Interview with the Vampire—Warner Bros. (Blu-ray)

Video: 2.75/5
Audio: 3/5
Extras: 2/5

Horror author Anne Rice penned the screenplay for this full-blooded adaptation of her novel, which chronicles the life of 18th-century nobleman Louis after he is bitten by powerful, charismatic vampire Lestat . Though enthralled with the undead lifestyle at first, Louis is unable to warm up to killing humans and grows despondent. To comfort Louis, Lestat creates another vampire, a young girl who from then on cannot age.

Neil Jordan did a brilliant job bringing the first of the Vampire Chronicles to the big screen. With an amazing cast and production design the film went on to great success. Unfortunately the road to riches stopped there. Rather than giving the rest of the series the attention it deserved, Warner turned it into a mockery of horror cinema combining the next two stories into one and doing a horrible job. For a series that could have done so well on the big screen, this is the only one that was worth the admission.

The HD is largely a disappointment. It has been a long time since I’ve seen this film but I was surprised by the lack of fine detail and resolve this transfer had to offer. Compared to the DVD it excels in depth of image but not much more. The image has a scrubbed look for the most part and while detailed, it doesn’t excel in the fine detail the Blu-ray format can provide. Contrast levels are strong and shadow detail is good but the image has a veiled quality that just doesn’t translate well to the format.

For some reason or another Warner still continues to be the only studio stuck in the dark ages when it comes to HD audio. Surprising considering they were the first studio to use lossless soundtracks and were a big proponent of it in the development stages of the HD formats. This one gets a vanilla Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 640kbps. The soundstage is a bit anemic in terms of dynamic range and the soundstage is a tad front heavy. Voices sound slightly boxed in and the soundtrack lacks the refinement we’ve become accustomed to with the better lossless tracks. The score is still riveting though and conveys the mood of the film nicely. Surrounds are used for nice subtle effect but the soundstage does not have the air of most modern sound designs.

Extras include a feature commentary with the director along with a look at the making of the film. You’ll also find an introduction by the director along with Anne Rice and star Antonio Banderas. The trailer is also included.

I really hope that at some point a switch is going to turn on with Warner. They’ve delivered some of the best special editions on HD and have shown they are capable of so much more than they seem to be delivering. The A/V presentation here was disappointing though not a total loss. I really hope that we start seeing Warner put more effort into their releases, especially considering the what everyone else is doing on Blu-ray.

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