Tour de France 2008: The Complete Highlights (2008)

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Released 16-Sep-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sports Menu Audio
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 548:30 (Case: 558)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor
SBS
Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

In the last few months there have been some unkind things written about Cadel Evans and his performance during the 2008 tour. It is truly ridiculous to accuse anyone who even finishes the Tour De France of being a choker, let alone someone who comes within 58 seconds of winning the thing (over 88 hours of racing). We should applaud his incredible performance in this race and 2007 and look forward to bigger and better things in the years to come. You only have to watch these three discs to realise what an incredible race it is.

I recently reviewed the new 11 disc box set called Le Tour de France - The Ultimate Collection 2003-2007 from Madman Entertainment. This 2008 set is the second original release of Le Tour through Madman, following the 2007 race. All other years were previously released through Roadshow but have been re-released through Madman. As with the 2007 set each stage is 25 or 26 minutes rather than the previous 10-15 minutes. Accordingly it is spread over three discs rather than two.

As has been the case over the last two or three years the race was wide open from start to finish with many riders winning stages and wearing the yellow jersey at some point in the race. One striking feature of this years race is the amount of rain.

The race itself is made up of 21 stages spread over 3 weeks which this year kicked off in Breton. Each stage is very different and they include hard slogs up mountains, time trials, 200Km+ flat out racing and all sorts of combinations. Each stage has its own winner and for many riders this is an achievement of a lifetime, in fact some riders try for years just to get accepted into one of the teams and start in the great race. In total the riders cover over 3500 kilometres. There were some rule changes for this year including the removal of the prologue stage and the cancellation of the time bonuses system.

In terms of the overall race, there are four main categories, overall, climbs, sprints and youth. The overall classification is won by the person with the lowest total time over the 21 stages. The person leading this competition each day gets to wear a yellow jersey signifying they are in the lead, but at the end of the day if they are no longer in the lead they must relinquish it. The climb classification is a prize for the best mountain climber in the tour and points are awarded in the various climbs included in most stages. The leader here gets to wear a red polka dot jersey. The sprint competition is similar except that points are awarded for pre-designated sprint portions of each stage. The best sprinter in each of these gets points which go toward the final classification win. In this case a green jersey is worn by the leader. The best young rider gets the white jersey.

As mentioned above, the coverage is expanded in this set compared to previous (over 9 hours in total) with more race highlights, some documentary sections and more magnificent photography of the beautiful scenery. The quality of the photography is improved in this coverage. Disappointingly the menus are not as interesting and do not feature stage maps or text versions of the results as they have in previous years. In fact this year, the extras have disappeared completely. Another slightly annoying feature is that each day's coverage includes highlights of the previous day, which you have probably just watched. However, the chapter stops are well placed allowing you to easily skip forward to that day's action should you desire to do so.

Overall, this set features excellent coverage of a competitive race.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

The video quality is very good but somewhat restricted by the nature of the source material.

The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which would be the original aspect ratio or close to it. It is 16x9 enhanced.

The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout, despite some graininess. There was some macro-blocking especially during fast motion although I think this was from the source material considering the healthy bitrate of the transfer. Shadow detail is fairly irrelevant as most shots are in strong daylight.

The colour was generally very good with no colour artefacts. Strangely there were some sections where the colour became a little dull.

From an artefacts perspective, there was quite a bit of minor aliasing especially during helicopter shots and some pixelation especially from motorbike shots.

There are no subtitles.

The layer changes were not noticeable and must have been placed between stages.


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

Audio

The audio quality is good.

This DVDs contain one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

Commentary was clear and easy to understand.The music was funky never overpowered the action.

The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

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

Extras

No extras this year!

Menu

The menu was simpler than previous efforts with a still picture and the ability to either play all or choose stages.

R4 vs R1

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

This set is only available in Region 4.

Summary

A great souvenir package of highlights of the world's greatest bike race.

The video quality is very good.

The audio quality is good.

The set has no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, October 10, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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