Fans are mental. It's almost part of the definition. However, if you drew a Venn Diagram that showed "Loving something too much", "The Internet" and "HD Video Standards" the overlap would be the Hammer blu-ray releases:
As far as I can work out, the story goes like this - after years of firms slapping out "will this do?" DVD releases, Studio Canal come along and decide to lavishly restore them for blu-ray. You'd assume the result would be rejoicing in the streets. Instead it's more like this:
I find the whole thing baffling. There's a special blog in which Hammer painstakingly (to the point of eye-watering tedium) explain every single restoration choice in a language which is practically machine code (Sample sentence: "1.66:1 – a predominantly UK and European widescreen aspect ratio designed to be centre matted from a 4-perf 35mm frame..."). And underneath is a torrent of comments, bandying about acronyms and aspect ratios like quadratic equations (1.66:1 COF = 1.33:1 DNVR DPOD).
Like staring into the Matrix, it's mesmerising without making much sense. On one release the restorers offered a print that was deemed "too sharp without enough of the original grain visible". When they eased the effect back for the next release it is screamed at for being "too soft and too grainy". Clearly, they cannot win.
One of the latest furores involves The Devil Rides Out. On original release there simply wasn't the time/budget to finish the effects. The restorers have dared to sympathetically finish them - they've not added lens flare laser guns, CGI kangaroos, and Greedo does not shoot first - they've simply pasted in the odd background, tidied up some nasty matt-lines, and risked painting in a missing fetlock on the Angel of Death's horse. That kind of thing. You'd assume they'd be thanked for bothering.
The outpouring of qaudratic anger is unstemmable. (http://blog.hammerfilms.com/?p=321#comments) Some of it is understandable - a few years ago, Optimum restored The Avengers, and nearly every release had to be recalled, reissued or apologised for, leading to a lot of fan cynicism about "restored releases". But in this case it seems to be some nice people caring very hard about some films for the first time in 50 years. I'm on their side (a deciding factor is that, on the special features, they all appear to be hot). Also on their side is a commenter who pops up, like a voice in the wilderness, to say:
"Chris Walker: It must be soul- destroying to restore a film after months of painstaking work, and then have to face a ton of abuse and criticism from so called “experts” who all know better... It is a 55 year old film made for peanuts by a small company. It is never going to look like “Gone with the Wind”, so people please deal with it."
Sparkling Cyanide (1945)
2 years ago