Michael Jackson-Video Greatest Hits-HIStory (2001)

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Released 3-Dec-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Discography
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 89:13
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Various
Studio
Distributor

Sony Music
Starring Michael Jackson
Eddie Murphy
Wesley Snipes
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $29.95 Music Michael Jackson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Love him or hate him, there is one thing for certain, Michael Jackson is controversial and has been all his performing life. Certainly not for his music, which can be categorised as 'sanitised mainstream' for the most part, but for his antics and shenanigans in regards to his personal life. Amazingly enough, his career was one of non-ending success for many years until his music slowly fell out of favour at the end of the 80s. This DVD is a form of retrospective that presents his best and certainly most original songs in video format, cataloguing his career. Most of these music videos are the standard ones originally presented. A couple of them have extended beginnings/endings with, at times, controversial themes.

    For those of you who are fans of Jackson, you are in for a treat, not in regards to the visual presentation of most of the videos which are beginning to show their age and look very jaded, but aurally. Aurally, this is an exceptionally well-presented disc. The typical Jackson high-stepping, crotch-thrusting and moon-walking antics are on show and the complete mini-movies of Bad/Thriller and Black Or White are presented on DVD for the first time. Anyone that missed any of these videos when they were first released might wonder what all the fuss was about since none of them would rate as anything special compared to most of the music videos made nowadays, but for their day Jackson made a number of quintessential rock video clips.

    There is no doubt that any controversy associated with Jackson will one day fade away and leave only the music. For my own part, I can't resist watching videos like Thriller and marvelling at Vincent Price reciting that inexorable line "to terrorise ya'll's neighbourhood". There is also no doubt that this disc will appeal mostly to Jackson fans and those that want to relive those golden moments of video history. A fun disc with some great tracks and poor video at times.

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Track Listing

1. Billy Jean
2. The Way You Make Me Feel
3. Black Or White
4. Rock With You
5. Bad
6. Thriller
7. Beat It
8. Remember The Time
9. Don't Stop Till You Get Enough
10. Heal The World

Transfer Quality

Video

    To be brutally honest there isn't much quality on offer in regards to the video from most of these film clips. The later efforts, Remember the Time and Heal the World are the only ones worthy of mention that can be classified as better than video, but not by much. For the most part, these are low-grade and remarkably unappealing videos that show much of their age and the low-budget nature of music videos from the mid 70s to late 80s.

    All of the videos are presented at 1.33:1 Full Frame and are not 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness and detail on offer with these videos mostly range from poor to reasonable but not much better. Many of these music videos have noted directors such as John Landis and Martin Scorsese, but not even their illustrious abilities makes a difference to the quality. Grain is pretty endemic throughout all the videos with improvement as you get to the later efforts. Shadow detail is pretty poor for most of the clips with some low level noise seen but more commonly just blending into the background. For the most part, blacks were solid with little delineation noted.

    Colour for many of the clips was pretty decent, and probably the least objectionable part of the video transfer. Naturally there was a tendency to oversaturate and highlight various colours, but tracks like Remember the Time had a rich, natural colour hue to them and were actually good to look at. There may have been some bleeding but you'd be hard-pressed to tell with some of the clips.

    The normal film artefacts are omnipresent. Fortunately, they aren't the sort that distract too badly. For the most part, they take the form of minor flecks and dirt marks that are present for only a fraction of a second and gone. The normal film-to-video artefacts aren't an issue, nor is there any sign of any MPEG or compression problems.

    The lyrics of each song form the subtitles for the most part, although there were some speaking parts as well. The usual applies for the subtitles; nice font, located at the bottom of the screen and don't interfere with the flow of the pictures.

    This was a single layered disc with no layer change.

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

Audio

    There were two English soundtracks on this disc; a Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448 kilobits per second and an optional Linear PCM 2.0 track at 1536 kilobits per second for the purists. Personally, I couldn't discern much difference across the front soundstage between the PCM and Dolby Digital tracks on several of the songs. I therefore stuck with the Dolby Digital offering which offered a much more encompassing envelope with the surround speakers in evidence throughout all the songs. In addition, there was enough subwoofer activity to make the odd roof tile move at times which I also find more appealing than the flat sound of stereo. Although you couldn't call this the most overwhelming of discs in regards to the soundstage, considering the number of times I've heard songs like Beat It through the tinny speakers of a car radio, it was a definite bonus to hear it played with some vigour.

    The odd error in syncing was in evidence at times. For the most part, this was caused by Jackson trying to sing 3 part harmonies on his own, which will never look right on video. I ignored the most obvious (if you are interested, the dance routine with the zombies in Thriller is the easiest place to see what I mean. Turn on the subtitles, listen to the words and watch his lips - all three appear different at times), but one stand-out at 42:20 can't be ignored since it's a definite lip sync error. The dialogue was fine without exception.

    The surrounds were solidly in use on this disc with all tracks. The normal lack of separation did stand out on most tracks but the envelope you expect from the rears really made tracks like The Way You Make Me Feel and Remember the Time pay up big time on that investment in quality rear speakers.

    The subwoofer is nicely utilised by many of the tracks. The best efforts come from Thriller, Billy Jean and Don't Stop Till You Get Enough which really shook the house. For the most part, the .1 channel is solidly in evidence but doesn't really shine. Given the boppy nature of the music, that isn't surprising. Every now and again it does pop up to fill in that missing low end and work its magic.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    A couple of interesting animation sequences are thrown in to open the main menu and when moving to chapters or the discography selections. The music is a fairly uninspiring sound effect with vocal overlay. It isn't the best I've seen but decent.

Discography

    Stock standard with each released album cover shown over a still picture of Jackson

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 and Region 4 versions of this DVD would appear to be similarly featured.

Summary

    His music came and went in the 70s and 80s, although I see he tried a comeback last year that looked like it bombed badly. In his heyday, Jackson was the most electrifying performer of his time, even though his music was more sugar than substance. I doubt anybody can deny that he entertained a generation and then some. It's a pity that most of the focus is on his face and not his music.

    This is a poor video collection, but I doubt that you'll see better. I know my old VHS copy of Thriller hit the bin when I got this, although to be honest it was of about the same quality. The transfer can't be blamed for any problems though, it's strictly the source material.

    The audio is a lot more robust and very listenable, although since these are music videos with expanded intros and storylines, the disc doesn't lend itself to be a replacement CD. Still, most of the songs have never sounded better for all that.

    The extras are underwhelming.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Friday, December 28, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderRotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationRotel RB 985 MkII
SpeakersJBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer

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