Greetings Quickbeam here.
Call to arms!
Attention all fans of The Lord of the Rings and fans of the DVD format. I have confirmation from Bill Hunt at The Digital Bits [http://www.thedigitalbits.com] that the original 1978 animated LOTR will be on DVD for the first time ever, yes, but it will NOT be released in the original widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Instead, it will be cramped into an old pan-and-scan version without a new film transfer!
For those who dont know about movie aspect ratios, this means more than 25% of the full onscreen image cannot be seen because of the cropped frame. If the DVD were in anamorphic widescreen, then the viewer would be able to see the entire image as the artists originally intended. Anything else is unacceptable. If Warner Bros. gets away with this, the video presentation on this DVD will look like mud and much of the image will be missing.
For a great illustration of how dramatically this will affect your experience of a film, CLICK HERE for a special page showing the difference between widescreen and pan-and-scan. Thanks to Bill for this material.
Come on Warner Bros! We are not going to buy sub-standard crappy DVDs.
This movie has long been out-of-print on VHS. We have waited over 23 years for a nice, clean, new digital presentation of this film. And NOW with a new DVD, a medium capable of so much, the studio is taking the cheap way out and not giving the consumer the original version of the film. Even though this Ralph Bakshi film has its flaws, it is still an important watermark in the history of animation and was the first ever adaptation of Tolkiens work to the silver screen.
This is an important issue. Because the studio thinks “its just fantasy” they will dump the film under their “Family Films” label and not produce the DVD properly.
And what about the upcoming new live-action films? Will they suffer this too? Since AOL/Warner Bros. owns New Line Cinema does that also mean Peter Jacksons films will get the same careless treatment on DVD? It is time for Tolkien fans to speak up!
At the very least Warner Bros. can present the DVD with standard full frame on one side of the disc and anamorphic widescreen on the other side (as they have with most of their films like Beetlejuice and Unforgiven). Just give the consumer a choice!
Click here to sign your name to our online petition, and tell Warner Bros. you will not spend your money on a DVD that is poorly produced. Tell them that you will CANCEL YOUR PRE-ORDERS for this title. There are many many thousands of us after all we are the core Tolkien fan community online. Speak with your money and dont buy this disc!
Remember, the DVD release of “Princess Mononoke” was held back for several months because of a highly successful campaign by fans. They wanted Buena Vista Home Video to include the original Japanese language track, and they won in the end!
I will take the entire petition, with all of its signatures printed out, and present it to the Vice-president of Warner Bros. Home Video in Burbank. I will sit down in person with him and state exactly what the consumers expect for this older version of LOTR and the new versions yet to come.
Thanks for all your help, folks!
Much too hasty,