Snow White and the Huntsman (Blu-ray / DVD) - Dread Central
Connect with us

Reviews

Snow White and the Huntsman (Blu-ray / DVD)

Published

on

snowblu.jpg
Cover art:

news/jul12/snowblu.jpg

Full Specs and Artwork for Snow White and the Huntsman: Extended Edition Blu-ray/DVD ReleaseStarring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron

Directed by Rupert Sanders

Distributed by Universal Home Entertainment


Snow White and the Huntsman is about as bland and generic as any blockbuster I’ve ever seen. A movie that’s constantly asking us to believe in our titular hero without any real reason to. The entire film violates the cardinal show, don’t tell rule of screenwriting, giving us two hours of leaden exposition interrupted by the occasionally weightless action scene. It’s a nearly interminable experience saved by lavish production design and a genuinely wicked performance by Charlize Theron.

This is a disastrous script and it pretty much torpedoes the entire movie before it can get out of the gate. Snow White escapes captivity at the end of the first act, and is pursued by minions of the Evil Queen. Except, it’s revealed later on that the queen can transform into anyone/anything to find the girl she so desperately needs to maintain her Charlize-ian good looks. But it’s lazy screenwriting to have this happen later, when it could’ve circumvented a whole lot of headache for our villainess. And the script is literally brimming with these types of inconsistencies.

Worst of all, our two leads have zero chemistry. Probably because the script doesn’t ever allow their characters to connect in any meaningful way. The Huntsman is such an inconsequential part of the story that it’s absolutely baffling to find his name included in the film’s title. Chris Hemsworth has a natural likability about him, but there’s absolutely no reason to care about him, or anything else in this epitome of empty filmmaking.

And director Rupert Sanders, who was inexplicably handed the reins to a $170 million dollar feature for his debut, can’t do a damn thing to make any of this work. His battle scenes are boring, the staging is lazy (there’s almost no way to tell character’s proximities to one another in the final battle) and everything unfolds in lethargy. In fact, I’m hard-pressed to recall another blockbuster as empty as this.

It’s a shame because Universal did sink a few pretty pennies into it. But they should’ve made sure it was a story worth telling. This screenplay (credited to three writers) wouldn’t have been worth reading, let alone filming. Sadly, Theron is utterly wasted and it’s a shame because she’s having a great time with the part. Kristen Stewart looks as if she’s ready for a nap and Hemsworth is reduced to a non-factor by the time act three rolls around. I don’t know why Universal slapped this together with suck reckless abandon. In the right hands it could’ve been a terrific update of a well-known story. As it stands, I have a hard time imaging anyone wants a sequel.

Universal brings Snow White and the Huntsman to Blu-ray in a perfect high-definition transfer. Details are sharp, colors are blindingly vibrant and the hue/saturation looks pitch-perfect. Black levels are deep, but offer fantastic details within. This is absolute demo material, as long as you don’t care about the quality of the movie itself.

On the audio front, the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track boasts staggering clarity and an aggressive sound mix. Rear-speakers are working overtime to make sure this remains an all-encompassing experience. Ambient sounds are pretty much always ringing in the ear: from castle sounds to forest wildlife, there’s always something happening. And the battles are alive with clashing steel and constant shouts. Dialogue is always clear and well-separated from music and sound FX. This is well-balanced and perfectly executed.

Universal has also given this a pretty swell compilation of supplements. Two cuts of the film (127 and 131 minutes), a commentary with director Rupert Sanders, FX man Cedric Nicolas-Troyan and co-editor Neil Smith (an informative, if unspectacular listen) and a U-control picture-in-picture are the main thrusts here. There’s also an HD set tour, a twenty minute making-of piece, a six minute discussion of the film’s fairy tale elements and a few EPK pieces for good measure.

If you’re a fan of the film, Universal has given you no reason not to jump on this disc. It looks and sounds absolutely amazing, and the supplements are fine, if a bit workmanlike. It’s a great-looking movie that never manages anything more. Poorly paced, badly written and indifferently acted by its leading lady, this is a movie that should’ve been excellent, but is completely forgettable instead.

