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Ashes of Time (1994) Theatrical Cut
#1
Does anyone have the Japanese R2 Pony Canyon DVD? Supposedly has the best transfer of the original theatrical cut.

I can't find much info about it anywhere and would like to see some screencaps to see how it compares to the HK Mei Ah (bad port of laserdisc with burnt in subs).

There is supposed to be a custom DVD out there of the Japanese DVD with english subtitles which weren't included on the official release.
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#2
(2020-06-06, 04:05 PM)NeonBible Wrote: Does anyone have the Japanese R2 Pony Canyon DVD? Supposedly has the best transfer of the original theatrical cut.

I can't find much info about it anywhere and would like to see some screencaps to see how it compares to the HK Mei Ah (bad port of laserdisc with burnt in subs).

There is supposed to be a custom DVD out there of the Japanese DVD with english subtitles which weren't included on the official release.

The Pony Canyon DVD release is rare as hell sadly. It is the best transfer available for the original theatrical cut on home media. It also isn't true widescreen and is letterboxed from what I recall. No burnt in subs like the crap that was the Mei Ah release and is miles ahead in PQ. So it isn't the end all be all, but it probably is the best version out there unless somebody finds a pristine print stashed away.

I might be able to help you on the screencaps, we will see about that later.
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#3
[Image: Ashes-Of-Time-avi-snapshot-00-01-42.jpg]

[Image: Ashes-Of-Time-avi-snapshot-00-01-48.jpg]

[Image: Ashes-Of-Time-avi-snapshot-00-37-32.jpg]


[Image: Ashes-Of-Time-avi-snapshot-00-40-39.jpg]


[Image: Ashes-Of-Time-avi-snapshot-01-14-52.jpg]


[Image: Ashes-Of-Time-avi-snapshot-01-28-17.jpg]
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#4
(2021-03-01, 10:53 PM)PipperPiper Wrote: The Pony Canyon DVD release is rare as hell sadly. It is the best transfer available for the original theatrical cut on home media. It also isn't true widescreen and is letterboxed from what I recall. No burnt in subs like the crap that was the Mei Ah release and is miles ahead in PQ. So it isn't the end all be all, but it probably is the best version out there unless somebody finds a pristine print stashed away.

I might be able to help you on the screencaps, we will see about that later.

Welcome PipperPiper! And thanks for the info. I noted that the screencaps are taken from an .avi file, so I'm guessing they are compressed and won't look exactly like the original DVD. Still they should give a good indication of colour which looks quite nice. Certainly better than the gross looking teal/orange pushed piss soaked Redux version!

Its a real shame what's happened to this cut. Looking at how WKW is presenting the new Criterion boxset, he is unlikely to approve a release of the theatrical cut ever again. But lets hope some distributer will do it justice one day.

I still have hope of tracking down a copy of the Japanese DVD though.
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#5
(2021-03-02, 11:59 PM)NeonBible Wrote:
(2021-03-01, 10:53 PM)PipperPiper Wrote: The Pony Canyon DVD release is rare as hell sadly. It is the best transfer available for the original theatrical cut on home media. It also isn't true widescreen and is letterboxed from what I recall. No burnt in subs like the crap that was the Mei Ah release and is miles ahead in PQ. So it isn't the end all be all, but it probably is the best version out there unless somebody finds a pristine print stashed away.

I might be able to help you on the screencaps, we will see about that later.

Welcome PipperPiper! And thanks for the info. I noted that the screencaps are taken from an .avi file, so I'm guessing they are compressed and won't look exactly like the original DVD. Still they should give a good indication of colour which looks quite nice. Certainly better than the gross looking teal/orange pushed piss soaked Redux version!

Its a real shame what's happened to this cut. Looking at how WKW is presenting the new Criterion boxset, he is unlikely to approve a release of the theatrical cut ever again. But lets hope some distributer will do it justice one day.

I still have hope of tracking down a copy of the Japanese DVD though.


Yeah, no way will the file look as good as the DVD. However, even that is still better than the Zoke Culture or Mei Ah DVD releases when it comes to PQ. I was reworking subtitles from another release with the Pony Canyon version for a fan project 12-15 years ago. Which was mostly re-timing, with some script fixes when it was deemed necessary. Couldn't even tell you where the source subs were from in all honesty. It also was the last project I was involved with before quitting and I never did release it.

The whole situation with Redux is suspect to me due to the fact that WKW supposedly had searched worldwide for film elements so he could properly re-release the theatrical Ashes of Time and still came up short. It is known that Pony Canyon partially funded the film and that is where the print that they used for the DVD came from. Japanese prints have less than a minute of Japanese characters that precede the start of the film which is unmistakable. I cannot believe that there isn't a full print out there, even if the negative and interpositive have long since been lost.

WKW with the Criterion boxset just shows that he wants to push revisionism for his films and doesn't seem to care about how they were originally. I also wouldn't hold my breath concerning seeing the theatrical versions of any of his films seeing the light of day again as Jet Tone is his company and they hold the rights and apparently have done the current "restorations". That isn't even taking into account reports that the encoding for the discs has been bungled by Criterion. So it is a rough road ahead being a fan of WKW films.

I wish you luck with finding the Pony Canyon disc. I have swam in that pool before with no luck, sometimes I think it would of been easier to find a theatrical print. The disc is the only way of getting a project together with at least a decent source other than accidentally tripping over a pristine print somewhere. The theatrical cut really should be restored with the best current elements just so the version isn't lost to time, which is quite sad to me.
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