Along with the Celebration (2 CD) REMASTERED release, Warner Bros. Music also released Madonna's third music video collection on DVD. This set contains 2 DVD with 47 music videos spanning Madonna's 26 years in the music business. There are a lot of reviews of this product complaining of the quality of the video. Off hand, the first disc that contains her earliest videos ("Burning Up", "Lucky Star", "Borderline" for example) aren't the best quality. In fact, I felt that these videos were almost identical to the quality of the videos released on her first music video DVD, Madonna - The Immaculate Collection. I could only detect a slight different in the quality, but the older the video, the lower the quality it seemed to be. This did disappoint me a bit since the sticker on the front of the product boasts "digitally re-mastered from the original tapes!" Was this statement referring to the videos or the music tracks? As with many of the music tracks and edits from the 'Immaculate Collection' being placed on the CD edition of 'Celebration' I am feeling pretty confident that Warner Bros. lazily dropped the same videos (not remastered, not retouched, not enhanced) from the Madonna - The Immaculate Collection and Madonna - Video Collection 1993-99. It was a rather misleading statement on Warner Bros. part to lead the consumer to think every video contained on these 2 DVDs were going to be digitally restored and polished, looking better than ever. The only videos that really leaped off the screen were the newest ones (Disc 2 for the most part). That is a major point of criticism for me that keeps this from being a true 5-star product.
The Good: I felt the DVD edition's strength is that it succeeds in acknowledging her entire career in some manner where as the CD companion (even the 2 CD edition) skipped around and left out many of the ballads, soundtrack hits and blurred the lines with what was a true hit and what may have been chosen by Warner Bros. just to fill disc space. It was a surprise that music videos of so many songs, even songs that were not true 'hits', made it onto the DVD. Seeing videos "True Blue", "Into the Groove", "Deeper and Deeper", "I'll Remember", "Love Profusion" (to name a few) included made me feel the DVD definitely got more attention and is worth the money because of all the music and videos, diversity and mix of well-known and lesser-known tracks, this was a true 'celebration' of Madonna's career rather than just another ploy from Warner Bros. music to make money off of Madonna before she moves on to Live Nation. While the quality of the videos on Disc 1 left much to be desired, I felt Disc 2 great in quality and probably worth the purchase alone. This disc contains videos from the 'Music' era through 'Hard Candy' and even the video for "Celebration". This is where the last video collection left off and definitely is a nice buy for any Madonna fan who wants the videos of the 2000s all on DVD. These, unlike her earlier videos on Disc 1, are definitely high quality. Overall, I did not experience any of the pixelation issues or distorted picture that some reviews mentioned because my TV is not huge and isn't HD or fancy. I was pleased with the audio on both discs and felt the videos (with the exception of the first 8 on Disc 1) were either good or very stunning ("Rain" for example was very bright and vibrant, the colors in "You'll See" and "Jump" were rich and stunning).
The Bad: As with the CD version, I was perplexed with some of the omissions. I understand Warner Bros. attempt to create a product that doesn't completely render the past two DVD collections pointless and not worth buying, but this is supposed to be some of Madonna's most iconic videos all in one set. It is supposed to be a 'celebration' of her great music video work and imagery, celebrating her artistic and visual performer side over the music. Why, I ask, did Warner Bros. leave off the cinematic video for "Bad Girl", or the most drastic re-invention/character she's ever played in a video, being the geisha in the video for "Nothing Really Matters"? Also, this would have been a great opportunity to showcase the original video for "American Life" that's been floating around the internet for years now. Also, some of these soundtrack videos are simply unnecessary. "I'll Remember", "Crazy for You", "Who's That Girl" are all great songs but c'mon, the videos are nothing more than clips from the movies. Those could have been eliminated to make room for the missing videos, or even iconic live performances (the 'Like a Virgin' 1984 performance, VMA 'Vogue' performance, the earth-shattering Britney/Madonna kiss). Some of the videos from her tours could have even been included as they are almost better than some of the official music videos. While I was glad to see "Justify My Love" and "Erotica" both included, Warner's choice to censor them with tacky black boxes over breasts and naughty bits just seemed tacky. We are all aware of these videos and what's being hidden; adults (for the most part) are buying the product. Stick a 'parental advistory' sticker on it and give the fans the full, unedited versions! The flaws struck me as laziness and business decisions made by Warner, not Madonna, to make a buck, save some time and grief and avoid controversy at all costs (being creativity and a quality product). I'm pretty sure Madonna herself had no hand in this since she's not a fan of the whole 'greatest hits' idea to begin with.
In all, due to the nice spread of videos and both hit and lesser-known tracks, I definitely feel this is worth the purchase. Yes, there are flaws and this is by all means not a perfect product. Yet, I still feel this DVD collection is for the fans. If anything, we now (across 3 releases) have almost all of Madonna's videos on DVD. If the edited and watered-down CD release of 'Celebration' left a lot to be desired, I say put your money into this product. You'll not only get the music, but you'll get the videos to go along with them and that, in my opinion, is the 'definitive' and complete Madonna experience.
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