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Mariah Carey: Around The World
review by Ren C.
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Starring Mariah Carey
Retail Price: $19.98
Features: Biography, Discography, Promotional
Specs: 1.33:1 Standard, English 5.1 Dolby Digital,
English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, English Subtitles, French
Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles
Being certified as the top selling female act of the
1990's, Mariah Carey has long since proven her validity as
an artist. In 1998, she released the album "#1's",
containing each of the twelve number one singles that she
had attained to that point. This program focuses on that
period, which included the release of that album, and a
concert tour that quite literally took Carey around the
Part concert video, and part travelogue, throughout the
course of the program, Carey is shown in Australia, Japan,
Hawaii and New York. This program was originally shown on
network television in 1998, and as such is a bit limited in
what it manages to accomplish. Setting out to be a concert
documentary, a travelogue, and a history of Mariah Carey, it
ultimately accomplishes none of these things. Very few
songs are included in their entirety, and those that are
suffer from jump cutting between lines of the song. This
has the disturbing effect of completely changing Carey's
hairstyle, and outfits, such as they are.
The program begins with the intro to "Butterfly", and
from here; we cut from concert to concert to see truncated
performances of "Emotions", "Fantasy", "Dreamlover" and "My
All." Keep in mind that all this is accomplished over the
span of about six and a half minutes. We are then spirited
away to brief clips of Carey cavorting with her fans in
Japan and New York. While in New York, Carey takes the
opportunity to chat with Brenda K. Starr, the original
performer of "I Still Believe", and the artist responsible
for taking Carey under her wing and ultimately launching her
career. Watching these interviews, and Carey with her fans,
it looks to me like she has become a little too wrapped up
in her whole diva image, as the interview with Starr is
basically spent with Carey fishing for compliments. This is
followed up with Carey performing "I Still Believe" which is
actually a fairly captivating performance.
From here, we cut to Carey talking with Trey Lorenz, who
duets with her on the song "I'll Be There", originally made
popular in the 70s by the Jackson Five. They talk about how
difficult it is for them to get through the song because of
how close they are, and a brief clip is shown of them
performing the song. Then, it's off to Australia, as Carey
goes swimming with the dolphins in Perth. This is the type
of footage that leaves you wanting more, and wishing that
more time were spent on Carey sightseeing rather than the
fairly average concert footage that was provided. Carey
also drags some fans onto stage for a very bizarre segment
where she tries Vegemite and drinks Foster's beer. This
would be somewhat similar to if someone came to our country
and thought that we lived solely on apple pie and Coca-Cola.
Then, Carey decides to sing "Hopelessly Devoted To You", but at
least has the common courtesy to invite Olivia Newton-John
onstage to sing with her. Of course, that doesn't preclude
Carey from trying to completely overshadow John with lots of
unnecessary high notes. That's a common occurrence
throughout the program, for those of you that were
Back to New York we go for the "#1's" fan appreciation
party, which very considerately shows those outside that
weren't allowed in. A brief performance of "Whenever You
Call" with Brian McKnight takes place here, which actually
sounds quite good. The program wraps up with performances
of "Honey" and "Hero", which I think sounds sappier every
time I hear it. That's it. Over the course of forty-five
minutes, Carey "performs" ten songs, interacts with her
fans, and basks in the aura of her own fame. This really
wasn't a case of being left wanting for more, just a case of
being disappointed with what I did get.
I should also point out that although the running time
listed is sixty minutes, that is only if you include the
running time of the four "bonus" videos, which for some odd
reason are listed as chapter stops on the case, but appear
on the bonus menu on the disc.
As I stated, the program originally was a network special
on Fox, I believe, and looks perfectly adequate on this
disc. For concert footage and footage of that nature, it is
pretty much on par with what I would expect it to be,
especially considering it was shot for network television.
In a few places, the colors definitely looked oversaturated,
however, with people turning almost a bizarre red color.
I definitely have a few issues with this audio mix.
While the 5.1 surround track was, for the most part, very
good, and definitely appreciated, there were a few areas
where it dropped in volume for no apparent reason before
coming back. My other major problem with this mix was that
the audience was mixed down throughout almost the entire
presentation. If this is a concert video, I want to hear
the crowd. True, I don't want them to overshadow the
artist, but I also don't want it to sound like the artist is
performing for a crowd of mutes. It is almost surreal at
some places where we cut to the apparently enthusiastic
audience, and get no sound from hands clapping.
A fairly light collection of features, but Columbia gets
points for effort. Included here is the standard "pat
myself on the back" biography for Carey, a discography which
shows album name, cover, track listing, and year of release,
and four additional music videos.
The videos included here are "Butterfly", "Breakdown"
featuring Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone, "The Roof" and "My
All". These videos represent the majority of Carey's video
output from the album "Butterfly", with "Honey" being the
only video missing. While none of the videos are
groundbreaking, it is nice to have them included. Having
said that, the videos sound great, with the 5.1 track being
taken full advantage of. "Butterfly" especially sounded
like never before, with bass coming through that I never
knew was there.
My major nit-pick with these videos is that they disabled
most of the buttons on my remote. For some reason, pressing
the menu button no longer took me back to the menu. The
only way to get back to the menu, apart from restarting the
disc, was to chapter skip back to the menu. A very bizarre
and annoying feature.
Well, it is nice to see more concert specials like this
one on DVD. Having said that, this definitely had the feel
of a one-hour network special, with nothing being given time
to develop or grow, and most of the songs being cut short.
The audio and video are nothing extraordinary, and the
features are barely existent. Recommendation to avoid.
(2.5/5 - NOT included in
NOT an average)