Alanis Morissette-Live in the Navajo Nation (Music in High Places) (2002)

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Released 24-Sep-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Getting There
Music Video-Just The Music
Biographies-Cast
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 52:52
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Alan Carter
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Alanis Morissette
Nick Lashley
Gary Novak
Joel Shearer
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Alanis Morissette


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles French
German
Spanish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Music in High Places
Action In or After Credits Yes, end credits alternating with drum circle footage

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

Plot Synopsis

    The idea behind Music In High Places (a travel adventure cable TV series not yet shown in Australia to my knowledge) sounds interesting - take a musician/recording artist to an exotic/remote location, get them to talk to the locals and visit famous landmarks a la Michael Palin's travel adventures and get them to perform some of their best known songs "on location." Package it all up as a travelogue or travel documentary cum music videos/live performances. Microsoft has also got into the act by making certain segments from the series available as streaming Windows Media files on MSN (http://www.musicinhighplaces.msn.com - although when I recently tried to access this site it seems to have disappeared and MSN doesn't seem to mention it anymore).

    This "instalment" or "episode" features singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette in various places in the Navajo Nation in Arizona USA, including the White House ruins, Painted Cave, Mystery Valley, Monument Valley, and Slot Canyon. The scenery at these places is, of course, breathtakingly awesome.

    Alanis Nadine Morissette was born in 1974 and raised in Ottawa, Canada by parents of French-Canadian and Hungarian descent. She recorded her first album, entitled Alanis, when she was 14 and developed a darker, more introspective style with Jagged Little Pill in 1995. She has also acted (playing none other than God) in Dogma.

    Alanis mainly acts as a tourist, visiting the sights and talking to the native inhabitants, but there are excerpts from performances of her songs captured on location with a small group of musicians:

    Alanis mainly sings in her performances, but occasionally plays the flute (That I Would Be Good) and harmonica (U R). The "unplugged" performances sound more mellow and laid back than the Alanis songs that I have heard on the radio; somewhat reminiscent of her MTV Unplugged album. We also get a musical performance or two from the Navajos (chanting, drums, a capella singing etc.).

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Track Listing

1. Baba
2. That I Would Be Good
3. No Pressure Over Cappuccino
4. U R
5. Heart Of The House
6. Your House
7. I Was Hoping
8. Uninvited
9. Ironic

Transfer Quality

Video

    Apart from the opening title sequence, which is presented in full frame, the feature is presented in roughly 1.85:1 but with no 16x9 enhancement.

    The transfer is probably based on an interlaced video source, but looks quite film-like, with saturated highlights kept to a minimum (apart from the footage of Alanis singing inside the Slot Canyon where it can't be avoided).

    Detail levels are quite high, and I did not notice any of the usual interlaced video artefacts such as shimmering or aliasing. Compared to reference quality, this transfer is probably just a touch on the soft side and the colours very slightly on the yellowish or bluish side depending on the scene.

    The scene around 25:11-25:33 and 26:47-26:55 is rendered in black and white with lots of low level video noise due to the low level lighting conditions.

    I also noticed very slight edge enhancement and Gibb's effect ringing, but never at annoying levels. There is also very slight pixelization around 46:21. Overall I would rate the transfer quite highly.

    There are four subtitle tracks on the disc, but one of them is a silent one. The remaining three are French, German, and Spanish. I turned them on briefly just to check that they do exist.

    This is a single sided single layered disc.

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

Audio

    There are two audio tracks present: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kb/s) and English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kb/s) . I listened to mainly the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is mediocre and unremarkable, apart from being mixed at a rather low level (about 4dB below normal). The centre and rear channels are used to convey subtle ambience. The LFE track is mainly used to reinforce the low frequencies in the track.

    The songs embedded in the feature sound somewhat flat and muffled and lacking in dynamics.

    Curiously, the Dolby Digital 2.0 track sounds slightly louder and also clearer, with improved high frequency reproduction and presence. I definitely prefer the 2.0 track to the 5.1 track, as it reproduces low level information and micro-dynamics better.

    My guess would be that the original sound track is probably in stereo and the 5.1 track has been artificially generated through a surround processor.

    I did not notice any issues with understanding the dialogue or audio synchronization.

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

Extras

    Is it just me, or does this DVD not contain as many extras as the other titles in the Music In High Places series? The use of a single sided single layered disc is telling. It is missing the extended interview, TV spots and location footage found on the other DVDs.

    Most of the video extras appear to be presented in 1.75:1 (letterboxed) with a Dolby Digital mono audio track.

Menu

    The menus are full frame and static.

Featurette - Behind The Scenes (5:58)

    This is a short "making of" featurette with mini-interviews of Alanis Morissette and her crew talking about aspects of getting to the location and making the documentary/music video.

Featurette - Getting There (6:45)

    This seems to me like a "mini" version of the main feature, containing a mixture of interview snippets with Alanis Morissette, scenery, and excerpts from her performances.

Music Videos - Just The Music

    At first I thought this was a scene selection menu that takes you to the chapters containing the music performances, but it appears that these are separate music videos of the following songs:

    The reason why I think these are separate music videos instead of excerpts from the main feature is that:

  1. The video footage are actually different, which you can verify by comparing the music video with the corresponding chapter on the main feature. In general, the music video focuses more on the musicians playing the music rather than splicing in on location footage.
  2. There is only one audio track for these music videos, Dolby Digital 5.1, as opposed to both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 on the main feature.

    The music videos are in 1.85:1 letterboxed (no 16x9 enhancement).

Biographies-Cast

    This is a set of 5 stills providing a short (textual) biography and career highlights for Alanis Morissette.

R4 vs R1

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

    The disc appears to be identical across Region 1 and 4, with the possible exception of subtitle tracks.

Summary

    Alanis Morissette - Live In The Navajo Nation is part of the Music in High Places travel/music series.

    The video quality is good.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is mediocre and slightly disappointing, the Dolby Digital 2.0 track is okay.

    Extras are not as extensive as other titles in this series.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Tuesday, November 19, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)

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