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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Fatal Attraction



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#1 of 3 Matt Hough

Matt Hough

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Posted June 01 2009 - 10:44 AM



Fatal Attraction (Blu-ray)
Directed by Adrian Lyne

Studio: Paramount
Year: 1987
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:11080pAVC codec
Running Time: 119 minutes
Rating: R
Audio: Dolby True-HD 5.1 English; Dolby Surround French; Dolby Digital 1.0 Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
MSRP: $ 29.99

Release Date: June 9, 2009
Review Date: June 1, 2009


The Film

4/5

Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction is a cautionary, bone-chilling thriller. With a situation that’s so believably real that it roots every member of the audience in its mise en scène, this is one movie that milks its suspense and yet plays fair with its scares. True, the revised ending goes a bit over-the-top compared to the more honest and ironic (but less scary) original ending. No matter which ending one prefers, however, the ride getting to it is well worth the trip.

A happily married-with-daughter New York City attorney Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) engages in a two-night stand with sophisticated book editor Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) while his wife (Anne Archer) and child (Ellen Hamilton Latzen) are away for the weekend. After seemingly accepting of the affair’s momentary nature, Alex quickly reveals her unbalanced state and refuses to end the affair, subsequently relentlessly terrorizing Dan and his family until it‘s obvious that more desperate measures will have to be taken.

James Dearden has come up with a terrific story of thwarted lust and vengeful stalking that was much copied in the years after this film’s tremendous success but never duplicated. From the very first moment we glimpse Glenn Close’s tense, tantalizing Alex with her glassy, cold eyes, everything seems off about her, and this initial impression is intensified as the character’s psychological imbalance leads to a series of harrowing and unforgettable maneuvers on her part to remain in Dan’s life and uppermost in his thoughts. Director Adrian Lyne obviously worships both of the primary adult women in the film, lavishing much camera time on their bodies and faces setting up the battle of contrasts between the faithful wife and mother and the wild, berserk rival for the same man’s affections. He also marvelously sets up some counterpoint scenes which flip-flop between two points of view at the same moment intensifying anxiety and tension to the breaking point. (Among the best is the exciting sequence when Alex abducts the child from school and takes her on a scary roller coaster ride while mama Beth frantically drives around the neighborhood searching for her stolen daughter.) And even the opening scenes of the affair are most enticing filmed not so much for their erotic effect (though they’re certainly sexy) as to show Alex’s wild abandon, all the while allowing us to observe the clueless Dan missing every possible signal that he’s latched on to an unstable if very alluring babe.

This is among Glenn Close’s greatest film achievements as she paints Alex’s mood swings and outrage not with obtuse, bold strokes but in a layered series of growing mania making her resultant actions at the end very much in character. Michael Douglas has a warmth and naturalness here that makes the subsequent horrors he endures almost pitiable if one hadn’t seen him enter into the affair with both eyes open. Anne Archer is superb as the loving, innocent wife faced with betrayal in a no-win situation. Stuart Pankin has some fun moments as Douglas’ law firm associate and best friend with very little to offer in terms of advice for his reckless buddy.


Video Quality

4.5/5

The film has been framed at 1.78:1 and is presented in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Color saturation is beautifully rendered with excellent, lifelike flesh tones. Sharpness might not be exemplary in every shot, but the transfer is very likely not to blame. Blacks are rich and shadow detail is quite up to par. No compression artifacts spoil this near-reference quality presentation. The film has been divided into 17 chapters.

Audio Quality

3.5/5

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound mix is unquestionably front centric with the rears used mainly for Maurice Jarre’s lovely and often dramatic score. Good, low bass levels are spread through the surrounds and the LFE channel during the tensest moments, but otherwise, the rears aren’t given enough to do in the remainder of the movie.

Special Features

3.5/5

Director Adrian Lyne contributes an audio commentary that’s a very pleasant listen. It’s scene specific, and it’s quite interesting listening to the director comment on shots he admires or would like to do over again, moments that he thinks work or don’t work, and generally seeming pleased with the overall effect of his celebrated work.

“Forever Fatal: Remembering Fatal Attraction is a 28 ¼-minute overview of the making of the film from its original script and the involvement of Nicholas Meyer to refine the original work, finding a director and studio who would make it, the casting, the change of ending, and its subsequent box-office triumph. Among those speaking are the film’s two producers, the director, and the film’s three leading players. It’s in 480p.

“Social Attraction - The Cultural Phenomenon of Fatal Attraction discusses the various reactions the film generated both from the feminist movement of the period and also those of the general public. This 480p featurette runs 10 minutes.

“Visual Attraction - Behind the Scenes Production Featurette” brings together the film’s make-up designer, cinematographer, production designer, and costume designer talking about the various challenges they faced during the film’s production. The 19 ¾-minute featurette is presented in 480p.

Though the liner notes and menu call it rehearsal footage, the 7 ¼-minute series of three scenes seem more like the screen tests for Glenn Close and Anne Archer. The scenes are presented in 480p.

Alternate ending with director’s introduction is the widely discussed original ending of the movie introduced by director Adrian Lyne. The introduction is in 480p, but the footage itself is in 1080i and lasts 11 ¾ minutes.

The disc contains the original theatrical trailer in 1080p which runs 1 ½ minutes.


In Conclusion

4/5 (not an average)

A terrific thriller that hasn't dated one minute since its sensational debut in 1987, Fatal Attraction makes a most welcome debut on Blu-ray disc with outstanding picture and above average sound and a host of bonus features which complement the film on display. Definitely recommended!




Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

#2 of 3 Rodney

Rodney

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Posted June 01 2009 - 10:47 AM

Thanks for the review. This one sounds like a worthy upgrade from the dvd!
-Rodney

#3 of 3 onecent

onecent

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Posted June 03 2009 - 11:48 AM

Great review, Matt. I remember this movie very well (put the fear in me that it could happen in real life) but didn't know there was an alternate ending.