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  1. #1
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    Default Two Dvd Reviews: Flightplan & The Fog - Warning! Spoilers!

    WARNING!!! PLOT SPOILERS BELOW!!


    I have to admit...I genuinely enjoyed Flightplan with Jodie Foster in a Panic Room-like lead and I probably should have....I mean, the video rental stores sure had me wait long enough for a copy -- no, scrap that: I never even RECEIVED a copy from my local store they were always so out of the title...I actually snubbed it from one of those DVD rental machines outside a supermarket. With such a hoopla surrounding the rental demand for this title, I wanted to be blown from my seat...the film wasn’t THAT good, but it was refreshingly entertaining nonetheless, to the point that it is forcing me to consider a purchase at some point down the road. It may be something you revisit from time to time; I can’t really say the same about Panic Room, which always to me feels more like a good rental.

    The plot gets undeniably clichéd by the last frames of the picture, but until that point, you're kept in suspense and dragged into a great "what is going on?" and "who dun it?" kind of thriller that genuinely keeps you interested, as opposed to most of the crap that crawls out of Hollywood studios as of late. There are extremely good audio and visual treats to accompany this on the DVD release by Touchstone, but I will get into that later for all you Polk-a-Holics. The opening sequence finds Foster sitting in some train station in Germany, where we witness flashback scenes to her and her husband and something going wrong -- apparently, the husband had died by "falling" off the roof of their home, but this isn’t explained right away. Foster's character works for a firm in Berlin that supplies parts to build new high-tech jet airplanes, one of which she is flying on to bring her husband's body back to Long Island, New York for burial with her daughter. Once on board this plane that resembles something like a luxury hotel in Vegas, with lounges galore and aisles so wide you wouldn’t mind spending a couple of hours in them, we know something is about to "be up;" of course, the end of the film unfortunately turns into a copy of the Wesley Snipes hijacking thriller Passenger 57, complete with a beautiful female conspirator working for a main thief and posing as a stewardess, but up until then, the pacing is all excitement riddled, if a bit too Foster-intensive (as the film has been accused of via other online reviewers and which I agree with to a point).

    Foster is first on board this massive new jet airplane scheduled to take them from Germany to New York, and she tells the young daughter (who has apparently suffered a trauma from the father's death) that her company she works for was instrumental in creating the engines for this plane. Once onboard the luxury plane, another American family gets onboard and sits right in front of Foster and her daughter and immediately begin to annoy her as they're rude, obnoxious and loud. And we've all been in that situation before on a plane. It sucks. A man flying by himself, also with an American "accent" it seems, sits just behind and to the right of Foster, and makes small talk about the family in front of her and the noise they're making. Things start to get weird once the plane takes off for New York, and Foster falls asleep in her seat, only to wake up to find that her daughter is not sitting beside her in the aisle (in the window seat) any longer. She gets up and searches the aisles of the plane, but cannot find her. The tension builds successfully here, as Foster's character starts off in a rather level-headed manner, searching the aisles and talking to the stewardesses about losing her daughter on the plane and then systematically snowballing into a frenzy-infused panic to the point that she is desperate and hysterical, running to the front of the plane and banging on the cockpit door demanding to talk to the captain -- something not that smart to do post-September 11. We discover who the man was that was speaking with her in the seat just behind her -- an air marshal who immediately puts her into handcuffs and tells the pilot that Foster needs to speak with him.

    Foster explains to the pilot that she had come onboard with her daughter, fallen asleep and now the little girl is gone -- she demands the plane be searched, but the stewardess staff don’t seem to be too helpful, and the pilot ends up demanding to see Foster's boarding pass for her daughter which has also mysteriously disappeared. The flight attendants tell her and the pilot that they have no record for a girl traveling with her on their passenger manifest and they didn’t even see Foster get on a plane with a little girl, making her believe she may have imagined this whole thing about coming onboard with a daughter; the pilot asks Foster if she had anything alcoholic to drink on the flight, or if she is on medication of some kind. Foster admits to being on an anxiety medication, but continues to defend the fact that she indeed brought a daughter onboard and that the plane be searched. The crew gets instructions from the pilot to search the whole plane for the little girl, but she still doesn’t turn up. The air marshal is being kept busy with Foster's character as she begins to spiral out of control, desperate to find the girl she claims she came onboard with, even running into two Arab passengers who she accuses of looking into the windows of her home in Berlin the night before this flight...the Arab men take the accusations personally, thinking everyone on the flight wants to accuse them of being terrorists, but in Foster's mind, she believes they want to hijack the plane and use her daughter as a hostage -- that's how far "gone" she is from all this.
    Last edited by OnkyoFanatic; 02-07-2006 at 05:19 PM.

