Home Page  
 
 

SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.77:1 Widescreen
  • English Mono
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Audio commentary by Nicolas Roeg and Jenny Agutter
  • Original, unedited director's cut
  • The theatrical trailers

Walkabout

1998 Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Nicolas Roeg
Starring: Jenny Agutter, Lucien John, David Gumpilil
1971 | 100 Minutes | Licensor: Janus Films

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #10 | Out of print
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: May 5, 1998
Review Date: May 1, 2010

Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca

Share:

SYNOPSIS

Nicolas Roeg's mystical masterpiece chronicles the physical, spiritual, and emotional journey of a sister and brother abandoned in the harsh Australian outback. Joining an Aborigine boy on his walkabout-a tribal initiation into manhood-these modern children pass from innocence into experience as they are thrust from the comforts of civilization into the savagery of the natural world.

Forum members rate this film 8.2/10

 

Discuss the film and DVD here   


PICTURE

The original DVD edition for Nicolas Roegís Walkabout presents the film in the aspect ratio of about 1.78:1 on this single-layer disc. The image has not been enhanced for widescreen televisions.

I will admit that when I originally watched the DVD back in 1999 or so I was more than happy with it. It looked better than television broadcasts and it was nice to have the film on the format. Revisiting it a few years ago I was actually quite shocked with how bad it really was and am still a bit amazed I never noticed all of its problems before (though it could have to do with viewing it on different televisions.)

Forgetting the non-anamorphic issues and the source damage, which could be worse, the transfer itself is a disaster. Noise and artifacts are a constant nuisance, most noticeable dancing around in the sky. Detail is non-existent and the picture looks incredibly murky. But this is still the least of its problems with pixilation presenting a huge problem, and at times itís in your face and obvious. There are more than a couple of instances where the image can become very blocky for a split second, and there are sequences where the sand floor or sky can present some rather large block patterns, killing all detail. And in one of the more bizarre moments, the transfer turns from a progressive one to an interlaced one for one chapter, chapter 23. So suddenly, after viewing a problematic progressive transfer for most of the film, chapter 23 hits, which presents the aborigineís dance, and it becomes interlaced, introducing many more artifacts such as jagged edges and severe ghosting and trailing. Then, inexplicably, the next chapter returns to a progressive transfer. Criterion has done something similar with other releases, though itís usually divided by a layer change on the disc. I assumed it was either a mistake or a cheap way to conserve space but here I canít think of a single reason why for one chapter the image becomes interlaced; itís incredibly distracting.

If I had any nice things to say itís that the colours look pretty okay. But thatís about it, and skin tones have more red in them anyways. The print has quite a bit of damage remaining, including blotches and specs of dirt and debris, along with scratches, but itís really not that bad and it would be easy to get around if the transfer itself was actually any good. It looks terrible.

3/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

AUDIO

The mono track presented here is decent but problematic. It can come off a bit edgy and harsh when range reaches the higher end. Voice dialogue can sound a little distorted, too.

5/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Only one significant extra comes with this release, an audio commentary that was recorded for the original laserdisc release, presenting director Nicolas Roeg and actress Jenny Agutter recorded separately. While it can be a touch dry at times and Roeg can ramble on itís still a rather engaging track, with the two reminiscing over the shoot fondly. There are plenty of comments about the imagery in the film and the many themes layered on with many comparisons, specifically by Agutter, to the original source novel. Australian politics are touched on to give some context, along with aboriginal culture, and the two fondly recall working with David Gulpilil. Anecdotes are also shared by the two, most amusing of which is Roegís recollection of Gulpilil going to Cannes and a fear by a certain individual that the young aborigine was a ďsavage.Ē Some questions people have had about the film for years are touched briefly upon, including a hint as to why the childrenís father does what he ends up doing (though it shouldnít be a real surprise) and another key incident that happens closer to the end (and Iím trying to avoid spoilers so forgive my vagueness.) An engaging and informative track.

The disc then comes with two theatrical trailers, a long 4-minute one filled with critic blurbs, and then a short 40-second spot. An insert then comes with a nice, short essay about the film and its themes by Roger Ebert.

It was a cheaper release and still came with a commentary, something that was uncommon for Criterion, and the commentary was a worthwhile feature. But since itís been carried over to the newer DVD and Blu-ray releases itís no longer a unique reason to get this DVD.

5/10

CLOSING

Though the commentary is good the transfer is awful, one of Criterionís worst. And since the commentary is available on the newer DVD and Blu-ray editions there is no reason to even glance at this edition. But even if those editions didnít exist Iíd still have a hard time even remotely recommending this DVD. A surprising disaster of a release.


View packaging for this DVD

Share: 



Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca  




Join our Facebook Group (requires Facebook account)

This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection