Sound Quality is Awful, But It's Better Than Nothing
dugpa | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/14/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is the best the Twin Peaks Pilot has ever looked. (Well, aside from the big screen at last years Twin Peaks Fest) The disc has a surprisingly crisp and clean picture. I played this with a switchbox against the Warner Bros. Pilot Laserdisc, and the DVD did to the Laser Disc what Agent Desmond did to Deputy Cliff in FWWM. However, beware there are noticeable artifacts, and minor distortion is apparent in some scenes. Why this is, I'm not sure. they are not so horrible, that they detract from the presentation, but they are noticeable. The dark scenes were done very well IMHO. Minor dust specs on the print every once in a while, but much cleaner than the laserdisc. Audio:The audio has received a FULL aggressive 5.1 remix. Lots of the sound effects are appropriately panned to the rear surround speakers. One thing you definitely want to do is turn your back speakers down a bit, as they can often be distracting. The bass seems to be a bit much at times, but again, a slight adjustment on your Home Theater system can easily correct this. One specific moment that was a good use of the rear surround is when the translator mentions how "Health und Industry They Go Hand De Hand". The response laughter of the Norwegians are panned to the back speakers and give a "Room Full of Laughing Norwegians" effect. It is clear that whomever remixed the sound did so from a sound reel master.Now the DOWNSIDE. There are a few things that bother me about the sound. First off, when comparing it to the Laserdisc, I noticed right away it seems that whoever mastered the movie (I assume) transferred it from a PAL Master. It's the only explanation I can think of for why the pitch of the sound is about a half step too high. Also, the sound although pretty good for the most part, sounds definately out of phase in the Center Speaker during parts with music in the background. Although it is annoying at times, it is not completely a loss. So be warned !Supplements:Well, there's not a lot here. You get a nice Scene Access menu, along with Character Biographies for Joan Chen and Kyle MacLachlan. You also get treated to some awful Republic Pictures trailers for "One Against the Wind", "Class Cruise", "Live Nude Girls", and "Witchboard 2: the Devil's Doorway". My advice... skip them.Parting Thoughts: All I can say is that I was very surprised by this release. Although 4% faster than it should be, is a nice addition to a Twin Peaks Fan's collection. The DVD comes only with a 5.1 soundtrack, as the original 2-Speaker Surround soundtrack is absent. The picture is great minus the artifacting, and the sound is bad, but not a total loss. Expect lots of phase problems in the center speaker. Finally having the Pilot as it aired on Television as opposed to the extended European version is a Twin Peaks Fan's dream come true. I would recommend this to any Twin Peaks fan that wants to get a clean copy of the Pilot on DVD. For now, this is as good as it gets. At this point, who knows when Paramount will be getting their act together."
Quick Fix for Those Who Need the Pilot
Christopher White | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Due to legal wranglings over the pilot episode, it was not included in the recent First Season DVD boxset (another 5 star product). What you get here is a Hong Kong import from Republic Pictures which is legitimate but not the highest quality product. I still gave the disc 5 stars because it is the pilot none the less and who knows how long it will be until it is released in America on DVD.What you ARE getting: The original pilot episode of Twin Peaks that aired on television in the United States. This is good because it maintains continuity and most importantly the suprise of the series. In other words if you have never seen the show you should watch this version of the pilot, the 29 episodes of the series and then Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me in order to experience it in the way you would have had you been watching the material as it was released. This is the best way for a newcomer to get the Twin Peaks experience.What you are NOT getting: This is NOT the European version of the pilot. In David Lynch's contract he was required to make the pilot into a close ended feature which could stand alone to sell in European markets and possibly the US if the series were not picked up. That version is basically a Cliff's Notes for the series, showing you the end and culprit without any of the fun of arriving there from the series. I would recommend renting this version after you have seen all of the other material out there however, it has some good moments.QUALITY: Like I said before this is an import from Republic and not the best quality. The video quality is about equal to if the pilot played on TV yesterday and I taped it on a regular VCR. That being said, the video and sound are adequate, but one should not expect the amazingly crystal clear transfer from the Season One set. (In fact I read that the Season One set having been remastered, has better quality than the master tapes that ABC has in its vaults!) FINALLY: So again, I stand by my five star rating because though the quality is not superb, the pilot is a necessary part of any Twin Peaker's collection. I recommend purchasing this because as anyone can see from New Line Cinema's decision to not only NOT include the sought after deleted footage from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, but also delay its release for a year when they really had no intention of paying for the rights to the footage in the first place that Twin Peaks is not high on the list of priorities for the studios involved. Don't expect an American release anytime soon."
It IS complete, and essential, but aud/vid drags rating down
William Adams | Ashland, OR USA | 08/10/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'd give five stars for a better transfer of this wonderful pilot. But if you want to enjoy the rest of the series, starting with the terrific First Season transfers, you need to see the complete pilot, and this is the only version of it.If you've read this far, you probably know that, and you're going through all these contradictory reviews to make up your mind whether the audio and video quality of this import version is good enough to buy.So mine is just another opinion by someone you don't know, but maybe it will help anyway.First, I side with the guy who says that if you have 5.1 Surround sound, it doesn't sound bad at all. I have to believe from the other reviews that if you only have two-channel playback, it sounds very bad.Visually, it's not nearly as good as it should be, compared with the beautifully transferred First Season collection -- but it *is* better than VHS and will last longer. Finally, it's the only way to get the real pilot for the forseeable future. The old VHS versions floating around are all of the European release, which was a version of the pilot padded out with extraneous footage and given a completely arbitrary and pointless ending so that it could be seen in European theaters as a complete-in-itself movie. On which point:DO NOT BELIEVE THE REVIEW THAT SAYS THIS IS A SHORTENED VERSION. THIS *IS* THE COMPLETE PILOT. Proof: It's ninety minutes long. The pilot was originally aired in a two-hour time-slot. At that time, 15 minutes of commercials per hour was standard. (It's more like 17 or 18 now.) Two hours minus thirty minutes is ninety minutes. The VHS version was, again, padded out with extraneous footage and a pointless, jury-rigged ending, and that's why it was rather longer. But THIS is the version you need to see before you watch the First Season collection. There's a rights problem that prevented the pilot from being packaged with the rest of the first season--who knows if it will ever be resolved? This version of the pilot may be the best we'll get for a long long time, and if you have 5.1 Surround playback, it's not half bad."
