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Ellipse-Nelvana: Remastered DVD Boxset

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#21 · Posted: 4 Nov 2006 00:29 · Edited by: editman
I just received the Region 2 remastered box set. Boy, am I surprised to be the first one to post any actual fact regarding this here, so I'll try to be as detailed as possible.

First of all, the box itself is a delicate, if not extravagant design. The cover is actually the back of the box. You have to open the top, left and right panes (stuck to the inner box with Velcro) to open up the back pane and reveal the DVDs.

There are 21 DVDs in the box, one book title per DVD. Each packed in a transparent slim case, with the book cover design as the DVD cover. The spine is in the same colour as the book accordingly (so Destination Moon would be in yellow, Explorers on the Moon would be in green etc). The back DVD cover is similar to the book of the book, with all 21 titles' covers listed, and a brief description of the title and a picture taken from the comic (different with each title) placed in the middle. The inner DVD cover is the blue monochromatic photos-on-wall inner book cover as in all the current edition of Tintin books.

Now the disc itself. Since they are putting two 30-minute episodes on each disc, there are only ~2GB on each DVD. So they've made a mini-DVD on a regular side. By that I mean the outer realm of the DVD is transparent, with the picture of the inner book cover printed on the DVD face. That looks very cool.

Now to the technical aspects. I've only watched most of the "Destination Moon" DVD, but I think it goes with the rest of the set:

Despite previous speculation, the aspect ratio is still 4:3. Therefore there is no major cropping of the picture. (For some reason the remastered DVD cannot playback properly on my computer, so I can't do a screen capture and comparison with the old R2Fr DVD to see if there's any cropping happening.)

The picture and sound are indeed remastered, though they did not do a digital clean-up so you can still see minor dirt in frames occasionally, but that shouldn't be distracting with the overall crispier picture. The sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1, but not an aggressive re-mix, with the most significant change being that some of the dialogues are now directional (for example when Calculus walks out of the right of the frame, the audio follows to the right while he's speaking). I haven't seen any major action sequence yet but I believe at least some of the sound effects would utilise the whole 5.1 spectrum (ie bigger explosion).

And now the bad news:

All the DVD are in French only. The English and Spanish tracks available on the previous DVD have been ditched. Not only that but there's no subtitle tracks on the discs, not even the French subtitles. If you're a Tintin fan you'd know the story by heart, so it should not be a huge bother. Still, it'd have been perfect if at least the English language track is included (for reason stated below). Perhaps an English remastered box set is on its way?

The other bad news is that they seems to have re-scored the main title theme, so now the familiar music piece is rather pitched-up as compared to the old version.

And the million-dollar question has been answered! Yes, the opening titles and recaps of Part 2s are finally included on the DVDs! BUT by default it won't be shown when you pop the disc in your player and start watching the entire content. It's only when you go to the menu and select to watch Part 2 on its menu that you will see the recaps. Part 1's credits are still cut, but it's not an important loss as the recaps in all the previous DVD editions. In fact the credits are redone to include remastering credits. And of course they are in French.

In general, a close-to-perfect upgrade if only they would include the English tracks and subtitles. Without them, it's still worth the price with the improved picture quality.

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