LynchNet Wild At Heart
US Region 1 Dvd Review
After years of MGM denying they even had the rights to Wild At Heart, they finally figured out they did and were nice enough to give us a spiffy new Special Edition dvd. I'm happy to say, while not perfect, it's pretty good.
Universal's Region 2 UK dvd
MGM's new Region 1 dvd
The disc sports a brand new 5.1 dolby digital transfer, as well as the original dolby surround mix. Purists will be happy to see the inclusion of the latter, though there's nothing in the new 5.1 mix that will probably prove to be as controversial as the Fire Walk With Me mix did. Honestly, there's really not much difference between the two WAH mixes. As with most of Lynch's films, the 5.1 mix is very subtile. Though this one is almost a bit too subtile for my tastes. I found myself getting up half way through the film to double check that my rear speakers were still connected. There's very little to no action in the rear speakers for most of the film. Not that I'm saying sound should be bouncing around the room like your typical action film mix. But I would have made a few different choices, such as moving the background music in the Cape Fear sequences to the rear channels, especially when they go into the restroom while the orchestra plays in the other room. More ambiance that way. In addition, the dialog is pretty muffled at times. Yet, this isn't an awful mix, and it does have some nice effects, such as the opening title words themselves. But it's not a spectacular 5.1 mix either. I'd give it an average grade.
MGM did another good job as they did with the Blue Velvet disc. First up is a 30 minute featurette entitled "Love, Death, Elvis and Oz: The Making of Wild At Heart." The documentary includes original interviews with David Lynch (the first I believe for a non-Lynch produced dvd), Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Diane Ladd, J.E. Freeman, Crispin Glover, Grace Zabriskie, Sheryl Lee, Barry Gifford, Monty Montgomery, Frederick Elmes, Duwayne Dunham and Steve Golin. At times the documentary drifts into the usual talking head "I loved working with so and so" cliche, but there's some interesting tidbits in there as well. But if you're looking for deep analysis of the film and it's themes, you'll probably want to stick with one of the many Lynch books out there. This making of is more a chance for the actors and crew to tell their stories of working on the film.
The next extras section is entitled "Dell's Lunch Counter." It's made up of extended interviews that weren't included in the main making of, covering subjects such as the origins of the snakeskin jacket, the Cannes preview and the development of the original novel. Interview subjects include Diane Ladd, Barry Gifford, David Lynch, Frederick Elmes, Laura Dern, Sheryl Lee, Randy Thom, Willem Dafoe, Nicolas Cage and Johanna Ray.
After that we have the Sailor and Lula Image Gallery, consisting of mostly production photos and publicity stills set to music.
Next up is a seven minute featurette entitled "Specific Spontaneity: Focus on David Lynch." Most of the afore mentioned people give their thoughts on working with Lynch and his filmmaking process.
David Lynch - On the DVD allows Lynch to tell us about all the work that went into the new transfer for the dvd.
Also included on the dvd is the Original EPK Featurette, which was sent out to members of the press at the time of the film's original release. It mostly consists of Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern and Lynch discussing the film. Strangely, they didn't include any of the other parts of the EPK, as it has several stand alone soundbytes and interviews. Guess I won't be throwing away my vhs copy just yet. But admittedly, the Featurette is probably the best part of the EPK.
Also included are the original Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots, which really play up the Lynch-Twin Peaks angle.
As an added bonus (well not really), you get some trailers for other MGM titles, which strangely don't include Blue Velvet or Boxing Helena (though they are shown as still images in the more releases section).
What's notably absent from the special features is the Lynch directed video for Chris Isaak's Wicked Game (which is different from the beach version you usually see on Vh1). It was included on the very first VHS release of Wild At Heart and hasn't surfaced since. I would assume it's not included here due to music rights issues, but it would have been a perfect addition. Also, several of the interview segments talk about things in deleted scenes. I don't know the status of the scenes, but if they exist, they would have been nice to see as well. But, that said, the disc certainly does present a wealth of extras, especially for an older catalog title.
All and all, Wild At Heart has gotten pretty good treatment on dvd from MGM. The transfer is outstanding and the extras are on the upper end quality-wise of what one has come to expect from a dvd. Sure, there are some minor issues, but at the low price point MGM has set for the disc, buying it is a no-brainer. Throw away those crappy R2 discs, this is the one to own. Right now it's the best presentation you'll get of Wild At Heart short of tracking down and running an actual film print, and will probably hold that top spot until an HD version comes out in a few years.
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