Thursday, February 5, 2009

A fan perspective: Friday The 13th I-III and His Name Was Jason DVD review.

I really don't want to let people down with this being one of the biggest horror releases of the year and all. I was really excited for these and got them all, came home and popped them in. First and foremost all of the movies had a better transfer, which really makes the DVDs worthwhile in my opinion. However, that's where it ends- I am a sucker for behind the scenes, making of..., cast interviews and all of those awesome extras that every other Special Edition gets. Aside from Part I we got none of those, or at least nothing new. It really seems like that the same cast members over and over and I am not beating these people up, but am I the only one who is freaking tired of Ari Lehman's story? Why hasn't Warrington Gillette shut up yet? How many ways can you talk about a 6 second scene?

A lot of people have also complained about the transfer on the Friday The 13th uncut DVD. I have it uncut in Region 2 (which I might add has a better documentary in the special features) and it has the same exact cropped transfer. A lot of people have mentioned that the new uncut movie was cropped to the way that Cunningham wanted it cut and it's not a mess up by Paramount. People blame Paramount too easily- besides that, if anything it would be a Warner Brother's mess up since that cut was released by Warner Brothers prior to Paramount.

At any rate, the first DVD is good to have (again) uncut, with some new documentaries with the same personalities that we have seen time and time again. The reunion was also nice to see, even though it was a reunion with the same people once again- where's the other people? The interview with Cunningham at The House That Jason Built was also informative... if you have never heard Cunningham speak before... same freaking story we have heard a million times before! In the end the Friday The 13th DVD gets a B+. The Lost Tales Of Crystal Lake short was also neat- I liked it- but it was just odd to have on the DVD. It would have been nice to have the footage from the box set in the extras as well- just to have everything on one DVD. I have not listened to the commentary yet, however I am sure I will like it.

The Part II disc on the other hand, aside from the transfer and 5.1 Dolby, was a let down- nothing interesting was on this disc. Why should we once again be insulted with the boring Jason Forever documentary? Why must we hear Warrington Gillette's story lies once again? Did anyone notice that Ari Lehman told the same exact story 3 times within the matter of 2 discs? The Peter Bracke interview was also nice, however again it just felt odd to have on the DVD. It just seemed like filler to make the DVD feel like it actually had extras. I liked the Lost Tales Of Crystal Lake short on this disc as well. I'd rate the movie an A+ and the extras D-, they should have gotten an F. It's bewildering when most of the Part 2 cast is so easily accessible that there has never been a good cast interview/documentary or commentary for this movie?

The Part III in 3-D was the one I was really eager to check out. For some reason I thought the 3-D would suck- although not perfect it did not. I have the bootleg for this movie for the digital 3-D razor field sequential system and the 3-D is stunning with that. Even with the non-3-D gags there's an obvious depth of field that makes it look like the characters are in front of a distant background and it appears that you can actually look behind them. With the red and blue 3-D glasses it still had that, but not as good and not as "3-D". Some gags that completely knocks you down with the digital glasses still came out with the red and blue glasses, but not nearly as well. For instance, int he beginning where the sheets are flapping in the wind- with the digital glasses you can swear the sheets are tickling you on the chest and with the read and blue glasses it didn't even look 3-D. The gags like the pole, the eyeball, Rick's death and Jason's hands grabbing for Chris all worked well for me and generally these gags are the ones that most people looked forward to.

The problem with 3-D is that you have to tinker with it to work right. Lighting in the room is important, sometimes the lights on will work but generally they have to be off. You also have to sit at a certain distance from the TV (not too close) and make sure you focus on the screen. If your peripheral vision is seeing things out the sides of the eye it won't work. I had to bend my 3-D glasses so they covered the sides of my eyes and (really I did) tape the temples down to my head with tape. No matter what format the 3-D is in you have to simply stare and focus and this can cause a headache so watch out. I'd say the transfer on the 2-D version is A+ and the 3-D is B+, as the 3-D is C- maybe? In short the 3-D works but not nearly as well as the digital format.

As far as I am concerned His Name Was Jason was going to be the be all, end all of horror documentaries and well... it was not. Yes, it was sometimes informative, it was nice to see people like Jensen Daggett talk, it was nice to see a lot of unseen BTS footage, and just nice. But, for me those "good" things were squeezed between a lot of crap- once again the same cast members telling the same stories. I found myself fast-forwarding through Ari Lehman, Gillette, Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, and the rest of the commons to get to very short and vague interviews with lesser known cast members. There were a lot of pleasant surprises with people like Ellen Lutter and Robbi Morgan, but still, they did not say enough to make having to listen to Ari Lehman again.

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