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Star Wars: Episode 3 (and dodgy Video CDs)

Written by kevin

We sat down to watch Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith last night.

I bought a video CD of it at the market on Saturday, getting the guy on the stall to check that both discs played, but failed to notice that the discs were badly scratched and it was too jerky to watch. Marebec managed to get hold of another copy, so we settled down in the dark and hoped the laptop battery would last long enough.

The first annoying thing was the presence of timecode numbers at the top of the screen, but that’s quite common on these pirated CDs. The second was irritation that the video had been very badly encoded, making the whole thing look a bit cartoonish and blocky. The final straw was that the disc kept stopping every once in a while with a “media read error”.

I can put up with the occasional skip but it really started to get annoying having to bring up the media player control panel, start playing the disc again and then find the first point after it had stopped where it would be prepared to continue. This is probably a combination of problems with the disc and bad user interface design in WinDVD.

So, I’m not sure what I think of the film. There didn’t seem to be much character development and the big special effects scenes looked awful with the bad encoding. I’ll have to try watch a better copy of it at some point.

I’m sure various people would say that the problems with the discs are all my own fault for buying pirated Video CDs. This may be true but:

  1. On a VSO allowance you can’t afford to buy imported DVDs
  2. I don’t even know where I could buy legal DVDs here

There is no cinema in Abuja, in fact I’ve yet to see one in Nigeria (not counting the burned-out shell of the Northern Cinema in Sokoto). Going to the cinema is one of the things I miss from my former life in Cambridge.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 12th, 2005 at 10:02 and is filed under films, tech, VSO.

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