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SONY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Andrew Fleming
Cast:
Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Skeet Ulrich, Christine Taylor, Breckin Meyer
Writing Credits:
Peter Filardi (and story), Andrew Fleming

Tagline:
Welcome to the witching hour.

Synopsis:
Sarah, the troubled new kid in town, has just begun attending St. Benedict's Academy. There, she draws the attention of dysfunctional outcasts Nancy, Bonnie and Rochelle - and discovers that they, like her, can perform "the craft." By joining their clique, Robin provides the last of the four elements (earth, fire, air, water) needed for the girls to concoct magic spells. Armed with this new supernatural ability, the bewitched quartet set out to make life a living hell for the students who taunted and abused them in the past. Revenge is indeed sweet, that is until a power struggle begins between Sarah and Nancy ...

Box Office:
Budget
$15 million.
Domestic Gross
$24.763 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Portuguese
Spanish
Chinese
Korean
Thai
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
Spanish
Portuguese
Chinese
Thai

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 10/13/2009

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Andrew Fleming
• “Conjuring The Craft” Featurette
• Original 1996 Behind the Scenes Featurette
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Craft [Blu-Ray] (1996)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 21, 2009)

What a difference a wig makes! Before I saw her in 1999's End of Days, I'd never heard of Robin Tunney. In that film, she struck me as attractive but nothing special. Although her appearance in 2000's Supernova showed that she has a marvelous chest, I still didn't find Tunney's overall look to be much to my liking.

However, that isn't the case for my impression of Tunney in 1996's The Craft, in which she looks absolutely stunning from start to finish. Did Tunney just go to pot over the three years between The Craft and the other films? Nope, but those two showed her with short, boyish hair, whereas The Craft fits her with a nice, long red wig. Wow! The effect is stunning, as Tunney looks fantastically gorgeous and sexy at all times.

I don't offer this discussion of my hair preferences simply because I expect readers will find it fascinating (though I'm sure you will). Actually, it comes up largely because I just don't have a lot to say about The Craft; honestly, Tunney's appearance in the film was the most interesting aspect to me as I watched this mildly fun but unexceptional little romp.

The Craft follows the experiences of Sarah (Tunney), a teen new to town who encounters a group of oddball girls everyone says are witches. While the word on the playground isn't often right, this time it hits the nail on the head, as the girls - Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Bonnie (Neve Campbell), and Rochelle (Rachel True) - form an incomplete coven. They need a fourth to finish the circle - guess who fits the bill?

The result is a disjointed but fairly entertaining piece that partially examines the trials and tribulations experienced by teenage outsiders but adds one component: what if you could get back at your tormentors through supernatural means? The girls quickly discover the truth in the phrase "be careful what you ask for - you might get it" as their powers grow and more problems ensue.

The Craft stays pretty glib and superficial throughout most of the film. I thought at times it might delve into some of the deeper feelings experienced by the characters but it usually backed away from those issues and stuck to the basic flash of the events. The actors all provide fairly good performances, with the best coming from Balk. She presents a truly believable presence as a budding witch; the girl has a creepy look that makes her seem all-too-realistic in the role.

Other than that, however, I just come back to how hot Tunney looks. The Craft is one of those movies that's fun while it lasts but almost totally leaves your memory as soon as the credits stop. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't make the result especially impressive.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

The Craft appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. I found this to be a disappointing transfer.

At best, sharpness was average. Even the most detailed scenes remained a bit soft and lackluster – and those were the best of the bunch. Actually, most of the movie displayed acceptable definition, but it rarely boasted greater clarity, and more than a few soft, indistinct shots came along for the ride. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement was absent. Source flaws also failed to manifest themselves, though grain could be heavier than expected.

Colors looked drab. Some of that seemed to be by design, as the movie opted for a subdued palette. Nonetheless, I thought the hues tended to be more lifeless than they should be, even within the confines of the stylistic choices. Blacks came across as somewhat muddy and inky, and shadows tended to be too dense and flat. This wasn’t an awful picture, but it seemed mediocre.

At least the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The Craft worked better. The soundfield seemed broad and engulfing from start to finish. The forward spectrum offered quite a lot of ambient sound from the side speakers and blended it all nicely, with a well-integrated presentation. The surrounds also kicked in a lot of information as well and they provided effective reinforcement for the front channels; the rears really added quite a punch to the proceedings.

Audio quality seemed strong as well. Dialogue generally sounded clear and natural, though some lines came across as slightly harsh and edgy; in any case, intelligibility was always good. Effects were clear and realistic and displayed no signs of distortion. Music was a minor weak link, mostly due to the quality of the rock songs it featured. While the score showed good vivacity, the tunes tended to be thin and without much impact. Nonetheless, enough of the track impressed to earn it a “B+”.

In terms of extras, we open with an audio commentary from co-writer Andrew Fleming. He provides a running, screen-specific look at cast and performances, themes and symbolism, sets and locations, visual choices and effects, and a few other filmmaking topics.

I thought Fleming offered an enjoyable but unexceptional look at the film. Fleming provided some good details about the movie and gave us some useful information about techniques used, but like the picture itself, there wasn’t a whole lot of depth. However, it's still a pretty good commentary that will be of interest to fans of the film.

Two featurettes appear on the disc. First up is Conjuring The Craft, a 24-minute, 35-second program about the movie. It combines more contemporary interviews with Tunney, True, Fleming, writer Peter Filardi and producer Douglas Wick with film clips, behind the scenes shots and some older sound bites from Campbell and Balk. It's a decent program that offers a nice look at the creation of the film. It covers some of the same territory discussed in Fleming's commentary but looks at some different issues and obviously provides other perspectives. It's a fairly ordinary piece but one that merits a look.

A second featurette comes from the era of the film's original 1996 release. As one might expect, the five-minute, 59-second Original Behind the Scenes is little more than a glorified trailer that promotes the movie. Actually, it's not bad for an example of its genre as it gives us a few interesting sound bites and some nice footage from the set. However, it's still a pretty bland program.

The DVD includes three deleted scenes, all of which can be viewed with or without commentary from Fleming. These clips run between 25 seconds to three minutes, 25 seconds for a total of six minutes, 37 seconds. The segments are mildly interesting but nothing special and their absence isn't problematic. Fleming's comments effectively relate the reasons why the pieces didn't make the final film.

The disc opens with an ad for Blu-ray Disc. More promos show up under Previews. In addition to the Blu-ray clip, that area includes pieces for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Da Vinci Code, Ghostbusters, and Men in Black. No trailer for The Craft shows up here.

I can't say that The Craft is a great film, but if offers a moderately-entertaining little diversion highlighted mainly by the fact Robin Tunney looks extremely good in the movie. The Blu-ray gives us very good audio and some interesting extras, but picture quality is mediocre. This is a somewhat disappointing release.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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