JULY 4, 2013
I originally planned to re-review Stoker when it came out on Blu-ray, but after re-reading my original review from February, I realized it wasn't necessary - my feelings on the film haven't changed one iota. Sometimes at home a movie no longer grabs me as much as it did before (Shark Night is one unfortunate example - so fun in theaters, so dull at home), other times I find I like it a lot more on a second go around (such as Wind Chill). But Stoker - nope! I still love it, and it's still a must-see movie. The only difference is now I can add "Why the hell didn't you go see it?"
Seriously, I highly doubt there will be a movie unseating it from its current perch at the top of my favorites of the year (You're Next might have, but I saw it in 2011!), and I've talked to several others who feel just as strongly about it, such as Sam Zimmerman from Fangoria in THIS (must-read) piece. But we couldn't convince anyone to SEE the damn thing when it came out in theaters this past March; it had a solid opening weekend on a mere 7 screens, but when it expanded it played to nearly empty houses, ultimately grossing less than the Oscar nominated short films collection (!). Between this, Sunshine, and Joshua, I have to wonder - do folks just have some sort of opposition to Fox Searchlight horror films that I'm not privy to?
So now that it's on Blu, I'm here again to ask, hell, BEG you to check it out. It's an incredible film that might even play better at home (at least, on a good home theater so you can appreciate Director Park's compositions and the terrific sound design), since so much of it is subtle and personal, not to mention taking place largely within the home of its main character. And the transfer is terrific; you'll be able to appreciate every strand of Nicole Kidman's hair during that incredible dissolve I mentioned in my review, not to mention soak in the outstanding production design in all its glory. I was also impressed with how many languages they offered - Spanish and French are kind of standard for region 1 releases, but this has Thai, Turkish, Polish, and other dubs, plus as many (and more!) for subtitles. I wouldn't swear on a Bible or anything, but I'm pretty damn sure this is the first time I've been able to listen to the movie in Czech while reading Icelandic subtitles.
The bonus features are enjoyable, but nothing really qualifies as a must-see. The making of "A Filmmaker's Journey" is the best of the lot; running just under a half hour it covers the usual ground with a refreshing lack of too much generic EPK feeling, and the deleted scenes are worth a look, particularly the extended staircase scene between India and Charlie. The shorter featurettes are fine and cover different aspects in "detail", but they're a touch fluffy and promotional, plus sometimes recycle material that you should have already seen on the proper making of piece. Then there's an inordinate amount of material on the film's South Korean and London premieres; I guess it's interesting to see how they approach such things over there compared to here in the States, but it made me feel like I was watching E! news instead of anything about filmmaking. And if you love the song on the end credits (I did not), you're in luck - there's a music video and other stuff about it (inc. one of the featurettes), and musician Emily Wells is alongside Park for most of his premiere appearances.
But even if it was a barebones disc, it would be worth whatever they're charging to own it. I know the "slow" pacing and peculiar story will be a turn off for some, but if you're a fan of Park's CRAFT (meaning, "Oldboy RULZ" isn't the extent of your appreciation of his work) and/or of offbeat, more dramatic horror/thriller fare, I can't possibly see how you wouldn't want this in your collection.
What say you?