Blu-ray and DVD Bonus Features

  • A New Legend Is Born
  • Feature Commentary with director Rupert Sanders, visual effects supervisor Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, and co-editor Neil Smith

Bonus Features Exclusive to the Blu-ray

  • Reinventing the Fairy Tale
  • Citizens of the Kingdom
  • The Magic of Snow White and the Huntsman
  • Around the Kingdom: 360° Set Tour
  • Universal’s Second Screen: An innovative viewing experience that allows viewers to control, interact with and explore Snow White and the Huntsman with groundbreaking features on a networked tablet or computer, in synch with the movie on the television screen! As the movie plays, experience features such as:
  • Flick View: Move content from the tablet to the TV screen, and compare storyboards, animatics, and other exciting bonus material with a “flick” of the fingers.
  • Behind the Scenes (Picture in Picture)
  • Around the Kingdom: 360° Set Tour
  • Virtual Flip books
  • Cast of Characters
  • UltraViolet™: The revolutionary new way for consumers to collect movies and TV shows, store them in the cloud, and instantly stream and download to TV’s, computers, tablets, and smartphones.

    Film:

    2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    3 out of 5

    Discuss Snow White and the Huntsman in our comments section below!

Continue Reading
Comments

Reviews

Desolation Review – The Joy of Being Rescued and All the Surprises That Come With It

Published

on

Starring Raymond J. Barry, Brock Kelly, Dominik Garcia-Lorido

Directed by David Moscow


It’s those random, once-in-a-lifetime encounters that only a select few get the chance to experience: when we as regular participants in this wonderful thing known as The Rat Race, stumble across a soul that we’ve only witnessed on the big screen. I’m talking about a celebrity encounter, and while some of the masses will chalk the experience up as nothing more than a passing moment, others hold it to a much larger interior scale…then you REALLY get to know the person, and that’s when things get interesting.

Director David Moscow’s thriller, Desolation follows shy hotel employee Katie (Lorido) and her “fortuitous” brush with Hollywood pretty-boy Jay (Kelly) during one of his stops – the two hit it off, and together they begin a sort of whirlwind-romance that takes her away from her job and drops her in the heart of Los Angeles at the apartment building he resides in. You can clearly see that she has been a woman who’s suffered some emotional trauma in her past, and this golden boy just happens to gallop in on his steed and sweep her off of her feet, essentially rescuing her from a life of mundane activity. She gets the full-blown treatment: a revamped wardrobe, plenty of lovin’, and generally the life she’s wanted for some time.

Things return to a bit of normalcy when Jay has to return to work, leaving Katie to spread out at his place, but something clearly isn’t kosher with this joint. With its odd inhabitants (a very creepy priest played by Raymond J. Barry), even more bizarre occurrences, and when one scared young woman cannot even rely on the protection from the local police, it all adds up to a series of red flags that would have even the strongest of psyches crying for their mothers. What Moscow does with this movie is give it just enough swerves so that it keeps your skull churning, but doesn’t overdo its potential to conclusively surprise you, and that’s what makes the film an entertaining watch.

While Lorido more than holds her ground with her portrayal of a woman who has been hurt in the past, and is attempting to place her faith in a new relationship, it’s Barry that comes out on top here. His performance as Father Bill is the kind of stuff that wouldn’t exactly chill you to the bone, but he’s definitely not a man of the cloth that you’d want to be stuck behind closed doors with – generally unsettling. As I mentioned earlier, the plot twists are well-placed, and keep things fresh just when you think you’ve got your junior private investigator badge all shined up. Desolation is well-worth a look, and really has kicked off 2018 in a promising fashion – let’s see what the other 11 months will feed us beasts.

  • Film
3.0

Summary

Got your eye on that shining movie star or starlet? Better make sure it’s what you really want in life – you know what they say about curiosity.

