My Bloody Valentine 3D Blu-ray Review
My Bloody Valentine is indulged with a DTS-MA HD 7.1 track that brings the audio side of things into your face almost as much as the 3D visuals.
Having said that, though, this is not the best seven-channel surround track that Lionsgate have presented to us, but it does a good enough job of emphasising all those bone-crunching impacts of axes into craniums, flimsy doors being splintered, underground cages rattling, windscreens shattering and guns blasting. As with Jason's latest offering (or offing, if you like) the soundscape is primarily projected from the front, with most of the attacks and the kills taking place in the foreground before us. And, adding to this frontal barrage, the terrific steerage often begins ahead of us and then comes whistling back towards us. Moments such as the flung axe hurtling out of the screen and smashing the windscreen near the start, the branch that rams into Tom's car towards the end, and a multitude of air-displacing plunges, rips and murderous arcs filling the movie in-between all have excellent clarity and full-bodied vigour. The rears pick up some of the aftermaths from these snippets of inter-personal devastation and the effect, in general, is dynamic and exciting. Panning across the set-up is seamless and involving, and positioning of voices and effects detailed and natural. I had no problems with the dialogue, myself, although I have heard some complaints that it can sometimes sound submerged in the overall scheme of things.
Although the front soundstage bears the brunt of the activity, there are still some great little surround tricks that actually had me looking over my shoulder. The crack of a twig as Tom creeps towards an old dilapidated house in the woods, or the off-screen thumps that terrorise Sarah and Megan in the store. The popping of underground lights and the squeal of tyres have good fidelity too, and the score, as unmemorable as it is, is well served by a transfer that is warm and knows how to unfurl the music with detail and richness around the set-up.Loud and powerful, the disc also comes equipped with substantial sub-action that makes the most of those axe-hits and hurled bodies. Thus, My Bloody Valentine is another well designed lossless track from Lionsgate that should certainly please.
There's a few things thrown onto this disc, but little of worth, unfortunately. We get two pairs of 3D specs, but we lose the digital copy that the American release had. Everything else seems to be in place, though. My copy is the Limited Edition one that comes inside a transparent sleeve with a bloody heart smeared across the front. So there!
Lionsgate offer some BD-Live gubbins - special offers, ringtones and exclusive material, but their background featurettes for the movie smack horribly of quick-fire promotional airbrushing.
Perhaps the most informative extra is the commentary from Patrick Lussier and co-writer Todd Farmer, but even this is so stuffed to over-flowing with praise for seemingly everyone involved with the production that it often neglects actual fact and detail. We hear lots about the cast and the location work - those mines become the darling of the crew - and there are a couple of interesting anecdotes about the loyalty and the devotion to duty of the cast, but this is often too shallow and gushing to hang around with until the end.
18-minutes of Deleted and Extended Scenes offer exactly squat to the package - just some boring extra dialogue and meandering exposition that was very rightly removed from the movie prior to its release.
A tiny little pop-promo featurette entitled Deep Inside My Bloody Valentine (7.18 mins) tells us how fantastic and awesome the mine location is and how thankful everybody is that the film is actually character-driven. All the major players have their say, but this, once again, is superficial pap that aggravates long before its meagre running time is up. Todd Farmer is keen to emphasise just how true to its mining roots the story is - yeah, right. Even at seven minutes, this is too long.
Some fun can be found in the 2-minute Gag Reel, but this is mainly just people fluffing their lines - namely Kevin Tighe and Jaime King - the odd door not opening and the Miner appearing when he was least expected. Not too bad, as these things go.
Sex, Blood And Screams is a look at the special makeup FX in the company of Gary J. Tunnicliffe who, at long last, delivers some genuine personality and humour to the whole gig. Taking us through a few of the props - some truly excellent dummies of Tom Atkins, Kevin Tighe and Todd Farmer - and shows us, albeit briefly, how they work, he comes across as down-to-earth, up for a laugh and uniquely British. The finished effects in the film are also shown and, as usual, with this type of thing, I could watch it all day long and never get bored. It is just a shame that it is only on for 5.47 mins.
The Alternate Ending - called Tom, Pick and Harry - lasts for just over a minute and is, essentially, just the same as the one in the final cut, just slightly longer and a bit noisier.
All in all, for a remake to a bit of a cult favourite that has actually been made in very successful 3D, this roster of extra features stinks. We get precious little from the makers and the actors that isn't pure wanton back-slapping and the cumulative effect is more nauseating than watching the film ten times over with those bloody specs on!
