No Frills DVD Review: HEAVENLY CREATURES

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by ddmcd, Sep 6, 2003.

  1. ddmcd

    ddmcd Guest

    No Frills DVD Review: HEAVENLY CREATURES

    Once more DVD technology comes through by making available an older film
    no longer in general theatrical release, this time Peter Jackson's 1994
    HEAVENLY CREATURES. What I find admirable about this intelligent and
    engrossing film is the balance Jackson achieves with the elements of
    madness and love that form the foundation of the film. He could have
    played up the "homosexual" aspects of the girls' relationship in a
    pandering way by emphasizing sexuality. But he doesn't. And somehow he
    presents their magical fantasy world not in realistic terms - it is
    anything but. Instead he shows it as a natural extension of the
    "reality" that they build around themselves as they move toward the
    murder at the end of the film.

    This movie could have veered off in many bad directions and turned into
    a Hollywoodish bloodfest or sexual obsession film. But it doesn't. And
    the fact that it doesn't is a testament to the wisdom and maturity of
    the creative forces behind the film.

    I had a similar reaction to re-watching scenes from Jackson's THE TWO
    TOWERS dealing with preparations for the Battle of Helms Deep. Many war
    films focus on pre-battle jitters and veer into mawkish sentimentality
    or drumbeat patriotism. TWO TOWERS somehow manages to combine
    sentimentality, bravery, self-doubt, fear, and humor in a way that
    generates a real emotional response while building up to a realistic and
    horrific battle among humans, elves, dwarves, and non-human orcs. Pretty
    good for a fantasy film!

    I think it's clear that Jackson is a masterful director. But another
    factor that is common between these two films is the involvement of his
    wife Fran (Frances) Walsh as a screen play writer. (One of the
    interesting aspects of the special features of the FELLOWSHIP OF THE
    RING special edition DVD was that it actually devoted a significant
    amount of time to the literary sources of the story as well to the
    development of a screenplay that captures the essence of the Tolkien work.)

    What this suggests to me is that an important element of Jackson's
    success is his close relationship with and understanding of the
    screenplay process. HEAVENLY CREATURES' dramatic quality is, I believe,
    evidence of this. It's too bad that the HEAVENLY CREATURES DVD does not
    have a commentary track, though; hearing about the creative process
    behind it would be a real treat.

    http://ddmcd.home.mindspring.com/DVD/
     
    ddmcd, Sep 6, 2003
    #1
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  2. ddmcd

    madkevin Guest

    "ddmcd" <> wrote in message
    news:3mn6b.5833$...
    > No Frills DVD Review: HEAVENLY CREATURES
    >
    > Once more DVD technology comes through by making available an older film
    > no longer in general theatrical release, this time Peter Jackson's 1994
    > HEAVENLY CREATURES.


    Yeah, it's too bad rep cinemas, broadcast television, and videotape rental
    outlets never did that.

    ==================
    "Heavenly Coglianos"
     
    madkevin, Sep 6, 2003
    #2
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  3. ddmcd

    ddmcd Guest


    >
    >Yeah, it's too bad rep cinemas, broadcast television, and videotape rental
    >outlets never did that.
    >
    >
    >


    I agree with you 100%. The quality and wide availability of DVD
    significantly improves upon the narrow availability of rep cinema,
    censored broadcast tv, and low quality rental VHS.
     
    ddmcd, Sep 7, 2003
    #3
  4. ddmcd

    Jay G Guest

    "ddmcd" <> wrote...
    > >Yeah, it's too bad rep cinemas, broadcast television, and videotape

    rental
    > >outlets never did that.
    > >

    > I agree with you 100%. The quality and wide availability of DVD
    > significantly improves upon the narrow availability of rep cinema,
    > censored broadcast tv, and low quality rental VHS.


    DVD might make the film more widely available than rep cinema
    showings, and at higher quality than VHS or TV, but the way you
    phrased your original post made it seem that you were claiming
    that this film hadn't been available *at all* since it's original theatrical
    release.

    Also, you made the fact that this DVD made available
    "an older film no longer in general theatrical release" sound
    like it was remarkable to you, when DVD releases of older
    films no longer in general theatrical release happen
    *every single week*.

