Superb blu ray version of a classic film
barry | Boston, MA United States | 10/09/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love The Exorcist - always have. I have purchased all the versions along the way - vhs, dvd, extended version. But now that most films I purchase are blu rays I was thrilled at the release of The Exorcist on blu ray. There is always a simple first question to be asked when an older film is released on blu ray. Was it a quick hatchet job merely to make more money off the film or was it a lovingly done restoration taking advantage of the new technology of blu ray. I can gladly 1000% say that this one is handled with loving care. The film looks amazing. Color and the black/white ration is amazing. Close ups throughout will have you awestruck. It honestly is like viewing the film for the first time. And they so impressively left the grainy parts intact. This is a film over 30 years old and they could have easily erased all signs of age. But some of the graininess in dark or night footage is necessary to the telling of the story and they left it as it should be. Audio is superb and your home theater system will have a field day with the dramatic audio here. Dialogue is also pefectly presented and not off from the musical backdrop or extrememe sound of the violent scenes.
Now to the effects. Remember that this film is decades old and special effects have grown leaps and bounds. Here we get all of the scenes with Reagan totally cleaned up and let me tell you none of the frightening aspect is gone. The only thing I noticed was how the blood was obviously red paint. Otherwise this film is in no way dated and the blu ray version in fact raises it to another level. I was amazed at how my perceptioon of the film changed due to this amazing version. I think it is a huge gift that both the original theatrical version and the later extended director's cut are presented here in blu ray glory. I prefer the theatrical version so that is the version I am speaking of. I think that The Exorcist often gets misconstrued being described as a pure horror film. It is so much more than this. It is true that film makers have been trying to duplicate the effect of this film ever since. From Scream, Halloween and Friday the 13 directors are trying to reach the same effect. But by doing this they are missing the whole point.
Viewing the film this time was the first time I saw how obviously it is a film of good versus evil and each viewer will have a different perception. The Catholic Church plays a huge part and obviously represents the good and it works so well. The viewer must see the Church as a religious presence and the nurturing it represented before all the tragic issues that would later arise within the church. The priests here are good men, some troubled but all wanting to do their best. Regan is perfectly displayed as an innocent without rubbing it in the viewers face. From the beginning scene it is obvious that evil is being shown and as it wraps itself inside Regan it is terrifying. The special effects still work for they are used to add to the story and meaning of the film. They are not meant to be gratuituous. In a world with such trouble this films clearly shows that there is good and evil. The viewer is left with much to think about after viewing this superb blu ray version.
I know people have double and triple dipped on The Exorcist but I cannot praise the blu ray release highly enough. And it is handsomely presented in a hardback booklet with 38 pages of history on the film inside. And there are special effects galore. There is a new 3 part documentary on the film's production and legacy plus a feature length 1998 documentary on the making of the film with so much more. The Exorcist is indeed a horror film but it is so much more. It is one of the best movies made of any genre and deserves to be in any film collectors library. And this blu ray version does immense justice to a classic. Highly recommended."
Review of Bluray quality not the movie
All Powerful Wizard Of Oz | Oz, far far away | 10/09/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Very simply put this is the best looking Bluray movie I own of a classic movie over 30 years old. It looks and sounds incredible. Everything about the quality of this release is just perfect. Thank you to the team at Warners who handled this for doing it the right way and treating it with respect.
This release should be the bench mark for every studio going forward when gearing up for a classic movie release on Bluray.
The "ultimate" edition for fans of the film includes all the
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 10/12/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There was a time when horror flicks thrived on creating tension and actually had some character development in addition to the shocks and chills of the genre. Is "The Exorcists" a "theological thriller" or a "supernatural mystery" (as Linda Blair and William Peter Blatty call it respectively)? Does it really matter? It's a powerful film that still resonates due to brilliant performances by everyone (particularly a young Linda Blair and the late playwright Jason Miller who gives a vunerable performance in his debut). While exploitation horror flicks have always been around, director William Friedkin ("The French Connection", "Sorceror", "Cruising", "To Live and Die in L.A.") and writer/producer William Peter Blatty tucked elements of those films into a film examining the issues of faith, science and the cost of redemption with "The Exorcist". Much like Roman Polanski with "Rosemary's Baby", Friedkin and Blatty chose to use the horror film to dig into human behavior as much as they shock us.
The new 2 disc Blu-ray gives us both the original theatrical cut and the 2000 "Extended Director's Cut" that Friedkin reworked adding in a couple of scenes, shuffling the order of a few scenes and editing out a few others in his pursuit of perfection. Both versions have their merits and both look marvelous in a stunning (for a 1973 film) transfer that doesn't betray the grainy look of the original film while still capturing the film with sharpness only hinted at in the previous DVD releases. As to which you prefer, that'll be your call. As much as I enjoy the addition of the show stopping "spider walk" sequence (and it does, indeed, stop the movie cold as the screen briefly goes to black)and some of the editing/digital tricks up Friedkin's sleeve, the original film resonates more for me and allows our imagination and the psychological terror a bit more free rein. The original film runs 122 minutes while the "Extended Director's Cut" runs about 132 minutes.
Be aware though that Friedkin has tinkered with the 2000 "Director's Cut" that appeared on DVD removing some flash images of demons, etc. that evidently he felt might have been a bit cheesy in retrospect. Nevertheless, this is, largely, that 2000 DVD release with the exception of these minor differences. There isn't any additional footage beyond that edition included in the film that I could tell.
The sound is marvelous throughout with a 5.1 mix that adds a wallop to the impact of the film. There's also a featurette on the different versions of "The Exorcist" that is quite interesting and an insightful commentary from director William Friedkin (although Friedkin occasionally falls into the bad habit of telling us what we're seeing he usually comes up with some interesting insight in the process). These are located on the first disc which features the "Director's Cut" from 2000.
The second disc features the original cut of the film, two commentaries one with Friedkin and one with Blatty as well as the 1998 "The Fear of God: The Making of The Exorcist" from the original DVD release. We also get the interview gallery featuring various members of the cast and crew discussing everything from the original ending intended for the film to the meaning of the film. Friedkin's introduction of the 1998 DVD is included here as well.There is, of course, the original ending of the film which differs subtly from the final version with a bit more ambiguity.
The film comes complete with a three part documentary on the making of the film which reveals a lot of the difficult issues that dogged the production both prior to release and after it hit theaters where many religious groups condemned the film which is ironic given the themes that are at the heart of the film.
The first edition of this also comes with a handsome looking booklet looking like a hardcover book with biographies of the cast members, behind-the-scenes and production stills as well as a one sheet with thoughts on the film by the director.
Warner has done a brilliant job of transferring the film to Blu-ray (although some may quibble a bit with the choices by Friedkin and his DP in regards to color saturation--but it IS their film)and have brought over all the extras from previous editions as well as adding a three part documentary on the making of the film.
Is "The Exorcist" the scariest film ever made? That's for you to judge--it all depends on whether or not you like your horror served hot or cold (i.e., shock value exploitation type horror or a mixture of that with psychological character driven suspense) either way Warner has once again done a brilliant job of creating the ultimate Blu-ray of the film for home video.
Friedkin and Blatty managed to make a horror film that touched on our deepest, darkest fears AND also managed to deal with a number of major themes all while giving us complex, interesting characters an accomplishment that very few directors have managed when creating a horror film (Ridley Scott's "Alien" also does much the same thing) that is psychologically claustrophobic.
(For an expanded version of this essay/review-go to my blog the address is listed on my "About Me" page at amazon.com)