While Criterion has inexplicably done interlaced transfers in the past for films where it doesnt make sense, in this case it might have to do with the fact the film was shot on video, so it may not have been something they could have fixed.
So in the end it looks like youre still watching a video cassette, and theres some blurriness and other artifacts present because of this.
The film was originally shot on video and was intended, at first, to be a short for public access television.
It then blew up to this rather large project and was picked up for theatrical distribution.
In theaters it was presented in a widescreen ratio of 1.85:1.
For this release, though, Criterion is presenting it in the format it was originally shot, which presents more information on the top and bottom, and is also the ratio the filmmakers prefer.It features the subjects of the film, Arthur Agee and William Gates.It's presented in an interesting way, with Arthur coming from the front right speaker, and William from the left.Reviewed by: Chris Galloway Directed By: Frederick Marx, Steve James, Peter Gilbert 1994 | 171 Minutes | Licensor: New Line Home Entertainment Release Information DVD | MSRP: .95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #289 | Two ordinary inner-city kids dare to dream the impossible - professional basketball glory - in this epic chronicle of hope and faith.Filmed over a five-year period, Hoop Dreams follows young Arthur Agee and William Gates as they navigate the complex, competitive world of scholastic athletics while striving to overcome the intense pressures of family life and the realities of their Chicago streets.Both talk about what it was like being followed around, and even touch on how the film, after its release, has changed their lives (they get recognized constantly.) They both talk about themselves currently and also appear to have no regrets about not making the NBA.And another wonderful thing is they constantly expand on scenes in the film, getting into more detail about their families and their relationships with them (William talking more about his father is a great little addition, as he ends up adding more to that captured reunion.) Some scenes actually come off differently after listening to the commentary.From what I listened to it was definitely an excellent track as the three talked about the shoot and it gives an excellent insight into the making of the film.The second commentary is, I'm happy to say, just as good.While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality. Dialogue is strong and articulate, the music used sounds good, and if it is hard to hear at times it's only because of the conditions the segment was shot in.It actually sounds a lot better than I thought it would and in this regard it does beat out a VHS.