A fountain of garbage
Isn’t it funny when you have something or order but completely forget about it, only to come home to find it waiting for you? That’s how it was for me today when I got back from work to find the HD DVD/DVD combo release of The Fountain, which I requested for review from DVD Times last month, on my desk. I haven’t seen Darren Aronofsky’s first film, Pi, but I did see Requiem for a Dream twice and was rather impressed by it. This, in conjunction with the rather nice publicity artwork I saw for it, convinced me that it would be worth giving a go. I now sorely regret this. The Fountain, to quote Philip French in his review, “puts the ‘awe’ into awful”.
You know, I’m actually dreading the actual review-writing process, because right now I’m struggling to put into words exactly why I found it so poor. I suspect it has something to do with the sheer pretentiousness of it, the feeling that nothing is coming together and that the director is simply being oblique for the sake of it, believing that he can sucker the audience into confusing his nonsensical ramblings with profundity. Apparently, at the Cannes Film Festival, it was booed mercilessly and the audience threw things at the screen, and frankly I’m not surprised. The film has its fans, as I’m well aware, and I can only surmise that they’re seeing something I’m not. I just found the whole thing self-indulgent, tedious and, by the end, utterly ridiculous (seriously, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen flowers sprouting out of Hugh Jackman’ mouth).
A very disappointing transfer, too, with rampant DVNR that ruins the definition, freezes the grain and causes all sorts of ugly smearing. I sincerely hope that Warner’s flagship HD release, The Ultimate Matrix Collection (on its way to me right now from Movietyme), is not similarly affected, because I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that the people encoding these discs haven’t got a clue what they’re doing.
I’ve also been sent two HDScape HD DVD titles for review: Visions of the Sea and Antarctica Dreaming. I’ve taken a brief look at both and, judging by the rampant edge enhancement and poor encoding on display, they are next to useless in their intended function of providing eye candy and persuading potential customers to make the leap to HD.