For years I have preached about the evils of pan-and -scan. Thanks to VHS and the public’s inability to endure any movie that didn’t fill their entire 4:3 screen, pan-and-scan became the way we endured movies, even the early days of DVD were filled with the criminal act. Criterion had the vision and guts to start releasing movies in their original aspect ratio during their beginning with Laserdisc and eventually helped all of the studios see the value of putting out DVD’s in their pristine and full aspect ratio.
Aside from the occasional release that comes in both flavors, pan-and-scan has slowly vanished, thanks in part to the popularity of HDTV with its 16:9 aspect ratio. Now a new evil has started to find its way onto DVD and Blu-Ray. The most current release of Gulliver’s travels, a movie with an original aspect of 4:3, has been released in an altered 16:9 format.
No movie should be changed from its directors vision, in any way. I don’t want to see any of Stanley Kubrick’s 4:3 films in 16:9, that wasn’t what he wanted, that wasn’t his vision. The general public needs to be educated all over again it seems… wait, that isn’t it at all.
The studios need to be smashed over the head for this idiotic practice and belief that John Q Public won’t accept black bars on their screen. People have finally come to understand that some movies don’t fit their screen. If they don’t like it they can select from a number of options to stretch the picture (a practice I am appalled by but tolerate) and fill their screen. It makes no sense whatsoever to leave those of us who wish to see the movie as it was presented on the big screen.
I am hoping this practice dies quickly and I certainly won’t be purchasing movies, in any format that don’t present the movie properly. Take a stand and force the studios to do the right thing, skip the purchase until the movie is offered in the format it was filmed for.
I will go into the lesser evil of not offering original sound tracks in a later article, it upsets me just as much however so be prepared for another rant.