Sending
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
Continue Reading

Reviews

Wolf Guy Blu-ray Review – Sonny Chiba As A Werewolf Cop In ’70s Japan

Published

on

Wolf Guy UK SleeveStarring Sonny Chiba, Etsuko Nami, Kyosuke Machida

Directed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi

Distributed by Arrow Video


As virtually every American adaptation has proven, translating manga to the big screen is a job best left to Japanese filmmakers. There is an inherent weirdness – for lack of a better term – to their cultural media that should be kept “in house” if there is to be any hope for success. Ironically, the stories are often so fantastical and wildly creative that a big American studio budget would be necessary to fully realize such a live-action vision. But I digress. Back in 1975, Toei Studios (home of Gamera) adapted the 1970 manga series Wolf Guy into a feature of the same name. Starring the legendary Shin’ichi Chiba (a.k.a. Sonny Chiba), who at that time was in his prime, the film combines elements of crime and psychedelic cinema, delivering less of a werewolf film (despite the title suggesting otherwise) and more of a boilerplate crime caper with a cop who has a few tricks up his hairy sleeve. I should stress it is the story that plays fairly straightforward, while the film itself is a wild kaleidoscope of strange characters and confounding situations… mostly.

An unseen killer, known only as “The Tiger”, prowls the streets at night slashing victims to death and leaving behind no trace. Beat cop Akira Inugami (Sonny Chiba) is on the case, and he has an advantage over his fellow brothers in blue: being a werewolf. As the opening credits flashback shows, Akira is the sole survivor of the Inugami clan of werewolves after a slaughter wiped out the rest of his kind. Now, as the last of his brethren, he uses his acute lycanthropic skills, under the auspices of the moon, to track down underworld thugs and solve cases uniquely tailored to his abilities. As the lunar cycle of the moon sees it growing fuller Akira’s powers, too, increase to superhuman levels.

Searching for this mysterious “Tiger”, Akira is led into a subterranean world of clandestine government organizations, nightclub antics, and corrupt politicians. One night, Akira is attacked and taken prisoner by a government research lab that wants to use his blood to create werewolves they can control. Only problem is – which they don’t realize – Akira’s blood cannot be mixed with that of a human; the only end result is death. Miki (Etsuko Nami), a drug user with syphilis, comes to Akira’s aid and proves to be quite useful. She holds a secret that has the potential to vastly change Akira’s world but, first, a showdown with the criminal underbelly looms on the horizon… as does the fifteenth day of the Lunar Cycle, when Akira will be made nearly invincible.

First, some bad news: Sonny Chiba never attains full werewolf status. This is not that movie. Sure, he growls and snarls and sneers and possesses many of the traits of a werewolf but in terms of physical characteristics he more or less remains “human” the entire time. Yes, even during “Lunar Cycle Day 15”, a.k.a. the moment every viewer is waiting for, to see him turn into a wolf. Instead, he just winds up kicking a lot of ass and taking very little damage. To be fair, a grizzled Sonny Chiba is still enough of a formidable presence, but, man, to see him decked out as a full-on kung-fu fighting werewolf would’ve been badass. The film could have done better at tempering expectations because it builds up “Day 15” like viewers are going to see an explosion of fur and flesh, instead it’s just plenty of the latter. Aw, well.

Lack of werewolf-ing aside, the film plays out a bit uneven. The opening offers up a strong start, with The Tiger attack, wily underworld characters being introduced, and a tripped-out acid garage rock soundtrack (which I’d kill for a copy of). But Second Act Lag is a real thing here and many of the elements that may have piqued viewer curiosity in the first act are scuttled, and although the third act and climax bring forth fresh action and a solution to the mystery it also feels a bit restrained. Then again, this is Toei, often seen as a cheaper Toho. Wolf Guy serves as a good introduction to Akira Inugami and his way of life, which makes it a greater shame no sequels were produced.

Presented with a 2.35:1 1080p image, Wolf Guy hits Blu-ray with a master supplied by Toei, meaning Arrow did no restorative work of their own on the picture – and it shows. Japanese film elements, especially those of older films, are often notorious for being poorly housed and feebly restored. This transfer is emblematic of those issues, with hazy black levels, average-to-poor definition, minimal shadow detail, and film grain that gets awfully noisy at times. The best compliment I can give is daylight close-up scenes exhibit a pleasing level of fine detail, though nothing too eye-popping. This is a decidedly mediocre transfer across the board.

