Where did they dig up this relic of a transfer? The bad: While today’s standard is 1080p/24 for Blu-ray movies, eXistenZ is presented in a dated 1080i transfer (seriously!). The ugly: When the movie first started, I noticed that motion was herky-jerky, so I had to switch my Blu-ray player to an output mode (1080p/60) that deinterlaced 1080i better than my projector. The good: When played with proper deinterlacing, the picture was sharper than expected. But it had distracting spots of dirt speckled throughout, an artificially enhanced sense of detail, and skin textures that looked waxen. The sonic presentation is similarly dated and, worse, sounds like a stereo mix processed to 5.1. There’s not much in the way of surround separation, and the sound effects themselves are thin, bright, and unconvincing. Only Howard Shore’s haunting score makes it out alive, sounding respectable. The only extras of note are interviews with Law and Willem Dafoe, which are insightful but look and sound awful.
While just short of an outright disaster, a cable-TV-quality HD presentation is not what people buy Blu-ray Discs for. Rent this to catch up with the movie, which is terrific, but save your dollars for a release in which someone shows this one some love. SOS to Criterion: eXistenZ, Naked Lunch, and Dead Ringers need help!
Studio: Echo Bridge Entertainment, 1999
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Length: 97 mins.
MPAA Rating: R
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Willem Dafoe