16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Good film, horrible DVD
, 6 April 2011
This review is from: Our Man In Havana [DVD]  (DVD)
Sony have made a pig's ear of this movie (I bought the PAL 2005 edition). They have butchered the picture; there is a significant amount (perhaps 10% of the original width in total) cropped left and right, some from each side, and a tiny sliver cut from the bottom. This is very apparent because they neglected to correct the aspect ratio accordingly, instead simply expanding the picture. The result is that everyone looks slightly (but distinctly) shorter and wider than they should. With actors of the physical shape of Burl Ives and some of the plump Cuban characters this starts to get farcical and detracts from the movie. At first I wondered if I had my specs on crooked or was just imagining that everything had been squished and squashed, or whether maybe Alec Guiness's head really was that weird shape, but then I checked a US NTSC version which hasn't been carelessly cropped and has the correct ratio and I realised what a big difference there is and how it came about.
To add insult to injury, Sony use a hideous copy protection which employs deliberately corrupted sectors that prevents playback on many PCs and even many DVD players including some of Sony's own. To be able to merely watch the DVD I paid for I have to resort to using some fairly dubious techniques that entail breaking the copy protection. For now I've managed to dump the disk content onto hard disk and can watch the movie using a media player that allows me to correct the aspect ratio. This is a ridiculous amount of effort simply to watch a DVD I just paid good money for. Some studios offer 1st class DVDs without complications and others offer 2nd or 3rd rate products locked up like a state secret. I'll be doing my best to avoid paying for Sony media again. Goodbye Sony, Hello Pirate Bay.
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