    What you should've wrote is that the DVD is the first time the
    original uncut version of the film had been made available in
    the US.

    -Jay
     
    Jay G, Sep 7, 2003
    #4
  5. ddmcd

    madkevin Guest

    "ddmcd" <> wrote in message
    news:GQw6b.8395$...
    >
    > >
    > >Yeah, it's too bad rep cinemas, broadcast television, and videotape rental
    > >outlets never did that.
    > >
    > >
    > >

    >
    > I agree with you 100%. The quality and wide availability of DVD
    > significantly improves upon the narrow availability of rep cinema,
    > censored broadcast tv, and low quality rental VHS.


    More films - by which I mean a larger number of titles - have been released on
    VHS than on DVD to date. That may or may not change in the future, but as of
    right this second, VHS has been "making available...older film
    [which were] no longer in general theatrical release" for a couple of decades.
    So, what were you saying again?

    ===============
    "Cogliano Fidelity"
     
    madkevin, Sep 8, 2003
    #5
  6. ddmcd

    ddmcd Guest

    Jay G wrote:

    >"ddmcd" <> wrote...
    >
    >
    >>>Yeah, it's too bad rep cinemas, broadcast television, and videotape
    >>>
    >>>

    >rental
    >
    >
    >>>outlets never did that.
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>

    >>I agree with you 100%. The quality and wide availability of DVD
    >>significantly improves upon the narrow availability of rep cinema,
    >>censored broadcast tv, and low quality rental VHS.
    >>
    >>

    >
    >DVD might make the film more widely available than rep cinema
    >showings, and at higher quality than VHS or TV, but the way you
    >phrased your original post made it seem that you were claiming
    >that this film hadn't been available *at all* since it's original theatrical
    >release.
    >

    That was certainly not my intent, but to be honest, even if it had been
    available on VHS (or laser disc) I would still prefer the dvd because of
    the quality improvement (and of course the fact that it was priced so low).

    >
    >Also, you made the fact that this DVD made available
    >"an older film no longer in general theatrical release" sound
    >like it was remarkable to you, when DVD releases of older
    >films no longer in general theatrical release happen
    >*every single week*.
    >

    Actually, I do find this fact somewhat remarkable. I remember when DVD
    technology was first becoming commercialized. There were real fears that
    Circuit City and DIVX would manage to detsroy the market before it
    developed. Also, we still ocasionally hear rumors that "sell through"
    pricing on some titles will be abandoned initially for rental pricing.
    Even now there are reports of a "disposable DVD" experiment which, if
    you want to think this way, is another attempt to destroy the low-priced
    sell through distribution model that is now supporting the re-issue of
    high quality versions of films like HEAVENLY CREATURES, SOYLENT GREEN,
    and FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX on standard DVD.

    Does it concern me that there are many VHS titles that will probably
    never be converted over to DVD? Well, it sort of reminds me of the
    situation we have with audio recordings; there were many "records"
    issued on LP that may never see the light of day on CD or any other
    format. That's just the way it is; I'm encouraged, though, that DVD has
    been so commercially succesful that DVD is not just being used for
    expensive or blockbuster titles.

    >
    >What you should've wrote is that the DVD is the first time the
    >original uncut version of the film had been made available in
    >the US.
    >


    I was not aware of that. Makes me wonder what was "cut" in prior
    releases. Which is why it would be great if a"with commentary" version
    was released.

    >
    >-Jay
    >
    >
    >
    >
     
    ddmcd, Sep 8, 2003
    #6
  7. On Mon, 08 Sep 2003 12:50:22 GMT, ddmcd <> wrote:

    >
    >
    >Jay G wrote:
    >
    >>"ddmcd" <> wrote...
    >>
    >>
    >>>>Yeah, it's too bad rep cinemas, broadcast television, and videotape
    >>>>
    >>>>

    >>rental
    >>
    >>
    >>>>outlets never did that.
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>I agree with you 100%. The quality and wide availability of DVD
    >>>significantly improves upon the narrow availability of rep cinema,
    >>>censored broadcast tv, and low quality rental VHS.
    >>>
    >>>

