John and Yoko's Year of Peace (2000)

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Released 22-Oct-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 51:32
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Paul McGrath
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring John Lennon
Yoko Ono
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Paul Whitelaw


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English 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 French
German
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    1969. Seems like a whole lot of stuff got crammed into that year. Apart from a couple of rare humanity-unifying events such as man walking on the moon, the world seemed to be gripped in all manner of violence, with several nasty wars raging, including the highly emotive Vietnam conflict in full swing and the cold war really beginning to crank up. Everybody was at each other's throats with protests and rallies against the violence being the order of the day. Beatle John Lennon had just married Yoko Ono and they decided to use their current high profile exposure and fame to do something about promoting a message of peace in this time of war.

    Staging an impromptu 'bed-in' during their honeymoon at the Amsterdam Hilton, the couple wanted to take their message to the United States which would mean maximum publicity for the stunt. But John had a conviction for marijuana possession and was not permitted in the country. Canada was a bit more liberal-minded and allowed the couple entry. Setting up base in Toronto, John and Yoko quickly gained the publicity they were after, though many in the media deemed it a bit of a circus and promoted it as such. Moving on to Montreal, the 'bed-in' gained momentum and notoriety and pretty soon the hotel room was full of newspeople all eager to get a slice of the story.

    This documentary was made by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 2000 and contains much of their original news footage mixed in with some other footage that I'm sure we have all seen over the years of the couple in bed. It is interesting to hear some of the people involved at the time share their thoughts in recent interviews (Yoko Ono included). This is the sort of story where I knew only a few of the details and this documentary has effectively filled in the blanks.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Pretty much anything goes with this video transfer. With much of the material originating from 1969, and quality really not being the highest priority for the makers, we get the full spectrum of problems. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, it is obviously not 16x9 enhanced.

    The varied quality extends to the level of sharpness throughout. Some is truly awful and completely out-of-focus, whereas the newer interview footage is quite sharp and pristine. None of the problems can be attributed to anything other than the source materials. Thankfully there are no problems with shadow detail and much of the grain is simply lost in amongst the other video problems. Much of the older material contains significant low level noise, but this is a fairly minor artefact compared to some of the bigger ones.

    With much of the footage in black and white, there are few issues with colours. The recent interview footage is excellent, and the only other colour footage is from around the time of Lennon's murder in 1980. All of it is TV news quality and looks 22 years old.

    There are no MPEG artefacts. There are all manner of other artefacts though, attributed to the poor condition of the source material or the quality of the equipment that was used to capture the images on the day. Ranging from the usual blobs and scratches, we also see some hideous tape tracking lines throughout.

    There are subtitles available, but only in French, German, and Spanish.

    This is a single layered disc, so there is no layer change to navigate.

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

Audio

    The audio is also a mixed bag. The newer narration and interviews are well recorded and free of distortion or tape hiss. The older archival material suffers from all manner of problems, including hiss, dropouts, distortion, and a general low fidelity muffled sound. Not the greatest quality on offer, but the nature of the material means it is about as good as can be expected.

    There is only one audio soundtrack on this disc. It is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at a bitrate of 192Kb/s.

    Dialogue suffers at times from being very muffled and difficult to fully comprehend. There are some obvious audio sync problems at times, although I do not believe this is a fault of the transfer process, but rather the source material.

    Surprisingly, there is little music. We hear Give Peace A Chance a couple of times, though not in its entirety. Unfortunately, one of Lennon's most inspiring songs - Happy Christmas (War Is Over) - does not get played at all.

    There is no surround or subwoofer use.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    The only 'extra' if you want to call it that is the playing of Give Peace A Chance in a loop.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 disc is identical to the Region 4.

Summary

    There's a somewhat ironic moment in this documentary when Lennon is asked whether world peace will occur during his lifetime. "Of course it will" he replies without a trace of doubt that he may just be asking the impossible. It seems that some twenty-two years after his own violent death, with the current war-against-terror and the questions about Iraq still to be resolved that we are really no closer to achieving that dream than we were when John and Yoko started their 'bed-in'. This documentary contains some fascinating footage that I certainly had never seen before and some quite personal and unique experiences with people that were touched by the couple in Canada during their year-of-peace.

    The video quality is highly variable in this interesting though somewhat brief documentary. Ranging from the awful to the above average, all the problems can be attributed to the source material. The audio, likewise suffers from this vast range of quality.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, November 12, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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