Perspectives on Pop Culture and the Arts

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Raise the Red Lantern on DVD

I'm sure that many of you, like me, have been waiting ages for Zhang Yimou's, Raise the Red Lantern, to be released on DVD. Well put the knife down because, finally, it has... kind of. I recently came in touch with the new Razor Digital Entertainment region 1 version that boasts it's definitive status as part of their 'Zhang Yimou Collection.' This seemed promising, but upon viewing, I realised that the quality of this version was worse than many bootlegs I've seen. The picture was totally noisy and the brilliant colors that are quinessentially Yimou seemed bland at best. Even the cool coloring of the winter scenes seemed overly bleached and flat from the mediocre transfer.

If the color problems weren't enough (which they were), the subtitles suffered not only from constant grammar and spelling mistakes, but with words that were completely wrong all together. One example of this mixup was a point in the film where the Fourth mistress is talking about the Third Mistress, except the subtitles say Second Mistress - an entirely different character! Confused? I was, and I'd seen the film several times before! First-time viewers would be going, "what the...?" quite a bit here.

Having seen Raise the Red Lantern on both film and laser disc, I am quite convinced that Razor went out of their way to acquire a master that had been salvaged from a pile of burning train wreckage. If you've been waiting for ages for a gorgeous transfer of this beautiful film, I'm afraid your wait isn't over. We can only hope that with the recent popularity of Zhang Yimou's films, Hero, and House of Flying Daggers, there will soon be a definitive release worth owning on DVD.

Tagged under:



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. Just yesterday I pounced on this DVD in my local Borders. Fortunately, the shrink wrap is intact; back this (ersatz) treasure will go. You saved me what would undoubtedly have been a cruel disappointment.

9:19 PM

Blogger Mike said...

No problem. I hate to be the one talking people out of buying these films, but this particular release just doesn't do the film justice.

Now we just keep telling ourselves, 'There will be another, there will be another...'

7:06 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home