FREDDY VS. JASON
Ever since the final shot of JASON GOES TO HELL- THE FINAL FRIDAY, horror fans have been waiting for New Line to do something with the notion of Jason Voorhees squaring off against Freddy Krueger. After the project had been floating around in development hell for roughly a decade- along with both Freddy and Jason, New Line finally put their horror titan slugfest before the cameras- with better than expected results. While not a home run, FREDDY VS. JASON ($30) proves to be a worthy addition to both the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and FRIDAY THE 13TH franchises. What I liked about this entry is its desire to recapture some of "old school" flavor of the early films of both series, while adding some slick action movie stylings to the mix. However, the film does sag in the middle, and one isn’t likely to care about its totally disposable teen protagonists, who are pretty much meat for the grinder. Still, Ronny Yu’s assured direction allows FREDDY VS. JASON to kick some serious butt in its final reels, which gives it the opportunity to deliver on of the promise of its intriguing horror movie concept.
FREDDY VS. JASON finds both of the teen stalking boogiemen trapped in hell, with Freddy looking for an exit. Freddy manages to torment Jason back to life for the sole purpose of sending him on a killing spree through his old Elm Street stomping grounds. As the bodies pile up, memories of Freddy are rekindled, which give him enough power to begin invading nightmares once again. Unfortunately for Freddy, once Jason gets started, there is no stopping him- leaving Freddy unable to get his hands on a victim of his own. This, of course, leads to the film’s ultimate showdown- a no holes barred; Hong Kong influenced battle between the gargantuas of gore. The cast of FREDDY VS. JASON features Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Kelly Rowland, Jason Ritter, Christopher George Marquette, Katharine Isabelle, Brendan Fletcher, Lochlyn Munro, Tom Butler, Kyle Labine and Zack Ward.
New Line Home Entertainment has made FREDDY VS. JASON available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. This being a New Line title, I was expecting the DVD to look fantastic- and the presentation does not disappoint. The image on the DVD is incredibly crisp and just brimming with detail. Colors appear wonderfully vibrant and are fully realized without a trace of noise or smearing. Blacks are pitch perfect and the whites totally stable. Contrast is excellent, as is the level of shadow detail. Additionally, the picture has a really nice dimensional quality. The film element appears virtually pristine, without any noticeable blemishes or appreciable grain. Digital compression artifacts are always well concealed.
FREDDY VS. JASON comes with an ass-kicking Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack that is every bit as good as the excellent video presentation. The track is highly aggressive, with all of the discrete channels seeing plenty of action. Sound effects leap out at the viewer to ramp up both the gory frights and the action-packed fights. Fidelity is excellent, with the film’s score having a vibrant musical quality and the sound effects always coming across in a convincing manner. Dialogue is crisply rendered and always totally understandable. The bass channel is deep, percussive and certain to keep one’s subwoofer occupied. An English Dolby Surround track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and Spanish subtitles.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a solid body of supplement materials that have been spread across both discs of this two-disc set. Disc one features a running audio commentary with director Ronny Yu and actors Robert England and Ken Kirzinger. This is actually a fun commentary that mixes humor and entertainment value with technical details of the production. Also included on disc one is Jump To A Death option, as well as full screen presentation.
Disc two features the set’s remaining supplemental materials. Starting things off are two text articles that were featured in Fangoria magazine. Next, we come to the Production Featurettes. Genesis: Development Hell is a ten-minute program that looks at the long and difficult road the film took to go from a concept to a green lighted project. On Location: Springwood Revisited is a fourteen-minute look behind-the-scenes at the actual film production. Art Direction: Jason’s Decorating Tips clocks in at eleven minutes and explores how the film’s intended look was realized. Stunts: When Push Comes To Shove is a twenty on minute program that provides a detailed look at the film’s extensive and exacting stunt work. Make-up Effects: Freddy’s Beauty Secrets spends six minutes glimpsing what it takes to get Freddy ready for the cameras.
There is also another section of Visual Effects featurettes on disc two, which contain twelve segments that examine various individual aspects of the film’s special effects. The Galleries section contains a fairly extensive look at the film’s storyboards. The Publicity and Promotion section contain a press conference, a theatrical trailer, eight TV spots for the film and a music video. Also featured is footage from the film’s world premier in Austin, TX. Lastly, disc two also contains twenty deleted scenes that can be viewed with or without comments from director Ronny Yu. Amongst the deleted scenes, one will find alternate versions of the film’s opening and ending. The DVD-ROM section offers access to on-line featurettes.
FREDDY VS. JASON proves to be an entertaining horror outing that dusts off two terror titans for a long awaited rock’em sock’em confrontation. As for the DVD, New Line delivers the goods once again, with a terrific looking and sounding presentation, plus a solid complement of supplements. If you are a fan of either Freddy or Jason, then this is a DVD well worth checking out.
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