A must for fans - but the sound is bummer.
Robert Moore | 01/25/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you have read about or researched Twin Peaks, then you know all about this DVD and the mystery of the Twin Peaks property, which is just as mysterious as the show.Like anything in Hollywood, everybody has their grimy little fingers in it, thus the rights for the series, the pilot, the movie, and the deleted scenes are all owned by separate entities, and I wouldn't doubt if the sound was as well.What do end up with - An awesome box set that has superior sound and picture - not to mention the extras and menus.
However, the box set doesn't include the pilot - which brings you here.While there are a ton of these on ebay, they are all identicle to this one. As many have pointed out, the pilot episode is available on VHS, but only as the european version with the tacked-on footage, spoiling 2 seasons worth of awesome television all in like 8 minutes. AVOID THIS!Which brings us to this little savior. I am so greatfull that this is available - I purchased mine right after the box set came out. Straight from Hong Kong, in english, ntsc and region 0 encoded(plays on any dvd player) comes the original pilot for all of us to watch.While the pilot is possibly some of Lynch's best work ever, this DVD lets it down.The cover art is what you see - basic. There is no insert, and the dvd art is basic as well. It comes in the standard black amoray case, and plays perfectly without skips from compression. If you have seen the box set, then you will quickly realize the picture quality for the pilot is washed out, and inferior overall. But again, I am totally greatful to own this! If you have the box set or are a TP fan - this is a must! The story makes up for any shortcoming of the authoring of this dvd. In any case, it is better than VHS any day of the week.As for sound - Houston we have a problem!The sound is horrible! Worse than most people describe it to be. Since it is a PAL convert, and the sound is about 2 steps too fast, we get this flanging effect which sounds like your in a wind tunnel. During person to person dialogue scenes it is not a problem. But if there is a car, water fall, saw mill, wind, water or any other ambient noise - look out - you won't hear a damn thing anyone says. My advise is to turn off your surround and stereo - switch to mono, and keep the volume as low as you can tolerate - the flanging is hell on the ears.So go ahead and enjoy the pilot episode of one of the best television shows to ever!"
Poor quality DVD of an absolutely essential episode
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 11/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I should dock this disc a star for its sub par production, but I won't simply because the episode itself is so superb.There are two things wrong with this DVD: first, releasing the pilot as a stand alone instead of incorporating it with the first season, and second, the inferior sound and video. Some of the reviewers are questioning the latter, but I can attest that when one compares one of the DVDs from the first season box set with the pilot DVD, there sound and video quality are not anywhere near the same. It does not render the show unwatchable, but it does detract from one's enjoyment.The first of the two reasons I cite is equally unforgivable. Not only do I find it unforgivable to not include the pilot in the box set, I am not clear why they didn't just collect both seasons and the pilot in one set. It isn't as if there are that many minutes or episodes package. If shows like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and THE SOPRANOS, which contain more minutes in one season than TWIN PEAKS did in total, can be easily packaged in one boxed set, why not it? What makes not including the pilot incomprehensible is the fact that the series makes absolutely no sense without the pilot, and the pilot doesn't mean anything without the ensuing episodes. From first to finish, these decisions baffle me, especially when one considers that the pilot is not currently available except for this import. The fact that this is one of the most phenomenal TV series in history makes this even more lamentable. TWIN PEAKS is simultaneously one of the best and one of the most influential shows the medium has ever seen. America has never been as friendly towards Surrealism as has Europe, but one might make the case that David Lynch is our most important exponent of it. What makes the series so brilliant is the way that Lynch manages to blend surrealism, film noir, Hitchcockian humor (less recognized but just as influential as Hitchcockian suspense), and soap opera to create what was, up to that time, arguably the finest series TV had ever seen (though shows like THE PRISONER could easily take issue with that judgment). The show is so stylized as to almost succumb to self-parody, but even in the most delightfully absurd scenes, the show manages to hit precisely the right tone and balance.The influence of TWIN PEAKS can be found in nearly every show that has tried to move away from a traditional self-contained episode format to longer story arcs. There had been shows that had tried to tell stories over a longer period of time. HILL STREET BLUES had had this approach, although one could still watch any one episode without having seen it before. But TWIN PEAKS made no sense whatsoever in episode-sized chunks. Except perhaps for shows the fourth season of ANGEL or a couple of seasons of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER or 24, no other show has places so much emphasis on the story as a whole. Without TWIN PEAKS, the long story arcs of THE X-FILES would have been impossible, as well as BABYLON FIVE, and BUFFY and ANGEL, and the whole host of shows that have followed, including THE SOPRANOS and DEAD LIKE ME. In all these shows, echoes of TWIN PEAKS can be heard.Unfortunately, until they choose to produce a better quality edition of the pilot, this DVD will remain absolutely essential for anyone interested in the rest of the episodes."