Plot: What’s it about?
Blue Bay is one big country club, where the richies play on yachts and divorces out-number marriages. But greed, lust, and betrayal are very evident as well, and WIld Things takes a long, hard look at those elements. I won’t give too much away, as this movie’s sole reason for being is suprise plot turns, well, that and the sex scene between Denise Richards and Neve Campbell. So, to sum it up nice and neat, a popular school-teacher (Matt Dillon) is accused of rape by one of his students (Richards), and during the trial, another student (Campbell) gives a similar story. A investigator (Kevin Bacon) seems to think something is amiss with the whole thing, and gets personally involved in the mess. Campbell is an outcast with a bad reputation, and Richards is a well-thought-of rich girl, so Dillon does not discriminate by social class.
This movie was a pretty big success at the theatre, and it thrived because of hype about it’s shocking plot-twists. Now, had I not heard all the hype before-hand, I might have enjoyed this flick more. But, I went into it expecting a dog of a different color, a truly ground-breaking suspense thriller. While Wild Things is a decent movie, the hype killed this one, setting standards that the movie can’t live up to. Sure, the twists are kinda neat, but by no means that suprising, and after a while, the twists make the movie predictable. Every time things seem to be worked out, you know something’s gonna happen. Explanations are few and far between, but a few segments run during the credits, filling in some of the blanks. Don’t be fooled, this movie is not a no-brainer or anything, but it does not live up to all the press it got while on the big-screen. This new unrated version isn’t all that either, with only a few scant additions to mention. But even so, fans will without a doubt want to add this alternate edition to their collections.
Where this movie does deliver is decent enough acting, and the T&A factor. There is a car-wash scene with Richards and a friend which redefines wet t-shirt scenes, and sets a new standard for playful young twenty-somethings. The actresses do a tremendous job of keeping a youthful, playful tone to the sex scenes, and even the hardest scenes still seem playful and explorative. A movie with a thirty-year old acting seventeen sucks like nothing else, these girls, in their early 20’s, pull of the teen thing nicely. The sex scenes are what made this movie happen, as everyone I talked to about the film first spoke of the Campbell/Richards scene. So, if you are looking for a young T&A movie hiding out as a thriller, pick this up. It is more than a soft-core porno, just not much more. Also, there is a small role of Dillon’s lawyer, played by Bill Murray, a must see.
Video: How does it look?
If your sole mission in life was to wait nearly a quarter of a century to see Denise Richards emerge from a pool in 4K – well your wait is over. That said, there was some pretty serious restoration that went into this. Here are the specifics:
Wild Things was restored in 4K by Sony Pictures Entertainment. 4K scanning by Colorworks, Culver City from the 35mm Original Picture Negative. Digital Image Restoration by Prasad Corporation, India and Roundabout Entertainment, Santa Monica. HDR color grading and conform by colorist David Bernstein at Roundabout Entertainment in Santa Monica. Audio restoration and conrom at Sony Pictures Entertainment, sourced from the original 35mm 5.1 stereo magnetic tracks. Restoration supervised by Rita Belda for SPE, with color approval by director John McNaughton.
See? All kidding aside, this really is heads and tails better than the previous Blu-ray. That was released way back in the early days of the format and, as we all know, technology has been kind to those who like to see films on disc. Both versions, the 4K and Blu-ray, have been given this treatment, though the 4K has a bit better color depth and increased detail (though unless you’re viewing the two side by side, it’d still be difficult to tell which is which). Much of the grain has been removed, making for a much more “film like” look and feel to this. We all know the drill, folks – this is a newly-remastered 4K version of a movie that’s over two decades old. Of course it’s going to look better.
Audio: How does it sound?
Those wishing/wanting/waiting for a Dolby Atmos soundtrack will have to keep on with it. Yep, what we’ve got here is a DTS HD Master Audio mix that’s certain to please. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the film would benefit the way it did visually if they added an Atmos mix, but them’s the breaks. There’s a very open score in a few scenes that really makes use of the surround channels. Of course, dialogue is crystal clear with no distortion and the front stage handles the burden of things. Sonics and dynamic range appear to have been improved as well (the previous Blu-ray contained a PCM uncompressed mix). All in all, a fine job.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – John McNaughton and Producer Steven A. Jones sit down for a new track made for this release. I like this. It’s always nice to see (hear, in this case) of a director looking at his work after a decade or so. Some anecdotes about the shoot are present, but for those even a bit interested – go with this track.
- Audio Commentary – John McNaughton, Cinematographer Jeffrey Kimball, Producers Steven A. Jones and Rodney Liber, Editor Elena Maganini and Composer George S. Clinton round out this “crowded house.” The track was on the original DVD and is now over two decades old. Unless you’ve a clamoring to listen to it, go with the above instead.
- Interview with John McNaughton – If you listened to either commentary track, some of this is a bit overlapping, but we get an interview with the director.
- Interview with Denise Richards – The actress, who is now over 50 years old (and still looks pretty damn good), gives her thoughts on the film and how she eventually landed the part.
- On-Set Interviews – Essentially some behind the scenes footage from the film.
- An Understanding Lawyer – If you wanted :30 seconds with Bill Murray – here you go.
- Theatrical Trailer
- Stills Gallery
The Bottom Line
Wild Things was, at the time, considered very risqué. And, in many ways, it still is. We don’t often see full frontal nudity from an “A” list movie star and we don’t see two leading ladies make out with each other. But…here we are. Arrow’s done a great job with the visuals and the addition of some new features only sweetens the deal. Admit it…you like to watch.