Paul McCartney & Friends-PETA's Millennium Concert (2000)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Music Video-Tame Yourself
Featurette-Public Service Announcement Compilation
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Joe Gallen|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This is basically a concert DVD and awards night, honouring a few celebrities for their work in raising the awareness of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). A bit of light entertainment . . . or so I thought. While the main feature is a bit of fluff, the extras on this DVD are so powerful, compelling and devastating that they completely obscure and trivialise the main feature. I am not easily swayed by advertising or propaganda, but the graphic and truly disgusting images of absolute cruelty to animals contained in the extras will not be easily forgotten. Had I not been reviewing this disc, it is unlikely that I would have watched them all -- they made me genuinely sick. I often had to turn my head to avoid watching the screen, but those awful, awful images are seared into my mind forever. I certainly will never be able to look at meat, leather, fur or any other animal product in the same care-free manner as I did before.
I have never been much of an animal rights activist. I don't own any pets, and I never really thought much about the topic. Admittedly, I never liked zoos or performing animal shows, as the poor animals generally look very unhappy, and in the case of performing animals, they are forced to perform unnatural acts, or face starvation or beatings. I have always absolutely hated seeing animals in a circus. My parents took me as a child to see a Russian circus where bears were dressed as people, and made to ice-skate upright, and act like people -- it truly disturbed me. Afterwards we saw the tiny cage that they forced the bears into.
Years later while driving, I passed a site where a circus was being set up. I pulled up next to an elephant been held captive by the circus. It looked extremely unwell and unhappy. Chained like a slave, it swayed mindlessly back and forth, waiting for a death that would not come quickly enough. Again, while it bothered me for a day or so, I soon forgot about it.
In the 1990s something happened that put this all into perspective. I went on Safari through Kruger National Park in South Africa, and a few other game reserves in Africa. There, from the safety of a truck, I was confronted with wild animals in their natural habitats, including Leopards, Lions, Buffalos, Cheetahs, Rhinos, and Elephants. At one point an enormous Bull Elephant burst through some small trees, and charged at our truck. We had a narrow escape. I will never forgot looking into that Elephant's eyes -- his brain was alive, he was thinking and sizing us up. I could not believe that these were the same animals as those shrunken, diseased, miserable, and brain-dead creatures that mope about in zoos and circuses around the world. These African animals were free. It changed my perception.
While I stopped going to circuses years ago, I have also stopped going to zoos. I refuse to go to those places up on the Queensland coast that force dolphins, seals and other sea-life to entertain tourists. I imagine that the people who own or work in these places sincerely believe that they are 'animal lovers', and/or claim to be conducting research. I wonder if their research truly requires dolphins to jump through hoops at the required show times.
PETA are an international non-profit organization based in Canada. Founded in 1980, PETA has been spreading their message that ' animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment'. According to their own web site, 'PETA educates policymakers and the public about animal abuse and promotes an understanding of the right of all animals to be treated with respect'. For more information, their web site is at www.peta-online.org. Please note, PETA do have their critics, and if you want to read the opposing view, check out www.consumerfreedom.com.
Now let me get off my soap-box and mention the concert. Hosted by Bea Arthur and Paul McCartney, the PETA concert contains some stand-up comedy by Ellen DeGeneres and Margaret Cho, who are both very funny. There are also musical performances by the B52s, Chrissie Hynde, Sarah McLachlan and Paul McCartney. The musical highlight for me was undoubtedly the B52s, who provide high-energy renditions of their hit songs. I found McCartney's performance a little disappointing. He provides a few 50s/60s style rock n' roll numbers, but none of his familiar tunes, or any Beatles numbers.
From the image, and the credits, I believe that this concert was shot on digital tape. It is crystal clear, and there is good camera work throughout. The quality generally is very good for a made-for-television production.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced. Interestingly, the image appears a little stretched horizontally, as if it was originally shot in another aspect ratio (something between 1.33:1 and 1.85:1), and then stretched a little wider.
The sharpness of the image in generally very good, and the concert shot at 33:25, for example, contains a lot of detail. The black level and shadow detail are acceptable for this style of production.
The colour is a little dark, but good, as evidenced by the B52s bright and colourful costumes at 26:50.
There were no MPEG artefacts, film-to-video artefacts, or film artefacts to really complain of. A few times I re-watched certain segments of the concert, but invariably the lighting or something else was to blame for what I thought might have been a fault. In any case, there was certainly nothing that I found overly distracting.
There is some very slight edge enhancement, such as the halos around the band and some of the audience at 39:34.
There are no subtitles on this DVD.
This is a dual layer disc, but I did not notice a layer change during the main feature. I am guessing that the extras have been placed on the second layer.
There will not be much for me to say here, as there is only one audio option on this DVD, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track.
The dialogue quality and audio sync are good.
