Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2002-02-15 Entry: "Musical Numbers"

I've been suffering from "tune stuck in head" syndrome all morning. Bits of the musical episode of Buffy seem to have stuck, but only the odd ditty - bits of Tara's song about Willow, and three lines of the Xander / Anya duet. It would be better if I could remember all the words rather than just fragments. I guess I could look them up (as I've got a transcript kicking around somewhere), but that seems too much effort.

Sky surprisingly managed to show the long version, and they showed it in widescreen. This meant we didn't have to suffer their arbitrary cuts or the loss of half the picture to size it to 4:3. So, instead of congratulations, the newsgroups are now full of complaints that it should have been anamorphic widescreen rather than the regular kind. Personally (having a 4:3 set), I'm not too bothered whether it's anamorphic or not. I can see their point, but I'd rather worry about broadcasting in widescreen - all programs shot that way should be broadcast that way. They should not be arbitrarily cut down to a 4:3 picture ratio. Especially if the show hasn't considered that this might happen and framed things so you don't lose too much. Case in point is Angel - Sky broadcast it in 4:3 last night, which really showed the contrast with the preceeding widescreen presentation; people kept getting half cut out of frame. It was horrible.

That's probably the best thing about DVD - they release everything at it's original aspect ratio. If they didn't, I wouldn't buy it. There have been some recent travesties - Disney's Atlantis is the latest case, where only the collectors edition is Widescreen. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is getting two versions - a widescreen and a 4:3 pan and scan version. This is just stupidity on the part of the studios, who should be pushing widescreen as hard as they can. If people complain that they get black bars at the top and bottom, explain that they're actually getting more picture than if the bars weren't there - and that if they had a widescreen television, they'd get the screen completely filled. Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be happening - instead of trying to educate the public, the studios are releasing butchered pan and scan versions!

Hmmm... I didn't actually intend to rant about that. It bugs me a little - I'm buying DVDs to future proof myself, as I get the film in it's original ratio, even though I haven't currently got the equipment to show it off at its best - but it's not earth-shatteringly important.

However, the suggestion yesterday that this might be a political rant was unfounded. Question Time was fairly dull - Milosevic, image over substance, foxhunting, spin doctors and Jo Moore. To summarize is fairly easy - no trial should take two years, however horrible the crimes may have been. All that does is fleece the pockets of lawyers. Blair has no substance, so how anyone can complain that he worries about image rather a lot amazes me. Foxhunting is no better than any other way of killing foxes, and it can't possibly be anything but cruel, but, as they pointed out last night, legislation already exists to prevent cruelty to animals, so we don't need any more. We just need to enforce the laws we've got. And for heavens sake, Jo Moore is just doing her job. Yes, her comments may be cruel and heartless, but that's what she's paid for. As far as I can tell, she's an exceedingly good spin doctor, she could just do with keeping her emails out of the papers.

I may be forced to spend at least one day this weekend at the cinema, as I've now got both From Hell and the Ocean's 11 remake to see. Hopefully they'll both be very good, but we shall see.

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