H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Max Fleischer's Gulliver's Travels [Blu-ray]

 

(Dave Fleischer, Frank Kelling, 1939)

 

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray LEFT vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Paramount Pictures

Video: Koch Vision / Thunderbean Animation

Disc:

Region: FREE (both)

Runtime: 1:16:22.953 / 1:16:21.034

Disc Size: 23,248,058,228 bytes / 24,887,904,779 bytes

Feature Size: 18,737,534,976 bytes / 15,117,385,728 bytes

Average Bitrate: 32.71 Mbps / 25.00 Mbps

Chapters: 11 / 24

Case: Standard Blu-ray case (both)

Release date: March 10th, 2009 / January 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 / 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-2 Video / MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

None (both)

 

Extras (all in HD):

• Two Classic Gabby Cartoons (made from original feature outtakes): "Swing Cleaning" and "King For a Day" (5:53)

• The Making of a Cartoon

 

Modeling (1921)
In My Merry Oldsmobile (1932)
Is My Palm Red (1933)
Little Dutch Mill (1934)
The Paneless Window Washer (1937)
Ding Dong Doggie (1937)
Two For The Zoo (1941)
Swing Cleaning (1941)
Bonus features include galleries of rare Fleischer merchandise, classic Gulliver radio programming, liner notes by longtime animation historians, and more!

DVD of feature and extras 

 

Bitrate:

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

Description: Max and Dave Fleischer's animated classic. At the time of the release of "Gulliver's Travels" in late 1939, the full-length animated motion picture had reached its zenith. This great American art form turned to the retelling of Jonathan Swift's magical tales as the Fleisher's marvelous animation perfectly complimented the story. The gags were clever and the characters endearing, the music perfect, but it is the animation which remains as a lovely visual memorial to two of the men who pioneered this great art!

 

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

 

The Film:

Unlike Disney's "Snow White," which was preeminently a fairy tale for adults, Max Fleischer's feature-length cartoon of "Gulliver's Travels" is a fairy tale for children and for children almost exclusively. As such we have no hesitation in recommending the Paramount's new film as a pleasant and diverting animated picture-book, drawn in the brightest Technicolor, happily free from ogres, hobgoblins and other nightmare-breeders, and so broad in its humor that the littlest 4-year-old can scarcely miss its jokes.

But, by any other standards than those of the juvenile audience, the film is so far beneath the level of Mr. Disney's famous fantasy that, out of charity, we wish we did not have to make the comparisons demanded by professional responsibility. If it were only possible to soften the blow by suggesting that the second feature cartoon automatically loses the novelty-value of the first, we should be cushioning our typewriter with the excuse right now. But it is far more than novelty that "Gulliver" lacks: it is the wit, the freshness, the gayety and sparkle, the subtlety, the characterization and, for that matter, the good drawing that are the trademarks of the Disney factory.

Excerpt from the New York Times located HERE

 

 


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

Firstly, this film has slipped into the Public Domain and everyone and his brother have produced a DVD version.... but all pale in comparison to the out-of-print Hal Roach Studios Image Entertainment DVD edition using "ORIGINAL 35mm NITRATE TECHNICOLOR MASTER". This Koch Vision Blu-ray image does not appear to equal that SD-DVD although the colors are dramatically improved from most other PD DVDs. This transfer is progressive but looks quite hazy throughout using the inferior MPEG-2 encode. Another huge issue is the aspect ratio. Koch have cropped/zoomed-in this to 1.78 from its original 1.33:1. ?!?  I believe this is the oldest film we have seen reach Blu-ray (edging out Pinocchio by a year - CORRECTION The Adventures of Robin Hood is indeed one year older!- thanks Mike!) but it is far from ideal. "Digitally restored and re-mastered from the original source 35mm film and enhanced for 16x9..." doesn't mean much in this case. Colors bleed and detail is non-existent. It doesn't look particularly smooth in motion either. This is probably a faithful, single-layered hi-def rendering from the source - but I am suggesting that this 'source' was quite poor to begin with. I have a strong interest in older films to Blu-ray even Public Domain stuff but for the weak and altered image we can't recommend this edition based on the image quality.

 

The Thunderbean Animation Blu-ray/DVD edition is a significant improvement in every visual area. It shows the Koch to be distorted as well as in the incorrect ratio. Colors are richer in the Thunderbean with more detail, more information in the frame and it has some consistent texture. Single-layered with a supportive bitrate - the Thunderbean is also in AVC (not MPEG2) which shows to be smoother and more stable in-motion. The Thunderbean is brighter, shows rounded corners and can show a little more damage but it is never extensive.   

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

(Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP vs. Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

 

Audio :

Audio may surpass the image quality with three options - a rather meek 5.1 boost, and enhanced 2.0 channel stereo track and a mono one (also 2.0 channel). While the mono sounded better than I anticipated it is far from a linear PCM track that would have been more ideal. The 5.1 gets little in the way of dynamic separation. There are no subtitles which might have been a decent idea. I suspect, being Public Domain, this is region FREE but I suppose we will know soon enough and post it here is it proves to be playable throughout the entire world.

 

Like the Koch - simple Dolby (not lossless) and only in 2.0 channel. I thought it sounded clean and consistent - not at premium levels due to the original production but adept enough to enjoy the presentation. No subtitles and the disc is region FREE.

 

 

Extras :

Nothing particularly notable although all three featurettes are in HD - two classic 'Gabby Cartoons' (made from original feature outtakes): "Swing Cleaning" (6:03) and "King For a Day" (6:28) and an ancient and very rough looking documentary The Making of a Cartoon (5:48).

 

Here Thunderbean takes a huge leap beyond the Koch. As well as a DVD included in the package there are eight classic Fleischer shorts - in new digital transfers from high-quality 16mm and 35mm materials including Modeling (1921), In My Merry Oldsmobile (1932), Is My Palm Red (1933), Little Dutch Mill (1934), The Paneless Window Washer (1937), Ding Dong Doggie (1937), Two For The Zoo (1941) and Swing Cleaning (1941) - only the latter, 6:00 cartoon, also found on the Koch. Plus there are galleries of rare Fleischer merchandise, classic Gulliver radio programming and some liner notes by longtime animation historians.

 

Koch Vision - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

Thunderbean Animation - Region FREE - Blu-ray

BOTTOM LINE:
No, we can't endorse this although we love the concept of older classic to Blu-ray. This appears to have been a poor attempt and although may surpass most DVD editions for certain aspects of the image - the meager print source and aspect ratio manipulation are enough of a reason to pass. It's a shame really.

 

This is a great package from Thunderbean - such a massively better package than the Koch. We can fully recommend this dual-format Blu-ray, if you can get a hold of it (I had to wait 2 months for mine!). They don't make them like this anymore - buy now! 

Gary Tooze

March 7th, 2009

April 3rd, 2014

 

 

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze

 

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