  2. #2
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    At this point, the passengers onboard are absolutely furious with the seemingly deranged Foster, as the pilot makes them all stay in their seats, turning the lights of the cabin on so the flight attendants can search for her daughter while they are inconvenienced not being able to use the rest rooms and such. The problem is none of the other passengers -- even those around Foster's seat -- have even seen her little girl, solidifying even further the theory the crew have that Foster made the idea up of a daughter in her head from being so distraught over her husband's recent death. When Foster goes running up one of the aisles at one point to escape the clutches of the pilot and the air marshal after they inform her that they have received record that her daughter was also killed along with her husband so she couldn’t possibly be onboard, the Arab man she accused of kidnapping her daughter tosses her into a seat armrest, knocking her unconscious. When she awakens, she is back in her seat with a woman next to her that tells her she is a therapist who is there to talk about her husband's death and what kind of impact it may have had on her....and the possibility that she did in fact make up a story about a daughter getting onboard with her because it would ease the pain of reality. While the woman is talking to her, Foster turns toward the window that her daughter was sitting by and notices a heart that the girl carved in the window in the frost of her breath, proving to Foster that she didn’t make a daughter up in her own mind. She asks to go to the rest room, where the marshal waits for her outside, taking her handcuffs off, and once there, because she is familiar with the layout of the plane they are on, she escapes up into the ventilator shaft where she gets into the avionics room and activates the oxygen masks to come down on the passengers. Next, she turns the cabin lights off...the passengers don the masks, panicking that something is wrong with the plane, and while the marshal is distracted, she comes back down and makes her way into another compartment of the plane to look for her daughter. Meanwhile, the pilot arrives on the scene and tells the marshal that they have not lost cabin pressure and the masks are not needed, and demands to know where Foster is....to their amazement, she is not in the bathroom any longer.

    Foster frantically searches the bowels of the plane but still cannot find the girl; she ends up coming face to face with the casket that's housing her husband in the cargo hold, and she is frozen as the marshal catches up with her and puts her in handcuffs once again, dragging her back to her seat where the passengers onboard the plane all begin clapping in satisfaction that she is finally cuffed and confined, them all thinking her a madwoman. Foster pleads with the marshal to believe her that she does have a daughter and that they have to continue searching for her -- the marshal asks one of the stewardesses to sit with Foster as he goes up to "speak with the captain." What he actually does is reveal the real plot of the film: we witness the marshal going down to the cargo hold where Foster's husband's coffin is, opening it up to reveal an explosive device inside controlled by a remote that this "marshal" is holding; he plants two bombs near the coffin in the avionics section of the plane and then continues on his mission, going up to see the captain and telling him that Foster herself turned out to be a terrorist who is hijacking the plane and demanding ransom money and that she used the story of her daughter as a cover. The marshal tells the pilot how much Foster is demanding (in the millions) and that he suggests the airline wire the money directly to him so she doesn’t blow up the plane; in the meantime, the pilot is also made aware that Foster apparently has demanded that they divert to Newfoundland where the passengers will be let go when she gets her money. Of course, this is all a scam so the hijacker posing to be the marshal (and working with other crew members in on the robbery) can obtain the wired money from the airline and make off with it.

    Foster ends up finding the girl where the "marshal" stored her and drugged her in one of the holds on the plane for this heist and then discovers what was really going on: it seems the hijackers needed a way to get the explosives onboard (and this is going to sound VERY far-fetched and impossible to pull off, but just go with it for a moment) and so they decided sneaking them into a casket would be ideal...they discovered that Foster was transporting a casket with her husband in it and they used her by kidnapping the daughter after she fell asleep when the plane took off making everyone think she was delusional by searching for a girl that never existed on a passenger manifest, and then getting the explosives into the casket and setting up the whole ransom demand thing from the airline...how this would be achieved during ONE flight would be nearly impossible to fathom, but all these impossibilities are kind of ignored...how did the main thief ever get to pose as a marshal? Why did no one see them taking the kid from Foster's seat when she fell asleep, later claiming Foster must have been nuts because she "made up" the story about a girl traveling with her? These details are never explained. That was the most annoying part of this screenplay.

    The plane is eventually landed in Newfoundland, where the passengers are let off, and then the crew, the pilot still thinking Foster was a hijacker all along because of the "marshall"'s report to him that she demanded money once they landed. Of course, now comes the horribly clichéd part to Flightplan, which rips off countless action-in-the-air drama thrillers along the lines of Passenger 57, Air Force One, Executive Decision...Foster gets free of the marshal hijacker once the passengers are off, and his accomplice stewardess, injuring them both single-handedly (yeah, right) and makes her way to where her daughter is still lying unconscious in one of the holds. The film drags here, as the next 20 minutes or so is devoted to the injured marshal hijacker crawling around and limping around the plane after Foster, mumbling all kinds of threats and reasons why they did what they did to her; utter nonsense. Where the film felt unique up until this point, it loses that from this point on. Foster ends up finding the detonator to the bombs they put onboard (again, yeah right) and blows up the hijacker marshal while her and her daughter remain safe as the front of the huge plane comes apart (yeah....right). The film ends with the passengers on the plane looking at Foster as she carries her daughter to a waiting van, finally believing in amazement that she indeed had a daughter onboard with her.

  3. #3
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    THE DISC:
    There were really no problems with the approximately 2:35:1 widescreen transfer for the DVD release of Flightplan; colors seemed accurate and vivid when they were supposed to be, and there were purposely dark, muted times in the print to suggest winter overtones in the scenes in Germany in the beginning. Some of the interior shots of the plane sequences got a bit soft -- but only very momentarily; overall, a film that looked like a modern DVD transfer with nothing really standing out to comment on. There may have been brief moments of film grain, but nothing distracting. One thing that was specific to my disc was that because this was a rental, there were annoying moments of digital pixilation and breakup...to the point that my player froze completely on some scenes. This was definitely due to a mishandled disc (damn it I HATE people who abuse these things when they rent them) and not the fault of the transfer or studio.

