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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Drama > Science Fiction > Twister (1996/Blu-ray)

Twister (1996/Blu-ray)


Picture: B+     Sound: A-     Extras: D     Film: D



Speed (1994, see the Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) was such a huge and even surprise hit for cinematographer-turned-director Jan de Bont that Hollywood let him make any big film he wanted to make.  They were all henceforth, bad fluff that thankfully were not hits, but only after Twister (1996) became another huge moneymaker thanks to being one of the very first films to successfully implement digital effects in a then-very convincing way by was of tornado effects.


Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton play a couple of weather scientists who intend to take advantage of a insane set of storms heading for a small town by using state of the art equipment to capture scientific data never before recorded… if it does not kill them first.  Michael Crichton co-wrote this effort and it is more melodrama and effects than anything, but years later, it is only the leads who make this worth even looking at.  Also, it is too jokey, which is a sign of desperation to fill in its thin idea for 113 minutes.


Since then, the film has become a demo favorite for home theater systems and especially for sound, to the point that it remains one of the few feature films Warner ever issued on DVD with a DTS soundtrack.  So how does the Blu-ray fare?


The 1080p 2.35 x 1 digital High Definition image was shot in Super 35mm by Director of Photography Jack N. Green, A.S.C., and his work is good but the effects at this point look more like an HD cable network ad for vacuum cleaner efficiency.  However, it is consistent and a few shots look really good.  The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix far outperforms the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but best of all, is better than the DTS DVD track that was so celebrated, delivering the best version of this famous sound mix yet.  However, it was never a mix with great character and its performance has been trumped often since for state of the art reference, but it again is the highlight of this title and that aspect has made in into the High Def era impressively well.


Oh, and one other thing.  The dumbest of the dumb jokes is a drive-in playing Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980, see the HD-DVD review on this site) before a tornado hits.  The film is shown as a scope 2.35 X 1 film.  It was NEVER a scope film and has created one of the greatest technical myths about any Kubrick film to date.  It also epitomizes the sloppiness in which this was made, a sloppiness that will haunt this film in perpetuity.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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