"Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" was released in 1992, after the TV show spent a good deal of time running on ABC. When the film was released, it got extremely mixed reviews; both fans and critics either loved it and called it a continuation of Lynch's brilliance that was displayed in the series or a completely mixed-up mess of images and story fragments. It went on to gross in the neighborhood of 4 million in theatrical release.
Yet, it has built up a considerable cult following in the years since, as it's currently the most requested catalog title in New Line's library, according to the film's press release. While I do have to be in a certain mood to view the film, I can understand why it's become such a respected picture in the years since its release. I won't admit that I "get" all of what's going on, nor do I think that's the point. Lynch is probably one of the best filmmakers that I know of at creating an atmosphere, as most of his work creates a mood and feel that's even a few steps stranger than the "X-Files" when it was really good. Similar to the "X-Files" motto, "I want to believe", with "Twin Peaks", I have to say "I want to understand!" And I do, even if I'm not sure anyone besides David Lynch can truly put together the puzzle of this or several other of his films.
Anyways, "Fire Walk With Me" serves as a prequel to the series and is considerably darker in tone than the television show. While rather difficult to explain in any traditional way, the general plot starts with an investigation regarding the death of Theresa Banks (Pamela Gidley). Agent Chet Desmond and a forensic scientist (Chris Issak and Keifer Sutherland) head in to investigate. Unusual clues and events occur in the small town, but before we know it, there's a jump forward in time to one week before the death of Laura Palmer (exceptionally well-played by Sheryl Lee). While by all appearances Laura is popular and intelligent, her actual life isn't as pleasant; she's become addicted to cocaine and her father, Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) is abusive.
Personally, while I still haven't been able to tie all the threads of this film or some of Lynch's other works together, there's something about his films - this one especially - that I find riveting nonetheless. While there's enough of a story to grab onto and come to one's own conclusions about, the way that Lynch confidently orchestrates sound and images often turns into something along the lines of a moving painting or simply a work of art in its own nightmarish, twisted way.
I probably would find this film more rewarding if I had watched more of the series itself (I was a bit too young to appreciate it - I believe my first reaction was "wha?", then "bah!"), but I still enjoy this film nonetheless. Aside from the atmosphere (wonderfully assisted by Angelo Badalamenti's score and the moody cinematography from Ron Garcia), there's some terrific performances, especially the powerful performance from Lee as Palmer.
VIDEO: "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" is presented by New Line in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. While this is not a presentation without some minor imperfections, it is certainly quite obvious that New Line took some considerable care and effort to make this look as strong as possible. The result is picture quality that looks crisp without being overly sharp or edgy and smooth without being soft. There's a "film-like" quality to the picture that's really quite marvelous. The cinematography of Ronald Víctor García (who worked on the TV series and is currently working on the TV show "Gilmore Girls") is really done justice here; the picture offers all the shadows and details that make the visuals riveting superbly.
The only problem to mention, and it's quite a minor one in this case, is a few tiny instances of edge enhancement, which really weren't even that noticable to begin with. The print is in especially good condition, which will certainly please fans who are eagerly awaiting this title. Every frame appears fresh and clean, with no specks, marks and only a few slight hints of grain. No pixelation was seen, nor were any other problems found.
Colors looked wonderfully well-rendered, appearing strong, rich and with no smearing or other problems. Flesh tones looked accurate and natural, while black level was solid throughout. While New Line continues their reputation for exceptional image quality on both new and old titles, this is their most requested catalog title and they really seem to have made sure to give this one a fine effort. This new high-definition transfer was personally approved by Lynch.
SOUND: "Fire Walk With Me" has been given a new 5.1 soundtrack for this release and the audio is available in both Dolby Digital and DTS versions. The new 5.1 presentation was supervised by director Lynch at his own studio. The original 2.0 soundtrack has also been included. While some may expect a new soundtrack full of creepy surround effects from a Lynch picture, the sound really still remains very subtle throughout the film. The surrounds are hardly put to use with the exception of some instances of the score. Still, there are a fair amount of ambient sounds and little details that fill the front speakers nicely, although there's really nothhing agressive at all about this soundtrack. I thought audio quality was fine as well, as Angelo Badalamenti's score came through richly and strongly, while dialogue was clear and crisp. While some have noted that the audio is decidedly low in volume on this release, I didn't find this too noticable. The Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks seemed to sound almost exactly alike, although some subtle details seemed slightly more distinct in the DTS version.
MENUS: There's some clips on the sub-menus, but the main menu and language menus only contain basic film-themed images as backgrounds.
EXTRAS: New Line has spent a reportedly serious deal of time and effort attempting to deal with the rights holder to the film's deleted scenes (apparently, the first cut of the film ran something like four hours), but things finally came to a halt when it apparently became clear that a deal could not be worked out. As a result, the price of the disc has been brought down to $19.99 retail. Yet, unlike most discs of Lynch films, there is still a few extras included within:
Twin Peaks: The Phenomenon: Documentary producer Mark Rance has rounded up many members of the cast and crew of the picture for this 30-minute documentary that finds what the cast is up to now and what they think about "Peaks". Those who are looking for an explanation of the details of the series and the film definitely won't find it here, but what people will find from this documentary is an interesting explanation of the process of working with director Lynch, as the actors discuss Lynch's ability to be vague, yet still able to direct the actors towards his vision of what the scene should be. Also, even the cast discuss their thoughts about the differences between the underlying themes of the show and the more in-your-face strangeness and themes of the movie.
Also Well, there's also the trailer.
Final Thoughts: "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" is a largely underrated picture, as, although the story might not make serious sense in the way that many would likely want it to, there's still something very weird, mysterious and fascinating about Lynch's world, which is unlike that of any other filmmaker I know. While this film might not be everyone's cup of tea, those who are fans of the film or Lynch in general should be pleased that New Line has done a very fine job with the film's audio and video; while it's somewhat dissapointing that the deleted scenes could not be obtained, the documentary is a nice addition. Recommended.