    >>
    >>DVD might make the film more widely available than rep cinema
    >>showings, and at higher quality than VHS or TV, but the way you
    >>phrased your original post made it seem that you were claiming
    >>that this film hadn't been available *at all* since it's original theatrical
    >>release.
    >>

    >That was certainly not my intent, but to be honest, even if it had been
    >available on VHS (or laser disc) I would still prefer the dvd because of
    >the quality improvement (and of course the fact that it was priced so low).
    >
    >>
    >>Also, you made the fact that this DVD made available
    >>"an older film no longer in general theatrical release" sound
    >>like it was remarkable to you, when DVD releases of older
    >>films no longer in general theatrical release happen
    >>*every single week*.
    >>


    >Does it concern me that there are many VHS titles that will probably
    >never be converted over to DVD? Well, it sort of reminds me of the
    >situation we have with audio recordings; there were many "records"
    >issued on LP that may never see the light of day on CD or any other
    >format. That's just the way it is; I'm encouraged, though, that DVD has
    >been so commercially succesful that DVD is not just being used for
    >expensive or blockbuster titles.
    >
    >>
    >>What you should've wrote is that the DVD is the first time the
    >>original uncut version of the film had been made available in
    >>the US.


    I have the rather good quality widescreen laserdisc of "Heavenly
    Creatures." I'd like to see what was cut myself...

    Steve .
    >>

    >
    >I was not aware of that. Makes me wonder what was "cut" in prior
    >releases. Which is why it would be great if a"with commentary" version
    >was released.
    >
    >>
    >>-Jay
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>
     
    Steve(JazzHunter), Sep 8, 2003
    #7
  8. ddmcd

    ddmcd Guest


    >More films - by which I mean a larger number of titles - have been released on
    >VHS than on DVD to date. That may or may not change in the future, but as of
    >right this second, VHS has been "making available...older film
    >[which were] no longer in general theatrical release" for a couple of decades.
    >So, what were you saying again?
    >
    >




    I'm not sure what the question is - of course I'm aware of the longevity
    and popularity of VHS. Being the first on my block with a portable
    stereo VHS recording system helped me survive my son's infancy through
    zillions of rental movies.

    But once DVD came along I never looked back. My time for viewing is
    limited and I prefer DVD video and sound quality. The fact that we have
    as many DVD titles now despite the relative "youth" of the technology is
    nothing but positive in my book. Now when given a choice between
    watching a movie from VHS, or not watching it -- I skip it, there's so
    much good stuff available on DVD now.

    Meanwhile, my old VHS machines sit next to my old audiocassette
    machines, gathering dust.
     
    ddmcd, Sep 8, 2003
    #8
  9. ddmcd

    madkevin Guest

    "ddmcd" <> wrote in message
    news:Mi27b.13989$...
    >
    > >More films - by which I mean a larger number of titles - have been released

    on
    > >VHS than on DVD to date. That may or may not change in the future, but as of
    > >right this second, VHS has been "making available...older film
    > >[which were] no longer in general theatrical release" for a couple of

    decades.
    > >So, what were you saying again?
    > >
    > >

    >
    >
    >
    > I'm not sure what the question is - of course I'm aware of the longevity
    > and popularity of VHS. Being the first on my block with a portable
    > stereo VHS recording system helped me survive my son's infancy through
    > zillions of rental movies.


    Regardless of the quality of the films - and god knows I'm not suggesting that
    VHS is somehow superior than DVD in terms of quality - VHS has been releasing
    older films no longer in general release for a couple of decades. Your post made
    it sound like this amazing fact was somehow the providence of DVD only, which is
    completely untrue. When I called you on it, you refered to the quality of the
    releases, rather than the availability, and proceeded to compound the error. The
    simple fact is that, currently, more titles from back catalogs have been
    released on VHS than on DVD. Thus, DVD actually has a *narrower* availability
    than VHS to date.

    In other words, what you wrote was false. Geddit?

    ===================
    "Curse Of The Cogliano"
     
    madkevin, Sep 8, 2003
    #9
  10. ddmcd

    ddmcd Guest

    Look, I really enjoy the civility of your responses, which is refreshing
    given the "**** you" comments so many people provide in this newsgroup.
    But I cannot see where in my original review, or in my subsequent posts,
    I EVER suggested that VHS has not been around longer or has not provided
    more releases on a numeric title by title basis.