    Audio was presented in English in either Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 incarnations for surround usage, in a surprising twist as I went into this thinking there was only a Dolby Digital track onboard because that's all the surface of the disc suggested. Of course, I ran the DTS track, and I have some comments about the audio analysis of this title: originally, the first time I watched this with my better half, I was not really floored with the audio. When first popping in the disc, my receiver was turned WAY up on volume from a previous quiet disc that had been running through the system, and I hadn’t turned the master volume down. The opening sequence of Flightplan had Jodie Foster sitting in the train station, and this scene was accompanied by WALLOPS of LFE which were so thick it made my sub pop and crack which it does on soundtracks with overcooked bass channels. I immediately cut back on the master volume to remedy this, which I should have from the beginning as most DTS tracks of modern DVDs rock my system without needing to bring the volume that far up, but the remainder of the track didn’t impress me....

    ...then I watched the disc again last night before needing to return the rental and my experience was different without changing any calibration settings to my system; has this ever happened to you? Anyway, suddenly, the opening sequence of the DVD in the train station sounded breathtaking and wrapped around the whole soundstage, the sound of the rushing trains bouncing from speaker to speaker, with a solid, heavy LFE thumping that didn’t sound crackly or pushed as before. I was able to ascertain and pick out subtle ambience details that I now give this DTS mix high credits for, such as the subtle but audible slamming of overhead bins in the plane sequences as passengers are getting to their seats, the humming of the plane's engines in the surround channels, the thudding of LFE to accompany gunshots at the end, and an overall nice, balanced feel to the mix. This one is not going to knock you over the head at all -- it is a rather subdued mix overall, with most of the film delivering dialogue from the center channel which is soft and hushed most of the time. But when the action heats up, the DTS track picks up steam with it, offering roaring sounds of the giant plane taking off and landing, the aforementioned gunshots, the explosion of the front of the plane at the end when Foster hits the explosives button...the channels come alive and loudly roar to accompany this action, and that's what I look for in a good surround mix. As usual, dialogue is mixed relatively low in comparison to the remainder of the track, so intelligibility is sometimes a problem when watching this at "normal" levels, under ear-bleeding territory. There are other noteworthy moments on this DTS mix, such as when the soft murmur of the plane's announcement system comes to life, placing the stewardess' voices into the surround channels, making you feel like you're really on an airplane with these announcements and the sounds of the overhead bins slamming shut and the warbling of the engines....they're all mixed into the track but in a very subtle, soft way so that if there's anyone sitting next to you in your home theatre, or in the same room, you will easily be able to have a conversation with them over the audio on this disc. I don’t like that, but that’s what we have here.

  4. #4
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    I am an absolute diehard John Carpenter fan, and I am not afraid to admit it or wear it on my sleeve. I love just about everything this man has done, and I am one of those people who "get" Carpenter and what he tries to go for with his films, even though he is consistently bashed for his campy style. But give me Escape From New York, Escape From L.A., Halloween, Village of the Damned, Christine, The Fog and Vampires any day of the week and I’m happy. I own just about all his films on DVD, save for some I really couldn’t stomach like They Live!, Big Trouble in Little China and Ghosts of Mars, so when I heard they were coming out with a remake of his Halloween follow-up The Fog, I just didn’t know what to think....in many ways, to me, this an absolute slap in the face to Carpenter and what he was trying to do with his original ghost tale starring the sexy Adrienne Barbeau -- but then I found out that Carpenter was going to have his own hand in producing this remake (VERY rare for a director to do with a remake of his own original) and I also took into consideration that Zack Snyder did the same thing with George Romero's Dawn of the Dead...and Dawn of the Dead turned out to be awesome. Still, my inclination was to think this was going to be just like every other remake in this age of horror remakes we seem to be living in now...utterly, utterly unnecessary to say the least.

