Rose Red (Stephen King's) (2002)

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Released 9-Jul-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Featurette-Making Of-Bad House-The Making Of Rose Red
Featurette-Unlocking Rose Red: The Diary Of Ellen Rimbauer
Gallery-Artwork
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 244:49
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (80:54)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Craig R. Baxley
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Nancy Travis
Matt Keeslar
Kimberly J. Brown
David Dukes
Julian Sands
Julia Campbell
Matt Ross
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Gary Chang


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Italian
French
Spanish
German
Italian 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

    We have seen many Stephen King adaptations over the years and most of them fail to capture the soul of Stephen King's writing. Probably the adaptations from Stephen King's horror library that could be considered 'good' films in the eyes of the masses are Carrie directed by Brian De Palma and The Shining by Stanley Kubrick. Of course, there are the drama-based stories that King has written like The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile that have transferred brilliantly to the film medium, but for the most part, the stories that most would consider as King's 'meat and potatoes' have been very disappointing indeed. (The Lawnmower Man, anyone?)

    To counter this trend, and maybe to fuel his creativity, King turned to ABC television in the US and started to remake his films as mini-series for the network. The Stand was the first of these, and then The Shining a few years later. Rose Red is the latest instalment of this kind; a very long and drawn-out horror story about yet another science experiment inside a haunted house.

    Although this plot has been covered a few times recently in cinema, King still thought it necessary to try again to see if people were interested. Originally written at Steven Spielberg's request, King eventually sold the screenplay to ABC television after Spielberg distanced himself from the project.

    The story of Rose Red starts with an expedition to a haunted house called Rose Red that has a long history of paranormal activity since its construction in the early 1900s. Inhabited by John & Ellen Rimbauer, the huge mansion has long been the cause of disappearances and accidental deaths until the mid 1970s.

    When Joyce Reardon (Nancy Travis), a psychologist obsessed with the paranormal, conducts an expedition to Rose Red to try and unlock the paranormal that has laid dormant for 30 years, you can guess what starts to happen....

    The production values of this film are very impressive. I would love to see the budget for this film, as it truly is a great looking spectacle. The sets and (most of) the effects are great and the cast and crew are very expansive. But for all the great aspects of this mini series, it probably has more pitfalls than positives - at 4 hours, it is amazingly long, and not enough happens to keep the viewer's interest. It also feels very disjointed and sloppy in its story telling.

    For a TV movie though, it is a solid performance, and worth checking out if you love this sort of thing - otherwise you may have to take a few breathers like I did!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this film is far from terrible, but it is not striking, either.
 
    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, just as it was made for TV, and, needless to say, it is not 16x9 enhanced. The feature is presented in three episodes, each running for approximately 80 minutes, with episodes 1 & 2 on disc 1 and episode 3 on disc 2.

    The main fault with this transfer is its lack of a sharp and crisp picture. The picture loses focus a couple of times throughout the disc 1 at 56:06 and 111:48. There is a very light grain present for the majority of the film, which causes a slightly soft look. Even with this apparent grain, the shadow detail presents pretty well with the film's very dark nature. There is some edge enhancement, with the worst example being on Joyce's right cheek at 101:42 on disc 1.

    Colours are steady throughout, with the film holding a brown and red palette which is very strong. There is no colour bleed and flesh tones look natural.

    There is one MPEG artefact to be found, in the form of Gibb Effect at 1:04 on disc 1. There are plenty of film-to-video artefacts in the form of aliasing. There are heaps of examples, ranging from the obvious to the subtle. Here are some time references that show a good cross-section of examples: 46:56, 48:18, 48:38, 62:00 and 152:54 on disc 1 and 39:06, 49:19, 52:40 and 77:35 on disc 2.

    I watched quite a lot of the English subtitles and found them vary from the spoken word significantly. Rarely was there a line of spoken dialogue that matched its subtitle.

    Both discs are RSDL formatted with the layer change occurring at 80:54 on disc 1, which is perfectly placed between episodes 1 and 2 as it fades to black. I could not find the layer change on disc 2 - I would presume that episode 3 is on one layer and the extra features are on the other.

    As this film is made for TV, every so often the screen fades to black and then comes back up at the next scene - this is where ad breaks would have been. For me, this detracts from the viewing experience and probably could have been tightened up for the production of this DVD. It would not have been too hard to go back into the editing room and bring these breaks together to help the flow of the film and give it more of a theatrical feel.

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

Audio

    In general, the audio transfer is of solid quality, but sound is not used to its full potential.
 
    There are two different audio tracks recorded on this DVD. I listened to the default English 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack, recorded at 384kb/s.

    The dialogue quality is solid with rarely an instance where dialogue is inaudible - occasionally, I had to replay a line to find out what was said, but this problem can be attributed to the delivery of the line as opposed to the production of the DVD. There were no problems with audio sync.

    The musical score of this film is uninspiring and not particularly memorable. Composer Gary Chang had a big job to do to keep the feel of the music level with the feel of the surroundings.
 
    For a 5.1 soundtrack, there is little to no surround activity. Obviously, the film was not designed to use these channels, but having a soundtrack of this sort probably could have meant that we get a little more from these areas. Mostly used for quiet musical cues, there was only one time when I really noticed the surrounds: at 47:37 on disc 2.

    The subwoofer was hardly used.

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

Extras

 

Menu

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, this static menu offers a photo of the exterior of the house with a close up of the statue of Ellen Rimbauer.
 

Featurette- Bad House: The Making of Rose Red

    This making of is excellent quality. Featuring interviews with Stephen King and most of the cast and crew, this featurette takes us through most of the production of the film in its 28:07 run time. Interestingly, on the Region 1 version of this disc, this documentary runs for 50 minutes. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. 

Featurette - Unlocking Rose Red: The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer

    This is a fake documentary about Rose Red that screened on ABC television a few weeks before the miniseries. It is presented in a serious fashion to heighten the interest in the film. It tells the basic story of Ellen Rimbauer and features actors playing the 'real life' Joyce Reardon and Steven Rimbauer. It plays pretty well. Total running time is 21:29. It is, of course, 1.33:1 not 16x9 enhanced.

Artwork Gallery

    Here are a collection of production stills, story boards and other designs that went into making the house, the film, its costumes and some of its shots.

R4 vs R1

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

 

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 4 release definitely misses out on some important extras here, with the biggest omission being the director's commentary, and the rest of the Bad House featurette. With this in mind, I would suggest that  the Region 1 disc is the version of choice.

Summary

    Rose Red is a very long and boring story of another haunted house. As I said above, if you love this sort of stuff, then by all means check it out, but otherwise it might be a bit much for you.

    The video transfer is flawed but ultimately OK.

    The audio is under-used.

    The extras are decent, but I did not care about the film enough to find them really interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Hugh Fotheringham (what the hell is going on in bio??)
Sunday, September 22, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S525, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm) 16:9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersJamo X550 Left and Right, Jamo X5CEN Centre, Jamo X510 Surround

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