HTF UMD REVIEW: Cursed (Extended Edition)

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by David Galindo, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    [c]Cursed: Extended Version (UMD)
    Region 1 • Unrated • Subtitles: English • Available June 21st

    [​IMG][/c]

    Gah, what ugly cover art for the movie. Looking at it, I had no idea it was going to be a Werewolf movie, and a fairly fun one at that.

    Thoughts on the Movie

    I’m pretty sure this is my first Wes Craven film I have seen, so I came in not knowing what to expect at all. I was pretty surprised that this movie wasn’t the steaming pile of crapola I expected it to be…at least it was better than Van Helsing, one of the last movies to attempt Werewolvery. That’s right, I just made up that word. Woo!

    The plot: brother and sister drive down the midnight streets of Hollywood, crash into a car, and try to rescue the other driver. They get bitten by a Werewolf in the process, and verrrry slooowly figure out what’s happening to them (cause when you get a bite from a Werewolf, you turn into one, remember?). The main cast consists of Christina Ricci, who for some reason reminds me of Angelina Jolie, Joshua Jackson, and according to the poster Shannon Elizabeth, who hardly gets any screentime and gets a pretty bad exit from the movie (I *think* this extended version shows a lot more of Shannon, or should I say a lot less…you’ll understand when you see it.) I guess she didn’t take the crazy psychic lady from the circus seriously when she grabbed Shannon’s arm and says, “YOUR IN TERRIBLE DANGER!” I guess it didn’t help that the psychic neglected to tell her when danger might strike, or how to prevent it, but maybe that wasn’t included with the 2 ticket admission.

    If I am not mistaken, the original release was PG-13, and this unrated version is a bit more graphic with the deaths of certain characters. I never saw this movie in theaters so I cannot say for sure which scenes were added, but it did get pretty gruesome. It never really got scary for me, maybe because I never really cared what would happen to Ricci. Or maybe it was the slightly campy tone of the whole move. I mean, Ricci works for the Craig Kilborn show (which I remember because there was always a sign to point that out for me when she’s there), even at one point having Ricci suck Kilborn’s finger. This movie would have been 150% better had she worked for the Conan O’ Brian show. Imagine the possibilities! Heck, even coked-up werewolf could have made an appearance (a semi regular on the show).

    But, I enjoyed this movie in a weird sort of way. It’s not one I’d see again, but I’m glad I got to see at least one Wes Craven film.


    Video Quality

    This movie is pretty dark, and the colors seem very subdued. When I finished the movie and jumped into the special features, I was kinda surprised how vivid the picture was. I think it was more of the movie’s style than the actual transfer that made this a slightly murky film.

    The movie is in a 2.40 ratio, which is great, but man I don’t care for that ratio…its way too wide. Still, I prefer this over a cropped version, so I suppose I can’t complain. Everything looks sharp and the blacks are a little too bright, but overall it’s just fine.

    3/5
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    Audio Quality

    Movies like this depend on surprises…and when they come, you can bet we get a loud BANG and a huge strike from the orchestra. That all comes out very loud and clear from this UMD, and the pseudo-surrounds, when they are rarely used, sound cool. Some of the big action moments really kick the sound volume up, which I enjoyed. Overall, a solid soundtrack.

    3/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Extras

    Wow, this little UMD has quite a few extras! In fact, it might be the most feature packed UMD so far.

    First off, the menus look fine. They are structured in the same way the Hero and King Arthur menus are, which makes me think Buena Vista is running out of ideas for cool menus. I hope not, because they can really create some cool stuff (like the simple yet elegant Tron menus).

    We get four featurettes, three of which are great, and one that really sucks. First up is Behind the Fangs: The Making of Cursed (7:38) which gives insight on what a Wes Craven film is, how they went about making it, and what some of the cast thought about it. It’s fairly standard behind the scenes stuff, but still good to watch. Next is Cursed Effects (6:47) which shows how the Werewolf was created and how the car wreck aftermath was done. Again, pretty interesting, especially the dream sequence. What I found the most intriguing was the Creature Editing 101 (5:34) feature, which tells us how the film was edited and the way the PG-13 version had to be cut down considerably. I liked how the main editor quoted the old saying, “movies can be saved in the editing room,” almost as if he saved this one. Perhaps he did.

