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Freddy vs. Jason(2003)
It's been nearly ten years since Freddy Krueger invaded dreams to exact his deadly form of revenge. Now his memory has been systematically erased by a town determined to put an end to Freddy once and for all. They've eliminated their fear of Freddy, absolute torture for an egomaniac psychopath who's a legend in his own mind. But then, Freddy resurrects Jason Voorhees, the perfect means to once again instill fear on Elm Street.
For more about Freddy vs. Jason and the Freddy vs. Jason Blu-ray release, see Freddy vs. Jason Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on September 16, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Jason Ritter, Kelly Rowland, Chris Marquette
Director: Ronny Yu
» See full cast & crew
Freddy vs. Jason Blu-ray Review
This is where I'm supposed to say, "let's get ready to rumble," right?
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, September 16, 2009
We're not safe awake or asleep.
Here it is -- Freddy vs. Jason -- the movie that was supposed to usher in a new era of Horror that pitted not the usual array of killers against their usual crop of hapless teenage victims, but instead one immortal butcher against another in a fight to the semi-death until the inevitable sequel that magically resurrects the (heroes?) for another go-round of blood, guts, slicing, dicing, and general Horror movie mayhem. Earning longtime A Nightmare on Elm Street production studio New Line Cinema a hearty box office return of over $82,000,000 domestic gross, the concept as successfully introduced for the modern era in Freddy vs. Jason has yet to catch on. Instead of the promised "vs." films that would feature Michael Myers, Pinhead, or even Ash in an all-or-nothing brawl, such movies have yet to materialize, and fans are still waiting for even a Freddy vs. Jason sequel, with or without an additional fan-favorite crossover hero or villain to up both the ante and the body count. Such is the world of motion pictures; though certainly not high art, it's somewhat disheartening to see wave after wave of Dance Flick-style junk movies flooding theaters instead of the kind of material genre fans actually want to see and, yes, even pay for.
Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), the embodiment of deadly nightmares and the stuff of teenage legend, has been silenced since he's been long forgotten by the teenagers of Elm Street. He's powerless to infiltrate dreams and kill teenagers unless he's kept alive by legend, but parents have done well to remove him from their children's consciences. Needing help to get back in the game, he searches the bowels of hell to find a killer so fierce that tales of Freddy Krueger will once again fill the fragile little minds of Elm Street's youths. He resurrects Jason Voorhees (Ken Kirzinger), famed killer of teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake, for a little blood-letting and fear-mongering on Elm Street. His plan works; the local residents, including a teenager named Lori (Monica Keena), begin to remember the nightmare slasher. As Freddy's powers continue to grow, Jason continues to kill. When Freddy finds himself ready for action, he discovers that Jason has no intentions of putting a halt on his own slaughter. Angered, Freddy loses focus of his mission and turns his attention to Jason, setting up a classic showdown of evil vs. evil as two unstoppable foes square off for the ultimate in gruesome terror.
As is the case with many Horror movies, and the Nightmare on Elm Street and the new and old Friday the 13th films in particular, neither the plot nor the mortal characters matter in the least. Freddy and Jason are the stars, and deservedly so; each comes to the film with a unique attitude and skill set that makes both formidable killers yet reveals weaknesses when one must contend with the other in foreign domains, Freddy in the real world and Jason in the dream world. As such, it matters little that the acting is particularly atrocious from the teenagers that populate the film. Clichéd, over the top, and oftentimes downright laughable, the performances seem like an amalgamation of every stereotype to ever grace a Horror movie of the past 30 years. Still, they do well enough to move the plot along, make it easy for the audience to cheer on their deaths, and tide the movie over until the inevitable showdown between the hulking and speechless Jason and faster and wise-cracking Freddy. Englund, as always, brings a charisma to the part that makes him somewhat unique amongst movie murderers. Usually, adult-sized killers -- Leatherface and the aforementioned crop of Jason, Michael, and Pinhead, for example -- take on a quiet and purposeful demeanor, allowing their horrific deeds to do the talking. The "smart alec" sorts seem more reserved for the lesser-in-stature fiends; the Leprechaun and Chucky come to mind. Englund's Freddy plays well against Kirzinger's Voorhees; a "vs." film needs opponents that aren't both the "silent but deadly" types, though it would make for great viewing to watch Freddy and Ash quip with one another as they attempt to slice each other to pieces.
"Versus" movie or not, most Slasher Horror movies are only as good as the kills and the gore that they have to offer, and Freddy vs. Jason delivers the goods. Though the film features some inventive and deliciously gruesome scenes that showcase the maniacs disposing of the expendable cast of teenagers, the film truly shines in its final act as the two icons of Horror square off for one of the nastiest encounters ever to grace the silver screen. Suffice it to say, there's no love lost between the two, and the filmmakers have done a wonderful job of sufficiently tearing the two to pieces. It's as good and brutal as anything either series has to offer, and while the first two acts of the film play out like something of a mediocre highlight reel or, at least, a quick and dirty demonstration of what Freddy and Jason are capable of, the third act makes the movie a worthwhile endeavor for genre fans. Last but certainly not least, Freddy vs. Jason does well to intertwine its primary characters. Though the film is less about story and more about the violence, it nevertheless requires a modicum of believability in bringing the two legends onto the same screen at the same time; simply having them bump into one another at the mall wasn't going to cut it. The plot line is believable within the confines of Nightmare and Friday lore, and despite any misgivings about the small details of the story, it works well enough to allow the two to face off for one of Horror's best final acts.
