Doogan Double DVD
Lynch.. artist, filmmaker, Internet whore. The French love him, and
his films confuse American audiences as much as they entertain. But
love him or hate him, you WILL watch his movies. Why? He's the
proverbial car crash you can't stop staring at. His films are rife
with beauty tied up with the grotesque, poetics mixed with
ham-fisted symbolism. He's one of The
Digital Bits' favorite filmmakers and today we look at
two of his most recent releases on DVD.
Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
1992 (2002) - New Line
Film Rating: A-
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features:
134 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:14:15 in chapter
24), Snapper case packaging, original documentary, theatrical
trailer, animated film-themed menu screens with sound, scene
selection (40 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1, 2.0 and DTS
5.1) and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English and French, Closed
to tie-up the loose ends in the story of Laura Palmer's decent into
hell in the Twin Peaks TV
series, upon it's original release, most critics and fans turned
their backs on Fire Walk with Me.
The reasons were simple: when compared to the original series, there
was something overly violent and less "down home" about
the film. Peggy Lipton says in the documentary on this disc, that
she doesn't like the film because the undercurrent of layered
innocent Americana isn't here. But I challenge that. In my thinking,
Twin Peaks, as a small Northwestern town, didn't have any underlying
Americana until they had secrets to hide in relation to Laura's
death. The syrupy sweet aspects of Twin Peaks only came out after
they realized their egg was a very bad thing indeed. But before
Agent Cooper and friends came a pokin', Twin Peaks might have been a
place when they've forgotten the kitschy edge. Only when the town
needed to hide their real selves, did the pie, coffee and
good-natured people show themselves.
I think critics of this film should come back and re-examine it all
these years later, because time has made for a better viewing
experience. I say that with authority, considering that I was one of
the initial critical haters of this film. I loved the series, but
hated this film when I first saw it, thinking that Lynch had missed
his own point. Now I know I was wrong and can see what Lynch was
trying to pull off.
Fire Walk with Me follows
Laura Palmer as she heads for her last days. We see in her both the
coke whore and the high-school sweetheart. The conniver and the
innocent, the victimizer and the victim. It's not a pretty picture,
but it's nothing new to fans of Twin
Peaks. Most of the main players in Laura's life and
after-life are here: Agent Cooper, the Man from Another Place, the
One-Armed Man, Leo, Jacque, Bob and of course, Leland. But there are
a few new players here as well. Chris Issak plays the FBI man who
heads up the Teresa Banks murder, Keifer Sutherland is his forensics
man and David Bowie plays an agent who crossed over to the Red Room
but made it back to tell his co-workers what he saw (before he's
suddenly grabbed back). It all makes for a thoroughly engaging,
dream-like film and therefore a thoroughly Lynchian one. One note:
if you're looking for a twist ending, you won't find one here. It
ends with the hanging thread waiting to be found in the
Twin Peaks television series.
The DVD from New Line, although initially promised to be a packed
special edition (with some of the hour's worth of deleted scenes
from the Cannes premier cut of the film as supplement), is sadly
little more than a standard edition. But that's okay. We can't fault
New Line for not being able to secure the American rights to the
footage. For what it is, Fire
looks and sound great on DVD. Well, let me take that back. That's
true except for one major faux pas (more on that in a moment). The
blacks solid, colors are bright and detail is pretty incredible.
This film was made for hi-end, digital presentation, and New Line
didn't drop the ball with the video at all.
But on the audio side, they stumbled a bit. Yes, the sound is in
luscious Dolby Digital 5.1 and an even more delicious DTS 5.1 (along
with a nicely enveloping English 2.0). But for some strange and odd
reason, the scene that takes place in the Bang Bang Bar in Canada
(where the music is deliberately so overpowering that you can hardly
hear the dialogue and therefore everything is subtitled), is mixed
so that you can hear everything perfectly well. Why!? It was
supposed to be too loud to hear the dialogue! There are subtitles
for a reason. It's a very stupid mistake. Oddly, the same scene in
the French 2.0 mix is absolutely perfect, as is the same scene when
it's being discussed in the documentary on this disc. Another big QC
hiccup is the fact that this disc has chapter stops, which is a big
Lynch DVD no-no. They aren't listed on the packaging and they're not
selectable in the menus, but there are 40 of them suckers
nonetheless. Between that and the sound glitch, someone really
screwed the pooch.
