Now this is how you bring Horus to DVD. This is a release worthy of the revolutionary film. Everybody else is officially put on notice.
Currently, Horus is only available ouside of Japan in Portugal, the UK and France. The UK release is a threadbare affair, only a single disc and no extras save the movie trailer. And it's slapped with that asinine slur, "The Little Norse Prince." It's one saving grace is that it includes English subtitles, but they're very poor subs and they're far below the level of the Horus fansub we all know and love.
Thank goodness the French show some proper respect. It helps greatly that Isao Takahata is recognized as a great film artist in France. Takahata has made numerous appearances for lectures and honoers, most of his films are available on DVD (Jarinko Chie was given a small theatrical release last year), and a documentary film on his career will see release this summer. Given all that, it makes perfect sense that Horus is treated so well on DVD.
The French DVDs were released in 2004, both a single and double disc set. The deluxe version includes an hour's worth of documentaries, interviews with Isao Takahata and Yoichi Kotabe, a karaoke mode, interactive DVD-ROM features, and a 24-page book. This is comparable treatment to The Criterion Collection, and, frankly, this is precisely how all of Takahata and Miyazaki's films should be handled.
Now here's where it gets interesting. The photo I posted above apparantly comes from a new re-release. This French retail site says this new version was released in October, 2008. You can pick this up for 15 Euros if you're so inclined.
What's weird is that only a couple sites show this package; it certainly is new, but most retailers use the old cover. As far as content goes, I have nothing to go on. I haven't found any information, so at this point I'll assume that it's the same extra features as the previous DVD. It would be great if the picture was properly remastered, since this was originally a single-layer disc from 2000. All of the classic Toei films are in desperate need of a proper restoration.
In any case, the design of the cover is so striking that I couldn't pass it up. It's very flashy and modern, and hues very close to the original movie poster from Japan. This is miles better than dreck like this, and certainly better than the crummy DVD that was swept under the rug in Britain.
Is there anybody out there with information about this DVD? Anybody in France? C'mon, Pixar, pretty please - send one of your gophers out to investigate. I don't want anyone to miss the movies and parties on my behalf, but this really couldn't take that much time. Hah hah hah...yeah, like it's that important. But I'm just really, really nosey about things.