Gaining atmosphere and gore-appeal from its extra dimension, Lussier's claret-flinging remake of the 80's slasher is still nothing to write home about. Basically, you've seen it all before and probably much, much better. But this is the nature of things, I'm afraid. These Hollywood hacks come along and grab something that hasn't already been remade but has an in-built core of fans who can guarantee it some pre-release hype, laying claim to their reinterpretation being both respectful to its source and yet determined to provide us with a fresh spin on it ... and then just shovel out the same character-less, unintelligent disappointment that we get served up far too often, these days. But, it's funny, you know, because during the 80's - ah, yes, those gore-filled halcyon days of my cinematic youth - studios were churning out these shallow bodycount flicks like there was no tomorrow, anyway. With these things going in cycles, round and round all the time, we really shouldn't be too harsh on what are just regurgitated genre product. The majority of them weren't great then, so why should we expect them to be that much better now? The mistake that I see in some of these rehashes is the toning-down of the originals' essential ingredient - the bloody deaths. And, in this department, My Bloody Valentine 2009 is a clear winner. The newest Jason Vorhees wimped-out on the grue, but this pickaxe-wielding maniac from down the pit is giddily gruesome in his duties. Which works for me.
Lionsgate also provide another great transfer, overall. The 7.1 audio is terrific and the choice of both 2D and 3D video options mean that you can enjoy (almost) all fun of the flicks with the eye-popping effects, or just settle down to a very reasonable flat version. The extras aren't worth a lump of coal , though.
All in all, My Bloody Valentine, now that I've learnt to accept that it was never going to be a GREAT horror film, is certainly a good enough one to recommend to fans of the genre.
Well we've got two separate versions of the film here and both have some of the problems that are endemic to their respective mediums. The 3D transfer has an aspect of 1.78:1 whilst the 2D is rounded off at 1.85:1. Both carry a VC-1 encode.
Let's look at the 3D version first. Without a doubt, this is the selling-point for the disc ... to be able to watch the film in high-def 3D at home. But how effective is it at achieving that viewer-grabbing vividness and all-important depth? And the answer is - remarkably good. This isn't the most continually “in-yer-face” of 3D films so, beyond the money-shots of axes being hurled at the screen, somebody spitting on to your carpet and guns waggling about under your nose, the best effects are simply to be found in the strong sense of deep immersion that you get. The film's setting and photography yield terrific results. I've already mentioned the scene set in the tavern, but there are a great many shots that bolster the 3D effect. Numerous sojourns through the woods, the set-piece in the supermarket, with some great disorientating views down the aisles, people entering through doors and one door, in particular, swinging open behind Tom - almost everything has good, clean lines and an acutely believable and entertaining depth that allows the image to positively leap out at you from the screen.
Colours are, unsurprisingly, blended together and the overall image just cannot be properly assessed because of the lack of palette to flavour it. This is damaging to the gory deaths, as the blood is much less visceral-looking and has a tendency to blur and blacken when spurting. Thus, the effect is partly diluted. But only partly, because, in compensation, we get all that amazing depth to those flung eyeballs, jawbones and punctured brain-matter. Some scenes favour the green tint, others opt for the warmer pinkish one. Variables regarding this, of course, would include your own eyes as much as the technology involved. But this is something that you just have to put up with. Some scenes actually look very natural, with primaries quite apparent and some subtle shades allowed to creep through - things like daylight exteriors on the street or the occasional, well-lit interior. But, mostly, we are in the land of two-tone. Ghosting is prevalent too, which given the medium's limitations, is only to be expected. There are also two frame wobbles that I noticed during the first third of the movie - nothing disastrous, just very slight judders that don't seem to occur in the 2D version.
Overall, the 3D image is tremendous in achieving what it has to do and its problems are only par for the course until home technology can smooth them out with full-on natural 3D.
The 2D version is markedly subdued in comparison. Although colours are the most obvious stand-out after watching the 3D take, the image is still slightly drab and lifeless. It looks earthy and favours browns, yellows and greens. Skin tones aren't healthy, but there is some texture to them. Black levels are reasonably good though, and those crucial reds are obviously much better presented in terms of spurting blood. Contrast is fine, though not great and the image fails to have any vivid zing to it, although when you flick between the two versions, this element can't help but fall behind its 3D counterpart for obvious reasons. However, this edition has more detail across the board. Nothing spectacular, I should add, as the transfer is still some way behind the best that the format has to offer, but possibly where it counts most in such a movie - the grievous wounds inflicted, which now reveal more glorious viscera and some messily ragged edges. The cracks in broken glass may not striate your retinas in quite the same way, but they still look crisper and better delineated. But background detail seems to suffer and there is a sense of blandness about the picture that will have you yearning for the 3D image again. There was also some slight banding that I noticed, though nothing to plague what is a solid enough transfer.
I wasn't bothered by any edge enhancement or noise by the 2D version, but this is still only an average transfer.
My Bloody Valentine just has to get an 8 out of 10 for its 3D effect, folks.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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