Media

Movie Renter's Guide - November, 2009

ARTICLE INDEX

"Army of Darkness" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Stephen Hornbrook

Army of Darkness

Synopsis

The movie begins with a brief synopsis of Evil Dead 2, showing Ash (Bruce Campbell), being sucked through a portal to the year ~1300AD. He's captured and thrown into a rather nasty pit where he does battle with a ghoulish creature. Thankfully his trusty chainsaw and boomstick followed him through the portal and he's able to lay waste to the baddies. Ash then needs to figure out how in the hell he can get back home. The only way to do this is to find the Necronomicon. To properly retrieve this cursed book, one must chant a special phrase. Ash fails to do this properly and unleashes an Army of Darkness: skeleton soldiers, ghouls, and other Deadites, as they are referred to. Ash then leads the kingdom of soldiers to battle against this Army of Darkness.

 

Specifications

  • Universal
  • 1992, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 21 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: VC-1
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring Bruce Campbell
  • Directed by Sam Raimi
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Gory horror violence, mostly comical
  • Sex: None
  • Language: Some

Commentary

Army of Darkness is a cult classic. Sam Raimi would not be where he is today in Hollywood if it weren't for the popularity of this movie. If anything it defines him as a director. It's a great movie that is a ton of fun to watch with a group. It will have everyone in the room talking about their Boomstick. I think there have been roughly 213* versions of this film on VHS, DVD and now Blu-Ray. I've watched 2 different dvd versions and the quality was lacking. This new Blu-Ray edition is in another league in terms of looks and sounds. While not perfect, it's the best looking and sounding version of Army of Darkness I've ever watched. Fans should not hesitate to pick it up, unless they are looking for a ton of extras. Universal will no doubt release this movie again, hopefully with a necronomiton of extras in a super duper Boomstick edition.

*Not Factual

Technical

The video quality is a mixed bag. Some scenes will look good, but then it will cut to another shot and the quality jumps down. One scene will have a bit of edge enhancement, while the next will have loads of film grain and spots, followed up by a very soft and dirty shot. The increased resolution also show's off the age of the film's special effects. Overall the picture quality suffers from too much artificial sharpening, which lessens the film's natural look. However, it's certainly a huge leap over the DVD transfers. The audio is pretty darn good, when you consider the film's age and original budget. Solid bass track, although I could have used a little more punch, and a nice use of the surrounds. This Blu-Ray is definitely the best Army of Darkness has ever sounded.

Extras

I'm not exactly sure what "Screwhead Edition" means, but jam-packed with extras is certainly not it. This disc is bare bones with only a few supplements.

Universal's U-Control functionality superimposes production photos over the movie. Then there is a retrospective look at the movie's special effects called Creating the Deadites (1080i, 21:29). Also included is an alternate ending, theatrical trailer, and BD-Live connectivity.