Trial by Fire
The film plods at points, trudging along, and there are a few misguided narrative "devices" tacked on, but still, "Trial by Fire" bristles with anger.
Like a beloved piece of literature, Guillermo Del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” is one of those rare films that gets better with each experience of it. It’s a film I find myself drawn to every few months, and probably one I’ve seen more than any other in the last few years, and yet I’m still finding new elements to appreciate with every viewing. It’s one of Del Toro’s most personal films, a gorgeous gothic romance in which every frame both carries the beauty of a work of art and the nuance of great fiction. “Crimson Peak” already feels like it’s underrated status has reached the level of reappraisal as more and more people speak of it as a recent great, easily one of the best works from the Oscar-winning master (there are times when I think it may be his best). And now it has one of the most impressive Blu-ray releases in years, an edition that’s likely to only strengthen the film’s growing reputation.
Almost as if they’re attempting to mirror the craftsmanship on display in the film itself, it feels like Arrow Home Video and the team behind this release have carefully considered every possible angle when it comes to Blu-ray production. Of course, the film itself is always the most important thing about a Blu-ray release, and that looks and sounds spectacular, coming home with a perfect HD transfer that allows the crisp color palette of Del Toro’s vision depths it probably didn’t have when you saw it in the multiplex or on DVD. And the audio mix is breathtaking from the very beginning—the heartbeat sound that opens the film literally made my entire living room pulse with each beat.
The marriage of a technically perfect film with impeccable Blu-ray technical elements would make this a notable Blu-ray release on its own but that’s only part of the story here. The first thing fans will notice about the “Crimson Peak” Arrow release is the packaging itself, which replicates an old-fashioned novel, complete with an intricate book cover that can be opened to reveal even more elaborate designs within. The set also includes physical collectibles and trinkets like a book with essays about the film (including one by our very own Simon Abrams), postcards, and even a fold-out poster.
Then there are the special features, which are copious and marvelous. Everyone doing a film commentary would be wise to listen to one by Guillermo Del Toro, who is simultaneously charming and informative, bringing viewers into new layers of his film in a way that’s entertaining and never dry. What one gets most distinctly from his commentary is how much he loves this film and how much that love is reflected in every carefully considered choice made during the production. And the commentary is joined by a dozen or so featurettes about the making of the film, including a new documentary about its production. The full list is below and you really need to go get your copy here.
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original 5.1 and 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and optional English 2.0 DTS Headphone:X Audio
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• Optional Descriptive Video Service® (DVS®) for the visually impaired
• Audio commentary by co-writer and director Guillermo Del Toro
• The House is Alive: Constructing Crimson Peak, a newly edited, feature-length documentary with cast and crew interviews and extensive behind the scenes footage
• Previously unseen Spanish language interview with Guillermo Del Toro
• The Gothic Corridor, The Scullery, The Red Clay Mines, The Limbo Fog Set; four featurettes exploring different aspects of Allerdale Hall
• A Primer on Gothic Romance, the director and stars talk about the key traits of Gothic romance.
• The Light and Dark of Crimson Peak, the cast and crew talk about the film’s use of color
• Hand Tailored Gothic, a featurette on the film’s striking costumes
• A Living Thing, a look at the design, modelling and construction of the Allerdale Hall sets
• Beware of Crimson Peak, a walking tour around Allerdale Hall with Tom Hiddleston
• Crimson Phantoms, a featurette on the film’s amazing ghosts
• Kim Newman on Crimson Peak and the Tradition of Gothic Romance, a newly filmed interview with author and critic
• Violence and Beauty in Guillermo Del Toro’s Gothic Fairy Tale Films, a new video essay by the writer Kat Ellinger
• Deleted scenes
• Original trailers and TV spots
• Double-sided, fold-out poster
• Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions
• Limited Edition packaging newly designed by Crimson Peak concept artist Guy Davis
• Limited edition 80-page, hard-bound book featuring new writing by David Jenkins and Simon Abrams, an archival interview with Guillermo del Toro, and original conceptual design illustrations by artists Guy Davis and Oscar Chichoni
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