    All I am attempting to say is that I really enjoy the fact that older
    films are being made available on DVD now, older films that I enjoy.
    That's great and I don't have to deal with poor VHS quality, lack of
    theatrical release, my lack of time for going out to movies, the gfact
    that both of my old VHS units don't work, or whatever. I AGREE THAT MORE
    TITLES ARE AVAILABLE ON VHS.

    But I just don't care. So I apologize. Here's what I said in my review:
    "Once more DVD technology comes through by making available an older
    film no longer in general theatrical release, this time Peter Jackson's
    1994 HEAVENLY CREATURES.."

    Sigh. By the way, did you enjoy HEAVENLY CREATURES as much as I did?



    >
    >
     
    ddmcd, Sep 9, 2003
    #10
  11. On Mon, 08 Sep 2003 18:35:46 -0700, Black Locust <>
    wrote:

    >In article <>, "Jay G" <>
    >wrote:
    >
    >> What you should've wrote is that the DVD is the first time the
    >> original uncut version of the film had been made available in
    >> the US.

    >
    >Or the first time we've actually seen the ENTIRE film, opposed to just
    >45% of it. In otherwords the first time it's been available in
    >widescreen opposed to the pan & scan version for the mentally challenged
    >Joe VCR.


    I say again, it's on laserdisc in widescreen, supposedly an "Extended"
    cut. At the time it was a good seller so it HAS been generally
    available in widescreen in North America to those who appreciated the
    laser format.

    http://www.dvdlaser.com/search/detail.cfm?ID=21278

    Steve .
    >
    >> -Jay
     
    Steve(JazzHunter), Sep 9, 2003
    #11
  12. ddmcd

    Black Locust Guest

    In article <>, "Jay G" <>
    wrote:

    > What you should've wrote is that the DVD is the first time the
    > original uncut version of the film had been made available in
    > the US.


    Or the first time we've actually seen the ENTIRE film, opposed to just
    45% of it. In otherwords the first time it's been available in
    widescreen opposed to the pan & scan version for the mentally challenged
    Joe VCR.

    > -Jay

    --
    BL
     
    Black Locust, Sep 9, 2003
    #12
  13. ddmcd

    Jay G Guest

    "Steve(JazzHunter)" <> wrote ...
    > Black Locust <> wrote:
    > >"Jay G" <> wrote:
    > >> What you should've wrote is that the DVD is the first time the
    > >> original uncut version of the film had been made available in
    > >> the US.

    > >
    > >Or the first time we've actually seen the ENTIRE film, opposed to just
    > >45% of it. In otherwords the first time it's been available in
    > >widescreen opposed to the pan & scan version for the mentally challenged
    > >Joe VCR.

    >
    > I say again, it's on laserdisc in widescreen, supposedly an "Extended"
    > cut. At the time it was a good seller so it HAS been generally
    > available in widescreen in North America to those who appreciated the
    > laser format.
    >
    > http://www.dvdlaser.com/search/detail.cfm?ID=21278


    The laserdisc is in widescreen, but it is the 99 min international cut
    of the film. The DVD is the 108 min original cut that ran in New
    Zealand.
    http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0110005/alternateversions

    -Jay
     
    Jay G, Sep 9, 2003
    #13
  14. On Mon, 8 Sep 2003 22:01:54 -0500, "Jay G" <> wrote:

    >
    >"Steve(JazzHunter)" <> wrote ...
    >> Black Locust <> wrote:
    >> >"Jay G" <> wrote:
    >> >> What you should've wrote is that the DVD is the first time the
    >> >> original uncut version of the film had been made available in
    >> >> the US.
    >> >
    >> >Or the first time we've actually seen the ENTIRE film, opposed to just
    >> >45% of it. In otherwords the first time it's been available in
    >> >widescreen opposed to the pan & scan version for the mentally challenged
    >> >Joe VCR.

