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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Heavenly Creatures [Blu-ray]


(Peter Jackson, 1994)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: New Zealand Film Commission

Video: LionsGate / Miramax



Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:48:53.360

Disc Size: 23,909,440,181 bytes

Feature Size: 20,913,057,792 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.99 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 13th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2081 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2081 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), English, Spanish, none



Theatrical Trailer (2:03 in 480i)





Description: From acclaimed director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings, King Kong) comes a true-life story of the shocking crime that stunned a nation. When circumstances bring together two imaginative teenage schoolgirls, they quickly form an unwavering bond, creating a fantasy world that only they can share. But then their parents become disturbed by the intensity of the friendship, and threaten to keep them apart. In retaliation, the girls vow to stay together, devising a secret plan that leads to shocking consequences. Thrilling and provocative, HEAVENLY CREATURES stars Academy AwardŽ winner Kate Winslet in her screen debut.



The Film:

You have to adore a movie in which one of the characters refers to Orson Welles as "It."

Based on the infamous 1954 matricide in New Zealand involving two ninth-grade schoolgirls, Peter Jackson's stunning "Heavenly Creatures" tells the story of an uncommonly powerful love. When Pauline and Juliet are together, the wind is filled with butterflies and the trumpet call of Mario Lanza, "the greatest tenor in the whole world!!" Their universe is an exclusive realm of two, existing half in reality where they are ostracized as peculiar, half in fantasy, where they escape to a highly evolved system of dream lovers and romantic alter egos.

Excerpt from Hal Hinson of the Washington Post located HERE

"Heavenly Creatures" is Peter Jackson's effort to explore that universe, mimicking the killers' schoolgirl daydreams in a whirl of giddy, all-consuming fantasy. Like Oliver Stone's "Natural Born Killers," it enters an insular, volatile world of high-hormone adolescence and captures its characters' scary detachment from reality. In keeping with its heroines' thoughts of secret gardens and giant butterflies, Mr. Jackson's film is virtually bloodless, looking fussily benign. But its exaggerated sweetness is every bit as chilling as more familiar masculine reveries about violence and irrational revenge.

Mr. Jackson, whose previous credits ("Bad Taste," "Dead Alive") are in the science-fiction and horror realm, gives "Heavenly Creatures" a visual extravagance to match its characters' excitement. Structured as a chronological account of the girls' growing friendship, it interjects flights of increasingly wild imagination into their story. Fascinatingly eccentric at first, the film loses some of its tension as it becomes evident that Mr. Jackson will not see beyond the killers' claustrophobic point of view.

Excerpt from Janet Maslin of the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Heavenly Creatures is presented on Blu-ray from LionsGate / Miramax in the 1 hour 49-minute 'uncut' version of the film. It appears reasonably strong in 1080P.  This is single-layered with solid contrast. Colors are bright and true without digital manipulation. This Blu-ray image is clean, consistent without excessive grain or noise.  There are some sequences of depth but it is not an overwhelming attribute. This Blu-ray probably looks just like the film and it advances beyond the last DVD editions in several key areas - notably detail and color balance. I don't have any major complaints.
















Audio :

Audio comes in the form of a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel stereo track at 2081 kbps. The film is fairly passively sound-wise and the lossless transfer handles the authentic stereo track with relative ease. There is little to test the depth or bass - but this seems an accurate representation of Heavenly Creatures soundstage. There are optional subtitle and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked but there is a region 'B' Blu-ray available in the UK HERE.


Extras :

Unfortunately nothing but a trailer in SD. A director commentary from Jackson would have been a excellent addition - or interviews with the girls but this is now categorized as 'bare-bones'.



Heavenly Creatures is rich and personal film. It has a voyeuristic approach to the intimate friendship of the protagonists and Jackson cohesively embodies this aspect filling it with a dark edge that creeps through the film experience. This Blu-ray package produces a decent hi-def viewing and is appropriately priced although more substantial extras seem called for. Only strong fans of the film need double-dip if they already own the DVD but first-time viewers shouldn't hesitate as Heavenly Creatures has real value and this 1080P is the best way to see it in your home theater. 

Gary Tooze

December 6th, 2011



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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