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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: The Lost Boys (2-disc SE)



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#1 of 6 Michael Elliott

Michael Elliott

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Posted September 11 2004 - 10:46 AM

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The Lost Boys (2-disc SE)


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Studio: Warner
Year: 1987
Rated: R
Film Length: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1)
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Retail Price: $26.95




Michael (Jason Patrick) and his younger brother Sam (Corey Haim) move with their mother (Dianne Wiest) to California after a divorce and quickly get a look at the nightlife, which has dubbed the city as the most violent in the country. While on the Boardwalk, Michael falls for a girl and begins following her around until he bumps into her pack, which is the lost boys, led by David (Kiefer Sutherland). David invites Michael to go riding their motorcycles together and they wind up in a cage where they smoke some dope and have a small party.

Michael is then offered something to drink, which he believes in wine but it turns out to be David’s blood. The next morning Michael wakes up not remembering too much but Sam realizes that he’s sleeping most of the day and when he’s away, he has to wear sunglasses from the sun. After Sam bumps into the Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman/Jamison Newlander) at a comic store, he soon starts to think that he’s brother is turning into a vampire. The Frog Brothers, wannabe vampire hunters, join the hunt to save Michael, which means they must kill the head vampire.

The Lost Boys was clearly influenced by Richard Donner’s The Goonies but sadly the film takes away some more serious issues and goes for mindless entertainment but on that level, it works. Director Joel Schumacher is probably the most notoriously hated directors out there, which I can somewhat understand. Throughout his career he has delivered a lot of stylish films that were great to look at but the substance just wasn’t there to make any of them classics. The same could be said with The Lost Boys, which is visually dazzling but offers very little soul.

The biggest problem I had with the film is that there really isn’t any horror, isn’t any fantasy and there really isn’t any threat throughout the film. We know the good guys will win and the bad guys will lose and we don’t have to worry about one of the good guys getting hurt. On this level, the film plays out just like a kids movie but the director never really gives the film any magical touches that would put it in the same league as The Goonies. The young kids in the movie are cursed and this here could have led to some more serious subjects that aren’t ever really brought up. The relationship between the two kids and their mother is another thing hinted upon in a few scenes but again, there’s just not too much follow up.

Perhaps I’m being a bit too harsh criticizing the movie for what it doesn’t do instead of praising it for what it does do. As mentioned earlier, Schumacher really knows how to show style and there’s plenty of that on display here from the beautiful Boardwalk to the actual cave that the vampires are living in. Schumacher adds all sorts of rich atmosphere with the wonderful dark colors that bring a feeling of dread that the screenplay never touches on. The rock soundtrack also helps push the mental attitude of the teenagers in the film. The cover of “People Are Strange” perfectly captures the mood of the film and also brings a smile to the face.

The biggest success of the film however is the performances from the young cast who bring more creditability to the film that it would have had otherwise. Having grown up in the 1990’s and watching various teen films, I think the big difference is that those certain actors in the 1980’s actually knew how to act. No matter what the film was, the teen cast delivered good performances, which is another thing missing from these types of films today. Jason Patrick is an actor who sadly never caught on in the mainstream so perhaps that’s why there isn’t more talk about him. He’s always managed to give good performances and does so here because he’s the one innocent vampire. The way Patrick shows his character trying to fight the disease is very well done and he sells us on the character. The two Corey’s (Haim and Feldman) always bring a certain charm to films so seeing them together will certainly put a smile on your face. Kiefer Sutherland is also very good as the main vampire, although he appears to be giving the same performance that he did in Stand By Me.

The Lost Boys has become a staple of the 1980’s horror film and rightfully so. There’s certainly nothing too original about teenage vampires but the film stands up as a good nostalgia trip and perfectly captures the time that it takes place. There are a few faults here and there but I think the director set out to make an entertaining movie and he succeeded at doing that. There will always be comparisons made to Near Dark but I don’t think either film should be compared or batted down because of the other.


VIDEO---The movie is shown widescreen (2.35:1) and is enhanced for 16x9. I don’t have the older release to compare but I think it would be a safe bet by saying this is the better transfer. I really don’t think the original disc could feature a better transfer so….

Michael Chapman’s beautiful cinematography is on full display with this wonderful transfer that brings out everything the viewer could possibly hope for. The most impressive thing is the colors, which leap off the screen and make this almost reference quality out of all the films I’ve seen from this period. The opening sequence on the marry-go-round is a highlight because of the lighting and various colors that are used. The colors, especially the red, are very vivid and full of crisp detail. The black levels are also very solid, which certainly wasn’t the case with previous releases. Again, the opening nighttime sequence perfectly shows this. There are a few minor digital artifacts but nothing to get worked up over. I also didn’t notice any edge enhancement, which is a good sign.