    What is going on with this remake phenomenon anyway? We have had Man on Fire, House on Haunted Hill, House of Wax, The Amityville Horror, The Haunting, Dawn of the Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Assault on Precinct 13 and from what I understand we even have remakes coming of Halloween, The Warriors and possibly even a re-telling of Escape From New York.....oh my G-d would that be a travesty, not to mention re-doing Carpenter's awesome, legendary Halloween....is all this NECESSARY? And does anyone else see a pattern with a lot of John Carpenter films being remade? I understand that a lot of these producers and even directors are tempted by the sensation to bring their old tales of horror to modern day audiences to experience, which never works anyway because of the mindless zombies that we call society which flood our theaters today, but if I were a director like Carpenter, I would just never authorize remakes of these works. Lets understand the science of the modern remake first: the demographic piling into theaters today are teenaged and up, talking on cell phones during films, annoying other viewers, using their iPods and babbling through an entire feature...the experience at theaters today is downright nauseating for mature population members. The marketing in modern cinema is to ghetto-stylized homeboys who are barely 18 years old but drive Cadillac Escalades with rims so large they can be garbage can lids drenched in chrome, boasting gorgeous Caucasian girlfriends that seem to be FASCINATED with minorities and their hip-hop lifestyle (see Paris Hilton in the remake of House of Wax), plus the redundant grungy-looking guy who attracts all the chicks yet looks like he hasn't showered in about a month, the shapely, tight-bodied chicks with half-shirts on, belly buttons pierced, tattoos everywhere with breasts so large you'd never believe these chicks were freshmen in college....this stereotyping can go on and on. THIS is what sells tickets today, there is no doubt about it and no way around it...it's a young world, whether we like it or not, and talent in motion pictures has nothing to do with the formula anymore. Pacing, atmosphere, correct casting....these factors are all out the window when a film is made today. Its all about skin, sex and boobs -- and who can show the most of it....damn the script or a logical plot. The same exact formula ran rampant in modern "horror" projects like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (instead of any fright developing or any logical connections to the real Ed Gein story, we have Jessica Beil showing her ass and tits to the camera every few minutes for absolutely no benefit at all except for eye candy), Cabin Fever (again, another group of college-aged kids with chicks who simply want to get naked and/or show off their midriff some more with hip-hugging, low-rider jeans and the crop tops and the like), House of Wax -- don’t even get me started on this piece of crap which was basically created to showcase Paris Hilton making love to her homeboy boyfriend from the ghetto every chance she can, bouncing to the constant rap soundtrack emanating from his Escalade, and such is what happened, pretty much, with the remake of Carpenter's The Fog, which follows the time-honored formula of the 2000's by adding sexy chicks and gruffy guys who all look like they just graduated from the WB Network's school of non-talented assclowns. Believe it or not, much like Zack Snyder's retelling of Dawn of the Dead, the remake of The Fog ended up being not so bad as all those other films I listed above. This was undoubtedly due to John Carpenter and Debra Hill's hand in the project, but what I think makes it work the best is the fact that the modern technology was able to tell the ghost ship story better with some creepy-looking specters along the lines of those seen in Pirates of the Caribbean. But that is an area that walks a line, too -- for the "cheap" effects used for Carpenter's version is what made THAT film so creepy, too, and effective -- it is everything Carpenter DIDN'T show or use that worked in that film...the cheap fog effects, the simple ghosts standing in the shadows with glowing red eyes....it was perfect.
    Last edited by OnkyoFanatic; 02-07-2006 at 05:53 PM.

  5. #5

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    thanks onkyo...
    i don't have to rent it now that i've read the cliffnotes :D

  6. #6
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    For those of you who have never seen the original Fog (and I suggest doing so), the history of the project is pretty interesting; Carpenter needed a follow up to his overtly successful and later-legendary Halloween starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasance about a babysitter and her killer brother who stalks her on Halloween night. The plot was simple but BRILLIANT and it is probably one of the best serial killer slashers of all time because of its simplicity. Avco Embassy Pictures wanted another film out of Carpenter, which was not going to be an easy task to say the very least given the success and impact of Halloween, so he turned to his producer and friend Debra Hill who worked with him on Halloween....what they churned out was a creepy little yarn about a small town called Antonio Bay and a curse it has been given in the form of vengeful ghosts who seek vengeance for a shipwreck which happened years earlier...the story went like this: the clipper ship Elizabeth Dane carrying a leper colony was promised land on Antonio Bay in a deal made with the town's founders; but the founders double crossed the Dane's crew, stealing a wealth of gold from the ship and sinking them to the bottom of the sea. On the anniversary of the town's founding, where Carpenter's film begins, the ghosts of the Elizabeth Dane return to Antonio Bay to seek revenge on the co-conspirators responsible for their deaths.

    The film just worked. It is one of the creepiest ghost tales to come out of that era, heck, just about from any era. In the leads were again Jamie Lee Curtis (playing a hitchhiker going through Antonio Bay), Tom Atkins (who would later star in the Carpenter-produced Halloween III) as Nick Castle, a fisherman (playing direct homage to the name of the actor who played the killer, Michael Myers, in Halloween, Nick Castle) and Adrianne Barbeau who played Stevie Wayne, a disc jockey who owned the local radio station on the island. Hal Holbrook turned in a memorable performance as Father William Malone, the local priest who was a descendant of one of the original conspirators who planned the death of the lepers onboard the Elizabeth Dane -- his grandfather.

    Where the original began with a camp fire sequence in which a bunch of kids are sitting around listening to an old man tell the story of the Elizabeth Dane before the film breaks into a brilliant but quiet title unveiling, the remake goes into more about the actual Elizabeth Dane tragedy and her sinking, offering a violent flashback scene showing us a bit of what happened onboard with the lepers and the conspirators from Antonio Bay. In this remake, Antonio Bay has been changed to an island in not California as in the original, but in Oregon. Other than that, and some strange connection one of the hot female roles have to the lepers onboard the Dane, most of this remake is inline with the original -- some of the dialogue is even the same. The characters seem to make their way back here; "Nick Castle" is now played by one of those WB Network punks I was talking about earlier, and has been transformed from Tom Atkins to a muscular, young heartthrob straight out of General Hospital...but he still remains a fisherman in Antonio Bay. His boat is the same as the boat that encounters the fog and its ghosts in the original, The Seagrass. Playing disc jockey Stevie Wayne but not out-doing Adrienne Barbeau's sexy rendition of the character from the original, is Selma Blair, who acts in this like her **** don't stink; she's an arrogant single mother who looks like a kid herself (because the Wayne character HAS to have a son named Andy like in the original and again seen here in the remake) and trots around in skimpy bikini panties and barely-covering tank tops to make the modern, clichéd horror formula work. Her character is utterly annoying and will have you rolling your eyes thinking "thank G-d that's not MY girlfriend or wife...." because she is utterly self-centered and annoying. Instead of the soft tunes Barbeau spun as the DJ in the original, Blair spins house music and trance/techno for the Antonio citizens, made up now of younger punks who apparently have nothing better to do in this town than get drunk, go out on boats and party with white girls who cant dance no matter how drunk they are -- as the (GAG ME with something) same, overly clichéd and horribly redundant homeboy African American friend onboard The Seagrass does one night. The wanna-be gangster rapper, videotaping the white chicks they're out on the boat with who REALLY cant dance at all and act like idiots as they robotically move their pale bodies to the techno/hip-hop fusion that's blasting from Stevie Wayne's radio station signal into their radio, along with Nick Castle's acquaintance, encounter an unearthly fog that rolls in and kills the girls and him...leaving the homeboy in shock, but alive. Proof of the fog is on his camera he was taping with. But the cops and the mayor of the town think the ghetto superstar killed them.

