- Aspect Ratio: 2:35:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital Mono
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Region: A (Region-Locked)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Run Time: 96 Mins.
- Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: April 24th, 2012
- List Price: $29.99
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The Wicker Tree tells the story of Beth Boothby (Brittania Nicol) and Steve Thomson (Henry Garrett), two born-again Christians from Texas. Traveling to Scotland in hopes of spreading the word of the gospel, initially they’re met with immense hatred and awkward glances. It’s not until they receive an invitation to sing in Tressock, a fiefdom owned by Sir Lachlan Morrison (Graham McTavish) that they realize they just may succeed in their mission; however, the town of Tressock doesn’t necessarily agree with their overall message. In particular, their preaching of sexual and religious practices seem to annoy the town residents as the town’s beliefs lie heavily in ancient Celtic rituals. Not wanting to give up, Beth and Steve must now figure out if this challenge is worth the risk. What results is a film that has a somewhat interesting story, but is ultimately bogged down by odd direction.
Director Robin Hardy, having directed the film this one is based on, The Wicker Man, back in 1973, decided to re-visit the film that shocked the world. Let’s be honest for a moment, the original Wicker Man was a classic entry into the horror genre. Scary and violent, but not the buckets of blood violent that horrors films are oh so famous for today. This remake, however, just isn’t anything Man was. Where the 1973 version successfully mixed in the chills, screams, acting and convincing use of locales, I just couldn’t connect with this one. Blame the odd direction (it almost seems like a DIFFERENT person directed this one) as the style, wit and personality Hardy injected previously, is all but gone here. The film felt very ordinary, very bland and very, well, basic. Nothing about this new story makes us ever want to revisit the film, outside of the initial viewing. It’s not that Hardy is a bad director per say, but more I blame the ‘remake gene’ where almost a majority of remakes never live up to the original.
The 2:35:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is mostly solid throughout. The film’s color palette features a wide range of colors. Whether the grays of the Scotland sky, the blues of the American flag or the yellows of the fields of hay, everything popped off the screen with a solid amount of detail. Speaking of detail, there is a strong sense of detail. Initially, the opening moments don’t hold the greatest detail but once the story switches over to Tressock, Scotland, detail improves greatly. Facial flesh tones are accurate as are contrast levels. There is a bit of noise present toward the earlier parts of the movie, but nothing that is overly burdens the image. The film’s print is also in relatively good condition. All in all, this is a generally pleasing image.
The film’s provided Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track does it’s job well. Dialogue is mostly well reproduced throughout. I only noticed a scene or two in the early stages of the film where dialogue was a bit muddled. The film’s atmosphere can range from quite impressive (background music) to disappointing (some of the heightened action moments can feel relatively quiet). LFE is present thanks in part to movement from horses that add in the necessary ‘boom, boom’. Directionality is fairly well balanced as we can typically know exactly where discrete effects are coming from. All in all, this isn’t a track you’d pull out to show off, but more one that suits the film well.
The included supplements are presented in SD and HD:
- The Making of The Wicker Tree – This runs 12:15 and features a bit of behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew, as well as the red carpet premier.
- Deleted Scenes – Roughly 11:41 worth of scenes are shown.
- Trailer [HD] – The film’s trailer (1:54) is shown.
The Definitive Word
While the original is a horror classic, this remake…well, is not so much. Even though I didn’t care for the film, Anchor Bay has put together a fairly serviceable Blu-ray. I suppose if you enjoyed this remake, you’ll want to add this one to your collection. If not? Definitely skip this one.
Additional Screen Captures