Aside from the nice video presentation and good sound (ah-hum), New
Line gives us the original trailer and a new documentary from Mark
Rance and company at Three Legged Cat. These are the same guys who
did the supplements on the original series set, so a lot of these
interviews are from the same sessions. But beware, the artistic
editing style from the original series supplements is in that same
pseudo-Lynch style, which was highly annoying on the TV DVDs and is
even more so here. But stick with it, because a lot of the
information gathered in these interviews is priceless and worth
Give Fire Walk with Me
another chance - even all you critics out there that hated the film
the first time. Enough time has gone by to provide a little
perspective, which actually helps this to be a better understood
film. I just wish New Line hadn't fixed that sound "glitch"
that wasn't really a glitch...
Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
2001 (2002) - Universal
Film Rating: A
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A/C-
Specs and Features:
147 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:13:10 in chapter
1), Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailer, cast and crew
biographies and filmographies, animated film-themed menu screens
with sound, scene selection (none), languages: English (DD and DTS
5.1), subtitles: English, Spanish and French
not going to tell you what Mulholland
Drive is about. You don't need to know up front and part
of the fun is trying to figure it out for yourself. I will say that
when I first watched the film, I hated it. That's saying something,
because it was the first Lynch film that I had ever truly hated. I
mean, I didn't like Fire Walk with Me
the first time I saw it, but I didn't hate it. And I was one of the
few people out there to like Lost Highway
when I first saw it. That goes to say that I'm pretty used to being
confused by, but liking, Lynch's dream-style.
But Mulholland... oh, I hated
it. When I got done watching the film, I called Drew up and yelled
at him because he said loved the film in passing conversation. I
called him, railed against the film, the acting, the tone and the
awful ending and he just sat there taking it all in and listening to
me. And when I was done, and all my questions about what the hell
happened in the film were asked, he simply said, "Go to
Salon.com and read their analysis. But do that only after you watch
the film a second time. Promise me you'll watch the film again."
I promised and then the bastard hung up on me.
So I hunkered down and watched the film again, all the way through.
And I have to say, upon second viewing, I understood it. I
understood what I was watching, why the ending seemed awful but
turned out brilliant and why all the acting at first seemed off, but
in the context of the film, was genius. I popped the disc out, put
it in its case and then I went to Salon.com and read what they had
to say and felt validated. Hey, and I even think I know what the "blue
box" is. Salon.com claims they don't, so there!
So without spoiling the film with set-up and my hackneyed
explanations, my only advice to you is, see this movie. It's
everything a movie should be. But promise that you'll watch it
twice. Because if you're an observant film watcher, you'll catch it.
You'll know what it all means. And if you don't, then you can go
to Salon.com and read what they have to say. I promise that if
you normally like Lynch, but have a hard time with this movie, once
you understand what he's doing, this will become one of your
favorite of his oeuvre.
The Universal DVD does the film great justice. The picture is
anamorphic and features some incredible color representation. There
are no artifacts and line definition is clean and without noise. The
sound is also pretty incredible (as most Lynch films use sound play
to the nth degree and should feature the best possible sound
features). English is the only option available, but it's in both
Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1, and both sound great.
There are no features to speak of, unless you think the trailer and
a cast and crew bio index are special. I would have liked a
commentary and a "making of" documentary, but I'd also
like a million dollars and I'm not going to get that anytime soon.
Mulholland Drive is a really
great film once you figure out what's going on. Drew's right, watch
the film twice and if you still don't get it, look on the Internet
for some explanations. Mulholland Drive
will prompt thought and conversation... and isn't that what good art
is all about?
I just want to make two quick additional notes about
Mulholland Drive. First, there
are no chapter stops on the DVD. It's NOT a defect of the disc.
Lynch has said in the past that films arent books and
therefore shouldn't have chapters. His films will all be offered on
DVD without chapter stops in the future. The old version of
Blue Velvet is the exception,
but that will be replaced soon. Second, there's the issue of the
blurring of Laura Herring's nether region during the first love
scene between Rita and Betty in Drive.
I personally think it was done during the original theatrical
printing and no one noticed. It's a very dark and quick shot - even
my wife originally thought she saw something and when we went back
she was shocked to see a quick blur. Even if it wasn't done
theatrically and was done for the DVD, David Lynch himself said he
did it personally and he did it to keep people from downloading and
spreading the image online. On Lynch's own site he recently
discussed the issue and when asked if the new Blue
Velvet DVD will be censored as well (for Isabella
Rossellini's full frontal nudity) he said no, because the technology
wasn't available back then. Confusing, but I think with that
statement he confirms that he did the blurring in
Drive for the original prints
of the film. As further fortification, I found a children's
protection website (see
this link) that notes an instance of "silhouette/shadowed
nudity", and if they didn't catch full frontal nudity, then I
believe it wasn't there.
Of course, if you feel the need to debate this issue, head over to
our friends at
Peaks Gazette and their forum on the subject and debate
away. Thanks to Jordan and The Gazette
for pointing us to the forum.
all for now. Have a great weekend and keep spinning those discs!