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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Interview With the Vampire: Special Edition
Interview With the Vampire: Special Edition
Warner Bros. // R
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Chuck Arrington | posted April 29, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE: SE

Synopsis:

Anne Rice's sumptuous novel comes to err… life in Neil Jordan's seductively filmed theatrical adaptation. Louis (Brad Pitt) is a man intent on self-destruction. His wife and child died in childbirth and all the wealth he has, cannot fill the gaping hole left by their passing. Wherever and whenever possible, he places himself in situations where his life may be taken. Whether cheating at cards in a beer garden with gun toting players or taking on a prostitute and her thieving pimp, killing himself or getting as close to death as he can, is his primary goal. His attempts at courting death have not gone unnoticed. Unbeknownst to Louis, his actions have garnered the attention of none other than the supremely evil and charismatic vampire known as Lestat (Tom Cruise). Longing for a companion, Lestat introduces Louis to the embrace of death and Louis' torment begins anew. Where Lestat revels in the hunt, seduction and the kill, Louis would rather sustain himself on the blood of animals rather than take a single human life.

So goes their struggle throughout the whole of the film. When Louis feeds on a young child in a fit of starvation, he feels great remorse at the assumed death of the girl. Needless to say he is greatly surprised when she turns up as a member of this very unique family of the undead. Instantly, Louis takes to her and they begin a father/daughter relationship that spans centuries. Obviously, all is not well in this abode of the dead and both Louis and his charge, Claudia(Kirsten Dunst) grow weary of Lestat's charismatic insanity. Without knowing the consequences, Claudia plans to destroy Lestat. However in so doing she seals her own fate and that of Louis for evidently, they are not the only vampires around. Not too mention, how do you kill the already dead? Deliciously evil is a term that's been bandied about with lesser films, but has never really echoed the truest elements of a film until Interview With the Vampire.

Criticized from the jump about Cruise in the role of Lestat, Rice and Jordan, not too mention Cruise fooled everybody by bringing to life the most villainous character in the novel. Interview With the Vampire is a dark and monstrous film that does incredible justice to its novel and is well worth seeing.

Audio/Video:

The Special Edition of Interview With the Vampire features a beautifully delineated DD5.1 and a newly recorded DTS track. The DD5.1 is very good and delivers a solid punch in the listening area. The Surrounds are fully active and the directional effects are tight. The dialogue was clear and easily understood and the LFE added a dimension of depth to the feature that at times could rattle a window or two. The DTS track not only had all of these elements included but, it seemed to present an even stronger audio presence than the DD5.1. The DTS widened the listening area and was tremendously more dynamic than the DD5.1. There was a definite "enveloping" aural experience that was lacking in the DD5.1's presentation. If I had a preference in watching the disc with any given audio, I'd choose DTS every time! The only real problem I had with the disc in the way of its audio presentation was the inability to flip from DD5.1 to DTS on the fly. As a result, you have to stop the disc and go to the main menu to select the DTS track everytime you want to switch from DD to DTS. Other than that the audio (DTS) was perfection. The disc also features a Commentary track with Director Neil Jordan. His opinions on making the film and all of the baggage that came with the making of the film are included. Of import are his discussions with Anne Rice on the flow of the film and the dynamics employed to create the desired cinematic flavor. His concepts on Lestat and Louis and Claudio are also included. Regarding Claudia, Jordan did not want an actor that was well known given the fact that this role had to be such that no prior acting role could overshadow the character of Claudia. Hence his selection of then unknown Kirsten Dunst. Additionally, he wasn't sure he could put a child through the rigors of the role of Claudia. Given the intensity of the character, he was rightly concerned. Jordan's information regarding Rice's input and evaluation of the evolving storyline and character development lent even more light in what turned out to be a very informative commentary track.

The video is just as impressive as the audio presentation. The colors are extremely rich and luxuriant. Especially, during the scenes involving Armand and the "decadent" vampires of the theater. The tones of Louis' clothing are also quite rich and deep. The skintones however were hard to call. As the bulk of the cast suffers from the clammy pallor of death, the colors scheme for their skin was gray and cold at best. There were no transfer errors noted and this anamorphically enhanced widescreen transfer was spotless and quite beautiful to boot.

Extras:

In addition to the commentary track and the inclusion of a DTS track, A forty-five minute documentary entitled, In the Shadow of the Vampire is included. It features both new and older interviews with both Anne Rice and Neil Jordan as well as the stars on their approach to the roles and the effects this film has had on their lives and careers. It's a great segment that really gives a full perspective on what it took to make this film. A trailer is included as well as the standard production notes. The film also features an introduction to the film by Antonio Banderas (Armand) Neil Jordan and Anne Rice. It's about 45 seconds long and really primes you for the film. Nice touch.

Overall:

Of all the cinematic monsters, none are more attractive and seductive than the vampire. While Bela was the "first" real cinematic"Dracula", Christopher Lee gave him a sense of the dramatic coupled with an overpowering sense of sheer evil. Langella made him suave and debonair where Oldman re-created him entirely. Vampires need to be charismatic to be interesting and just villainous to be terrifying. Both Louis and Lestat embody these qualities in bulk. More Lestat than Louis but, the chemistry is there to make a great vampire film. Neil Jordan's adaptation of Rice's novel is an intensely frightening yet, oddly beautiful film. On the whole, if you are a fan of the genre, this film is a must. If you just "dig" scary movies, you might want to pass on this one. The reason being, there are very few scares in the film. Just a whole lot of information and a great deal of action both in the dialogue and the physical. I waited to get this because I knew an SE was in the works. I think there could have been more in the way of extras but as it is, I am very pleased with the final effort. Highly recommended

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