The Wicker Man (2006)
|Year Of Production||2006|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Neil LaBute|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
After witnessing a terrible road accident, police officer Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage) is indefinitely placed on stress leave. While on leave, he receives a letter from his ex-fiancé, Willow (Kate Beahan), asking him for help locating her young daughter. Edward accepts the task and soon makes the trip to help out, but is still haunted by the accident that he witnessed.
Willow now lives on a small island colony, among a cult of women who worship bees, are each named after a tree and treat men as mindless drones. Edward and Willow soon come to believe that Willow's daughter has been kidnapped by the other women in the cult and is to be used as a human sacrifice. Working against the clock, Edward frantically searches the village to uncover the madness that has led to the kidnapping and to find the girl.
The original version of the The Wicker Man is a classic psychological thriller that played with occult and pagan mystery while contrasting the associated old-world lifestyle with the paranoia that the older generation of the day had about the hedonism and "free love" hippy ideals of the day. It was a masterpiece. This unnecessary remake isn't. In short, while gratuitously aping the original, it has sorely missed the point.
Obviously, the concept was in need of a significant degree of updating to be taken seriously in a modern context, but this adaptation only proves that the concept was all too particular to the age the original was made. Even with some relatively clever updating (and a host of less clever updating), the concept errs more towards silly than creepy and dull rather than suspenseful. A stellar cast of supporting actresses (Ellen Burstyn, Molly Parker, Frances Conroy, Leelee Sobieski) is squandered in inconsequential roles.
Ultimately, there is really no reason to watch this version of The Wicker Man. There are far worse movies out there, but few that paint themselves into the following dilemma: If you have seen the original then this version will seem to have frustratingly missed the point of the affair, but if you haven't seen the original then this rather dull imitation is similar enough that it would ruin the effect of the original.
The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.
The image is a quite soft throughout, but consistently so. There are no issues with noticeable film grain or low level noise. There is a good amount of detail visible in darker scenes, but much of the film appears to be a little too bright and this results in many of the blacks appearing lighter than they should. Other than appearing too bright, the colours appear to be fairly accurate.
There are a number of noticeable MPEG compression-related artefacts noticeable throughout the film. In particular, pixelation in backgrounds occasionally reaches a distracting level (eg. at 27:10). There are no film artefacts visible in the transfer.
An English subtitle track and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitle track. Both appear accurate and well-timed, based on the portion I sampled.
This is a single layer disc, so there is no layer change.
There is one English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps) audio track.
The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. It appears to be well synchronized throughout.
The film features a score by cult favourite Angelo Badalamenti. Despite the recognisable name, there is little to really recommend it. It fits the feature well, but would be hard to tell apart from many another suspense thriller score. It is well mixed however.
The surrounds are put to reasonable effect throughout the film, but nothing more than you would expect from a recent film. There is modest subwoofer usage, but rarely much call for support from the LFE channel either (other than to back up some nice flames towards the end of the film).
|Surround Channel Use|
The disc opens with the annoying anti-piracy trailer that many have come to loathe and a rather over-compressed trailer for Blu-ray (it looks so bad, you would almost think it was done deliberately to make us think how much better Blu-ray must be).
An excessively chatty and self congratulatory commentary that is dominated by Neil LaBute. Despite talking a great deal, none of the commentators have much to say or are cut off by LaBute when they try. This one is a waste of time and space.
Trailers for Casino Royale, The Covenant, The Pursuit of Happyness and Talledega Nights.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 edition comes as a dual-sided disc with the original "rated" version on one side and an "unrated" version on the other. The "unrated" version is the same version that is found on the Region 4 disc. By all accounts, the only difference is an additional scene at the end of the film. The special features on the discs are otherwise identical. Region 1 wins this round.
An uncomfortably silly and rather dull remake of a true classic. If you are looking for a tale of creepy pagan-filled madness, check out the original The Wicker Man. Alas, this remake serves for little other than to spoil the original.
The video transfer is fair, though not quite up to the standard you would likely expect of a recent release. The audio is fine. The sole extra is not worth the effort.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3, using S-Video output|
|Display||Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|