Strictly Supernatural-Astrology & Tarot (1996) (NTSC)

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Released 1-May-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category New Age Notes-Production Credits
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 100:22 (Case: 102)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Ludo Graham
Justin Hardy
Studio
Distributor
Winstar
Wild Releasing
Starring Christopher Lee
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $39.95 Music Xian Vaosie


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
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

     "The most profound intellectual exercise of human history .." - No, we're not talking about Warner's R4 release of Harry Potter but the art and science of astrology (lit. knowledge of the stars). Tarot and Astrology, part of the Strictly Supernatural series is a well presented and researched documentary on these two occult arts. Narrated by Christopher Lee, the presentation features a clear explanation of the basics of compiling a natal chart. It illustrates, using real-life examples and inset newsreel footage, how astrological patterns foreshadowed events in the lives of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy. Examples are also given of how astrology influenced world history and events. Ronald Reagan's second term of office was frequently influenced by advice received from his closet astrologer, Joan Quigley, who was consulted for such details as the most auspicious timing of take-off for Air Force One or his second inauguration speech and she was also credited for the turnaround in Soviet-American relations by studying Gorbachev's natal chart and declaring "This is a man who we can do business with ...".

    The second part of the documentary studies the appearance and evolution of the Tarot deck in its many different guises. The features of the twenty two cards of the Major Arcana are well illustrated by short acting cameos and pictures taken from the classic Rider-Waite deck and more obscure packs, no doubt illustrated from Stuart Caplan's vast collection. Minimal mention is made of the Minor Arcana (that's the Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles) or their relationship to playing cards. Mention is also made of the marriage of Astrology, Tarot and Kabbalah in the ceremonial magic of the Golden Dawn, the most notorious member of which, Aleister Crowley, is featured in some archival stills. Aleister was also responsible for the Thoth Tarot deck.

    The documentary is well balanced and interesting. Practitioners of Astrology and Tarot recount their experiences and commentary and critique is provided by a practicing parapsychologist, astronomer and professors of logic and philosophy. The scope is broad enough to cover the basics for those with a passing interest and also provides some fresh insights and entertainment for more serious students of these mysterious occult sciences.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The overall quality of the video is good and easily sufficient for the intended TV audience although it suffers a little when enlarged in the homes of those of us with cinema pretensions. Note that the feature is a direct port from the US and as such is presented in NTSC necessitating a compliant TV or a DVD player capable of outputting a PAL signal.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is clear although a little soft, probably from it being shot originally in NTSC video. Blacks are deep with minimal low level noise and there is good shadow detail although most of the feature is well-illuminated.

    Colours are rich with minimal chroma noise and no discernible bleed.

    Macro-blocking is seen in some of the colour backgrounds eg 100:22. Aliasing is infrequent due to a general lack of straight diagonals but when it does appear in some of the engravings it is quite severe eg 14:46. There are no film artefacts in the main video feature but unsurprisingly some of the inset archival film footage has a sprinkling of black flecks and scratches.

    There are no subtitles.

    The disc is single layered and hence there is no layer transition point.

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

Audio

     There is just the one audio track on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo.

    The dialogue, from the authoritative narration of Christopher Lee to the interviewees, is all very clear. Audio sync in the interviews is satisfactory.

    Incidental music is credited to Xian Vaosie and although not a major feature is appropriate and supportive of the feature.

    There was no use of either surrounds or subwoofer and this would seem appropriate for a feature of this nature

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

Extras

    This is a bare-bones presentation and all we get is a menu and production credits. Some stills of Stuart Caplan's extensive Tarot collection would have been nice or maybe some trailers for other presentations in the Strictly Supernatural series.

Menu

    The menu provides play, chapter pointers and production credits in 1.33:1.

R4 vs R1

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

    The R1 and R4 releases appear to be identical.

Summary

     Strictly Supernatural-Astrology & Tarot is a nicely presented popular documentary for those who are interested in this subject matter.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is satisfactory.

    There are no significant extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Lancaster (read my bio)
Thursday, June 13, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-900E, using RGB output
DisplayPioneer SD-T50W1 (127cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderDenon ACV-A1SE. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTheta Digital Intrepid
SpeakersML Aeon front. B&W LRC6 Centre. ML Script rear. REL Strata III SW.

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