|Category||Thriller||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono)|
|Rating||Other Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - Dolby Digital City|
|Year Released||1998||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||80:22 minutes||Other Extras||Music Video - The Flys - Got You Where I Want You
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Yes||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, some sound cues after credits|
The plot premise and its development seem very promising on paper, but the actual execution of this movie is ponderous in the extreme. You know you are in for a hard time of it when a large chunk of the early part of the movie is spent in unnecessary expository dialogue meant to introduce you to the various factions at Crystal Bay High School. It sounds and looks very clumsy, and sets the tone for the rest of the movie, which requires an inordinate suspension of disbelief to believe that the events depicted are in the slightest bit plausible. Admittedly, towards the end of the movie, it turns more into a slasher flick, which can be enjoyed without your sense of reason and logic getting troublingly in the way.
Steve Clark (James Marsden) is a teenager whose family has moved to Crystal Bay from Chicago following the suicide of his brother. He enrols at the local high school, where we learn (through the endless expository dialogue mentioned previously) that there are several factions at the school; the petrol-heads, the pot-heads, the skateboard-heads and the Blue Ribbon Club. These are the ones to watch out for because they are all so perfect. Gavin Strick (Nick Stahl) has it all figured out - there is some form of mind control going on involving the Blue Ribbon Club, but one day Gavin is enrolled in the "program" and turns from being a pot-head into a model Blue Ribbon Club member. Steve feels obligated to investigate.
The transfer was razor sharp and crystal clear. Shadow detail was excellent and there was no low level noise.
The colours were perfectly rendered, with no tendency towards over- or undersaturation.
No MPEG artefacts were seen. No film-to-video artefacts were seen. The only fault I could pick with this transfer was several large white blotches in the transfer between 53:33 and 53:36, in a scene featuring a long shot of a ferry.
The overall level of this movie seemed marginally low, and I increased it a little to listen to the movie. This seems to be a common issue with recent Columbia Tristar DVDs.
Dialogue was frequently muffled and hard to make out over the background music and ambience, which made the story even harder to follow.
There were no audio sync problems.
The score by Mark Snow suited the style of the movie aptly - there was a lot of bass energy in this score.
The surround channels were used for ambience and for special effects, though most of the effects tended to be placed in the front soundstage rather than being fully enveloping, a minor disappointment considering the style of effects that they were. I felt that there was considerably more potential for the use of the surrounds during this movie.
The .1 channel got heavy use from the score and from the odd special effect.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is good but dialogue intelligibility is somewhat problematic at times.
The extras are passable.
© Michael Demtschyna
10th September 1999
|DVD||Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer|
|Speakers||Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer|