|Category||Black Comedy||Disc 1:
Main Menu Audio & Intro Animation
Audio Commentary-Derek Smalls (Character), David St. Hubbins (Character) & Nigel Tufnel (Character)
(not 83 minutes as stated on the packaging)
|RSDL/Flipper||Disc 1: No/No
Disc 2: Dual Layered
Fox Home Entertainment
|Case||Transparent Amaray with insert|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Auto Pan & Scan||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, slightly|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, throughout|
This Is Spinal Tap has rapidly gained cult status among the rockumentary genre, and for good reason. Poignant, intimate, funny and ultimately uplifting, you are never likely to see a better or more detailed insight into all that is Spinal Tap.
HUGE PLOT SPOILER - ONLY HIGHLIGHT WITH MOUSE IF YOU HAVE ALREADY SEEN THIS ROCKUMENTARY: Yes, I know This Is Spinal Tap is satire and the band is not real as such, but half the fun in seeing this movie for the first time is finding this out for yourself. It is so well done that it takes a while for this to become apparent, and I have no intention of spoiling this for you. The DVD is presented in such a way as to perpetuate this illusion as far as possible, and so I will respect this perspective in the remainder of the review.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.
On my reference DVD player, there was a consistent pause and slight skip in the image at 46:50 - this was not apparent on another DVD player that I tried this DVD in.
The transfer is not overly sharp, but is certainly sharp enough to reveal far more detail in the image than I have ever seen before in VHS viewings of this movie. Grain is a significant problem for this transfer. Some grain is deliberate special effect, such as the numerous TV flashbacks, but other grain appears to be inherent in the print, and certainly well-and-truly shows up the 17 years of age that this movie is. Motion is problematic for this transfer, with any rapid camera motion leading to quite dramatic loss in image detail.
Shadow detail is generally quite limited, with blacks being indistinct and detail-less. Low level noise is not an issue.
Colours in this transfer were relatively vibrant and strongly saturated, without ever being oversaturated or bleeding.
Whilst I did not notice any MPEG artefacts whilst watching this transfer in real time, they never appeared to be too far away from breaking out, mainly due to the copious amounts of grain in the transfer that the compression has to cope with. Pausing the image could easily demonstrate subtle background macro-blocking. This movie has been compressed onto a single layer DVD, and would perhaps have looked better if it were allowed the luxury of being compressed onto a dual layered DVD.
Aliasing was never an issue with this DVD, and neither were film artefacts, which were remarkably absent from this transfer, having clearly been carefully removed. Occasional subtle bursts of film artefacts were seen, but these were totally non-distracting, and would have been totally missed had I not been looking out for them. There was a vertical scratch in the image between 69:41 - 69:44 and some image wobble during the end credits was slightly distracting (such as at 75:07).
The first frame in many scenes exhibited a slight
vertical jump as a result of the film editing process, but I did not find
this overly distracting.
The dialogue was always easy to hear and understand, although it did have a somewhat dated, monophonic sound about it. Audio sync was never a problem.
A loud pop was heard at 37:17.
The music (by Spinal Tap) has been aggressively rendered in stereo with some surround ambient spill. Indeed, sometimes I felt that the difference in fidelity between the dialogue and the music was too dramatic, as was the aggressively wide front soundstage created by the musical mix. Some of the music was a little light on in the center channel, making the vocals a tad difficult to make out at times.
Other than the aforementioned spill from the music, the surround channels had very little action indeed. I was a little disappointed in this aspect of the transfer, as I felt that the surrounds could have been used at times to create additional ambience.
The subwoofer was highly active during the musical
sequences, as is to be expected, but silent at other times.
|Surround Channel Use|
By the nature of this commentary, there is little in the way of technical information presented. However, if you approach it more in the vein of a second soundtrack to the movie, you will be well-pleased with the results.
The Criterion Collection out-of-print version has a number of unique extras, the two key ones being two audio commentaries from;
When comparing versions of this movie, it is reasonable to state that the MGM versions are equivalent, but any true die-hard Spinal Tap fan should have both the MGM version and the Criterion Collection version (and no, my one is NOT for sale).
© Michael Demtschyna
(read my bio)
30th October 2000
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5006DD/Lenoxx DVD-9000, using RGB/S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the RGB/S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Denon AVD-1000 DTS AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer|
|Speakers||Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer|