PictureYou have to be careful when scrutinising a movie's image on this medium. It would be far too easy to say everything is great as practically any Blu-Ray disc outperforms even the best DVD has to offer. But now we have to compare the image to those of others on the same medium and in that respect, Wild Things holds up pretty well.
Wild Things is set entirely on location in and around the Florida Everglades and in unbroken sunshine. This results in an image filled with natural light, not the artificial light of a studio but a beautiful radiance which gives the picture a real sparkle. Presented using AVC encoding and in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 this widescreen image has a true cinematic feel and the lush surroundings of the locations are captured perfectly in both detail and rich colour hues
Detail is not overtly noticeable here, but sufficiently natural to still be impressive. Close-ups of faces , especially during one scene featuring Denise Richards where the pores on her face are clearly visible as a tear runs down to her lips, look superb. It's these close-ups that impress more than the distant shots which look fine, just not exceptional as on some other releases. These long shots are not helped by a slight amount of grain which although not overtly distracting, does work against the detail levels. Also welcome is a lack of any noticeable image blocking which hints at the improved quality of the encoding on this and many other recent Sony Blu-Ray releases.
Colours are rich and vibrant throughout. With blue seas, sumptuous lush green trees and grasses and sun soaked sandy beaches, we have a perfect palette with which to work. Always vivid yet always natural especially the golden tanned skin tones of our lead characters. In fact, Neve Campbell's pale complexion is quite pronounced next to the darker shades of the other actors.
Black levels are rarely taxed with much of the movie set during bright daylight, but the image still carries an admirable amount of contrast giving the picture good depth. The few scenes that there are set at night lack a certain level of black depth and the blacks seem warmer with hints of reds but this appears to be intentional rather than any kind of deficiency and is used to create a hazy, humid atmosphere.
Wild Things looks good without looking outstanding. It has a very natural feel to it which compliments the locations perfectly. This lack of edge enhancement is very welcome in my opinion and although detail could be slightly more defined, it suits this film just right.
SoundA brilliant, yet sublime use of sound is presented on this disc. Using the prefered uncompressed PCM soundtrack option, the use of the surrounds is exemplary. Placing you smack bang in the middle of the Florida Everglades, you can hear every nuance of the surroundings. Crickets chirping, streams running in the background and all kinds of animal life can be heard from all speakers at any time. These sounds are subtle, but every now and again, you will find yourself admiring the use of ambient effects.
Being a mostly dialogue driven movie, there is almost no use nor need for any deep rumbling bass. In fact, the only time you will be aware of your sub working at all is during a scene featuring a gun shot where the shot has a deep thud to it. This made me notice how little bass there actually was during the feature but then again, it didn't really need it!
Dialogue is followed easily and comes over warmly yet crisp and clear even considering all the effects emanating from the surrounds! I was extremely impressed with the sound in Wild Things , no it may not be up there with Star Wars but the appeal lies in its subtlety, which is how any good soundtrack should be.
ExtrasNothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero......Not even a trailer!
VerdictWild Things is an entertaining yarn which shouldn't be taken too seriously. Its appeal lies in the use of plot twists of which there are many, and not in its ultimately unfulfilled promise of eroticism which to be honest is left mostly to the imagination. With an all star cast including cameos from seasoned pros Theresa Russell and Robert Wagner, Wild Things may be a once only movie, but that 'once' should still be enjoyable all the same.
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