Sometimes our entertainment media from the past have built-in limitations.
Say, for example, you, having succumbed (DESPITE MY WARNINGS) to the soul-eroding lure of surrealism, wanted a big-ass eye-popping hi-def repro of a Dali for your dorm room. Because obviously if you want a big-ass eye-popping hi-def repro of Dali in your living space, you are in college.
|Probably "The Persistence of Memory". If you were cool, it would be something more like "The Temptation of Saint Anthony'. But it you were that cool, you wouldn't want a big-ass eye-popping hi-def repro of a Dali on your dorm wall to begin with.|
Well, too bad. I've been to the Dali Museum, and I can confirm you can't have one, for a very simple reason.
|Good luck looking for a signature, bub.|
"The Persistence of Memory" is a very small painting. You can't just "zoom and enhance" like a future-computer; any attempt to do so is just a hornswoggling boondoggle. All you're going to get is an increasing fuzzy-looking version of "The Persistence of Memory".
|A result surely intended by the waggish artist as a visual satire of the elusive vagueness of actual memories, which resist any efforts to force them to resolve into clarity, even when they persist. |
Or, you know, just because it's small.
I have some "cleaned up" versions of some classic pop tunes, ones where modern technological techniques have been applied to bring clarity to the voices of the original singers, historically buried under the mud of the limitations of the means of recording available to them. And it is eye-opening.
Unfortunately it is also ear-closing. Turns out there is a REASON that Toni Basil is a world-famous CHOREOGRAPHER. Being able to hear her singing voice more clearly emphatically does NOT make "Hey, Mickey" a more enjoyable song. It ruins it, in fact, and you have to try to block it from your mind anytime you hear the original version again, lest it destroy your ability to enjoy that, too.
There are times when the persistence of memory is a downside.
And the less said about the cleaned-up version of Boom Boom Boom by Paul Lekakis, (whom I met during an eventful weekend at Rehoboth during his floruit), the better.
|Some memories are best left uncleaned, like Paul Lekakis saying "Let's go back to my room."|
So it is with that I mind that I confess to you my utter inability to understand anyone's excitement about the announcement of a 4K remastered version of "Mask of the Phantasm".
This is not because I am not a fan of "MotP". Quite the opposite. I cannot imagine it looming larger in anyone's memory than it does it mine.
In late 1993, all four of my jaws were broken simultaneously and i spent quite some time with my faced bloated, bruised, and wired-shut, subsisting only on Ensure-based milkshakes laced with horse-strength painkillers, sipped through a post-dental straw. I spent Thanksgiving that way, and, since most of my friends don't know Sign Language, I had to communicate the entire time through a 1990-style laptop that someone loaned me so that I could type out conversation on it.
|This is about what that looked like, in case you don't know.|
It's a memory whose persistence definitely has a downside.
On December 25, 1993, I had not left the house for at least two months. A snowstorm began to hit Washington DC that day. Not as bad as the historic "Superstorm" in March, but still nothing that anyone in their right mind would choose to go out in.
A friend came and trundled me into an uneasily-procured cab, immobile face and all, and accompanied me on the trek to a small now-long-closed cinema in upper NW DC so that I could see "Mask of the Phantasm" on its opening day. I had a large Cherry Coke and had skipped my painkillers so I wouldn't be foggy for the experience.
|I wanted to make sure my memories of the event persistent and weren't fuzzy.|
It still remains the happiest Christmas I have ever had and I am very very fine with that. I cannot imagine any single day making me happier than I was getting out of the house for the first time in two months, into a blinding snowstorm, to sit in a nearly empty cinema, watching that film. I remember how much I enjoyed it as if it were yesterday.
What can "4k" add to that? Greater "clarity"? It's a broad scope cartoon; there are no 'details' to see.
|I... don't think I'm missing any useful details here. Does the Joker have something stuck in his teeth I can't see? A piece of scenery, I'm sure.|
Like the Golden Age Batman comics it was modeled on, BTAS (even big-screen Mask of the Phantasm) isn't about 'visual detail'. It's all simplification, abstraction, and chiaroscuro.
|This panel still remains my perfect example of the power and virtue of the Golden Age art style.|
Perhaps Fleischer's Superman cartoon benefit from such a treatment. But those are a different animal indeed.
|I mean, they used roto-scoping, for pete's sake.. Doug Jones went BACK IN TIME to do mo-cap for those robots.|
4king "Mask of the Phantasm" just seems like throwing tech at something simply because you can.
|And just possibly because you can get people to give you additional money for something they've already seen and own.|
4K isn't going to help me, at least, enjoy "Mask of the Phantasm" better. Certainly not better than that Cherry Coke did.