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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English DTS-HD 2.0 Surround
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • New video interviews with Demme and writer E. Max Frye
  • Original theatrical trailer

Something Wild

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Melanie Griffith, Jeff Daniels, Ray Liotta
1986 | 114 Minutes | Licensor: MGM Home Entertainment

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #563
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: May 10, 2011
Review Date: April 27, 2011

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SYNOPSIS

A straitlaced businessman meets a quirky, free-spirited woman at a downtown New York greasy spoon. Her offer of a ride back to his office results in a lunchtime motel rendezvous-just the beginning of a capricious interstate road trip that brings the two face-to-face with their hidden selves. Featuring a killer soundtrack and electric performances from Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, and Ray Liotta, Something Wild, directed by oddball American auteur Jonathan Demme, is both a kinky comic thriller and a radiantly off-kilter love story.

Forum members rate this film 8.1/10

 

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

Even if this release is lacking in every other area thereís very little I can complain about with the high-def transfer that Criterion gives us. Presented in director Jonathan Demmeís preferred aspect ratio of 1.78:1, Criterionís 1080p/24hz transfer delivers an absolutely stunning image.

Other than some long shots looking a little fuzzy in a couple of places the picture remains consistently sharp with excellent detail and definition, fine details coming through clearly. The film presents some wild and vibrant colours and theyíre rendered perfectly here, displaying some magnificent reds and greens. Colour balance is excellent and despite a couple of minor moments where blacks can come off a tad crushed blacks still appear fairly deep.

The digital transfer didnít present any artifacts of note, and the filmís grain structure looks natural and perfect. The source materials are in excellent shape with only a few minor blemishes. Though the film is still a product of its time and looks ď80ísĒ the transfer gives the impression it could have been filmed yesterday. Really quite impressive.

9/10

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AUDIO

I wasnít really all that disappointed with the special features here since I knew what to expect with the small number mentioned in the original announcement, so there was no surprise there. The real disappointment unfortunately lies in the DTS-HD MA 2.0 surround track we get; itís absolutely flat, monotone, and lacking life. Dialogue and effects are especially lifeless, coming off in the same flat drone throughout the filmís entirety, lacking anything in the way of fidelity. Music fares only slightly better simply because music usually moves to the rear speakers, finally coming off louder. Unfortunately the music is still lacking the punch I would have expected and itís a shame considering Something Wild has one of the more intriguing soundtracks of any film. Maybe the source materials are limited and I had unreasonable expectations but it really is a weak presentation.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

While I find the film a fun one itís still a bizarre title to include in the collection, and it comes off more bizarre when you take into account the minuscule selection of supplements that have been included here, all of which barely total 45-minutes together and come off a little fluffy in the end.

The first feature, an interview with director Jonathan Demme, runs 33-minutes and has Demme recall the production of the film. He talks about coming across the script and figuring it would make for an interesting production after the disappointment of his last film, Swing Shift, which was taken from him by the studio and reworked. This film proved to be more fun for him since he had total control over it (though E. Max Frye confirms in his interview that Orion Pictures did make some ďsuggestionsĒ about the ending.) He addresses the tone shifts in the film that proved to be a little much for audiences during its initial release, and then talks in detail about the casting. Surprisingly, while he does cover the casting of the leads (including the difficult process of find the appropriate actor for the role of Ray, which did go to Ray Liotta because he ďscared the hell out ofĒ Demme) he spends most of his time talking about the casting of the minor roles in the film, the film really presenting one of the more interesting assortment of extras Iíve ever seen. Demme also then talks about the music in the film and how he was able to get some of his favourite musicians to provide music (back in the day when music rights werenít as ridiculously expensive.) Demme enjoys talking about the film and he does offer some interesting facts about the shoot and the filmís music, but in the end itís basically a making-of with one talking head and no behind-the-scenes footage.

Screenwriter E. Max Frye then provides a whopping 9-minute interview focusing on bringing the film from script to screen. Frye offers a few surprises, like who he had originally wanted to direct the film (one choice was apparently Demme but he also seemed to be really hoping Martin Scorsese would be interested) and he also talks about how the studio pushed for a milder climax than what was scripted, leading to the compromise we get in the film. He also talks a little about the filmís inspiration and goes into detail about how he was writing the script around its characters and didnít want to make a typical genre picture that relied on plot. His interview was in the end a pleasant surprise but itís again too short. Itís a shame both Frye and Demme werenít recorded together for a commentary, it could have been great to get the two to discuss the film together.

The disc then closes with a 2-and-a-half-minute trailer for the film thatís obviously a product of its time. Thereís then an essay by David Thompson in the booklet about the filmís characters and tonal shifts.

And thatís it. Itís a little shocking thereís so little, especially since Criterion is still charging a premium price for it. The features also donít rate much better than ďOKĒ overall. It actually feels like a wasted opportunity and considering the lightness of the features one canít help by wonder why Criterion would have really put in the effort to get the film.

4/10

CLOSING

It looks great and Iím sure many will be thrilled with just that, but its audio is a letdown and Iím still sort of stunned that Criterion would give so little in the way of features, especially when you consider the high price. Again I think fans of the film will be thrilled with the visual presentation but itís probably one theyíll want to pick up at a half-price Barnes and Noble sale. A lackluster edition overall.


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