    Again, we have the plot of a vengeful group of ghosts who have come back for revenge on this town for what was done to them years earlier by the town's founding fathers -- only this time, there is more connection to the characters and the ghosts. It seems Nick Castle's old flame has returned to the town after being away for awhile (this appears to be a big deal to the people in the village) and the two of them are hooking up again, but this chick has some connection to the events that took place aboard the Elizabeth Dane -- we're not exposed to that until the utterly confusing end sequence which was probably the most perplexing in the history of modern cinema. Where the original's ending was brilliant, with Hal Holbrook's character being sliced by one of the red-eyed ghosts in the fog wondering why he was getting away for being a relative of one of the conspirators, the ending to this was ridiculous and head scratching.

    There is again the character of "Blake," the leader of the leper colony and the Dane, who makes the deal with the founding fathers of the island only to be double crossed by them and killed, his gold stolen from the ship in which the founders used it to build the town. Where the Blake character was never really explored in the first one, we only really hear his name mentioned, here Blake is given a face and a voice in flashback scenes involving the sinking of the Dane. There is also the similarity with the first film involving finding Father Malone's ancestors' journal, as Hal Holbrook found in the original -- this time, Castle's girl finds it in a wall under the water when she is almost done in by killer seaweed in Castle's boat house. And, we have again the Father Malone character, this time played horribly as a drinking younger priest who mumbles throughout the film, warning people of the town of the revenge soon coming by the ghosts and how the town is "honoring murderers" with their anniversary celebration the night the fog rolls into town.

    And so the premise of Carpenter's original film unravels here for the remake, as Carpenter was signed on to help produce with Debra Hill -- the ghosts of the Elizabeth Dane's crew have returned in an unearthly fog to kill anyone somehow related to or responsible for their murders by the town's forefathers; once again, the weatherman Dan is killed, the fog goes after Stevie Wayne's son Andy while she cries for help on the radio, the town loses phones and power, and Nick and his girlfriend are chased around in his truck by the rapidly moving and shifting fog. Selma Blair's speech at the end is just like Barbeau's in the original -- blabbering something about "something came out of the fog" and "if this is anything other than a nightmare..." but as I said, it finally ends much different from the original which was very exciting, with Blake's ghost standing there in the mist of the fog in Malone's church, his eyes glowing red, waiting to slash into Malone as the last conspirator to be killed...the ending of this remake made no sense at all and killed an otherwise decent-at-best remake.

    What works here are the technologically-advanced ghost effects, which look very much like the specters, as I said, from Pirates of the Caribbean; the ghosts here appear as skeletal ghouls with dead eyes, CGI enhanced, of course, which was not possible to do in the original...but in the original, the human-acted "ghosts" worked, too, with their glowing eyes in the fog. Here, the effect is just more modern and looks cool, as a modern day horror film should look; many argue the fog effects in the remake sucked compared to the original, coming as a "milky," abstract kind of substance as opposed to the dry ice/fog machine simple effects of the first one...the CGI can clearly be seen on the fog effects here, but I don’t think it was a disaster. How else can you modernly tell a fog ghost story than without computer-generated effects? Yes -- don’t get me wrong -- what absolutely, positively worked in Carpenter's version was the downright simplicity of it all -- the human-looking ghosts in ripped clothes without showing their lepercy disease, the cheesy red lights for their "possessed" eyes, the thick cloudy fog machine effects...and of course, Carpenter's score to back it all and create that classic dread his films erupt with. But this remake kind of ups that with modern effects that make the ghosts more effective and the fog a bit more menacing; I don’t think it was quite the disaster it could have easily been (see the remake of House of Wax and Texas Chainsaw Massacre for good examples of how easy that is).

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    The acting is downright atrocious, with the clichéd young girls running around in ultra-skimpy lingerie and sleepwear, the modern rock/hip-hop fusion music that accompanies the soundtracks of ALL these current "horror" films (Carpenter's synthesizer was simply brilliant in the original instead of this crap we must endure here), the prerequisite African American badass wanna-be gagster with the gold medallion swinging from his neck as he parties with white chicks that are simply INFATUATED with him and his lifestyle....this formula is really getting boring and borders on intelligence insulting. The performances from the more simple Carpenter approach of the film is much more effective; Barbeau is a better Stevie Wayne, Tom Atkins is a better Nick Castle and Hal Holbrook is a MUCH better Father Malone. But watching these two versions back to back, it is easy to see where the original seems so dated in comparison -- I guess the same thing can be said about comparisons of The Amityville Horror and House on Haunted Hill when one thinks about it, although with films like The Amityville Horror, what killed the whole thing was that the remake completely and utterly ruined the "story" this legend was based on; EVERYTHING about the remake was inaccurate. With The Fog, there really are no inaccuracies to speak of; the remake actually explains the Elizabeth Dane story a little more, and we get to see what happened onboard the ship before the leper colony was killed and drowned by the founding fathers of the island of Antonio...something that was missing (but in no way really vital) from Carpenter's version.

