Click here to learn more about anamorphic widescreen!
Go to the Home Page
Go to The Rumor Mill
Go to Todd Doogan's weekly column
Go to the Reviews Page
Go to the Trivia Contest Page
Go to the Upcoming DVD Artwork Page
Go to the DVD FAQ & Article Archives
Go to our DVD Links Section
Go to the Home Theater Forum for great DVD discussion
Find out how to advertise on The Digital Bits

Site created 12/15/97.

The Digital Bits logo
page created: 1/14/04

Freddy vs. Jason
Platinum Series - 2003 (2004) - New Line

review by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Freddy vs. Jason: Platinum Series Film Rating: C+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A+/A-A

Specs and Features

Disc One - The Film
97 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at ??), custom keep case packaging, audio commentary featuring director Ronny Yu and actors Robert England and Ken Kirtzinger, "Jump to a Death" scene access, film-themed animated menu screens with sound, scene access (17 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 EX), subtitles: English and Spanish, Closed Captioned

Disc Two - Supplemental Material
19 deleted scenes and alternate ending (with optional commentary), 5 production featurettes (including Genesis: Development Hell, On Location: Springwood Revisited, Art Direction: Jason's Decorating Tips, Stunts: When Push Comes to Shove and Makeup Effects: Freddy's Beauty Secrets), Visual FX featurettes, footage from Camp Hackenslash, reprint of two-part Fangoria article (Freddy and Jason go to Development Hell), footage from the pre-fight promotional event at Bally's in Las Vegas, theatrical trailers (for Freddy vs. Jason, The Butterfly Effect, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Jason Goes to Hell and Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare), TV spots, Ill Nino's How Can I Live music video, storyboards and still galleries, DVD-ROM material (featuring enhanced viewing with screenplay and trivia, The Cutting Room Floor editing suite and web links)

"Freddy died by fire and Jason died by water. How can we use that?"

I couldn't tell you why, but watching this film for the first time in the theater, I had a great time. Yeah, the acting is awful (awful!) and the dialogue is even worse (as with the above quote, you will laughingly say, "What!?!" several times during the course of the film). But I have to say, the first time you catch Freddy vs. Jason, as long as you have an open mind to the fact that you're watching two goofy slasher monsters appearing in the same film with "versus" in the title, you'll have a good time. But I'll also say that repeat viewings of this film don't help it. In fact, it starts to show its true colors when you see it the second time.

Freddy vs. Jason is just that. Freddy, trapped in hell with no way out, infects the mind of Jason by using his dreams. Sending him on a rampage on Elm Street, Freddy is trying to slowly invoke his name and image in the minds of the Elm Street youth. Much like Peter Pan's Tinkerbell, if the kids believe, Freddy will gain power and can escape his hellish prison. Well... things work out and Freddy manifests, only to find Jason not so easily controlled. All this leads up to a no-holds barred battle within and without the dream world, around Elm Street and ending in Crystal Lake. If you know the mythos of each film series, you'll have a fun ol' time jumping around the film. This is helped by the fact that every other event here plays homage to the Friday and Nightmare films. Punny, surreal dream deaths: check. Violent, Home Depot funded deaths: check. Naked kids, humping and partying: check. Strong female lead ending the orgy of evil: check. Freddy vs. Jason's got it all.

FvsJ is directed by Ronny Yu, who brought some very cool HK cinema to life, most notably The Bride With White Hair 1 and 2. He also gave life to The Bride of Chucky and Formula 51. So, Yu knows his way around fun, violent films with a cinematically beautiful edge. And FvsJ is all those things: fun, violent and cinematically beautiful. Overall, it has its moments. It just doesn't combine them into a unified whole, and that's too bad. It's particularly disappointing because, as pop culture, most of the Friday films (well, aside from maybe, Jason Goes to Hell) are re-watchable even though they're just as bad as FvsJ. The Elm Street film are also just as fun (again, except for maybe Freddy's Dead), but as cinema, they hold up a little more than any of the Friday films, as they ushered in stylish new directors. The fact that FvsJ works at all, owes itself to the last 20 minutes or so when Freddy and Jason go at it with a lot of fury and funked up fight choreography. The way it's all done, you'll wish there were more of it in the film.

Freddy vs. Jason is given to us in both 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 pan and scan. As always, New Line does an incredible job with the video. The transfer is colorful, deep, very detailed and clean. Sound is also good in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX. The surround channels are very active, with some intense action in the rear speakers, solid LFE and nice centered dialogue up front. If you're a fan of the film, you'll love how it looks and sounds on DVD.

But hey, it's not just the movie you people want, is it? No. We all want the extras, don't we? Well let's take a look at the "added value material" shall we?

First up, we're treated to a very nice and cordial commentary track featuring Yu, Freddy's alter-ego Robert England and the new Jason, Ken Kirtzinger. It's a nice track, but nothing that will blow you away. England talks about how much fun everyone was and how talented they are. Yu discusses the production and Kirtzinger chimes in here and there. Everyone is very nice, and they even make mention of the Kane Hodder Controversy (Jason to the true Friday fans).

Now we're moving on to what everyone out there will consider the most important aspect, the deleted/extended scenes. There are 19, and they add nothing to anything. The extended opening is a bit more Friday than the version in the film, the add-on ending is awful and everything else deserved to be on the cutting room floor. The nice thing is, these deleted scenes look as good as the film with three sound options (5.1, 2.0 and commentary). But their technical quality isn't enough to make the scenes any more worthwhile. If you're buying this disc thinking the ending will be badass, do yourself a favor and buy it because you liked the film.

My favorite bonus features are the Visual FX featurettes. The two guys in charge of the digital effects break down the hows and whys of each of the major, as well as a few minor, effects. These guys are fun and easy to watch, and the magic they pulled off is pretty wild.

There are also the usual slew of production featurettes that cover everything from the screenwriters, to location scouting, stunts, set design and Freddy's new face. Of least importance is the feature entitled Camp Hackenslash which looks at the premiere event sponsored by Ain't it Cool News down in Austin. If you though Freddy was scary, wait until you see Harry dressed as a camp counselor. Rounding out the extras are a reprint of the two-part Fangoria article detailing the long road the film took to production, trailers for this and other New Line horrors (like Butterfly Effect, TCM and Jason Goes to Hell/Freddy's Dead), still and storyboard galleries, a music video, footage from a promo event at Bally's Casino in Las Vegas and the standard DVD-ROM enhanced viewing mode stuff (with the script, trivia, edit-the-film-your-damn-self and weblinks).

Anyone over the age of 25 has to be at least somewhat of a fan of these films. but if Freddy vs. Jason is your first taste, then go out and pick up Friday the 13th 2 and 3, and Nightmare on Elm Street 1 and 3 first. Then come back to this. For everyone else, Freddy vs. Jason is cheesy, nostalgic fun, and it looks great on DVD.

Todd Doogan
[email protected]

Buy this DVD now at Amazon!
E-mail the Bits!

Don't #!@$ with the Monkey! Site designed for 1024 x 768 resolution, using 16M colors and .gif 89a animation.
© 1997-2015 The Digital Bits, Inc., All Rights Reserved.
[email protected]