (literally - the disc's dual coded), but there appears to be no Region 1 release.
The video on this disc is quite mediocre, although the same as all other Simpsons releases.
The audio is crisp and has good three-dimensional presentation in all language streams.
There are no extras to speak of.
This disc is as good a presentation of these episodes as you will find anywhere, but the episodes themselves aren't in the pantheon of Simpsons greats. Unfortunately pricing of Simpsons discs is quite unusual. Over the past week I've seen this disc retailing for both $10 and $32. At the same time, I've seen season sets with six times the number of episodes going for between $35 and $76. If you see this disc for $10 and want these particular episodes it's worth the buy. If not, I'd recommend hanging out for the collections.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Panasonic TX-86PW300A. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX-512.|
|Speakers||Wharfedale Diamond 8.3 fronts, Wharfedale Diamond 8.2 rears, Wharfedale Diamond 8 centre, Wharfedale 12" sub|