    Sony has taken over the motion pictures operations of Columbia, and all of their DVD releases share the same kind of marketing rhetoric and design; what is to come of their awesome Superbit line? I don’t know. Only time will tell. Sony has recently re-released the original Fog (to coincide with the remake as they took over many MGM titles as well) in a Special Edition re-release (in which the only difference between it and the previously-released MGM Special Edition with the green cover was a ticket to see the new version in the theaters), plus have also put out The Amityville Horror remake and The Exorcism of Emily Rose; apparently, this is a company that doesn’t support DTS encoding as all the releases are coming with (pretty aggressive) Dolby Digital soundtracks. Then again, Columbia was never a supporter of DTS until their Superbit line of releases was born; neither was MGM come to think of it.

    Sony/Columbia has released The Fog in a standard, single-disc package with special features but not much else; inside is the common current trend to eliminate chapter inserts in favor of bull**** marketing flyers with the likes of exclaiming "GET THESE GREAT MOVIES ON DVD TOO!" or some such rhetoric. The cover art resembles the original work from MGM on the Carpenter version; there is a ghostly face emanating from the title letters on this one with the banner WIDESCREEN UNRATED VERSION adorning the top in red.

    THE DISC:
    What IS it with these "UNRATED" versions of films now on DVD anyway? Do they add any value? Is there something substantially better about them? When I watched The Exorcism of Emily Rose in its "Unrated" edition, I found nothing different. During Dawn of the Dead's director's version, though, there was some added gore...but no nudity. Again, here we have the marketing gimmick of "UNRATED" version slapped on the top of the box, and really folks, it means nothing. The approximately 2:35:1 widescreen transfer looked gorgeous, as befitting a modern film made with modern equipment, and much like Flightplan, I had nothing to complain about with the video -- I didn’t notice any grain, artifacting or problems at all. The colors were bright -- brighter and more lush than on Flightplan -- and this of course looked a hell of a lot better than the original does on DVD (of course, due to its age)...even though Sony/MGM DID do a great job of cleaning that old film up for its DVD transfer.

    A gimmick Sony has been using also with their new DVD releases is to slap the words "Mastered in High Definition" on the backs of their DVD boxes; I cant confirm if these have been mastered in high-def, but on my 55" hi def ready Mitsubishi, it sure looked nice.

    The audio, like every other modern Sony release, as I mentioned, is in an English Dolby Digital 5.1 variant which, in keeping with Sony's other modern releases like The Exorcism of Emily Rose, sounds appropriately and refreshingly aggressive and strong...Dolby Digital tracks from just a year or two ago seem weak and anemic compared to the ones that are coming out of late -- the example of The Fog is no exception. At a certain volume level, this sounds like a well-made DTS track if you had blindfolds on. LFE shakes the walls in certain scenes, and there's a definite "heft" to the mix that stays with you the whole way -- an opening part where the Elizabeth Dane catches fire from a lantern snaps to life in the front channels and rips across the front soundstage nice and loud -- a nice touch compared to the usually compressed-sounding average Dolby Digital tracks on most DVDs. Surrounds are always present, another nice touch for home theater enthusiasts, and the mix is just very active almost from beginning to end. I usually have TONS of complaints in this department (the audio on DVDs as I am VERY anal about my surround sound) and there is really nothing negative I can say about the track; like The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the Dolby Digital mix here is unusually alive and aggressive. For the record, I remember the audio on the rental of Sony's The Amityville Horror remake DVD to be not as memorable as The Fog or The Exorcism of Emily Rose; there was a HORRIBLY hushed dialogue track on that and my system needed a great deal of amplification to get the track going; it didn’t seem to be that way at least for The Fog.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zombie boy 2000
    thanks onkyo...
    i don't have to rent it now that i've read the cliffnotes :D
    After all the effort I put into these reviews, somehow I knew I would get **** for it from someone; somehow I knew it would be Zombie, too...

    Sorry, Zombie....I put in the "Spoilers" warning now for those that venture into the review...


    The purpose of the review was to mainly supply DVD tech logistics.

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    sorry onkyo..
    i meant no disservice to your reviews, as it is obvious they are a labor of love
    just having a friendly jab :)
    other than that, i just watched "The Fog" last night -- and would have to agree with you on nearly every point
    and i always felt that if one horror movie could benefit from a remake, this would be it...
    oh well gotta go

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    Quote Originally Posted by zombie boy 2000
    sorry onkyo..
    i meant no disservice to your reviews, as it is obvious they are a labor of love
    just having a friendly jab :)
    other than that, i just watched "The Fog" last night -- and would have to agree with you on nearly every point
    and i always felt that if one horror movie could benefit from a remake, this would be it...
    oh well gotta go
    No problem, Zomb....thank you for taking the time to read the reviews to begin with; thats much appreciated. As for Flightplan, still watch it when you get a chance -- I didnt highlight EVERYTHING about it; theres still more to see!