    >>
    >> I say again, it's on laserdisc in widescreen, supposedly an "Extended"
    >> cut. At the time it was a good seller so it HAS been generally
    >> available in widescreen in North America to those who appreciated the
    >> laser format.
    >>
    >> http://www.dvdlaser.com/search/detail.cfm?ID=21278

    >
    >The laserdisc is in widescreen, but it is the 99 min international cut
    >of the film. The DVD is the 108 min original cut that ran in New
    >Zealand.
    >http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0110005/alternateversions


    Thanks, I was planning to pick up the DVD anyway. The alternate cut
    is a bonus.

    .Steve .
    >
    >-Jay
    >
     
    Steve(JazzHunter), Sep 9, 2003
    #14
  15. ddmcd

    madkevin Guest

    "ddmcd" <> wrote in message
    news:Rr87b.14445$...

    > Sigh. By the way, did you enjoy HEAVENLY CREATURES as much as I did?


    Yep. The director's cut was interesting - Jackson's one of the few directors
    who's so-called "director's cuts" are actually qualitatively better than the
    studio cut, as opposed to merely longer. I remember watching "Heavenly
    Creatures" in the theatre when it opened and I was just amazed - I had only ever
    seen "Bad Taste", "Dead Alive" and the exerable "Meet The Feebles", so a film of
    such mesmerizing beauty was a total revelation. After watching the way he
    handled the fantasy elements of that story, there was no doubt in my mind that
    he was the right choice for "Lord Of The Rings".

    So, yeah, I liked it.

    =============
    "Cogliano Taste"
     
    madkevin, Sep 10, 2003
    #15
  16. ddmcd

    Jay G Guest

    "madkevin" <> wrote...
    > I remember watching "Heavenly
    > Creatures" in the theatre when it opened and I was just amazed - I had

    only ever
    > seen "Bad Taste", "Dead Alive" and the exerable "Meet The Feebles", so a

    film of
    > such mesmerizing beauty was a total revelation.


    Surely you meant that those 3 were the only Peter Jackson
    films you had seen, not the only 3 films you had ever seen
    period.

    Also, considering that those 3 films were the only other
    features Peter Jackson had directed up to that point,
    it's not remarkable that they would be the only ones
    you had seen.

    -Jay
     
    Jay G, Sep 10, 2003
    #16
  17. ddmcd

    madkevin Guest

    "Jay G" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > "madkevin" <> wrote...
    > > I remember watching "Heavenly
    > > Creatures" in the theatre when it opened and I was just amazed - I had

    > only ever
    > > seen "Bad Taste", "Dead Alive" and the exerable "Meet The Feebles", so a

    > film of
    > > such mesmerizing beauty was a total revelation.

    >
    > Surely you meant that those 3 were the only Peter Jackson
    > films you had seen, not the only 3 films you had ever seen
    > period.


    Er, yes. I have seen other films besides Peter Jackson's. The Evil Dead trilogy,
    for example. And that thing Orson Welles did with the sled.

    > Also, considering that those 3 films were the only other
    > features Peter Jackson had directed up to that point,
    > it's not remarkable that they would be the only ones
    > you had seen.


    You know, when I read this I was certain you were wrong, but I just checked the
    IMDB and you're absolutely correct. For some insane reason, I was convinced "The
    Frighteners" came before "Heavenly Creatures", but no. I always think Jackson
    directed more movies, and I always think Raimi directed less. Weird.

    =================
    "Forgotten Cogliano"
     
    madkevin, Sep 10, 2003
    #17
  18. ddmcd

    Kram Sacul Guest

    ddmcd <> wrote in message news:<3mn6b.5833$>...
    > No Frills DVD Review: HEAVENLY CREATURES


    Which region is this review for? Is this the same lousy dvd released
    a few years ago or a new version? I'll wait for the special edition
    that it deserves.
     
    Kram Sacul, Sep 11, 2003
    #18
  19. ddmcd

    ddmcd Guest

    To the best of my knowledge (it was a rental) it was region 1; nearly
    all the DVD’s I review are region 1.

    Kram Sacul wrote:

    >ddmcd <> wrote in message news:<3mn6b.5833$>...
    >
    >
    >>No Frills DVD Review: HEAVENLY CREATURES
    >>
    >>

    >
    >Which region is this review for? Is this the same lousy dvd released
    >a few years ago or a new version? I'll wait for the special edition
    >that it deserves.
    >
    >
     
    ddmcd, Sep 11, 2003
    #19
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