TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME
Quirky is a word that was bandied about to describe director David Lynch’s television series TWIN PEAKS, when it aired back in the early 1990s. Bizarre is another word that aptly described the foray into television for a director noted for such films as BLUE VELVET and ERASERHEAD. The television show was certainly a cult phenomenon- intense, blazing and subject to a quick burn out. Lasting only two seasons on television, TWIN PEAKS was gone, but not easily forgotten. In fact, director David Lynch wasn’t ready to let go of the concept at the whim of television network executives and produced a theatrical film prequel entitled TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME ($20).
"Who killed Laura Palmer?" was the pretty much the focal point of the television series. In TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME the story builds up the events that lead to the murder, depicting the last seven days in the life of Laura Palmer, as well as another related murder that occurred a year prior to that. On the surface, Laura Palmer appears to be the typical pretty and popular high school girl from small town America. However, as the film documents the final days of her life, we see the rot and decay of her existence that is hidden behind the pretty facade. Since I have no intention of giving anymore of the plot away than one can glimmer from the DVD’s packaging, let me just say that film is everything one could expect from director David Lynch.
TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME can be both nightmarish and beautiful- sometimes both at the same time. Lynch also liberally sprinkles symbolism throughout the film, although none of it gets in the way of the film’s narrative. Speaking of the narrative, TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME is a pretty cohesive film, despite the fact that the original rough cut ran about four hours. Paring the movie down to two hours and fifteen minutes doesn’t seem to have injured the essential story line, however, New Line’s inability to secure the rights to the deleted footage is certain to disappoint die hard fans. TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME includes many members of the cast of the original television series, as well as a few additions specifically for the movie. The cast of TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME features Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Phoebe Augustine, David Bowie, Eric DaRe, Miguel Ferrer, Pamela Gidley, Heather Graham, Chris Isaak, Moira Kelly, Peggy Lipton, David Lynch, James Marshall, Jürgen Prochnow, Harry Dean Stanton, Kiefer Sutherland, Lenny von Dohlen, Grace Zabriskie, Frances Bay, Catherine E. Coulson, Michael J. Anderson, Frank Silva, Walter Olkewicz, Al Strobel and Kyle MacLachlan.
New Line Home Entertainment has made TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME available on DVD in its 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio and the presentation has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Generally, this is an excellent transfer, producing a crisp, clean and very well defined image. There are passages in the film where the cinematography pushes the envelope, using garish lighting and filtering. Still, the transfer handles these sequences quite well, producing a stable and good-looking image, with only occasional softness. At times, there is a bit noticeable film grain, but that has to be expected with how lighting was utilized on certain portions of the film. Colors can be fairly vivid, yet flesh tones remain appealing and natural. The most intense hues hold up very well, without noise or noticeable smearing. Blacks are deep and inky, plus the picture produces a solid level of shadow detail. Digital compression artifacts rarely make their presence known.
TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME is offered with newly mixed Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 channel soundtracks that were created to meet the sonic requirements of director David Lynch. Both mixes are of the atypical variety, crafted to create a dramatic impact at key moments by seeming rather nondescript most of the time and keeping the dialogue at an unusually low level. Once the volume was adjusted to my listening preference, dialogue was completely intelligible. Those listening for a lot of discrete sound effects should try another movie soundtrack instead. However, the movie’s score by Angelo Badalamenti is well recorded and is mixed in such a fashion to take advantage of the digital formats. The bass channel provides the track with a solid bottom end that does not exceed the needs of the material. The differences between Dolby Digital and DTS aren’t tremendous, with either track working equally well. English and French Dolby Surround tracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and French subtitles.
A bit of full motion video enhances the otherwise simple interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard set up features, as well as a couple of extras. Please be aware that there is no access to individual scenes, which I would imagine is at the director’s insistence. A thirty-minute documentary entitled Reflections on the Phenomenon of Twin Peaks is offered on the DVD. While consisting of fairly typical interview footage with the cast and crewmembers of the series, the documentary is edited in a disorienting fashion, which kind of cements it to this David Lynch project. A theatrical trailer is the only other extra offered on the DVD.
If you are a fan of the television series or the films of David Lynch, you are going to want to pick up a copy of TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME because New Line has produced an excellent representation of the theatrical version of the film on DVD. Besides, until the rights to the excised materials can be secured, this is the only way one will be able to enjoy TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME.
reviews are Copyright © 2002 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied
or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.