AUDIO---We get a new Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which sounds quite nice. The dialogue is clear without any distortion or hiss in the background. The Surrounds are very nicely used especially in the various rock songs that pop up throughout the film. The Doors cover sounds remarkably well and it contains enough bang where you might just want to keep this in your player in case you get the urge to listen to it. The back speakers aren’t used but there’s some decent Surround action with various music cues and other sound effects.

EXTRAS---The only extra on disc 1 is the audio commentary with director Schumacher. The director is very soft spoken but he usually keeps talking throughout the track. Even though he’s constantly talking doesn’t mean this is a very good track because sadly he often just tells us what we’re seeing on the screen. The first ten minutes of the track deal with where the film was shot and how beautiful it is. The director also talks very nicely of his stars, giving out their ages as well as telling other stories. The rest of the extra appear on disc 2.

The Lost Boys: A Retrospective---This 24-minute featurette features interviews with all the main members of the film including director Schumacher, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, cinematographer Michael Chapman, Kiefer Sutherland and Richard Donner. The only main members missing are Jason Patrick and Dianne Wiest. I found this documentary rather boring but there are plenty of stories to be told. The documentary is basically narrated by Schumacher who comments on various actors and then we get a small interview with that actor. It’s interesting seeing what the cast looks like now but I really didn’t find anything they said too interesting.

Inside the Vampire’s Cave---This section here is broken down into four segment, which can be selected one by one or a play all option is available. A Director’s Vision talks about the original screenplay and how it was changed by the director’s style. Both the director, Sutherland and Donner are interviewed about the style of the film. This section runs just over seven minutes. Comedy Vs. Horror runs just over five minutes and takes a look at how the comedy mixes with the horror and how the studio really didn’t want the genre’s mixing. Flesh Blood: A New Look of Vampires runs four minutes and talks about the history of vampires in film and how this movie changed the rules. The Lost Boys: Sequel? runs two minutes and deals with the rumored sequels including one to be called The Lost Girls.

Haimster & Feldog: The Story of the Two Corey’s---This section runs just over four minutes and features interviews with the two Corey’s. The two talk about how they first heard about the other as well as the films they made together. This is an interesting piece for anyone who enjoys either actor.

The Lost Scenes---This section has fifteen minutes worth of deleted scenes but sadly the alternate ending isn’t included. The scenes are as followed:

1.Patrick/Haim room talk
2.2. Wiest setting up her bedroom
3.Patrick/Wiest job talk/school dropout
4.Patrick/girl on Boardwalk
5.Patrick on new job
6.Wiest being trained on her job
7.Patrick/Haim visit mom at work
8.Haim spying on grandfather
9.Haim feeding the dog
10.Patrick lifting weights/grandpa alien talk
11.Wiest leaving work and encountering gang
12.Wiest date scene
13.Date scene
14.Alternate Patrick/girl sex scene
15.Patrick Meets the Frog Brothers
16.Wiest and Thorn meet again

Finally we get a photo gallery called “A Vampire’s Photo Gallery”, which contains seventy-seven photos looking at the actors being transformed into the vampires. “A World of Vampires” is an interactive game where you can select a country and a narrator will tell you the history of vampires in that area. A music video for “Lost in the Shadows” is included as is the theatrical trailer.

Video Commentary---Corey Haim and the Frog Brothers do separate video commentaries over eighteen minutes worth of scenes. Using your angle button, you can view the scenes and skip to whatever actor you want to see talking about the scene. This was a very entertaining segment, which fans should enjoy.

OVERALL---The film really isn’t anything great and I’m sure it could have been better but as it is, the film works as entertainment, which is good enough. Warner has delivered another fabulous 2-disc SE with stellar video and audio and a great amount of extras that should keep you busy for a while.


Release Date: Out Now

#2 of 6 Dave Mack

Dave Mack

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Posted September 11 2004 - 11:20 AM

Good review Michael, except I believe the aspect ratio is like 2:35-1.

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#3 of 6 Benjamin Ricci

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Posted September 11 2004 - 03:47 PM

Can anyone comment on the video quality vs. the first release? I generally don't double dip, but I'm a huge fan, so if the A/V is a big improvement I may consider it.

Thanks!

#4 of 6 Kevin Korom

Kevin Korom

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Posted September 12 2004 - 01:16 AM

It's a significant jump in PQ over the original; if you like this movie you should definitely get it!
Kevin

#5 of 6 Dave Mack

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Posted September 12 2004 - 06:34 AM

Yep, Looks SWEEET!

#6 of 6 Benjamin Ricci

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Posted September 12 2004 - 07:47 AM

Thanks, guys. Jeez, September is gonna be pricey for me!