Noncombative answer to screen ratio transfer debate.
Berkley S. Summers | La Grande, OR | 03/29/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you're considering a purchase of this title, but are wary because of the occasional misinformation and confusion regarding the original screen ratio and the preservation of this ratio in the transfer, then don't fret. With no intention of starting a debate, I can comfortably state that the film hasn't been re-formatted to fit your screen (although this is inaccurately stated before the film begins). Concerned that the studio/corporation had balked on an authentic widescreen transfer, I spent more time than I care to admit in pursuit of clues and/or answers without doing any severe film-scholar-like research. Anyway, although you may encounter what appears to be a 16X9 transfer in the U.K. and EU markets, I don't believe that these are any more accurate than the supposed widescreen preview/trailer found on several of the Harryhausen Collection discs. In fact, it's the very preview on "3 Worlds" for "3 Worlds" that solved the riddle. Here's the deal: It's a banded, or barred trailer (wherein the black bars at the top and bottom are actually hiding or covering the picture beneath). Whether this was done for exhibition on a 1:85 to 1 or 16X9 big screen, I can't say, but the visual material in between the bars is composed the same as the "supposedly" cropped transfer. I took a couple of easy-to-find images from the trailer and double-checked them by using the chapter search. Anyway, you don't want the widescreen version of "3 Worlds" anymore than you want a widescreen version of "Shane." It simply isn't the screen ratio in which these films were shot. If you think I'm wrong, then please check for yourself. Screen composition and visuals are only being compromised in the artificially "wide" versions. Lastly, while viewing this watered-down, but totally delightful feature, you'll notice that the on-screen composition fits the 1:37 to 1 ratio, which is to say that the character group shots fit very comfortably, as does the entirety of the film's action, while there aren't any distracting pan-and-scan artificial edits that usually show up during two-shot dialogue sequences and the like... Please pardon this messy and long-winded response to the transfer complaints that I came across, but I felt sort of obligated to save some time for those of you who may want to view or purchase this title, but may (understandably) hesitate due to the feedback conflict."
Harryhausen is a national treasure, but unnecessary DVD
kristakunert | Sacramento, CA United States | 06/12/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This excellent documentary is already available on the DVDs "7th Voyage of Sinbad", "First men on the Moon", and several other DVD releases. I can't imagine that the "creatures gallery" could justify a purchase of this, even for die-hard model-building fans."
Good documentary bad idea as separate release
C. A. Luster | Burke, VA USA | 02/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sad that so many people rated this as one star since in fact the chronicles are interesting and well done. Why the studio decided to release this on a separate DVD when it is all ready on most Ray Harryhausen DVD movies released is odd. Suffice it to say the chronicles are well worth seeing. If you want them just buy a great Harryhausen movie like "Jason and the Argonauts" or "Mysterious Island" on DVD."
THE GENIUS OF HARRYHAUSEN
Robin Simmons | Palm Springs area, CA United States | 07/09/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
""THE HARRYHAUSEN CHRONICLES" focuses on the art of Ray Harryhausen. This affectionate and classy documentary is a perfect companion title to the feature "20 Million Miles to Earth." Narrated by Leonard Nimoy and written, produced and directed by Richard Schickel, Time magazine's film critic and film historian, this entertaining celebration of Harryhausen's singular cinematic legacy features numerous film clips and observations by George Lucas and others whose lives were impacted by his films. Harryhausen says the "essence of fantasy is the transfer of reality into the imagination." Certainly his remarkable stop-motion sequences have entertained generations and haunted memories. Schickel says it best with an observation spoken by Nimoy: "In this moment of mechanized imagination, this unforgettable work recalls for us the value of the open and wondering eye and the informed and compassionate heart.""
AND HOW DO YOU CRACK YOUR EGGS
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 06/19/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Jonathan Swift's satirical novel is given the Ray Harryhausen treatment, and though most of the satire is lost, there still remains echoes of it. For instance, the war the Lilliputians are involved in revolves around the best way to crack open your eggs...from the top or the bottom? And of course in Brobdingnag, any unusual behavior is attached to witchcraft..sound familiar?
At any rate, this is one of the least visually impressive of Harryhausen's works, mainly because the script didn't call for a lot of the trademark stop action effects. The squirrel and alligator are impressive, but don't come near any of the other creatures Harryhausen so brilliantly created. For a 1960 film, however, the effects are impressive.
Kerwin Mathews, who gained his stardom with THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD and JACK THE GIANT KILLER is sort of a British John Gavin. His dashing good looks and charming accent made him an ideal catch for the idealist Gulliver. Jo Morrow (the original 13 Ghosts) played Gwendolyn, and June Thorburn (Tom Thumb) was Gulliver's Elizabeth. The talented character actor Gregoire Aslan was a perfectly foppish Emperor, and Lee Patterson (Tv'S Surfside 6) a gallant prime minister.
While not a bad film by any means, GULLIVER just doesn't have the overwhelming magic of previous Harryhausen efforts. But it is entertaining and I think kids will like it."