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Something Wild
The Criterion Collection
(Blu-ray)

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: R

Running Time: 113 Minutes

Starring: Melanie Griffith, Jeff Daniels, Ray Liotta

Written by: E. Max Frye

Directed by: Jonathan Demme

 


Studio: Criterion

Retail Price: $39.95

Features: Jonathan Demme Interview, E. Max Frye Interview, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.78:1 Widescreen 1080p High Definition, English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Surround, English Subtitles, Chapters (28 Chapters)

Released: May 10th, 2011







Something Wild is presented in a 1080p High Definition transfer, with the aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The picture quality on this Blu-ray is stunning: this movie does not look 25 years old. The image is razor sharp, with color saturation that seems to leap off the screen: be it the typical surroundings of the open road or the exteriors of downtown New York City. Fleshtones are downright accurate, detail is superb and there's an adaquete amount of grain that's not overdone, but goes a long way in giving texture. The transfer is pretty clean, though nicks and dirt pieces pop up here and there. A little shimmering is apparent, too. Still, none of that ruins a very strong transfer. 


Something Wild features a English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Surround track. Maybe a remix would have added something, but this track definitely does the material justice. Dialogue is very clear and easy to hear, while the film's eclectic musical selections have a bit of bounce. Sound effects tend to come off the best here though: be it the the city streets, cars zooming along and of course, the punches, kicks, smashes and assorted violence. This can be a pretty captivating track.

English subtitles are included.

 


There is not too much here, but everything is still worthy of a watch. There are two Interviews on the disc: one with director Jonathan Demme (33:16) and screenwriter E. Max Frye (9:19). Demme is quite lively in discussing the making of the film. He begins by talking about his disappointing experience making Swing Shift, and from there, he talks about his desire to direct again and getting into the Orion films fold. Demme delves into his collaborations with cinematographer Tak Fujimoto and shares stories on casting: Demme was originally thinking of Kevin Kline for Daniels's part, and talks about who and how he got to fill in bit roles. Demme shares plenty of production anecdotes, but his fervor for filmmaking comes across in how he talks about the little touches he put upon and his general enthusisasm. 

While Frye's interview is about a third shorter, it's no less interesting. The writer talks about his inspiration for the script: observing people at a bar and the art scene in 1980s East Village. The script was originally a short, which Frye then expanded. He also recalls his agent asking him who he wanted to directed it: he said either Scorsese or Demme (Frye now thinks Scorsese may not have been able to pull off a light touch). Frye also discusses the characters, re-writing the ending and how the film came out to be exactly as he envisioned it.

Also on the disc is the Original Theatrical Trailer (just check out how the title of the movie is presented at the end - very 1980s). The booklet has an essay by film critic David Thompson. 

 


Something Wild 
is one of the more out there film choices Criterion has chosen to be part of their collection, but I'm all for it. This underrated 80s gem will hopefully get a new found appreciation — and new audience — with this release. The movie looks and sounds nice, while the interviews with director Jonathan Demme and writer E. Max Frye are quite entertaining. This is a solid release, and those who want something different will find this film worth checking out.