Romeo & Juliet (Ballet de L'Opera de Paris) (1995)

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Released 22-May-2000

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Ballet Listing-Cast & Crew
Booklet
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 148:29 (Case: 150)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (82:05) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Alexandre Tarta
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Monique Loudieres
Manuel Legris
Charles Jude
Lionel Delanoe
Case Super Jewel
RPI $39.95 Music Sergei Prokofiev


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, some music in credits

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Plot Synopsis

    When Ballet de L'Opera de Paris: Romeo & Juliet arrived in my mailbox, I remember thinking something along the lines of not remembering that I'd put my hand up for this title. Still, be that as it may, I wasted no time in sitting down to view this title, if only to get it out of the way as quickly as I possibly could. Those who are familiar with my literary explorations could tell you that I have no love of William Shakespeare or any of his work, and as a further matter of fact, I consider the man to have been a hack. People in the Western World simply never have, and never will speak in any manner that even remotely resembles his conception, as anyone who has a proper understanding of human communication will gladly tell you. Thankfully, the horrendous dialogue of the Shakespeare play is omitted from this interpretation, which instead relies on the dancing to tell the story.

    When I was finished watching this disc, I was still trying to recall volunteering for it. Obviously, I am not a big fan of ballet in any form, and this disc did little to change that. However, if you are a fan of ballet, or a very big fan of the play on which this one is based, then you could do far worse than checking out this DVD.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.

    Generally speaking, this transfer is passable, but it is plagued by a number of artefacts which are hard to put up with at the best of times. The transfer is reasonably sharp, but there seems to be an inherent softness in the picture, as if the presentation in question was shot using a camcorder. The shadow detail is lacking, with any part of the stage that wasn't thoroughly lit being little more than a section of darkness. Low-level noise appeared to be a minor problem in this transfer, with many of the darker areas in the transfer showing moderate traces of noise that have to be zoomed in on to really be noticed.

    MPEG artefacts were not noticed for the most part, which is a surprise considering that the compression appears to have been set much lower than it actually needs to be, with the two hours of programme generally hovering around seven megabits per second. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of plentiful aliasing, especially in any shots involving musical instruments, or in the case of Chapter 8, swordplay. At 4:51, a shot of sheet music shimmers dreadfully. Film artefacts were rare, and not especially noticeable for the most part.

    This disc is presented in the RSDL format, with the layer change taking place at the beginning of Chapter 30, at 82:05. This is during a zoom-in on a human skull, which I'm sure will be perfectly understood by those who are familiar with the story. Although the layer change is noticeable, its placement is excellent as it does not disrupt the action in any manner.

Audio

    The audio transfer perfectly captures the essence of the orchestra's performance, and thus is of much better quality than the video transfer. The audio transfer is presented in a choice of two soundtracks that are flagged to the player as English, in spite of the fact that no speaking can be heard in either soundtrack. Both of the soundtracks are in Dolby Digital, with the default being Dolby Digital 2.0, and the second soundtrack being Dolby Digital 5.1, which generally provided a much more satisfying listening experience. Being that the orchestra was almost the only sound involved in the soundtrack, it was clear and easy to make out at all times. Occasionally, the sound of feet hitting the floor could be heard, but this was not particularly intrusive upon the soundtrack. There is no dialogue to speak of on this DVD, and so there are no problems with audio sync.

    The music by Vello Pähn seemed to correspond well with the ballet dancing, but that's hardly a surprise. However, the manner in which it was meant to tell the story is somewhat lacking, as it is quite common to sit and watch the onscreen action without having any real idea of exactly what is going on, story-wise. Those who haven't read the play or seen a more faithful reproduction in film will be hard-pressed to understand exactly what is going on here.

    The surround presence of the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is quite dramatic, with the orchestra being audible from all of the surround channels at almost every moment. Since the only other sound on this disc with any significant presence is that of the audience clapping, the surround channel usage is quite good. The subwoofer was used in a subtle manner to support the lower registers of the music, and did so without calling any attention to itself. As a matter of fact, I had to place my hand against the front of the subwoofer to make sure that it was actually doing something.

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static, with no enhancements of any kind. It is plagued by a moderate degree of shimmering.

Cast & Crew Listing

    One of the most annoying things about this extra is that it automatically goes to the next page after a certain time, regardless of whether you actually want to or not. This forceful approach to DVD authoring must not be allowed to continue.

Booklet

    The booklet is in four languages, and describes the story of Romeo & Juliet, as well as a historical perspective on the common myth which the story was based upon. It is the only place in which a listing of chapter stops can be found.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title does not appear to be available in Region 1.

Summary

    Ballet de L'Opera de Paris: Romeo & Juliet did very little for me artistically, but it is presented on a very good DVD.

    The video quality is average overall, although the credits state that this title was produced for HDTV, which is a dubious claim given the amount of aliasing I found and considering the lack of 16x9 enhancement of this title.

    The audio quality is excellent, although it would be pretty hard to screw up a soundtrack that only consists of an orchestra, some applause, and the occasional sound of feet hitting the ground.

    The extras are very ordinary.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Friday, July 28, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySamsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DE-835
SpeakersPanasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer

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