Freddy vs. Jason Blu-ray, Video Quality
Freddy vs. Jason slices into Blu-ray with an eye-opening 1080p, 2.40:1-framed transfer. The transfer retains a subtle layer of grain that remains throughout and lends to the image a pleasing and film-like appearance. In many cases, Freddy vs. Jason takes on a cold, steely, blue and gray appearance that doesn't exactly lend itself to the revelation of tremendous amounts of detail, but the film does manage to sparkle under more normal lighting conditions, particularly during bright, daytime outdoor shots where there's an obvious depth and high level of detail even in the background. Fine object detail and texture often impress, too; viewers will see plenty of grime and general wear and tear on Jason's mask in close-up shots of the killer. The level of eye-popping color is often dependent upon the lighting conditions; the steely interiors or a sequence taking place inside a reddened factory setting wash out the palette to reflect the lighting source, but blood does stand out throughout, notably during the shots taking place under the blue and gray backdrops. Black levels are generally solid, and flesh tones never veer too far from a natural shade. New Line is to be commended for the high quality of this release.
Freddy vs. Jason Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Freddy vs. Jason carves up Blu-ray with a strong Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. A good sense of aural immersion into the film and a rather strong atmosphere throughout help make this one a winner. Listeners will hear the gentle rolling of water on a lakeside setting during one early scene, while a thunderstorm later in the movie features a realistic sense of falling rain and distant thunder that plays throughout the entirety of the soundstage and with a realistic flair that does well to bring the track to life. An outdoor rave scene in chapter seven, too, delivers a wonderful atmosphere that places listeners in the midst of the party. The surround speakers enjoy plenty of action in general; music often finds support in the back channels, and plenty of action-oriented effects, too, are heard spilling over into the surround speakers during the film's climactic act. The clanking of metal-on-metal as Freddy's fingers and Jason's machete clash comes straight into the living room with a deadly clarity, and Jason's heavy footsteps reverberate throughout the soundstage with a thud. Rounded out by strong dialogue reproduction, Freddy vs. Jason's lossless soundtrack is every bit the match of the high quality video presentation.
Freddy vs. Jason Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Freddy vs. Jason makes its Blu-ray debut with a nice collection of extras. First up is a commentary track with Director Ronny Yu and Actors Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger. A none-too-serous effort, the trio has a good time reminiscing on the film and speaking on subjects both technical and anecdotal. They do a good job at dissecting the film's plot points, speaking on the film's make-up, and of course, some good insights into the film's climactic showdown. Next up are several featurettes. Genesis: Development Hell (480p, 10:22) looks at the long road behind the concept of pitting the two super villains against one another in the same film. On Location: Springwood Revisited (480p, 14:33) is a basic introductory/behind-the-scenes piece to the film, complete with cast and crew interview clips, scenes from the film, and behind-the-scenes footage. On Location: Cabin Fever (480p, 6:09) is a raw behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of the film's action scenes. Art Direction: Jason's Decorating Tips (480p, 11:33) looks at how the filmmakers met the challenge of creating the unique looks of the real world and the dream world. Stunts: When Push Comes to Shove (480p, 21:38) examines the process of creating realistic stunts and special effects that helped to give the film the sort of ultra-violent and deadly stunt work that Horror fans demand. Make-Up Effects: Freddy's Beauty Secrets (480p, 6:30) is a brief piece that looks at some of the film's extensive make-up and captures some candid behind-the-scenes footage for good measure.
Moving on, viewers will find a collection of one dozen in-depth looks at the making of some of the film's key visual effects sequences with Visual Effects Supervisor Ariel Velasco-Shaw and Visual Effects Producer Kevin Elam (480p, 35:22 combined runtime). Segments include Mommy Krueger/Counselor Morph, Blood Drops, Dead Eyed Girl, Wall Morph, Jump Rope, Shadow Claw, Nose Job, Dead Trey Walking, Freddypillar, Pinball Jason, Jason's World, and Epilogue. My Summer Vacation: A Visit to Camp Hackenslash (480p, 3:57) is a brief piece that looks at a fun day of "adult" summer camp leading up to the films outdoor campground-setting premiere. Also included is the How Can I Live music video by Ill Niño (480p, 3:15) and a collection of 21 deleted and extended scenes (1080p, 16:10) with optional commentary by Director Ronny Yu and Executive Producer Douglas Curtis. This disc also contains the film's theatrical trailer (1080p, 1:12) and eight TV spots (480p, 3:46). Rounding out this extensive collection of bonus features is the gimmicky Pre Fight Press Conference at Bally's Casino in Las Vegas on July 15th, 2003 (480p, 3:48), a piece featuring Freddy and Jason at a mock boxing-style weigh-in.
Freddy vs. Jason Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Freddy vs. Jason delivers exactly what's expected of it: a bloody brawl between two Horror icons that's plenty fun and gruesome. Technically sound and fun to watch, Freddy vs. Jason makes for one of the better Horror pictures of the decade, saved from the necessary but ultimately bland secondary filler that allows for the movie to get to where it needs to go. In many ways a typical Horror pictures but certainly a crowd-pleasing, bloody good time, Freddy vs. Jason might not embody everything a Horror fan dreams of but it's easily far better than it probably deserves to be. New Line's Blu-ray release, too, impresses. Featuring a strong film-like transfer, a solid lossless soundtrack, and a nice selection of extras, Horror aficionados definitely need to make this part of their Blu-ray collections. Recommended.
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• Warner Announces Ten Catalog Titles for September - May 13, 2009
Warner Home Video has announced ten titles from its catalog for Blu-ray release on September 8: 'Catwoman', 'Creepshow', 'Dead Calm', 'Freddy vs. Jason', 'The New World: Extended Cut', 'Over the Top', 'The Postman', 'Snakes on a Plane', 'Sphere' and 'The ...
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