Twain, Shania-The Specials (1999) (NTSC)
|Year Of Production||1999|
|Running Time||88:13 (Case: 90)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Lawrence Jordan|
Universal Pictures Home Video
The Backstreet Boys
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Okay, I will not go with the cold shower joke this time..... Mind you, this is being typed inside one seriously large cold store...
Yes, we have more visual delights featuring Mrs Robert "Mutt" Lange. Oddly enough, we also happen to get some music too. If selling enough albums with her last two releases to buy several small countries was not enough, the confirmation of Shania Twain's ascendancy to the stratosphere of Big Name Star ® is in the fact that she got to do television specials! Both of the specials were from that stratospheric year of 1999 when the lady could do no wrong.
I know, since I was fortunate to be in Austin, Texas in early 1999. Now for those that don't know, country music has a fair old following in that part of the world and I never will forget the "hire car fiddle" when my mate and I picked up the hire car at Austin airport. You know the drill - you arrive in a new city, pick up the hire car and then spend hours trying to find a radio station that you can endure for the time you have the car. Well, in Austin it was the easiest "hire car fiddle" I have ever endured - the second station I hit on the skip through the FM band was KASE 101FM - Austin's New Country Music station - and there I stayed for two glorious weeks. In my humble opinion, KASE 101FM is the best radio station in the world! Just hours upon hours of great country music, with loads of hot female acts like Faith Hill and a certain Shania Twain in very heavy rotation. It was the best radio I had heard, before or since. With just about the entire Come On Over album getting airplay it seemed, it was very difficult not to succumb to the charms of both of these ladies.
The first of the specials is Winter Break, which sees the lovely Shania freezing her rather wonderful anatomy off in the minus 25 degree temperatures of Timmins, Ontario as we get to see some of the special places of her home town, where her career got its start. In between the bits in Timmins, we have a concert from Miami, Florida where Shania belts out a number of her big tunes. Since networks love big names, we unfortunately get the obligatory guest appearances. So the old tart himself (otherwise known as Dame Elton John) trots out in one of his patented garish suits to sing a few numbers. Mind you that was the highlight, as the other guest stars are the absolutely detestable and effeminate Backstreet Boys. So what exactly happens on the Backstreets?
The second special is Come On Over, which sees the Dallas Cowboys and that modest little stadium they play in well and truly playing second fiddle to the infinitely more interesting Shania Twain, with the odd appearance by the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. With the benefit of experience, this is a somewhat better effort, as we actually have the concert as the main deal with some backstage stuff to fill in the show. This is also a better effort as we do not have to indulge in the obligatory guest stars, and Shania does some wonderful, desecrating things to a Cowboys shirt (Go the Pack!!) as well as looking a hell of a lot better in it than Troy Aikman.
Obviously there is a bit of duplication between the concerts, which tends to diminish the value of the DVD. Nonetheless, the second concert in particular is quite enjoyable and there are no complaints at all about the visual delights.
|1. Man I Feel Like A Woman!|
2. Honey I'm Home
3. All I Have To Give
4. You're Still The One
5. Something About The Way You Look
6. Amneris' Letter
7. That Don't Impress Me Much
8. From This Moment On
9. Don't Be Stupid
10. If You're Not In It For Love
|11. Honey I'm Home|
12. Rock This Country
13. Don't Be Stupid
14. Come On Over
15. You're Still The One
16. Man I Feel Like A Woman!
17. Any Man Of Mine
18. That Don't Impress Me Much
19. If You're Not In It For Love
Just like its companion DVD, despite the fact that the packaging says this is a PAL transfer, it is in actual fact an NTSC effort. Accordingly, you will need a display device capable of accepting an NTSC signal, or a player that converts the signal to a PAL signal, in order to see anything other than noise. (Ed. A PAL re-release is planned for later this year.)
The transfer is presented in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced.
With the specials being made specifically for television, they are fairly typical examples of television broadcasts - quite sharp, without being really sharp, quite well detailed without being super detailed, with decent definition and quite decent shadow detail. Basically there is not a lot wrong with the transfer in this area. They are quite clear and no obvious grain rounds out the lack of problems here.
The colours are very decent indeed, featuring nice tonal depth and a decent consistency, too. The transfer is quite vibrant, with nothing much in the way of " I wish that was a bit better" in the notebook. Old Elton's garish red suit gives the poor sods who mastered this a serious migraine and it is somewhat over the line of acceptability as far as oversaturation is concerned (around the 16:00 mark of the first special). There is also some evidence of colour bleed in the same special around 5:18.
There did not appear to be any MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts are basically confined to our old friend aliasing. It is more prevalent in the first special, with examples around 1:10, 4:27, 30:12, 35:47 and 40:20. The second special is also afflicted but far less so (examples at 0:13, 7:15 and 18:37). There were no noticeable film artefacts in the transfer.
There are no subtitle options on the DVD.
There is just the one soundtrack on offer on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 effort. Featuring the higher bit rate of 224 kbps, it is certainly a slightly better sounding effort than the companion DVD. It is not the greatest you will ever hear but does just enough to at least make the music worthwhile listening to.
The vocals were generally clear and easy to understand, although the second concert seems to be lacking a little in terms of body to the sound and seems a tad recessed. There did not appear to be any audio sync problems in the transfer.
This really is a run of the mill type soundtrack that is little more than serviceable. Lacking surround encoding, there is nothing wrong with the sound that a full Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack would not fix - especially with the slightly recessed sound of the second special.
|Surround Channel Use|
Since this is an all-region NTSC formatted DVD, it would seem that the Region 4 version is identical to the Region 1 version.
Perhaps the specials lack a little in personality but Shania Twain - The Specials is decent enough DVD. Unfortunately there are plenty of decent DVDs out there competing for your dollars. Perhaps this one is only for fans.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|