Review by Leonard Norwitz
Theatrical: Dimension Films & Los Hooligans
Blu-ray: Alliance Canada
(as verified by the
Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 20,741,488,455 bytes
Feature Size: 20,663,396,352 bytes
Video Bitrate: 20.00 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 10th, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 4123 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4123
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Resident geek at the local high school, Casey Connor (an
adolescent Elijah Wood) doesn't want to go back to school.
And for good reason: Casey and Delilah (Fast & Furious'
Jordana Brewster) had just witnessed the murder of the
school nurse (Selma Hayek) by two faculty members (Robert
Patrick & Piper Laurie) the day before. Only the nurse
springs back to life when Casey & Delilah return with the
authorities. Must be aliens, they reluctantly conclude.
What's cool and novel about The Faculty directed by From
Dusk to Dawn Robert Rodriguez with a screenplay by Scream's
Kevin Williamson, is that the small band of daring students
(Clea DuVall, Josh Hartnett, Shawn Hatosy, Laura Harris, in
addition to Wood and Brewster) that eventually sort
themselves out from the others who mindlessly visit the
nurse for their alien parasitic transformation is that they
are not friends to start with. Worse, they are or have
always been antagonistic to each other (it's a kind of
social order thing) – all except the new girl in school
(Harris). These half dozen kids are forever testing the
limits of the trust necessary to fight the evil that is
overtaking their school and threatens their town at a
What's not so cool is how the clichés start to pile up. In
the third act things start to get repetitive - like the
relentless and undifferentiated testing that our gang of six
feel they must do with each other. More troublesome is that
the filmmakers feel it necessary to bring the alien to life
– always a risky business – and in this case, unconvincing
and uninteresting at every possible level.
The kids in The Faculty discuss The Invasion of the Body
Snatchers , which, as they remind us, did not go so well for
the humans. They figure that some alien parasite – Casey
actually finds a sort of seed on the football field one day
– has invaded human hosts and is controlling their minds and
behavior. Not very original there, but I was willing to hang
with the idea for a while. Less imaginative is the speech
that is repeated by representatives of the converted humans
that echoes all too closely that of the pod people in Body
Snatchers. This, of course, is deliberate, since the writer
is making use of a classic cultural reference here. What I
don't think plays so well is that the speech refers to "A
world without anger, without fear, without attitude. Where
the underachiever goes home at night to parents who care.
The jock can be smart, the ugly duckling beautiful, and the
class wuss doesn't have to live in terror." The problem is
that the Body Snatcher pod-people were, for the most part,
as advertised – boring and unemotional. The converted humans
at the high school aren't: they have all kinds of generally
unpleasant attitude – so what's the sell? And who wouldn't
have been able to see right through it?
captures were taken directly from the
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence
compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale.
The second number places this image along the full range of
DVD and Blu-ray discs.
Except for a fine snow that covers the image, the Blu-ray is
pretty good – better than Alliance Bu-rays I've encountered
in the past (that goes for the audio as well.) There are no
serious transfer issues. There is some edge enhancement, but
it I didn't find it interfered with my enjoyment of the
movie. Noise is pretty much non-existent, but blacks, which
appear strong in the daylight, are weak in the dark of
indoors. I'd like to say color is good, and it may be, but
it does seem to vary curiously from time to time. Notice how
vivid the color is in capture #8 where Famke Janssen gets in
Josh Hartnell's face. Speaking of faces, check out Robert
Patrick's joker smile in capture #11. Is that make-up or DNR?
It's an odd frame by any stretch.
Audio & Music:
A Dolby Digital 5.1 track is the default, but no question:
the optional DTS-HD MA is much to be preferred. It makes
clear the case for high definition audio by clarifying the
music, dialogue and effects that in the DD 5.1 is thick and
mushy. The surrounds really come into their own about
halfway into the movie as the gang of six make their way to
safety through the mostly converted student body while their
suspicious murmurings are heard from all over the room.
The barest of bones: there's not so much as a main menu.
This Canadian Blu-ray came out fairly unnoticed - especially
considering the director, Robert Rodriguez, and the hefty
cast. This is, very reasonably priced, entertainment and even if imperfect
Faculty looks and sound good making for a fun
popcorn and beer movie night.
April 10th, 2010