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INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE

For nearly two decades, it appeared as if Anne Riceís hugely popular novel, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE ($29), would never reach the screen. The project had been kicking around Hollywood for what seemed like forever in development hell, before director Neil Jordan was able to bring it cinematic life. However, after production began, the film was the subject of some controversy, as Anne Rice expressed concerns over the casting of Tom Cruise in the role of Lestat. Fortunately after viewing the completed film, Rice admitted that she was wrong about the casting choice and that Cruise did indeed give a very good performance as Lestat. Judging from Jordanís casting choices, the director seems to be implying that vampires must be eternally beautiful and seductive to survive as they do. Also, there is a certain logic to beautiful vampires. Letís face it; any vampire looking for eternal companionship, certainly wouldnít bestow immortality on someone whose face is unappealing.

INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE stars Brad Pitt as Louis de Pointe du Lac, the title character who is interviewed in a San Francisco hotel room and recounts the story of his undead existence over the last two centuries. Unlike the traditional vampire, Louis is a tortured soul, torn between his blood lust and the sympathy he feels for his human prey. Tom Cruise portrays Lestat de Lioncourt; the vampire that turns Louis into an immortal, and then creates a child vampire named Claudia (Kirsten Dunst), as a means of holding onto the somber Louis. Louis and his very strange little family live together for decades, that is, until Claudia mentally matures and realizes that she is a woman forever trapped inside a childís body. Eventually, Claudiaís rage against Lestat tears apart the threesome, resulting in Claudia and Louis traveling to Europe in search of other immortals. Then after having traveled across Europe for years, Louis and Claudia do finally discover other vampires living in Paris. However, it is in Paris that Louis and Claudiaís final encounter with Lestat is finally brought to the light of day.

While Brad Pitt is especially good at portraying Louisí inner turmoil and Tom Cruise is well suited to Lestatís sharp toothed sense of humor, it Kirsten Dunstís performance as Claudia that one will long remember after the film has ended. Dunst gives a performance that is well beyond her years, making one truly believe that there is a woman residing behind the eyes of a very deadly child. INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE also features marvelous supporting performances from Stephen Rea, Antonio Banderas and Domiziana Giordano. Director Neil Jordan beautifully stages the film, creating one of the most opulent and visually haunting vampire movies to ever be produced. The best way to describe INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE is to say that the film is like a dark, rich tapestry that becomes more beautiful the longer you look at it.

Warner Home Video has made INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentation is really quite pleasing and serves as a faithful rendering of Philippe Rousselotís ever so slightly diffuse cinematography. INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE is a dark film that with a dense image, whose candle lit secrets are not always given up willingly. Still, images sharpness and detail is they absolute best I have ever seen on this title, as are depth and clarity. The level of fine detail allows one a greater appreciation of the meticulous care that went into creating the filmís ornate sets and costumes. Additionally, the Blu-ray brings out textures in the sets and stonework that give them a greater sense of reality. Colors can be subdued, based upon lighting- lower lighter tends to make the image appear more subdued, while stronger lighting yields a better saturated palette. Warm firelight and candlelight produces the most appealing hues. Flesh tones can be appealing or have the odd vampiric pallor. Blacks are deep and whites crisp. Contrast is very smooth. Shadow detail can be truly good, but the limited lighting intentionally obscures many sequences. The film elements display few visible flaws. Grain is present throughout and INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE always renders with an organic, film-like quality.

INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital 640kbps soundtrack. The sound design is quite atmospheric, but by the nature of the period in which most of the film plays out, this isnít a particularly aggressive mix. One will find some active effects in the outlying channels, but ambient sounds dominate. Elliot Goldenthalís musical score washes over the viewer from all sides and is very effective. Fidelity is very good, but not quite as good as it might have been on a lossless soundtrack. French, Spanish and Japanese language tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish and Japanese.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been carried over from the DVD edition. Starting things off is a one-minute introduction that features Anne Rice, Neil Jordan and Antonio Banderas. Director Neil Jordan is on hand to deliver a running Audio Commentary, which contains a great deal of information about the production. I donít know how Jordan manages to talk so enthusiastically for a full two hours without running out of gas, but fans will be delighted to hear everything he has to say. In The Shadow Of The Vampire is a thirty-minute documentary that features new and old interviews with Anne Rice, Neil Jordan, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas and special effects creator Stan Winston. Most aspects of the production are covered in the documentary, along with the modern allure of the vampire. A Theatrical Trailer closes out the supplements.

I am a big fan of Anne Riceís books as will as Neil Jordanís film adaptation of INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. The Blu-ray edition is wonderfully film-like and is the best looking presentation I have seen. Recommended.

 

INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE 


Interview with the Vampire [Blu-ray] (1994)

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DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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