The score fares a bit better, not because the Japanese LPCM 1.0 mono mix is a beast but because the soundtrack is so wildly kinetic, exploding with wild garage rock and fuzzy riffs right from the get-go. Dialogue has a slight hiss on the letter “s” but is otherwise nicely balanced within the mix. Subtitles are available in English.

“Kazuhiko Yamaguchi: Movies with Guts” is a September 2016 sit-down with the film’s director, who reflects on his career and working with an icon like Sonny Chiba.

“Toru Yoshida: B-Movie Master” is an interview with Yoshida, a former producer at Toei who oversaw this film and many others.

“Sonny Chiba: A Life in Action, Vol. 1” covers the man’s career up to a point, with the remainder finished on Arrow’s other 2017 Chiba release, Doberman Cop.

A theatrical trailer is also included, as is a DVD copy of the feature.

Special Features:

  • Kazuhiko Yamaguchi: Movies with Guts
  • Toru Yoshida: B-Movie Master
  • Sonny Chiba: A Life in Action, Vol. 1
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Wolf Guy
  • Special Features
2.8

Summary

While the film might be a bit of a letdown given what is suggested, fans of bizarre Japanese ’70s cinema – and certainly fans of Chiba’s work – should, at the least, have fun with this title.

Sending
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)
Continue Reading

News

Inside (Remake) Review – Is It as Brutal as the Original?

Published

on

Starring Rachel Nichols Laura Harring

Directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas


While the directing duo of the cringe-inducing and original 2007 French grand guignol thriller Inside have gone on to refurbishments of their own—Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo recently helmed a retread of Leatherface’s origin story—their flick now has an American stamp on it with the release of the remake, also titled Inside.

A cheerless Christmas eve sets the stage for heavily-pregnant widow Sarah’s (Rachel Nichols) oncoming ordeal. It’s a frigid and snowy night. She’s got a huge house to herself, following the accidental and violent death of her husband. She wants to sell the home that was meant to hold a family, to forget the nascent memories it once held. But she’s got to ride it out until the baby is born. While Sarah is lonesome, she won’t be alone. She’s got her genial gay neighbor nearby, and her mum is going to come and stay with her for a few days. Oh, and there will be an unexpected visitor too.

When a shadowy, seemingly stranded stranger (Laura Harring) knocks on the door pleading to be let inside, Sarah instinctively balks. She even calls the cops. But the woman leaves and all seems well. Crisis averted. Sarah puts the housekeys in the mailbox outside for Mom, and goes to bed. Big mistake.

Mystery Lady shows up at Sarah’s bedside armed with chloroform, an IV bag, and a case full of sharp-and-pointies (sorry, ’07 fans… those implements do not include a pair of scissors). The horror unfolds and the expected yet lively game of gory cat-and-mouse ensues. Then the tete-a-tete becomes a body-count chiller featuring one shocking moment after another.

Nichols is fantastic in the role, giving it her all. When the original Inside came out eleven years ago, she was starring in another French-helmed horror, P2—also set on Christmas eve—and she stole the show. She does the same here but with a less-intense adversary. Harring’s killer character, unlike her European counterpart, has a lot to say—which takes away from her initially mysterious manner as the minutes tick off. Still, the girl-on-girl action is a welcome change from the usual gender dynamic one sees in these things. Both deserve kudos for their performances.

While Inside isn’t a died-in-the-wool “Hollywood” remake (Miguel Ángel Vivas directs, while [REC] co-creator Jaume Balagueró wrote it) it feels like one. For those who’ve seen the original, there will be mild disappointment (which turns to major letdown at the very end). However, Inside is still a serviceable thriller that’s well-acted, beautifully shot, and effectively scored. Folks coming in fresh, and casual horror fans, will more than likely enjoy it.

  • Inside (Remake)
3.0

Summary

Inside is a serviceable thriller that’s well-acted, beautifully shot, and effectively scored. Folks coming in fresh, and casual horror fans, will more than likely enjoy it. For those who’ve seen the original, there will be mild disappointment (which turns to major letdown at the very end).

Sending
User Rating 1.67 (3 votes)
Continue Reading

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

* indicates required

Go Ad Free!

Support Dread Central on Patreon!

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC