Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Babylon 5 - The Gathering |
TV Premiere DVD
Actors: Michael O'Hare, Tamlyn Tomita, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Blaire Baron
Director: Richard Compton
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
Studio: Ingram Entertainment Release Date: 04/01/2004
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Cheap intro edition - Movie 3 stars, Disc 2
Joseph E. Demartino | Florida, USA | 06/12/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This disc is simply a re-issue of the transfer originally used on the double-feature DVD that Warner Bros. used to "test the market" for "B5" on DVD a couple of years ago. (The other half of the double-feature was the Minbari War prequel, "In the Beginning") Essentially they took the existing laserdisc transfers, digitized them, and dropped it onto a DVD. There were no extras, no Dolby Digital 5.1 remixes, nothing. The version of "The Gathering" used was not the 1993 original but a substantial re-edit that series creator and executive producer J. Michael Straczynski oversaw in 1998 when TNT picked the series up for its fifth and final season. This version restores footage cut by the director, deletes other material, replaces some CGI shots and adds a new score by series composer Christopher Franke. (Who had not worked on the original pilot.) The idea is to restore the film to something closer to JMS's original script, which was substantially altered to meet the demands of the studio, the director and the fledglig network. (Which, among other things, required that a total of 9 commercial breaks be written into the film, instead of the 6 that are standard for movies airing in a 2-hour timeslot.) Now Warner Bros. is recycling the same transfer of the pilot as part of its "try it, you'll like it" series of low-cost discs designed to introduce potential buyers to its TV shows. (Some discs contain a TV movie, as in this case, others a couple of individual episodes of a series.) All come with a coupon good for $5.00 of one of the full season sets of the same season. They are intended as cheap "sampler" discs to promote existing series releases. This disc has nothing at all to do with the remastered version of "The Gathering", with its Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and commentary track by JMS, which will be included with the boxed set of five "B5" TV Movies being released on August 14th. That's a version that will be snapped up by people who are already committed fans of the show. (And who probably bought the original release of "The Gathering" and "In the Beginnning" on DVD a couple of years ago, as I did.) This is for those who are just curious about the series and want a cheap way to check it out. Let's face it - at around $6.00 (less at some retailers) the disc costs less than a rental at a lot of video stores - and if you like it enough to buy the series it basically costs you a buck (or nothing at all) thanks to the coupon savings. So if you're already a "B5" fan, give this disc a miss and pre-order the TV movie set. But if you're just curious, this isn't a bad way to sample the show - although I must say the transfer is a little darker and grainier than I think it should be. The episodes look a bit better. And no, despite the way Sci-Fi aired it, "TG" is not and never was shot with widescreen in mind. Although that was already planned for the series, JMS and company decided to save time and money while shooting the pilot by going with the conventional 4:3 ratio, switching to the Super35 process which allowed them to frame for 4:3 and 16:9 simultaneously when the series started shooting, many months after the pilot was completed."
The new version
Frederick Norwood | Mountain Home, TN USA | 05/29/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This tape of The Gathering is the revised version that Straczynski did especially for TNT, with new music and special effects, several new scenes, and several old scenes deleted. It is substantially better than the old version, but completists may want to get the old version, which is available from Columbia House."
Babylon 5's pilot TV Movie The Gathering now in WIDESCREEN!
Ryan Piekenbrock | Canada | 06/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this DVD in the store even though I have the original two-story release DVD The Gathering/In the Beginning and am planning to get the movie box set.The reason I did so was because that it said on the label that it was the original pilot episode from March 8, 1993. That version was only ever released on VHS not DVD. I was skeptical but for a few dollars I decided to take a chance.Not to my surprise it was the TNT Special Edition not the original. The Gathering Special Edition much like the Star Wars Special Editions added scenes, deleted scenes and redid effects and dialogue. Strangely the creator of B5 J. Michael Straczynski was praised by his fans for doing so whereas Lucas was condemned for his changes.The thing though that made this DVD worth getting after all was that they have reformatted the movie which was only made in 1:33:1 fullscreen to a widescreen presentation like they did the Kung Fu TV series DVD's even though the labeling on the back says it is in standard format like it's original exhibition."
This isn't the original pilot as the package claims
Donald Dube | Holyoke, MA USA | 08/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this DVD thinking they had finally released the original pilot shown in 1993 (as the package says) with Stewart Copeland doing the music... it isn't. It is the same version as the one included with IN THE BEGINING.
Having said this, even if the package is deceptive, it is still a well made murder mystery. It takes you on a tour of the station, and introduces all the characters without too much standing around talking as most pilots have.
It is a good start for the series... I just wish it was the original version... my recording of the original pilot on VHS (I took it off the television) is showing it's age!"