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DVD REVIEW

Dreamcatcher  (2003)

 

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Damian Lewis

Director: Lawrence Kasdan

Rating: R

Distributor: Warner Home Video

Release Date: September 30, 2003
Review posted: September 25, 2003

Spoilers: Major

 

Reviewed by John Teves

 

Synopsis

 

[Spoiler]: Four boyhood pals perform a heroic act and are changed by the powers they gain in return. Many years later, on a hunting trip in the Maine woods, they're overtaken by a vicious blizzard that harbors an ominous presence. Challenged to stop an alien force, the friends must first prevent the slaughter of innocent civilians by a military vigilante and then overcome a threat to the bond that unites the four of them.

 

Critique

 

DREAMCATCHER may give you a few scares but it is not anything to write home about. While it does have its moments, the film is slow and mostly un-involving. I came into this film knowing nothing about it and for that fact the film was truly involving for the first hour, but then it just couldn’t decide on a style or tone after that point.

 

In hopes not to give anything away, let's just say that the film had a neatly drawn story to begin with, but regrettably the story feels like sappy amateur work. One would never guess how confusing this film becomes after the first hour. I’m serious, the film is great for the first half and then when we are truly introduced to our villain there's nothing left to do but yawn at what comes next. I actually wrestled with the idea of how to rate this film. Honestly, what is a dreamcatcher—it’s an ancient spiritual tool used to help assure good dreams to those that sleep under them. Only good dreams can pass through the hole in the center while the bad dreams are caught in the webbing and are destroyed by the morning light. So where the hell does this alien monster come into the picture? Sorry if I spoiled it for you.

 

If the film was more linked to the definition behind a dreamcatcher then I would have noticeably given this film a 4-star rating. Unfortunately the 2-star dilemma comes from the fact that the film almost goes a bit too far and makes the presentation seem really improbable.

 

The Video

 

DREAMCATCHER appears in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The video transfer looked magnificent. Sharpness was terrific. At all times, the movie remained nicely distinct and detailed. Softness caused no concerns, and the picture seemed well defined and accurate. I noticed no problems related to jagged edges, but a small amount of edge enhancement was displayed. As for print flaws, some light grain appeared at times, and I also saw a few insignificant bits of grit. Colors were brilliant and true to life. Black levels consistently came across as deep and rich, while shadow detail appeared dark but not too thick. Overall, DREAMCATCHER presented a solid image.

 

The Audio

 

DREAMCATCHER is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1, for the most part the soundtrack offered a stronger presentation. Audio quality was consistently excellent. Speech remained natural and warm, with no issues related to edginess. Effects were also terrific and they often packed a substantial punch. From the deep bass heard during unexpected attacks from our ogre, military choppers, tanks and firing from machine guns; all of the effects seemed clear and crisp at all times; I detected no signs of distortion no matter how loud the track became. Ultimately, the mix offered a terrific auditory experience. Music sounded clean and distinct, and the score also boasted nice range and punch. Effects provided the track’s most prominent elements, especially during the action sequences. These effects always appeared clear and accurate, and the louder elements came across deep and prevailing surrounding the listener. The movie featured solid bass response across the board.

 

The Extras

  • Original ending and 4 other lifted scenes

  • 3 Documentaries: An Interview with Stephen King, the Visual Effects, and the Production

  • TV spot(s)

  • Widescreen anamorphic format

Overall

 

Like many Stephen King film adaptations, this film is neither moving nor scary and just doesn't come together. I was so thoroughly bored and bemused by the middle of the film that I was hoping something would have redeemed it, though regrettably nothing did. For those die-hard Stephen King fans or those individuals who are truly looking for something different and enjoy horror thrillers, then you may enjoy this film. Everyone else may want to proceed with a suspicious rental.

 

John Teves rates the film 2 out of 4.

Review originally appeared on DVDFreak.net

 

VERDICT: RENT IT

 


 

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