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Excitement Gone In Favor Of Techie Remastering
on August 17, 2014
Just finished watching it and it is the best of the remasterings/revisions done in the last 20 years in terms of cleaning it up.
First: this may be the best video detail (sharp lines, no dust, better definition) restoration that has ever been made of this movie, but not the truest video image. The audio dialogue is also excellent and the extras are a good collection of separate releases over the years. Criterion claims that they recreated the original aspect ratio, but to do it, they cut off large sections from the top and bottom of the image. There is slightly more on the right and left, but it is not what was originally produced. For those that have never seen the original, you will be pleased with it, but you will never `feel' the excitement of the original because the songs are implants.
The overall experience is disappointing purely because of the tampered music, which is a very big part of this film. The latest geniuses in restoration/remastering could not resist the temptation to "improve" upon the Mona Lisa. The techies worked really hard on this film to both restore it and change it - Yes: change it. They add new sounds in the songs and make [yet, another] effort to make the music appealing to Beatles fan's children's ears. None of the music is from the original film. As a result, you get studio-remastered overlays of the songs. They sound sanitized and out of place, because they are. It's as though you muted the movie, during the songs, and put your CD in to play along with it. It is that noticeable. I found myself cringing when I knew a song was coming up.
You can see what they did at this link: http://www.studiodaily.com/2014/08/beatlemania-in-black-white-restoring-a-hard-days-night-in-4k/
This is particularly evident throughout the concert at the end. It's like watching an MTV version. The audience involvement is seen, but rarely heard. The original had the full audience involvement and this made it exciting. Now, it's kind of boring because they covered up most of the audience involvement and it's like listening to a CD. If you want a flavor of how it originally sounded, listen to the "You Can't Do That" bonus. As you can hear, in that, it's not a perfect studio digitally remastered recording. It's not supposed to be. IT'S A CONCERT.
Further, they added the equivalent of a laugh track. They felt that certain sounds should be heard throughout the movie. Again' it's most noticeable in the songs where the sound effects fade it in and out like a laugh track. Some examples: The original opening, where "A Hard Day's Night" plays, has screaming fading in and out. It was not there in the original. "I Should Have Known Better" should begin with dialogue "1 for you , 2 for me , 3 for him" and ending with Ringo laughing, but those are all covered. In fact, they seemed to have worked so hard at trying to force-fit their revised songs onto the audio track that they started getting sloppy about it. On the mono, most of the dialogue that overlapped the songs is covered up and on other audio options it's sporadic. Sometimes they didn't even bother to sync the audio. Pure carelessness.
So, 5 stars for the video, dialogue and extras, but zero stars for the music.