Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review: “Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery” Blu-Ray: Part 4

In my first installment of this review series on "The Entire Mystery", I insisted there was no way I'd be watching and reviewing the series or Fire Walk with Me until achieving just the right seasonal atmosphere to watch "Twin Peaks" this autumn. Fate intervened when my Orei blu-ray machine started having issues with this box set's information-heavy discs. Since I finally figured out how to get them to play (basically, whenever a disc fails to load, I simply leave it in the machine, power-off, power-on, and it loads up well), I decided to stop being cute and soldier on with the film and the series. I won't pretend I've watched the entire mystery yet, but I think I've seen enough to write the final installment of this review series.
Since any regular Psychobabble reader knows where I stand on "Twin Peaks" the show and "Twin Peaks" the movie (I love them), we'll be focusing on how these main features of "The Entire Mystery" measure up quality wise. If I had to sum it up in a couple of words, I'd choose "holy" and "shit" (taken together, of course. Separately, these two words offer contradictory meanings). Fire Walk with Me had never been treated properly on DVD before, and its golden daytime exteriors, black velvet nighttime exteriors, and lipstick red interiors looked dull on that twelve-year old disc. The colors punch out of the screen on this new HD upgrade, with equally powerful and multi-dimensional sound to match. Seriously, I had to reset my stereo receiver to stop the bass from rattling the room (this is especially true of the Canadian barroom scene, in which levels have been restored to those of the theatrical presentation in which the dialogue was nearly inaudible over the music). And in keeping with David Lynch-related disc's reputation for correct calibration (his Eraserhead DVD can't even be watched without passing through a grayscale/calibration test screen first), the audio of all my movie and music discs enjoyed a real improvement. Thanks, Dave!

That sound and picture improvement most definitely extends to the TV series. I hate to admit it, but I've never really liked the way Lynch's shot-on-location pilot looked. I found its over-emphasized blacks drab compared to the brighter, more vivid episodes shot on a sound stage. For the first time, I can say I love the way the pilot looks. The darkness looks less like poor-quality, more deliberately crafted now. The pilot is a revelation; a painting thick with oils that moves and breathes. I initially found the rest of the series less revelatory until I came to the first episode of season two. There is a bit of SD footage in this one (that epic pan across the Sheriff's donut-bedecked conference table; the Giant's supernatural imparting of information Cooper forgot) since all of the original elements apparently could not be found. It's a drag when SD footage invades an otherwise pristine picture, but the fact that it looks so completely horrid really brings the video improvement into focus. I used to think "The Gold Box" DVDs looked really good and even questioned whether or not I needed "Twin Peaks" on blu-ray. I totally did.

I also noticed an interesting tidbit in the second episode of season two: unless my memory is totally faulty (and I've watched this series enough times that I really doubt it is), there had always been a continuity error in the scene in which Shelly and Bobby chat about pulling an insurance scam while sitting in his dad's car in the second episode of season two. From one angle, Shelly's arm dangles over Bobby's shoulder. In another, it does not. However, on "The Entire Mystery", there is complete continuity: there's Shelly's arm over Bobby's shoulder in every shot. Is the picture so clear that we can finally see Shelly's formerly blurred arm? Were alternate shots that maintain continuity located and cut into this episode? Is it a CG arm? I guess it wouldn't be "Twin Peaks" if every mystery in "The Entire Mystery" was solved...

Get it here on Amazon.com:

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