Visual Entertainment Group/Visual Entertainment Group .
R4 . COLOR . 80 mins .
E . PAL
At the midway point of the 2004 AFL season there are teams planning for the finals (although they won’t admit it) and there are teams whose season is effectively over. It is probably safe to say that the West Coast Eagles fit the latter category, mainly due to the losses they invariably suffer when playing out of Perth, and because the current players (or ‘the boys’) who, with all respect, are not of the same calibre as the players (‘the boys’) that won two flags in ’92 and ’94.
A feature of the game - the high mark.
However, lions or lambs, the AFL is not going to let such things as a crappy 2004 season get in the way of making a buck or two, especially when the game is experiencing record viewing figures and supporter interest. When you consider that some punters will buy anything on DVD, and fanatical football supporters would buy a dog turd if it had the club’s logo on it, well it is a given that a West Coast DVD release will find its way into a more than a few shopping trolleys. However, if dollars are hard to come buy, then this is probably not the West Coast DVD of choice.
A little five on five. Get it?
The DVD itself is 80 minutes of footage lifted straight from television broadcasts with no input from players, officials or commentators (other then the accompanying calling of the game for each piece of footage). It is not chronological, it is not narrated (apart from an opening blurb), it is not sequential, and it has not been assembled with any real thought. It is broken into chapters covering highlights, past and present legendary players, great marks and goals, and the two grand final wins, but each is just a hodge podge of footage that has been thrown together without apparent reasoning. This is not the way to lead from the front, or play a captain’s game.
What you do get is some memories of greats such as John Worsfold, Ross Glendenning, Dean Kemp, Ashley McIntosh, Chris Mainwaring and Ben Cousins, along with some memorable marks, goals and exceptional skills on display, but they are lacking context and therefore make the whole presentation feel extremely pedestrian. With a little more thought (a game plan, even), some basic narration, better selection of footage and maybe a few interviews, this could have been a worthwhile collection. As it is, this is just a compilation of footage that your neighbour might have recorded from telly and leant you for the weekend.
All of the footage is from free-to-air television, is in full frame and, apart from some of the early games, is generally clear and perfect. The older footage does look a little oversaturated, soft and fuzzy, but anything from the last ten years is pretty much as you will see it today; clean, clear and bright. There is little else to say about it really. For the most part, this looks like you could be watching the game direct on telly.
The audio is mostly a combination of television broadcast and is therefore commentary and really does little to prove that this is a Dolby Digital stereo track and, as such, makes no use of the surround or centre channels. Each segment is preceded by a quick title screen of what you are about to see, and is accompanied by a quick piece of dramatic music that does show the audio quality is good, but when 98% of this is game calling, analysis is irrelevant. It is loud, clear and exactly as it was when the footage was first broadcast.
Extras have been left on the interchange bench it would seem.
It is a tough ask to recommend this to footy fans, even the diehards. It is a reasonable way to be reminded of the club’s history, albeit in patches and lacking flow and order.