Joshua Tree

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Details At A Glance

Category Music Theatrical Trailer(s) No
Rating Other Trailer(s) No
Year Released 1999 Commentary Tracks No
Running Time 59:25 minutes Other Extras Discography
Other Titles
RSDL/Flipper None
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director Philip King
Nuala O'Connor

Warner Vision
Starring Bono
The Edge
Adam Clayton
Larry Mullen
Brian Eno
RRP $34.95 Music U2

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Dolby Digital 2.0
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 384 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

   I seem always to review music titles by bands I otherwise only have a moderate interest in for some strange reason (namely that Michael gets what I would consider the good stuff before I have even raised my hand), and U2 is in keeping with this. But, I would have to agree that Joshua Tree was a landmark album for the band, catapulting them into so called "super-band" status back in 1987. The songs, which were quite different for their time, still hold up (most do, anyway), and this Classic Album documentary gives us some insight into the processes used to produce that album.

    It is a fairly standard documentary, and as usual we have the original band members talking about their part in the process. Interestingly, NONE of the band members are together at any given time - they have all had their segments recorded separately, and then pasted together. I wonder why? Are people that busy that they can't come together for a day to record a doco on themselves? Well, at least they all must be rock legends because they all wear the good old sunglasses during their interviews, especially Bono, who appears to prefer to see the world through rose coloured glasses. With the amount of money he has, I am sure he could afford to not wear them and still get the same effect.

    We also get a run of the original master tapes, and it is an eye-opener to see Bono visibly embarrassed having his vocals soloed on the mixing desk - oooh, he sounds much better with a full band behind him and he knows it! Funny stuff. We also get to meet Brian Eno, an absolute legend, and hear some amusing anecdotes from him.

    If you are a fan of the album, then this will be a good watch for you, though I didn't find it as compelling as I thought I might. Still, it was not too bad. I must say that the inclusion of  the music clip for "Sweetest Thing", which was originally recorded for Joshua Tree, is most welcome and a nice touch to finish off the disc.

Transfer Quality


    This is a fairly below-par video presentation, although given the content it is not too surprising or bothersome.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Far and away, this is the poorest looking of the "Classic Albums" series, being acceptable but below their usually high standard. Recent interview footage was reasonably sharp, though the extreme use of edge-enhancement pretty much buggered up any detail which may have been present (but probably wasn't). None of the other discs in this series which I have reviewed have exhibited anything near this amount of edge-enhancement, and it just drops the visual quality down by several notches. Low-level noise was absent during the recent interview clips, but prevalent during the stock footage, almost to the point of distraction. Shadow detail was always excellent, though that is little consolation! The tacked-on clip of "Sweetest Thing" is, however, utterly perfect in all aspects, and reminds us how much better a contemporary music video can look.

    I didn't notice anything really wrong with the colours. The recent clips were fine, though some of the old footage had some problems, especially with chroma noise.

    There were no MPEG compression artefacts, the transfer being very solid in that department. There were no artefacts of any kind during the recent interviews, however the stock footage exhibited every artefact known to man (or woman) kind, but you have just got to swallow that. I am not going to complain about old footage, because it is just that - old.


    The one Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track is fairly rough, apart from "Sweetest Thing" which is very good indeed.

    Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand.

    Lip-sync had a habit of wandering in and out, and sometimes became almost a problem, but was for the most part good enough.

    The audio quality was, like the video, a bit sub-par. For instance, during most of the interviews, there were various background hums and hisses, which meant I had to drop the volume down, and then raise it again to enjoy the music - it sounded much like a mains hum and was quite distracting. The actual live clips sounded variable in quality, some being good, others being poor. However, given the nature of this documentary, it is pointless picking it to bits - these clips are old and probably haven't received the highest priority in terms of archival care (of course, apart from the recent footage). "Sweetest Thing" sounded brilliant, and certainly showed up the rest of the disc!

    The subwoofer had a small look in now and then, but really joined in during "Sweetest Thing" at the end.



    The menu is decent, and thankfully there are scene selections which are very welcome. Having some music behind the initial warning text is also a nice touch.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:     I can't really see LPCM helping the audio on this title, so I would say stick with R4 for the better video.


    A fairly interesting look at what is certainly a classic album. Needless to say, U2 devotees will love this disc.

    The video is fairly ordinary, with too much edge-enhancement ruining what would have been an otherwise good transfer.

    The audio is functional.

    The whole disc is a big extra really so I will refrain from rating it, but the inclusion of scene selections is a nice bonus.

Ratings (out of 5)

© Paul Cordingley (my bio)
22th March, 2000. 
Review Equipment
DVD Panasonic A350A (S-Video output)
Display Pioneer Rear - Projection SD-T43W1 125cm Widescreen 16x9
Audio Decoder Internal Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD Player)
Amplification Sony STRDE-525 5x100 watts Dolby Pro-Logic / 5.1 Ready Receiver; 4 x Optimus 10-band Graphic EQ
Speakers Centre: Sony SS-CN35 100 watt; Main & Surrounds: Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders; Subwoofer: Optimus 100-watt passive