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    Was that the adapted novel for the movie? :D

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSkeezer
    Was that the adapted novel for the movie? :D
    Thanx for reading Skeezer...


    ;)

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    Can you give us an indepth review of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, then follow it up with all 6 Star Wars films?

    That should crash Polk's webserver! :D


    John
    I'm not saying she's a slut, but if her vagina had a password...it would be password.

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    Damn, I actually didn't care for Flightplan, Redeye I thought was better. I too doubt if the site could handle a LOTR Star Wars review from Onkyo. Thanks for writing a in depth review though
    Matthew
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    R U trying to build a resume for Rotten Tomatoes!!!!??????????

    RT1
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    Quote Originally Posted by masanz1
    Damn, I actually didn't care for Flightplan, Redeye I thought was better. I too doubt if the site could handle a LOTR Star Wars review from Onkyo. Thanks for writing a in depth review though

    I thought they were both passable movies, I wouldn't give em a second watch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john d. strong
    Can you give us an indepth review of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, then follow it up with all 6 Star Wars films?

    That should crash Polk's webserver! :D


    John
    Like I said...always someone who doesnt really appreciate all the work that goes into these just for informative purposes... :(

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    "Thanks for writing a in depth review though"


    Hey man, thanks for reading....the DVD's technical prowess -- well TWO DVDs in this case -- is what I was after reporting on. Thank you again for reading and commenting.
    :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by reeltrouble1
    R U trying to build a resume for Rotten Tomatoes!!!!??????????

    RT1
    is there a way to actually review for their site!!??

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    so onkyo...
    i had to leave before i gave myself a chance to clarify why i thought The Fog might benefit from a remake... (i thought surely you would deride this as near heresy) :D
    it's just that the original always seemed to be (in some very intangible and inexplicable way) so close to capturing a particular mood/atmosphere that had not been captured in a film up to that point and since, in my opinion...
    and i can't really put my finger on it -- something about "ghost pirates" i guess :)
    i was just hoping that maybe Carpenter's trademark "limited budget" was the culprit, though i would be hard pressed to suggest what extra funds might accomplish (that is, if it didn't detract from the overall experience)
    again, maybe it's the whole "scooby-doo, spectral pirate ship, abandoned carnival tent at night" vibe that was tantalizingly alluded to in the original flick
    ...just some ramblin' thoughts :p

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    Thats cool Zomb....I actually thought the "Pirates of the Caribbean" effects kind of worked on the remake, AND Carpenter's simplicity worked in the original too, with the actual actors dressed up like disheveled ghost pirates with glowing red eyes...

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    I was just having a bit of fun Onkyo. No harm intended. I didn't read through the review of Flightplan due to the spoilers and not having seen it, but I read quite a bit of the Fog review and comments. I do own the original "The Fog" on DVD and love it. From what I've read on other sites about the remake, it sucks.

    These directors doing these remakes try to cram too much CGI effects and dumb**** in there instead of going after what ACTUALLY makes them successful. Carpenter used tiny budgets and made the most from them. Most directors today would be clueless!

    IMHO (I'll probably get slammed), but one of the best horror movies in recent years to watch for creativity is Blair Witch Project. Here is a site that explains it well and the story behind it. Freakin genius if you ask me!

    http://www.videouniversity.com/blairw1.htm

    John
    I'm not saying she's a slut, but if her vagina had a password...it would be password.

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    "I was just having a bit of fun Onkyo. No harm intended. I didn't read through the review of Flightplan due to the spoilers and not having seen it, but I read quite a bit of the Fog review and comments. I do own the original "The Fog" on DVD and love it. From what I've read on other sites about the remake, it sucks."

    Hey John,

    Thats cool; thanks for clearing the air on that one. Yes, if you didnt see Flightplan yet, please dont read it all because of the spoilers. Once you see it, come back in here and give us your thoughts!

    The original Carpenter Fog is absolutely BRILLIANT for a followup to his Halloween, let alone a creepy atomosphere-driven ghost story. I've always loved the Fog. Just wished Adrienne Barbeau showed more of those delicious titties in it as she did in Escape From New York...

    "These directors doing these remakes try to cram too much CGI effects and dumb**** in there instead of going after what ACTUALLY makes them successful. Carpenter used tiny budgets and made the most from them. Most directors today would be clueless!"

    THATS what I was getting at in my analysis of these remakes today----EXACTLY and AGREED.

    "IMHO (I'll probably get slammed), but one of the best horror movies in recent years to watch for creativity is Blair Witch Project. Here is a site that explains it well and the story behind it. Freakin genius if you ask me!

    http://www.videouniversity.com/blairw1.htm"

    Yes, indeed I am not a Blair Witch fan, but it has often been compared to one of my favorites -- the original Amityville Horror -- in that it was proven to be a giant hoax on the public: just like the Lutz story of the Amityville Horror.

    Thanks again for reading the reviews (well, at least one of them!)...I'll do more as I go along for all you fellow Polk a Holics in here!!

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    Two things.

    1. I can't believe you took the time to write all that...wow.
    2. My Flightplan review in one sentence, which is all that is needed. That's 98 minutes of my life I'll never get back.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    Cool...
    I smell ass, burning ass, glowing cherry red spanked ass.

