First impressions: Stephen King's "It" and "Cat's Eye"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jamie Cole, Oct 1, 2002.

  1. Jamie Cole

    Jamie Cole Stunt Coordinator

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    A couple of Stephen King catalog titles were released today, "It" and "Cat's Eye." Both are Warner releases in snappers (yuck).

    Here's a quick first look at each of them:

    I spun "It" first and was SHOCKED. I may be behind the times, but I had NOT heard this would be a widescreen release. It is framed at 1.78:1 and is anamorphic. I can't compare it side by side to my laserdisc yet, but the shots I looked at look very well-composed and not at all too tight for head room. The opening credits look great in widescreen, as does the opening rainstorm scene.

    The picture overall is VERY grainy... I don't know if this is a result of the zooming process to produce the widescreen picture or not. But grain is consistent and occasionally annoying throughout (I watched the first few chapters entirely and then went through chapter stops from there).

    "It" is spread across a two-sided disc and includes a commentary by director Tommy Lee Wallace and cast members Dennis Christopher, Tim Reid, Richard Thomas and John Ritter. I haven't listened to any of it yet.

    "Cat's Eye" is a world of difference transfer-wise. It looks mighty fine. The opening credit sequence has some scratches and trash every now and then, and some of the optical effects exhibit artifacts (film-wise, not compression), but aside from that the first several minutes of the film are beautiful.

    Clicking through the chapter stops, I didn't notice any compression problems in the darker scenes, particularly in "The Ledge" sequence. The blacks and deep blues hold quite nicely.

    The framing here is a revelation. Presented in its OAR of 2.35:1, gone are the "smooshed" shots in the opening credits and the way-too-tight feel of previous pan and scan releases. Director Lewis Teague has a great eye and did some nice things with composition... it's worth the price of the disc to see the film the way it was always meant to be seen!

    There's a commentary by director Lewis Teague and a cool theatrical trailer that is something of a spoiler if you want to look for the little Stephen King in-jokes sprinkled throughout the movie for yourself.

    Both discs are welcome in my collection, but "Cat's Eye" is a real winner if you love the movie like I do.

    If anyone wants to add impressions of the audio side, great... I probably won't get around to that tonight. My guess is the mixes are nothing special.
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I didn't get It, but the audio mix on Cat's Eye is a serviceable 2.0 matrixed surround mix, with fairly limited rear channel activity. It's a solid effort and serves the film well.

    I share your excitement at finally getting this little "B" gem in its OAR at long last. The ledge sequence is so much more effective when the shots include both the characters and the vast cityscape below them; the P&S version lost a lot of the sense of danger. And the hallucinations in the "Quitters" segment are much funnier when you can see all the detail packed into the frame.

    Despite all the whinging and handwringing over the impending "death" of OAR and the supposed triumph of Walmart, we're still routinely getting obscure catalogue and cult titles like these in their OAR (often, as here, for the first time on home video) and at price points that were simply unimaginable in the days of laserdisc. I'm delighted with Warner's work on this DVD.

    M.
     
  3. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    It is a flipper??? I have it at home, but havent taken it out of its shrink wrapping yet. Thats a really weird decision on the part of Warner seeing as how they released JFK which is like 20+ minutes longer with a full 5.1 soundtrack and a commentary on a single DVD-9...

    Oh well, Im glad that we got it in 1.78:1, but does anyone know if the director originally framed it for that, or was this framed for 1.33:1? I dont really care that it was shown on TV in 1.33:1, Im mainly concerned with how the shots were composed. As much as I like anamorphic widescreen, when something is intentionally widescreen-ized like they did with Evil Dead 1, its just as a travesty as pan and scanning a widescreen film.
     
  4. Dave_P.

    Dave_P. Supporting Actor

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    I was really glad to replace my old rotted P&S laser of Cat's Eye with this great DVD. Glad to see some studios still are trying to stick with widescreen. Never saw It, but after watching Cat's Eye I needed a King fix so I threw in Needful Things which has been sitting on the shelf since I got it and enjoyed that as well.
     
  5. Jamie Cole

    Jamie Cole Stunt Coordinator

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  6. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    I love CAT'S EYE, and I picked up the DVD yesterday. It is one of my favorite horror anthology films, and it was an absolute joy finally see this in widescreen! The disc is simply wonderful, and I couldn't be more pleased!
    My favorite segment is the Quitters Inc. one with one of my favorite actors, James Woods, and a fantastic and darkly humored plot! I love the scene where Woods is hallucinating at the party! Superb scene! I also love the two cameos at the beginning of the film! [​IMG]
    Great film, and thankfully, a great DVD!
     
  7. Alan_Horner

    Alan_Horner Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm having playback problems with IT on my Toshiba 4700. Selecting "Play movie" just brings up the main menu over and over again. Selecting the first chapter in the scene selection skips the opening credits entirely, beginning instead with the arrival of Richard Thomas.

    I've a feeling that this is Toshiba-related and not the disc per se, but thought I'd check the boards and see if anyone has any thoughts.

    Al
     
  8. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    I think that it should be known, that the choice to make It a flipper must have been a last minute decision. I dont know if this applies to all copies, but my version is labeled "Standard" one one side and "Widescreen" on the other, as if this was one of those discs with full frame on one side and Widescreen on another.

    Yet, when sticking it into my player, the Standard side has the first half of the movie on it, and the Widescreen is the second half. I confirmed this by skimming through my copy, and there is roughly 1 hour 33 minutes on the Standard side, and the rest is on the other side and it is all 16x9 widescreen.

    I only skimmed through It on my DVD-ROM but I did notice alot of the grain that someone above was mentioning.

    I did watch Cat's Eye all the way through, and I have to agree that the transfer is a nice surprise. Certainly not perfect, but definitely better than you would think for an underground catalog film like this. Also kudos to the Dolby ProLogic soundtrack. This almost reminds me of the old Laserdisc 2 channel PCM tracks as there is a lot of surround activity, and quite a bit of bass for the subwoofer to play with.

    Highly recommended for both discs!!!
     
  9. Jenna

    Jenna Second Unit

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    Well, unfortunately, I won't be able to pick up "IT" this week - at least NOT at BB. They stated that THEIR computers show a release date of 10/8 so THEY aren't "allowed" to put them on the shelf....despite the fact that the DVDs are sitting in a box in the back.

    HOW STUPID IS THAT????
     
  10. Alan_Horner

    Alan_Horner Stunt Coordinator

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