As outlined earlier, the music is provided by Sarah McLachlan, The B52s, Chrissie Hynde, and Paul McCartney. I particularly enjoyed the B52s portion, as they provided high-energy renditions of their three hits, Love Shack, Roam and Rock Lobster. The music had great fidelity and dynamic range. Consider that every squeak and harmonic during the guitar solos by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd (who plays in McCartney's band) is perfectly clear. The deep bass is also great, as featured on McCartney's performance of 'No Other Baby'.
As a Dolby Stereo track, the surround speakers and subwoofer are not called upon.
|Surround Channel Use|
As stated earlier, the extras are powerful, compelling and devastating. I imagine that vegetarians and animal rights activists will lend this DVD to their friends, as it more than adequately explains a choice in lifestyle that I never really understood. The extras are mainly comprised of a series of exposés introduced and narrated by various celebrities. I warn you that the extras contain very explicit and shocking footage, often captured with hidden cameras. Some of the content that I will mention below may upset some readers. Please skip over this section if you feel that you may be offended or upset by what you will read.
A very simple menu, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is static and silent.
Tame Yourself (4:09)
This music video, by Raw Youth is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.
Pamela Lee -- The Skin Trade (12:38)
Ever thought about where leather comes from, or how it is made? I will never be able to look at my shoes and belts in the same way after watching this exposé of the leather trade. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital mono audio.
Alec Baldwin -- Cheap Trick (13:04)
An exposé of how circus animals, animals in rodeos, and animals in travelling shows are treated. It contains graphic footage of the conditions in which animals are kept, as well as their frequent beatings, whippings, electric shocks and starvation. Anyone who wants to go to a circus should watch this first. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital mono audio.
Stella McCartney -- Fur Farming (5:51)
Harrowing footage of small furry animals, stuffed into filthy cages that contain their own filth and and the rotting carcasses of other animals. The poor critters are suffering from a range of infections, and some even have exposed broken bones. The animals are neglected until the day they are pulled from their cage to have a metal pole shoved into their anus, and another into their mouth. A number of electric shocks are then applied until the animal dies. This way their fur is not damaged for the expensive coats and other products that will be made from it. This extra is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital mono audio.
Todd Oldham -- Fur Trade (8:46)
About one third of fur comes from wild animals. This exposé includes graphic footage of a variety of animals struggling with what must be excruciating pain in the steel traps that hunters leave for them. There is also footage of hunters breaking the necks of animals, using anal electrocution techniques, and injecting a home-brew mixture, which mainly consists of insecticide, into the chest of a Minx. Again the agonising death preserves their fur for very expensive consumer products. This extra is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital mono audio.
Charlize Theron -- Puppy Mills (6:34)
Have you ever wondered how pet stores around the world always have a constant supply of cute little puppies in their windows? I have since discovered that this is an industry. The puppies are taken from breeding facilities called 'puppy mills'. In the US, these puppy mills produce about half a million puppies for pet shop windows each year. The puppy mills themselves cage the dogs in dreadful conditions. The dogs are impregnated repeatedly until they are discarded. The dogs are rife with disease, and many have raw and infected skin, and even open rotting tissue. Some of the dogs also had untreated broken legs and maggot infested food. The puppies are ripped away shortly after their birth, packed into trucks, and those that survive are placed in pet shop windows. PETA urge you NOT to buy dogs from pet shops, as it supports this industry. Rather, please go to an animal shelter or contact the RSPCA. This extra is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital mono audio.
James Cromwell -- North Carolina Pig Farm Investigation (9:22)
Of all the exposés, this is by far the most sickening. It looks at the cruelty dished out to pigs on pig farms, and it includes very explicit footage of a pig with its legs jammed in a cage, being beaten by cowardly farm-hands with metal bars for over an hour -- for fun! One of the farm-hands then slits the pig's throat, and they chuckle as they watch her moan and die slowly and painfully. Hidden cameras capture the farmer's daily beatings of the pigs, and there is footage of a pig being beaten by a farmer with a crow bar. Another farm-hand kills a lame pig with a block by repeatedly dropping the block on to the pig's head. A farm-hand inserts a metal pole into a caged pig's anus for fun. He measures how far he can push the pole into the pigs, and compares his measurement to that of another farm-hand. Some farm-hands then skin a pig while it is still alive. All these pigs are to become food on our tables. This extra is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital mono audio.
Commercial -- Fix.Cats.Com (0:30)
A short commercial. This extra is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital mono audio.
A compilation of short clips of celebrities who raise awareness about a variety of animal-related issues. They feature The Golden Girls, KD Lang, Elvira, Pat, Belinda Carlyse, River Phoenix, Linda McCartney, Sir John Gielgud, William Shatner, and Joaquin Phoenix. This extra is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This DVD was released in Region 1 in January 2002 with exactly the same features.
This DVD features a bit of good comedy, an enjoyable concert, and extras that might change the way you view our relationship with animals. There were a number of issues that I never really thought about until I watched the extras on this DVD, and as such it is very effective.
The video quality is good.
The audio quality is also good.
The extras will haunt you.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|