Candyman appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though it remained a product of its era, this was a largely appealing presentation.
Sharpness worked fine. Interiors tended to seem a little soft, but in general, delineation seemed adequate, with good accuracy most of the time. I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and both edge haloes and print flaws remained absent.
In terms of palette, the film favored bland earthy tones. The colors tended to feel a little heavy – not unusual for the era – but they were more than acceptable.
Blacks seemed deep and dark, and shadows displayed nice smoothness and detail, even though we did get some softness in those low-light shots. Though the movie showed its age, it offered a reasonably positive image.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it worked okay for its vintage. Given the movie’s ambitions, the mix didn’t shoot for much, but it added a little zest to the proceedings.
Music showed good stereo presence, and the various channels contributed reasonable engagement to the side and rear. Nothing excelled, but the soundscape gave us a bit of breadth.
Audio quality also seemed fine. Speech was reasonably natural and concise, while music showed acceptable pep and clarity.
Effects brought us accurate enough material. This was never a memorable track, but it suited the story.
This two-disc set includes both the film’s theatrical version (1:39:18) and its Director’s Cut (1:39:18). Yeah, you read that right – both editions offer identical running times.
So how do they differ? The “Director’s Cut” simply offers a bit more graphic content in some scenes, as some shots needed to be altered to get an “R” in the US.
Alongside the theatrical version, we find a whopping four separate audio commentaries. Recorded for a 2004 DVD, the first includes director Bernard Rose, producer Alan Poul, author Clive Barker, and actors Tony Todd, Kasi Lemmons, and Virginia Madsen.
The commentary collects separate interviews into a running piece. We learn about the source and its adaptation, story/character areas, cast and performances, music, sets and locations, themes, impact/reception and various notes from the shoot.
Edited commentaries of this sort largely went bye-bye years ago, and that strikes me as a shame. I understand why people like the immediacy of the running, screen-specific chat, but I enjoy the succinct nature of this kind of edited piece.
In that regard, this commentary works really well, as it covers a slew of useful topics. It does so in a taut manner that ensures no dead air or pointless digressions.
Only one problem arises. Usually when the track switches participants, it always names them.
This seems helpful at first but it becomes an annoyance before too long, partly because it feels unnecessary. Each participants sounds clearly different from the others, so after two or three “introductions”, we don’t need more.
Nonetheless, this becomes a minor gripe. The commentary works so well that I can forgive it an annoying quirk.
The three remaining commentaries are new to this 2018 Blu-ray, and the next comes from writer/director Bernard Rose and actor Tony Todd. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of various movie experiences and thoughts on other aspects of filmmaking.
While Rose and Todd occasionally reflect the on-screen action, it becomes a stretch to call this a true “screen-specific” chat, as they digress much of the time. I don’t mind that, as I don’t need commentators to obsess over the material we see, but Rose and Todd test patience.
That’s because they often seem interested in any topic other than Candyman. They talk about other movies and general subjects without immense connection to the film at hand.
This gets old before too long. We do get some decent information, and I appreciate the frankness on display, but the many tangential comments mean the track lacks a lot of real value.
Commentary Three brings us writer/director Bernard Rose and moderators Adam Green and Joe Lynch. These three sit together for their running, screen-specific take on various aspects of the production.
Though billed as the “film critics commentary”, this really ends up as another Rose track. Green and Lynch throw in their thoughts at times, but they mainly work as moderators. Even when they do comment, they don’t offer much insight.
After two prior Rose commentaries, he doesn’t have much new to say here. A few fresh notes arrive but don’t expect much in this largely redundant piece.
Finally, we get a commentary from film historians Stephen Jones and Kim Newman. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific view of Clive Barker’s work, comparisons between the source and the film, cast and crew, structural filmmaking areas and other notes.
Neither a great view of Candyman nor a dud, Jones and Newman offer enough perspective to create a workable commentary. However, they don’t muster the level of background information and facts that I’d like from a film historian discussion. While worth a listen, the piece doesn’t excel.
Four commentaries would seem like enough, but the two Blu-rays pour on plenty of other extras as well, and we open on Disc One with Sweets to the Sweet. It runs 23 minutes, 49 seconds and features Rose, Todd, Madsen, Lemmons, Barker, and Poul.
“Sweet” looks at urban legends, the short story and its move to the screen, story and characters, sets and locations, cast and performances, and aspects of the shoot. Given that “Sweet” uses the same participants as the first commentary, should you expect any fresh information from it?
Not really. We get a few new insights but most of the material found here already appears in the commentary. “Sweet” works fine on its own but it becomes somewhat redundant when viewed after the commentary.
With Raising Hell, we locate a 10-minute, 46-second reel that includes Barker. He discusses his life and career in this fairly interesting chat.
Next comes The Heart of Candyman, a seven-minute, seven-second discussion with Todd. The actor covers aspects of his experiences during the film and he makes this a short but informative reel.
Under Bernard Rose’s Storyboards, we get a running five-minute, 22-second compilation. As expected, we see Rose’s art created for the film. I’d prefer a splitscreen “film to storyboard comparison” format, but I still like this chance to view Rose’s evocative color boards.
A Still Gallery offers 62 images. These mix shots from the set, publicity photos and promotional art. It’s a pretty good compilation.
If you have a BD-ROM drive, you can access the movie’s original script. I do not.
Disc One completes with ads. We get the film’s trailer as well as three TV spots.
Eight more featurettes appear on Disc Two, and Be My Victim launches this parade. It runs nine minutes, 47-seconds and presents another interview with Tony Todd.
Here the actor looks at his character, his performance and aspects of his Candyman experiences. Inevitably some of this repeats from elsewhere, but Todd seems more focused than in the rambling commentary he did with Rose, so this becomes an effective overview.
Another actor appears in It Was Always You, Helen, a 13-minute, 11-second interview Virginia Madsen. She talks about how she got her role as well as her performance and other impressions of the production. This turns into another slightly repetitive but enjoyable chat.
With The Writing on the Wall, we find a six-minute, 22-second conversation with production designer Jane Ann Stewart. She discusses the choices she made for the film’s sets in this short but engaging reel.
Next comes Forbidden Flesh, an eight-minute, two-second show with effects artist Bob Keen and Mark Coulier and effects artist/director Gary J. Tunnicliffe. We learn about various movie effects during this informative piece.
A Story to Tell spans 18 minutes, 39 seconds and provides a look at the source story behind Candyman. Critic/author Douglas E. Winter talks about Barker’s text and its move to the screen, and he makes this a useful program.
After this we head to Urban Legend. It fills 20 minutes, 41 seconds with notes from author/screenwriter Tananarive Due and author/screenwriter Steven Barnes.
“Legend” discusses how Candyman represents its early 1990s era and racial components. Due and Barnes bring us an intriguing look at the subject matter.
During the nine-minute, 48-second Reflections in the Mirror, actor Kasi Lemmons covers her role and impressions of the film and her time on it. Lemmons brings us a likable conversation.
Finally, A Kid in Candyman provides an interview with actor DeJuan Guy. It lasts 13 minutes, 36 seconds and offers Guy’s view of the production as a child actor. He makes this an engaging program.
Though it throws in lots of gore, Candyman delivers a more nuanced experience than its more overt slasher cousins. With better than average acting, the movie creates a fairly rich and involving fable. The Blu-ray offers generally positive picture and audio along with a tremendous set of supplements. Shout makes this a terrific release.