Twister—Warner Bros. (Blu-ray)
Twister is one of those big budget popcorn films that audiences just flock to during the summer movie season. I was just as excited as everyone else to see it, since the special effects looked amazing in the trailers. Years later the film is still a fun ride, but with technology and special effects where they are now, this film doesn't have the technical flair it used to. For those who haven't seen it (if there are any), the film follows a group of storm chasers who have developed a measuring device for tornadoes. The bad part is, they have to get right in the path of the twister to use it. ILM did some phenomenal work on the special effects for the time and this is still a pretty intense ride.
I was a bit disappointed with this HD transfer. Warner has definitely done some cleanup work on this film for the new release, but it has taken its toll on detail. Fine textural detail just isn't there and facial features don't look nearly as delineated as the better HD releases. This film has always had a bit of an inconsistent look, and some of the problems that I saw back with the DVD release are still there, but I was hoping the HD transfer would improve the experience overall. While this is a step up from the DVD, it isn't as large as most of the Blu-ray content on the market today.
Warner includes a full blown Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix for this release and overall it is a satisfying presentation. The sound design isn't nearly as impressive as it was over a decade ago, but this track still has plenty of punch. Surrounds are used quite aggressively throughout most of the action sequences and you will definitely “feel” the twisters. But the balance of the mix seems a bit off. Overall levels seem a bit lower than the previous DVD release and I wasn't thrilled with the balance of sound effects, score and dialogue. At times one would easily dominate the other to the point of distraction, especially with the voice work. This is still a fun ride in the sound department, but it wasn’t the thrill ride I remembered.
Extras include a feature commentary with director Jan De Bont and the visual effects supervisor. You also get a new feature on making the film and a couple of nature documentaries on tornadoes. The HBO First Look that was on the DVD is included along with the trailers and video from Van Halen.
This is one of those films that is meant for an HD presentation but overall I was a bit let down in the A/V department. This might just be one of those films that shows its age a bit more since it came out right when digital effects were starting to get good. It is still a fun ride though and fans should definitely give this Blu-ray a look.