Top positive review
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A mixed bag
on 16 October 2002
I so much wanted to love this DVD. I've been a huge Queen fan since the early 80's, in fact, ever since I was given a copy of 'Queen Greatest Hits', from which this DVD is based. Sadly, it is not without its problems, and most of them appear to be self-inflicted from Queen's point of view. First the good:
The sound quality is magnificent. Really, you will not find better versions of these tracks anywhere. All the tracks have been remixed with Brian and Roger's close supervision in DTS 5.1, and tracks which sounded pretty good to begin with are given a whole new lease of life. There are excellent use of surround channels, which embellish the music rather than just create an ambience. Queen recognise that each channel is seperate and discrete, and the result is very very impressive indeed.
Aside from this, why else should a Queen fan buy this DVD? Well, there is a 30 minute 'documentary' with Brian at the mixing desk, armed with none other than the original 2" tape of 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. From here he proceeds to show in detail the construction of the track, from how the operatic sections were built up, to the layered guitars, as well as littering his speech with little-known facts about how Queen actually went about writing music at that time. It's fascinating, and for any musician, its a goldmine of information.
So much for the good. Now the bad.
The videos are presented in 16:9 widescreen. Which is curious, since none of the videos were shot using this aspect ratio. They achieved this by cutting the top and bottom off and zooming in. The result (particularly on film this old & worn down) looks dreadful. It's blotchy, you can't see all the information that was originally filmed, and there are even a few synching problems. The quality is only marginally better than the VHS version, and given that the VHS version is presented in the original aspect ratio, I would actually prefer that. WHY was this put into widescreen when it wasn't intended for that??
Despite these shortcomings, I would reccommend this DVD to all Queen fans and those who are curious about what Queen were all about. Die-hard fans will buy it anyway, just because it has Queen on the cover and also to get the sound recordings & Brian's retrospective documentary. I just hope that when Volume 2 is released, they don't make the same sorry mistake again with the videos.