Return of the Great Wide/Open Debate

My god, it's full of stars!My latest Sympatico/MSN DVD column is up, celebrating Warner’s new boxed set of Stanley Kubrick remasters.

Sure, “2001” has been available in its proper scope format for more than a decade now, and “Full Metal Jacket” was released in a 16:9 transfer on HD DVD last year, but this is the first time “A Clockwork Orange”, “The Shining” and “Eyes Wide Shut” have been available in the correct theatrical presentation on any home-video format. It’s awesome.

Of course, no sooner does the piece go up than I get an e-mail from a reader who’s bought into the erroneous online legend that Kubrick intended the movies to be seen full-frame rather than widescreen, and that these DVDs — which restore the aspect ratios Kubrick intended for the films’ theatrical projection — are the “altered” transfers, rather than the previous full-frame releases.

Guys, we’ve dealt with this. Anyway, all you have to do is watch any one of the new discs for five minutes, and you’ll understand that this was the way these movies were intended to be seen. All the dead space is gone; all the close-ups look like close-ups; this package fixes the transfers, it doesn’t hamper them.

Anyway, read the piece. It’s all in there.