Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (Blu-ray) (1992)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 8-Feb-2012

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Animation & Audio
Gallery-Who?
Featurette
Featurette-Actor Clips
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 135:00
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Lynch
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Sheryl Lee
Ray Wise
Mädchen Amick
Dana Ashbrook
Phoebe Augustine
David Bowie
Eric DaRe
Miguel Ferrer
Pamela Gidley
Heather Graham
Chris Isaak
Moira Kelly
Peggy Lipton
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $19.95 Music Angelo Badalamenti
David Lynch


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (2304Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     In 1990, director David Lynch and producer Mark Frost posed a question to television audiences with their show Twin Peaks – “Who killed Laura Palmer?” What followed were two wild seasons of a ground-breaking series that changed preconceptions of what kind of stories could be told on the small screen. With its distinctive and instantly recognisable theme song, and quirky cast of characters, it held up a funhouse mirror to the seemingly peaceful small town life in Northern America.

     Following cancellation of the TV series, Lynch found that he still had one more story to tell. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is that tale – the story of the final seven days of Laura Palmer and the murder that proceeded hers by a year, being that of Teresa Banks. Although set before the series, it is not intended to be watched before the series. Indeed, it presumes that you have already watched the series before coming to the film, and as such watching it first will spoil many of the surprises of the series.

     Watching Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me again I was struck by how modern the film still feels. Although now 20 years old (this Blu-Ray release is the 20th Anniversary Edition), there is a distinctive beauty to the film – a surrealism that seeks to fracture the perception of what is real, what is fantasy, what is imaginary, to create not a funhouse mirror like the series, but rather a fractured mirror splintering out from a distorted centre. In short, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is art not cinema.

     As a result, one should not look to Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Melooking for unanswered questions from the series. Instead, the movie simply poses more and more difficult questions. Moreover, it is freed from the constraints imposed on the series as a result of it being aired on a commercial television channel. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is not ground-breaking television – it is fringe cinema at its most obscure, ugly, frightening and hypnotically beautiful.

     Twenty years on, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is still as emotional and as haunting as it was in 1992 – a film far ahead of its time.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Shot on 35mm film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me has been transferred to a BD50 in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

     Encoded at a resolution 1080p in MPEG-4 AVC encode with a rough bitrate of between 25 and 24 Mbps, the picture quality is amazing. A vast improvement on the previous DVD release.

     The picture is excellent and well detailed. However, it is also quite soft. There are some rumours that this is the result of DNR, but from my impressions that is not the case. I have actually had the rare opportunity to see this film on the big screen before and it does look much as the original – Lynch used a series of filters to soften the image much the way that he did in the TV series. This was never the sharpest image in the world. The key difference here is the detail. DNR scrubbing would have erased that, but the detail is still prevalent here, much more so than the DVD.

     The colour is slightly muted, but true to the original source in this regard – the movie was shot on film using on site lighting and has not undergone the significant post-production processing that most films undergo these days to give a picture an overly saturated look.

     Shadow detail is faultless, although, as is often the case with film, the picture becomes much grainier in darker night scenes. It never devolves into blockiness however and is simply the result of film grain during a shoot at the very edge of lighting requirements.

     Film-to-video transfer artefacts were non-existent – no PAL speedup and no “video look” like you can sometimes get with NTSC.

     There is a little dirt on the print, along with a few hairs and scratches here and there, but nothing glaring.

     Subtitles are available in English for the Hearing Impaired only. They are clear and easy to read, and convey the intended meaning of the dialogue without being word for word.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Originally recorded with a Dolby Surround mix, the Blu-ray is released with a 5.1 mix in DTS-HD Master Audio at 48kHz and an average bit rate of 1.8Mbps.

     The audio is a significant step-up from the DVD release, particularly in terms of dynamics and detail in the upper registers. The famous “roadhouse scene” is as loud and full-on as it was when I saw it on the big screen with the music dialled up so loud the dialogue is almost unintelligible. This version does include the subtitles that were not present in the original print to make the dialogue intelligible.

     Dialogue is always forward and intelligible, although, as mentioned, at times it is overpowered by the music, which was a stylistic intention of Lynch. Indeed, the whole film is designed to be played loud, which results in certain parts of the soundtrack being hair-raisingly loud by comparison to the rest of the audio.

     The soundstage is generally at the front, but there is a fair amount of surround information for a film this old. Again, Lynch has always been a proponent of using sound to create an emotional response – generally, as in the case of this film, a fear response.

     The subwoofer gets a good work-out as well, picking up not just the extended bass from the music, but a variety of different sources, from car engines to gunshots.

     Overall, this is a well-balanced soundtrack, with excellent resonance in the score and realistic production of dialogue.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     The start-up menu is presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced with a 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack.

Electronic Press Kit (19:44)

     Presented in 2.0 DTS-HD MA, 1.33:1, this is the video press kit that was given to the press to assist them in writing reviews, advertising and articles. If contains a Featurette, Actor Clips, Interviews and a Trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     As at the date of this review, there is no US release of this Blu-ray. However, there is a French EU release, a Japanese release and a UK release.

     The UK release by Universal has audio in Dolby 2.0 that is rumoured to be defective, and a video transfer that is rumoured to be in the wrong aspect ratio, being a crop of a 1.33:1 print.

     The French and Japanese releases look to have the same video transfer as this version, but the French release offers French DTS-HD 5.1 audio as well, and the Japanese offers English audio in 5.1 PCM.

     The French version has the same special features as the Australia release.

     The Japanese version has an extra DVD of special features, but it is region locked to Region 1. There is scant information as to what is on this DVD.

     The French, Australian and UK versions seem to be missing the special features of the Region 1 DVD release.

Summary

     Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me retains every bit of its bizarre emotional intensity and is just as scary now as it was the first time around. On Blu-ray, those with a good enough set-up (and understanding neighbours) can finally experience the film the way it was intended to be experienced. Highly recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 3 160GB with HDMI 1.4a, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung 64" Plasma PN64E8000 (this device is 3D capable). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR6006 Receiver, Rotel RB-1552 and Rotel RMB-1565
SpeakersWharfedale Diamond 10.2 fronts, wide-fronts, and rears, Wharfedale Diamond 10.CM centre, Velodyne MicroVee Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE