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Great film, but another mediocre Arrow Blu-Ray bodge-job!
on 12 June 2012
Why does this keep happening? You take a great film, you promise a great release, and what happens? You botch it up... Again!
Firstly, some copies may have the wrong second disc in them. If you have a DVD labelled Disc 1 (or it has the movie on it in Standard Definition), you'll need to get it returned or replaced. Whilst Arrow did discuss this on their website, and Arrow blame the disc manufacturers for the problem, some of these faulty sets are still being sent out to customers. Either Arrow needs to stop using this manufacturer, or else invest in some major Quality Control checks. Which leads me onto this...
Arrow has ballsed-up the subtitling. The Opening Credits are all in Italian, and there's no English subtitle translation. Fair-enough, I can live with that minor issue. However, the ending of the film has a prophetic quote from Henry James, in Italian. All fine-and-dandy, but there's no English translation for it... unless you leave the English subtitling on all the way through the entire film! Well done, Arrow! Yet another bad mark, and yet another reason why your releases smack of absolutely NO Quality Control whatsoever! Does nobody at Arrow check the discs before replication? Did no one actually think to themselves "Uh, guys? We're using an Italian-produced HD master, and the film has Opening and Closing Credits all in Italian. Maybe we should, perhaps subtitle the ending of the film, so that our English-language audience can understand it"?! Clearly, not!
There is artifacting, digital noise, and some bad compression artifacts in scenes involving pure black. Even on my 37-inch Panasonic TV, I could see the problems! So god-knows what it's going to look like on a 50" TV or a Projection Screen! It's not horrific, by any means, but it is there, and it is noticeable. For that reason, again, Arrow needs to either start using a different authoring team, who know what the difference is between film grain, digital noise, and digital artifacting!
The second disc, the DVD containing some of the Special Features, has 20 Italian film trailers on it. Unfortunately, bar about two of these, many are even worse than some of the low-res trailers on YouTube. It's as if Arrow just cobbled together 20 trailers, stuck them on a disc, and said "That'll do"! What should have been a very good hours-worth of trailer-watching, is a frankly embarrassing mess of hideous proportions. I know some of the trailer are old and rare. They're not the ones I'm blaming. I'm talking about the trailers which have been released on other discs, or by other companies, and which we know and have seen in far better quality editions, than the ones showcased here.
Arrow need to get their head out of their backsides, and start doing some serious Quality Control, as I'm sick of so many of their films having problems, errors or other QC issues! Just how many "botched" releases do Arrow need to do, before someone at Arrow Headquarters decides that Quality Control is important?! One? Two? Five? Ten?!
Initially, I was forgiving of Arrow. I ignored people who said that Arrow weren't good, and didn't produce good releases. I thought that people were being overly-sensitive ove minor issues in Arrow's films. But the more I spend my money on their releases, and the more problems I keep finding, AND the more I keep hearing from them that they DO care about making great UK Blu-Ray and DVD releases, the more I feel like they just don't give a damn! It appears to be purely about making money. Nothing more, nothing less. If you praise them, they are happy. Make a single negative comment, and they lambast you, ban you from their hideously-patrolled-by-jackbooted-morons forum, or try and placate you with cries of "your comments are unfair criticism", because "we're a small label, with little money"!
Well, look, enough's enough! Start checking things out, before you manufacture them. Start making sure that when you produce an HD-master, that the print doesn't contain lots of scenes of digital noise or artifcating in scenes feturing large amounts of pure blackness; double and triple-check your prints, so that English subtitles are available for the pertinent parts of your Italian-language films; stop allowing your manufacturer to bodge your releases, resulting in recalls, delays, and problems for your customers. And stop, whinging that customers are ungrateful when we're the ones keeping you in business in the first place!
No customers buying your products, means no sales. No sales, means goodbye Arrow, and hello unemployment line at the Jobcentre!
I'm sure I'll receive numerous comments from other people, saying I'm being overly picky; overly sensitive, or even comments telling me to stop whining or to grow-up. Well, to those of you who are happy spending £10-£15 on each Arrow release, and finding problems and errors, go ahead and waste your money and time. However, for the rest of us in the real-world, we deserve better!