As remakes go, Kimberly Peirce’s take on one of Stephen King’s more popular stories works more than it doesn’t, failing (for better or worse) to make as radical a change in the character as some (including Peirce) have stated. The Blu-ray presentation is, not surprisingly, practically flawless, making it a worthwhile release for those who found the film a pleasant surprise.
Distributed By: Fox
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Run Time: 1 Hr. 40 Min (Theatrical Cut) / 1 Hr. 41 Min. (Theatrical Cut with Alternate Ending)
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, UltraViolet
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 01/14/2013
Lonely and isolated 17-year old Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) goes through an abrupt coming-of-age when she gets her first menstrual period in the showers of her high school locker room. Rather than try to comfort the distressed girl, who doesn’t know what to make of the sudden pain and blood, her classmates instead taunt her into hysterics, making the incident the talk of the school. While gym teacher Ms. Desjardin (Judy Greer) does her best to console and educate Carrie, Carrie’s religious fanatic of a mother Margaret (Julianne Moore) only further terrorizes the girl by locking her up in a closet to atone for her sin of becoming a woman.
The Production Rating: 4/5
Back at school, Carrie remains in the sights of head mean girl / bully Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday), who recorded the locker room incident and uploaded the video to the Internet. Her reprehensible actions and unrepentant attitude ultimately get her banned from the upcoming prom, thanks to Desjardin (Judy Greer), but the punishment only inspires Chris to go after Carrie with even more zeal.
Chris’ one-time bestie Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde), on the other hand, can’t seem to shake her guilt over her part in the locker room hazing. When she notices Carrie’s admiration for Tommy (Ansel Elgort), Sue’s popular but guileless boyfriend, she decides Tommy should invite Carrie to the prom, to give the hapless girl one happy memory before high school is over.
Unfortunately, as Chris sees Carrie coming out of her shell with the approach of the quintessential high school social event, she joins in a plot hatched by her boyfriend Billy (Alex Russell) to humiliate Carrie on the big night, in full view of the entire school. But Carrie’s growing confidence isn’t just the result of some much needed love and attention from her peers and a caring teacher, but a newly manifested ability to move objects with her mind. The strength of this power and her control over it has increased by the day, and should Chris and Billy go through with their plan, they’ll come face-to-face with a very different person from the one they envisioned putting in her place.
Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, and effectively a remake of Brian DePalma’s popular 1976 adaptation, this latest iteration of Carrie may smack of the relentless Hollywood trend of revisiting past material, but the execution winds up being more effective than not. Moretz proves a solid choice to play the bullied main character who gradually realizes both her beauty and power. Though she’s not as pitiable as Sissy Spacek’s version, we know from too many real world examples that victims don’t fit into one physical or even personality type.
The characterizations of those around Carrie are more one-dimensional by comparison, from the mother to the chief tormentors, but it’s easy enough to overlook given the horror and revenge fantasy underpinnings of the story. For the most part the characters deviate very little from what DePalma established in his film, with Carrie’s motivation in the final scenes offering the most significant change. While her mental state in the finale elicited criticism from some viewers, I ultimately found it maintained an even hand and, ironically, didn’t even fit Peirce’s own objectives, much less her analysis. Consequently, this latest adaptation turns out to be a pleasant surprise (forgiving a couple plot points that either go nowhere or, literally, get pulled from the air) – it gives the story some needed updating from the somewhat long-in-the-tooth ‘70s version, while also hitting the right notes in the dramatic and horror departments.
The Blu-ray edition includes an optional ending that adds about a minute to the overall run time. The alternate epilogue is actually an improvement, making the original final scenes feel tacked on and purposely tepid by comparison.
As a recent Hollywood production, Carrie, not surprisingly, offers a clean and practically flawless presentation. Framed at 2.35:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the transfer exhibits great color, detail and contrast. The only component that seems a little inconsistent are the black levels, which tend to be more limited in indoor or dimly lit environments.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently crisp, clear and intelligible. Surround channels engage, sometimes aggressively, for the various telekinetic sequences, providing a well balanced mix of atmospheric and environmental effects. Bass and LFE are used similarly, giving some nice floor shaking moments when Carrie is flexing her mental muscles, while also giving the track sufficient depth and range in the more dialogue driven scenes.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5
Special Features Rating: 3.5/5
- Alternate Ending: An optional, alternate ending, which bears some similarity to the one in the 1976 film, adds about another minute to the main feature’s run time.
- Audio Commentary with Director Kimberly Peirce
- Deleted and Alternate Scenes (10:18, HD): Seven scenes titled Hail, Chris and Tina Kiss, Billy’s Wild Ride, Carrie Levitates Margaret, Drive to Pig Farm, Carrie and Tommy’s Kiss, Billy Kisses Chris, Margaret Cuts Herself, and Tina On Fire. Each clip includes an optional director commentary.
- Tina On Fire Stunt Double Dailies (2:18, HD): Different angles of a character’s immolation.
- Creating Carrie (21:07, HD): The look behind the scenes covers the development, casting and production, with story and character analysis and differences from the 1976 Brian DePalma film and original novel.
- The Power of Telekinesis (4:02, HD): The cast and crew share their thoughts about the existence of telekinesis and how the power is presented in the film.
- Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise (2:39, HD): Video footage from a Carrie-inspired prank on unsuspecting coffee shop customers. The shocked reactions are actually pretty funny.
- Theatrical Trailer (1:56, HD)
- DVD Copy: Includes the theatrical cut with the original ending only.
- UltraViolet: Redeem by January 14, 2017.
MGM Home Entertainment delivers a great high definition presentation for Kimberly Peirce’s pleasantly surprising Carrie remake. The extras provide the requisite behind the scenes and one-view-only video pieces, making for a solid, if somewhat unremarkable, release. However, those who enjoyed the film should have no reservations picking it up, especially when the street price eventually drops.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Reviewed By: Cameron Yee
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