The Simpsons-Backstage Pass

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Released 23-Jul-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-Otto's Finest Moments
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production ?
Running Time 78:10 (Case: 88)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Shaun Cashman
Mark Kirkland
Wesley Archer
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Dan Castellaneta
Julie Kavner
Nancy Cartwright
Yeardley Smith
Hank Azaria
Harry Shearer
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Alf Clausen


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Danish
Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
Finnish
French
German
Hungarian
Norwegian
Swedish
French Titling
German Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Simpsons Backstage Pass is a collection of four music-related episodes from the classic animated television series The Simpsons. The following four episodes are included on this disc:

A Tale Of Two Springfields (BABF20) S12 - 2000
    The phone company decides to divide the city of Springfield into two separate area codes and Homer voices his disgust at a town meeting. The citizens decide to divide the city in two and Homer is elected Mayor of New Springfield. Rivalries between the new cities escalate and a wall is built between them. Unfortunately, most of the public amenities are located in Olde Springfield and the residents of New Springfield soon defect leaving only the Simpsons behind. When The Who come to Olde Springfield, Homer decides to bring them to his town to lure the citizens back.

Homerpalooza (3F21) S7 - 1996
    Homer is trying to convince his children that his choice in music is still cool but he eventually realizes his tastes have not moved on from the 1970s. In an effort to gain the respect of Bart and Lisa, Homer takes them to the Hullabalooza festival. While at the festival, Homer is offered a job in the freak show after he is hit in the stomach by a cannon. He takes the job and heads off on the tour but the act takes a physical toll upon him.

Homer's Barbershop Quartet (9F21) S5 - 1993
    When shopping at the Springfield swap meet, Bart and Lisa find an old record featuring Homer. When asked about this, Homer recounts how he was a member of a popular but short-lived barbershop quartet that was awarded a Grammy.

The Otto Show (8F21) S3 - 1992
    After attending a Spinal Tap show, Bart is convinced that he wants to become a rock musician. Homer and Marge buy him a guitar but he quickly gives up, as he is not able to play it instantly. Otto tries out the guitar causing the bus to run late and he has an accident. Otto is fired from his job and he moves in with the Simpsons while he tries to gain a driver's license.

    As seen on the other Simpsons releases, this disc feature extensive copyright messages that are displayed after every single episode. Luckily, these may be skipped by returning to the menu.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    These episodes come from different series and the video quality displayed may be directly linked to the age of the episode.

    The transfer is presented at its original full frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is, of course, not 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness level presented during the transfer varies between episodes. The two older episodes are clearly softer but this is never a problem. There are very few dark scenes during the episodes and shadow detail is never a problem. No low-level noise was detected at any time during the transfer.

    The colours displayed during the transfer vary between episodes. During the first two episodes, the colour palette displayed is highly saturated and vibrant. During the last two episodes, the colour palette is slightly muted but this is not distracting to the viewer.

    A couple of minor MPEG artefacts may be seen during the opening sequence for A Tale Of Two Springfields at 0:40 and 0:49. Both these artefacts are very small and are not distracting.

    A small number of aliasing artefacts may be seen during the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 4:52 and 5:57 during A Tale Of Two Springfields and at 6:39 and 11:23 during Homerpalooza. Each of these artefacts are quite minor and are only minimally distracting.

    A number of film artefacts may be seen during the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 0:39, 3:16 and 3:24 during A Tale Of Two Springfields, at 4:15 and 5:10 during Homerpalooza and at 4:31, 4:59 and 11:45 during Homer's Barbershop Quartet. All of these artefacts are quite minor and are only slightly distracting.

    A number of NTSC to PAL conversion artefacts may be seen during the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 1:14 during A Tale Of Two Springfields, at 2:48, 3:03, 6:18, 9:52 and 13:39 during Homerpalooza and at 4:29 during Homer's Barbershop Quartet. These artefacts are generally not distracting to the viewer but due to their increased occurrence during Homerpalooza they become slightly distracting.

    A small number of cel flares may be seen during the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 1:53 and 11:24 during A Tale Of Two Springfields and at 6:51 during Homerpalooza. These artefacts are not distracting.

    Eleven sets of white subtitles are provided on the disc. I extensively sampled the English stream and found it to be consistently accurate.

    The episodes are divided between the two layers of this DVD and consequently there is no layer change as such.

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

Audio

    Three Dolby Digital 192 kbps 2.0 surround tracks are provided on this disc. I listened to the English track and briefly sampled each of the other mixes.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times.

    As this is an animated feature, there are the expected obvious problems with audio sync for each soundtrack. At no stage during the transfer were any audio dropouts detected.

    The musical score by Alf Clausen is used throughout these episodes and may be found in the majority of scenes. This music always works well with the action on-screen and helps to set the mood for the episodes.

    The surround channel is used minimally during these episodes to provide support for the score and occasional effects.

    The subwoofer channel is not utilized.

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

Extras

Menu

    The non-animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Featurette: Otto's Finest Moments (2:22)

    This is simply a collection of unrelated clips from various episodes featuring Otto. This is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc does not appear to be currently available in Region 1.

Summary

    The Simpsons Backstage Pass is an entertaining collection and will appeal to the show's fans, but many people may wish to wait and purchase the boxed sets instead of having a range of separate episodes.

    The video displayed during the transfer is acceptable and displays no significant artefacts at any time.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 surround soundtracks adequately reproduce the original source material.

    The single extra included on this disc is very disappointing and is of no real value to viewers.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Sunday, July 14, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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