    The longest and very stupid feature was Becoming a Werewolf (7:57), hosted in documentary style by Joshua Jackson. He pretends that he’s making a documentary on make up effects, and does a bunch of stuff that’s supposed to be funny but certainly is not. It felt like a really bad student film. REALLY bad. Example: he gets bitten by a Werewolf, who had a chain around his arm. But later we see Wes Craven…with the very same chain! Gasp! (Oh, and the whole feature only has one camera, so we cut to someone talking, then cut to the other guy talking, then cut back to the previous guy, then…well, you get the idea.)

    We get some forced trailers, which I found out you can skip by pressing the triangle button and selecting Menu from the PSP control panel…but there is still no excuse for them. At least one of the trailers is cool…Sin City, which is coming to UMD in August.

    So, I watched the movie, then found out some cool details on how the movie was made and learned the special effects. That’s pretty much all you can ask for on a UMD, and Buena Vista delivered.

    4.5/5
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    Overall…

    Well, if you’re a fan of the horror genre…I’m not sure if you’ll like this movie or not. I didn’t find it all that scary, though with a movie like this it probably must be seen in the dark late at night (and I get the feeling Wes likes satirical more than horror). For fans, you’re in for a nice UMD with some great features. Having not seen any Wes Craven films except this one, basing on his reputation I can safely say he has done better.

    4/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Thanks for the review David. Do you (and other PSP owners) think it would be worthwhile to have a separate sub-forum for PSP UMD Reviews?
     
  3. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    Not really, since the VGSoftware board as it is doesnt get too much traffic. But if you think we need one, then I support you 100%.
     
  4. Steve Deacon

    Steve Deacon Stunt Coordinator

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    Seems a bit odd to me having these in video game software. The y aren't games, so they aren't appropriate here.
     
  5. Romier S

    Romier S Producer

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    They do play on a format specifically created to take advantage of a gaming platform. Makes sense to put them here since PSP owners will have the most interest in these discs.
     
  6. Steve Deacon

    Steve Deacon Stunt Coordinator

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    Wouldn't titling the reviews with PSP UMD and having them in the HT Software forum get them a wider audience?

    Not a big deal really, it's not like this forum is snowed under with posts.
     
  7. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    I was told to post in these forums. Its not the traffic that bothers me, since it allows me to build up my site and create a PSP magazine at the end of the month. [​IMG]

    http://www.pspmoviereviews.net
     
  8. PerryD

    PerryD Supporting Actor

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    I side that UMD movies are more Video Game Software than Home Theater Software.

    David, good luck with your site and magazine. If there was something that I wish you could add to your reviews, is a comparison of a few scenes against the DVD in image quality (contrast/color, etc), sound quality (5.1 vs stereo), aspect ratio (1.78 pan&scanned vs 1.78 unmatted, etc), and bonus content. I don't mind owning a DVD and PSP version of the same movie, but I don't necessarily want a grossly inferior version on the PSP either.
     
  9. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    While thats a great idea, lots of these movies I get are not ones I have on DVD. I think DVD would win hands down most of the time, but these reviews should somewhat help you decide if in fact its worth double dipping again.

    I would do a comparison, but Im pretty busy as it is. [​IMG]
     
  10. PerryD

    PerryD Supporting Actor

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    I wasn't meaning to imply that DVD would be inferior to UMD in any way, I was suggesting more along the lines of how close to the original DVD the UMD is.

    Bonus content difference you can do by looking up the DVD specs online, aspect ratio may be possible by looking up some screenshots from other review sites and comparing them to a similar shot from the UMD.
     
  11. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    That would have to be text only though, since there is no way of capturing an image on a UMD. Ill try to point out the differences whenever possible, though. Thanks!
     

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