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Customer Review

1,706 of 1,829 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wait for Extra Special Edition, December 25, 2002
By A Customer
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This review is from: Pride and Prejudice (Special Edition) (DVD)
The current BluRay (BD) edition is fantastic - it is the "Extra Special Edition". Beautiful color and sound have been restored compared to the DVD edition that I initially reviewed in 2002 (below). There's pretty much nothing about my original review that is relevant any longer, unless someone is going to buy a second-hand copy of the 1996 Special Edition set. We still love the production, and give the BD version 5 stars.

I would not have thought that anyone would still be reading the 9 year old review below except for all of the comments ... apparently Amazon has cross-linked the reviews of all editions of this film, making this the 'most helpful critical review'. For those who said that I copied the review - not true. I reviewed a single product, back when we did not even have names attached to our reviews. (My amazon review ID now is "Karl".)

Do buy the BD release - it is wonderful. Five stars. (The 3 stars are not editable and refer to the 1996 release.)


The original 2002 review of the 1996 Special Edition DVD set follows...

This BBC/A&E production is one of the most well made films my wife and I have ever seen - superb acting, costumes, sets and location, music, directing, editing!! Like others here, we have watched the A&E VHS edition over and over. (It is a 'chick flick', but I enjoy romantic movies, too.)

Our excitement over getting the DVD faded upon loading both the VHS tape and DVD and comparing the images and sound. The widescreen image on the DVD is definitely more clear on our 50" high res screen, and it is a pleasure to see the full images framed as the Director intended.

HOWEVER, the colors are not just washed out. The digital remastering has changed the color tone of the film as if someone used a Photoshop/Premier digital filter without knowing what they were doing. The VHS and original not only had rich color saturation, but also had a warm tone that felt 'right' with the period film. The DVD is not only washed out, but has a strong blue-white tone to it that gives a cold modern feel to the scenes.

To get the image to look close to decent on our TV, I had to turn the color saturation up as far as it would go, bring the contrast down and the brightness up. It then almost matched the VHS images except for the blue-ish rather than warm overall cast.

The sound is tinny, much of the lower frequencies that are on the VHS sound track being chopped off.

There are no subtitles at all (we frequently turn them on for other DVDs when we cannot quite make out the dialog) - much less alternative language tracks.

So, why is this edition 'Special'? The only additions, other than the abysmal digital remastering (digital destruction) are:
(1) an 8-page booklet (that mentions only 3 of the actors)
(2) some text-only biography screens, that mention only 2 of the actors
(3) a 20-some minute 'making of' feature that gives the producer most of the credit (and she did of course put the team together, but the director/editor/actors/choreographer/costumers/etc produced the art) - and which still only visits with 4 of the actors - out of this tremendously talented cast.

What was supposed to be a 'special' Christmas gift, ended up being a tremendous disappointment. We can only hope that A&E and BBC will produce an 'Extra Special' edition that gets the color and sound back to the director's intention (did he even get to review this DVD?). That, and a rebate for all of us who bought this defective edition, would make us happy enough. Adding subtitles, profiles of everyone else involved in the production, and stills of the various homes, heritage buildings and towns used would be (delicious, but optional) gravy.
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Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 36 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 12, 2006, 1:07:09 PM PDT
C. Simmons says:
I've owned the VHS and the DVD, so I was glad to hear from someone who could speak to me from that perspective. I was ready to buy the special edition until I read this review. So thank you for your insights. This is my favorite movie(the BBC version), of all times.

Posted on Oct 26, 2006, 5:47:31 PM PDT
NightKoder says:
I agree, this review is very well done and insightful. I also own the original DVD version, and was prepared to purchase the 10th anniversary edition. Thank you for saving me from disappoinment.

Posted on Nov 4, 2006, 9:14:02 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 4, 2006, 9:17:47 AM PST]

Posted on Nov 16, 2006, 5:46:00 PM PST
E. Brown says:
Please note that this review was written in 2002; it does not apply to this edition which was released this year (2006), and which has been remastered.

Posted on Nov 26, 2006, 1:25:45 AM PST
Vince Perrin says:
i wish I had read these reviews of the this new unforgiveable DVD transfer of what is sureky the best version of the Jane Austen classic. How A&E could have relelased it with a straight face is a mystery. The color and sound are miserably reproduced. The only way for A&E to save face is to offer a rebate to purchasers.

Posted on Nov 28, 2006, 9:42:12 AM PST
NJinNJ says:
Your review is very informative, however I am a little confused as to what it refers to. Amazon seems to have put all the reviews for the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice together and so the original DVD, the Special Edition, the 10th Anniversary Edition all have the same comments.

What version are you referring to here?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2006, 12:48:06 AM PST
D. Bell says:
E. Brown,

How do you know that this edition has been remastered and (re)released in 2006? I can't find information to this effect anywhere in the product description. Can you help?

Thanks in advance.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2007, 11:28:18 PM PDT
Bob McCoy says:
I just watched a rental version of the 2001 release (Special Edition -- 2 discs), and I totally agree that the color is abysmal.

There is a "10th Anniversary Limited Collector's Edition" (3 discs) released Sept 2006. I have not seen that release, so I cannot comment on its production values.

Posted on May 12, 2007, 1:51:31 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 12, 2007, 1:52:52 AM PDT
Ray says:
Everyone should disregard the original poster's comment. Her review is over 5 years old and since then many batches and re-edits of this edition have been made. And the problem may have been due to her DVD or TV equipment. It's safe to say, that if you order this DVD, you will not receive the same copy. I just received mine and the color and sound are perfect. I played the movie on both my big screen TV and laptop and I didn't have to adjust any of the color settings. Not to mention, this edition much better than the original A&E and VHS and versions. I've seen P&P several times on A&E and my only complaint was the film was a little hazy and grey. The remastering corrects those issues. I do agree that more commentary and biographies should have been included. But the film is still very enjoyable and well worth the price.

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2007, 8:54:07 PM PDT
JaneHeiress says:
Both the 2001 and 2006 copies are still on the market, so the original review is just as relevant as it ever was. My family has the 2001 "Special Edition" and yes, the color is very washed out. It is especially noticeable in the scene where Pemberley is first shown. After the way it seems to sparkle like gold in the VHS version, that scene in the DVD is very disappointing. It seems they fixed the problem for the 10th anniversary Collector's Set in 2006, so when I finally get my own copy of this excellent miniseries, that will be the one I buy. Don't buy the "Special Edition", even though it may be less expensive!
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