Wednesday, March 11, 2009

[DVD] Lady in the Water (2006)

Drenched Ladies

I still can't fathom why so many have dissed this film. From M Night Shyamalan's vivid imagination comes a fantasy bedtime story, and I must say having to rewatch this on DVD, I continue to find it quite entertaining and fascinating, how Shyamalan can conjure and conceive something of this scale, with a whole ensemble of colourful characters coming together for a common cause.

You might say that his early success in the thriller genre might have set up some unfair expectations of the writer-director, but I continue to look forward to his next production, which could be completed for a release in 2010, a film titled The Last Airbender, starring Dev Patel of Slumdog Millionaire fame.

You can read my earlier review of the film here.

The Code 3 DVD from Warner Home Video Asia comes presented in anamorphic widescreen format with Dolby Digital 5.1 English audio. Menus are either in English or Mandarin, and trailers for A Scanner Darkly (which never got to screen here, and the DVD never making it to the shelves as well... banned?) and The Reaping autostarts, and are presented in letterbox format, running a total of 3:42. Lady in the Water is split over 28 chapters, and subtitles are available in English and Mandarin.

Unfortunately, M Night Shyamalan doesn't get a lot of love these days, and unlike his films before this one, the DVDs then (and also because of the affiliation with Disney's Buena Vista) got released under the Vista series banner. Here, Lady in the Water only got a 1 disc treatment, but nonetheless still managed to pack some decent extras into its Special Features.

For starters, the featurette Lady in the Water: A Bedtime Story (5:00) is presented in letterbox format with subtitles. Here we catch a glimpse of the story book version of the book, with M Night himself narrating certain portions, and the illustrations by Crash McCreery also gets previewed. You get to hear from the horse's mouth on the beginnings of the story, as well as some talk about the creation of the illustrated book.

Reflections of Lady in the Water is the making of documentary, which is split into various chapters, each presented in anamorphic widescreen format with subtitles. It's the standard behind the scenes look at the making of the film, and comes with the Play All option. There are spoilers galore in this feature of course, so it's only meant for those who have not seen the film, lest you choose to be spoilt. The sections are Intro and the Script (3:37), The Characters (11:43) where each of the actors explain their roles and character motivation, The Look (4:55) dwells on storyboarding and the eccentricity of Christopher Doyle the Director of Photography, The Location (3:!1) tells us how the apartment complex, which is a character on its own, was actually conceived and built, with the look of every apartment unit based on the characters who inhabit it... some really detailed art direction there, The Creatures showcases the animatronics designed for the film, and ending off with a look at the post production process together with James Newton Howard's magnificent score in Post and Closing (7:37).

Auditions (2:11) and the Gag Reel (3:15) sections were nothing more than fillers, presented in letterbox format with subtitles. The Deleted Scenes unfortunately doesn't come with any descriptions or tags, nor reasons why they were removed. A total of 6 scenes with a combined runtime of 5 minutes get thrown in with little clue as to where they are supposed to fit, and is presented in a very raw, unpolished transfer. Rounding up the special features are the standard Teaser Trailer (1:45) and the Theatrical Trailer (1:33), both of which are presented in anamorphic widescreen format.

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