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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
Genius Products // Unrated // May 27, 2008
List Price: $14.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Justin Felix | posted May 14, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is perhaps the classic author's most well-known work. It has served as the basis for a lot of horror films over the years, and the story's public domain status has certainly contributed to this prolific output. My personal favorite is still the old black and white version with Fredric March who won the Academy Award for Best Actor that year, but then, I'm a big fan of the old black and white horror films of the 1930s and 1940s and thus it suits my bias.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the latest retelling of Stevenson's work. It places the events in modern day with marginal results.

Dougray Scott plays the lead character(s) in this go-round, and he isn't bad. His Dr. Jekyll is suitably likeable and his Mr. Hyde, here an outgrowth of a personal scientific experiment gone awry, is equally sinister. Dr. Jekyll is a well-liked medical doctor. He remains friends with the husband of one of his patients who died from an incurable disease (played by Tom Skerritt, who seems to be spending the twilight of his career in supporting roles just like this one). The film picks up in medias res with Mr. Hyde's crime and murder spree mostly having taken place at the start of the movie.

And that's perhaps the central flaw of the film. The DVD cover art for this movie promises a fright flick, which the first half of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde provides, albeit in a sanitized television movie manner. However, much of the second half involves a dry and mundane courtroom drama as a young lawyer played by Krista Bridges falls for Dr. Jekyll as she defends him in court for the murders he committed as his alter ego Mr. Hyde.

Courtroom / horror hybrids can work, as The Exorcism of Emily Rose demonstrated, but it doesn't work here. The courtroom scenes are, frankly, boring and unconvincing, and they suck all the life out of the movie.

All in all, this movie is watchable, with competent acting and directing, but it hardly stands out above other and better productions of this story. It seems sanitized somehow and clearly made for television, which is where I suggest you check this out, if you're interested. This disc is a rental, at best.

The DVD

Video:

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is given an anamorphic widescreen presentation. For the most part, the image is nicely detailed - although some aliasing is noticeable from time to time.

Sound:

The only audio track is Dolby Digital 5.1. It's an unexcitingly standard mix, but I have no complaints as its serviceable, delivering dialogue and score in a uniform manner. There are no subtitle options.

Extras:

When the disc is played, a trailer automatically precedes the main menu for Tin Man. There's no link for this trailer in the menu system.

The only extra related to the film is a featurette titled A Man of Many Faces: An Interview with Dougray Scott. Dougray Scott is seated and responds to nearly inaudible questions from a lady out of camera shot. He expounds at length about the story and its central character(s) and his acting career among other things. It runs about 16 minutes and is interesting to listen to.

Final Thoughts:

A modern-day retelling of Stevenson's classic story of humanity's dual nature, this version suffers from too much courtroom melodrama in its second half to please horror film fans. Clearly made for television, that's probably the best place to catch this movie. It's a rental at best - especially considering that, outside of an interview with Dougray Scott, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is given a "bare bones" release.

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