Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories (1991)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 16-Apr-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 110:59 (Case: 120)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Timothy Forder
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Geoffrey Mathews
Case Click
RPI $39.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 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

    Rudyard Kipling was the winner of the 1907 Nobel Laureate in Literature "in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterise the creations of this world-famous author". Author of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and of course the much loved The Jungle Book, he is also author of The Just So Stories which feature on this disc.

    The twelve Just So stories revolve around the early creation of the earth and the animals, and people that came to populate it. Kipling was born in India, and later schooled in England, but then returned to India. These stories are influenced by the beliefs prevalent in India, not the traditional Christian beliefs and creation story.

    These stories have entertained children (and adults) for nearly a century. They weave the story of a magical world with beautiful language that is absolutely spellbinding. The twelve stories presented on this disc:

    The style of the presentation is as an animated story book. The characters are animated to an extent, but their mouths are not animated. There is a voice-over narrating the story as the characters perform the relevant actions. The narrator is Geoffrey Mathews and he does a fantastic job. He has that lovely resonant and flexible voice that young children love to listen to.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    While all the above is the good news, we now come to the bad news. The source material for this disc does have some problems and this has had an effect on the transfer as well.

   This disc is presented at 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. This disc is not time encoded.

    Sharpness is not particularly good and the transfer is also badly affected by grain. Shadow detail is acceptable but there is a fair amount of low level noise. There are also some brightness variations and strobing, particularly in the early stories.

     The colours can best be described as pastel. There is a wide palette used, making it attractive to young viewers but the saturation is down somewhat. There is also posterization of the colours present in many scenes.

    The large amount of grain has taxed the MPEG encoder. This, combined with the fact that this is a single layered disc has given us a fair amount of pixelization in some scenes. Unfortunately, one of the worst artefacts on this disc is a constant telecine wobble present throughout the entire disc. As mentioned, the source material for this transfer is in fairly poor shape with a fair amount of grain, quite a few marks and a scratch down the left side that appears in a couple of places. All of these problems can be seen in the first minute or so of the fourth story, How the rhinoceros got his skin, as an example.

    There are no subtitles.

    This is a single layered disc.

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

Audio

    For some reason, the audio mix on this disc is very bass heavy, as if someone has turned up the bass control when mastering it. There is also a very short audio dropout at 41:41 (time based on my DVD player).

    This disc contains a single English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

   Dialogue quality is excellent with the rolling Kipling prose very easy to understand. There were no problems with the audio sync.

   The music is very good and matches the feel of the stories very well, though it is somewhat spoiled by the bass-heavy mix.

  There was no activity in the surrounds.

    The subwoofer received too much redirected material from this unbalanced soundtrack

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

Extras

Menu

    A static menu with two options. One allows you to select individual stories and the other plays all the stories in random order. There is a 30 second intro with credits that plays before each episode if you select the stories individually. This only plays once for the random option.

R4 vs R1

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

     There does not appear to be a region 1 version of this disc.

Summary

    This kind of disc always leaves me in a quandary, with a transfer little better than a VHS tape (in spots worse) but with content that is absolutely fantastic. If you have children between 2 and 4 years of age, they will love these stories. At least on DVD, the image will not get worse with each viewing like a VHS tape, because this disc will be spinning in your DVD player many many times.

    The transfer is disappointing, largely due to the poor quality source material.

    The voiceover is the best part of the audio

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252Q CRT Projector, 254cm custom built 1.0 gain screen. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Gavin T

Comments (Add) NONE