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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Twister [Blu-ray]


(Jan de Bont, 1996)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Warner Pictures

Blu-ray: Warner Home Video



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:53:02.358

Disc Size: 27,889,919,504 bytes

Feature Size: 21,806,426,112 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.95 Mbps

Chapters: 34

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 6th, 2008



Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video







Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1994 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1994 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), English, French, none



• Commentary by Producer director De Bont and Visual Effects Supervisor Stefan Fangmeier


Chasing the Storm: Twister Revisited

HC Doc - Nature Tech: Tornadoes

Anatomy of a Twister

HBO First Look: The Making of Twister

Van Halen's Humans Being Music Video

Two theatrical trailers



Synopsis: The largest storm to hit Oklahoma in more than half a century is brewing, and it promises to drop multiple twisters into Tornado Alley. It's the storm that two rival groups of scientists—Jo Harding and her band of brash university students, and corporate-sponsored Dr. Jonas Miller and his sleek, crack cadre with their state-of-the-art research vans—have been waiting for to earn their place in meteorological history. Each team wants to be the first to launch their own equipment pack inside a twister to transmit valuable scientific data about tornado behavior. But to do so, they must put themselves directly in the path of the marauding monster—and stay always just ahead of the swirling twister, anticipating its every move. Adding to the charged atmosphere, Jo's soon-to-be-ex-husband, meteorologist Bill Harding, reluctantly joins Jo and his old crew for this last, epic chase.


The Film:

Effects apart, this is dire: predictable, clichéd, sloppily written, pitifully performed and surprisingly short of real shocks and suspense. The story can be described in two ways: as a rip-off of Only Angels Have Wings, in which Paxton's implausibly intuitive tornado expert is torn between two women, his ex (Hunt) and his fiancée (Gertz), and two lives, a safe weatherman job, or a risky return to the group of crazily devoted storm-chasers trying to get a gizmo up inside a twister's 'suck-zone'; or as a repetitive spectacle where all that happens is that the objects hurled around in the air simply get bigger. Forget the many redundant references to The Wizard of Oz, this hasn't a fraction of that movie's logic, imagination or ambitions. Seriously depressing.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE




Image: I may be slightly biased as I am not a fan of this film to any degree, but this dual-layered Blu-ray didn't hold up to my visual expectations. Ushering in a new wave of special effects at the time - Twister (almost 15-years old now) seems quite dated in that area and the anticipated appearance on the grandeur of 1080P leaves a bit to be desired. I have no doubt as to the improvement over the 2-disc standard-definition (simultaneously released) but aside from a more pronounced color palette and some occasionally attractive detail - like the film itself - it is not fulfilling any perceived promise of entertainment. Now, saying that, it is quite competent, without major flaw (noise is very minimal) but the image has softness and just never 'wow'ed me as so many of the new format discs can tend to do - even for films much older. There is very little in the way of depth. Outdoor scenes can look excellent - clear, clean, bright and fairly sharp but the special effects tend to look kind of fuzzy in hi-def and as the film was carried almost exclusively on that factor (flying cows et all) - when that has you yawning, this Blu-ray doesn't have a lot of reason for recommendation in my opinion.   
















Audio & Music: We are given a lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track at around 2000 kbps (and standard 5.1 and French DUB). It sounded quite good to my ear. There is some separation - depth is also exclamatory during the more 'devastating' sequences and overall the TrueHD lives up to anticipation. Dialogue is obviously, very clean and clear supported by English or French subtitles. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.



Extras: I actually preferred the extras to the film itself especially the Anatomy of a Twister, and both the History Channel and HBO documentaries. The commentary was a bit painful, ditto for the 'making of' as those involved seemed to take the film a lot more seriously than I did. 'Twister' whets the appetite for tornado information and I actually wish there was more factual details than presented but it was decent to add the featurette supplements - so good job on that front Warner. 



Bottom line: Well for those expecting a more extravagant 1080P treat, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news. The film, is so silly, in itself it is approaching 'horrible' (I kind of like the 'hammy' Paxton though) and the Blu-ray falls decidedly short of contemporary examples of, more modern, similar genre flicks for image quality in this new format. The extras are good but for those bent purchasing this as a potential demo for friends - there are many better examples out there. So, that's a thumbs down from this reviewer.   

Gary Tooze
April 26th, 2008




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