    RT1

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    Quote Originally Posted by OnkyoFanatic View Post
    The acting is downright atrocious, with the clichéd young girls running around in ultra-skimpy lingerie and sleepwear, the modern rock/hip-hop fusion music that accompanies the soundtracks of ALL these current "horror" films (Carpenter's synthesizer was simply brilliant in the original instead of this crap we must endure here), the prerequisite African American badass wanna-be gagster with the gold medallion swinging from his neck as he parties with white chicks that are simply INFATUATED with him and his lifestyle....this formula is really getting boring and borders on intelligence insulting. The performances from the more simple Carpenter approach of the film is much more effective; Barbeau is a better Stevie Wayne, Tom Atkins is a better Nick Castle and Hal Holbrook is a MUCH better Father Malone. But watching these two versions back to back, it is easy to see where the original seems so dated in comparison -- I guess the same thing can be said about comparisons of The Amityville Horror and House on Haunted Hill when one thinks about it, although with films like The Amityville Horror, what killed the whole thing was that the remake completely and utterly ruined the "story" this legend was based on; EVERYTHING about the remake was inaccurate. With The Fog, there really are no inaccuracies to speak of; the remake actually explains the Elizabeth Dane story a little more, and we get to see what happened onboard the ship before the leper colony was killed and drowned by the founding fathers of the island of Antonio...something that was missing (but in no way really vital) from Carpenter's version.

    Sony has taken over the motion pictures operations of Columbia, and all of their DVD releases share the same kind of marketing rhetoric and design; what is to come of their awesome Superbit line? I don’t know. Only time will tell. Sony has recently re-released the original Fog (to coincide with the remake as they took over many MGM titles as well) in a Special Edition re-release (in which the only difference between it and the previously-released MGM Special Edition with the green cover was a ticket to see the new version in the theaters), plus have also put out The Amityville Horror remake and The Exorcism of Emily Rose; apparently, this is a company that doesn’t support DTS encoding as all the releases are coming with (pretty aggressive) Dolby Digital soundtracks. Then again, Columbia was never a supporter of DTS until their Superbit line of releases was born; neither was MGM come to think of it.

    Sony/Columbia has released The Fog in a standard, single-disc package with special features but not much else; inside is the common current trend to eliminate chapter inserts in favor of bull**** marketing flyers with the likes of exclaiming "GET THESE GREAT MOVIES ON DVD TOO!" or some such rhetoric. The cover art resembles the original work from MGM on the Carpenter version; there is a ghostly face emanating from the title letters on this one with the banner WIDESCREEN UNRATED VERSION adorning the top in red.

    THE DISC:
    What IS it with these "UNRATED" versions of films now on DVD anyway? Do they add any value? Is there something substantially better about them? When I watched The Exorcism of Emily Rose in its "Unrated" edition, I found nothing different. During Dawn of the Dead's director's version, though, there was some added gore...but no nudity. Again, here we have the marketing gimmick of "UNRATED" version slapped on the top of the box, and really folks, it means nothing. The approximately 2:35:1 widescreen transfer looked gorgeous, as befitting a modern film made with modern equipment, and much like Flightplan, I had nothing to complain about with the video -- I didn’t notice any grain, artifacting or problems at all. The colors were bright -- brighter and more lush than on Flightplan -- and this of course looked a hell of a lot better than the original does on DVD (of course, due to its age)...even though Sony/MGM DID do a great job of cleaning that old film up for its DVD transfer.

    A gimmick Sony has been using also with their new DVD releases is to slap the words "Mastered in High Definition" on the backs of their DVD boxes; I cant confirm if these have been mastered in high-def, but on my 55" hi def ready Mitsubishi, it sure looked nice.

    The audio, like every other modern Sony release, as I mentioned, is in an English Dolby Digital 5.1 variant which, in keeping with Sony's other modern releases like The Exorcism of Emily Rose, sounds appropriately and refreshingly aggressive and strong...Dolby Digital tracks from just a year or two ago seem weak and anemic compared to the ones that are coming out of late -- the example of The Fog is no exception. At a certain volume level, this sounds like a well-made DTS track if you had blindfolds on. LFE shakes the walls in certain scenes, and there's a definite "heft" to the mix that stays with you the whole way -- an opening part where the Elizabeth Dane catches fire from a lantern snaps to life in the front channels and rips across the front soundstage nice and loud -- a nice touch compared to the usually compressed-sounding average Dolby Digital tracks on most DVDs. Surrounds are always present, another nice touch for home theater enthusiasts, and the mix is just very active almost from beginning to end. I usually have TONS of complaints in this department (the audio on DVDs as I am VERY anal about my surround sound) and there is really nothing negative I can say about the track; like The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the Dolby Digital mix here is unusually alive and aggressive. For the record, I remember the audio on the rental of Sony's The Amityville Horror remake DVD to be not as memorable as The Fog or The Exorcism of Emily Rose; there was a HORRIBLY hushed dialogue track on that and my system needed a great deal of amplification to get the track going; it didn’t seem to be that way at least for The Fog.
    I think the plan of girls running with lingerie has worked perfectly. What is your thought guys?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DwightPatters View Post
    I think the plan of girls running with lingerie has worked perfectly. What is your thought guys?
    So what is your thought guys..

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Two things.

    1. I can't believe you took the time to write all that...wow.
    2. My Flightplan review in one sentence, which is all that is needed. That's 98 minutes of my life I'll never get back.
    Still LMAO at this! Didn't think you had it in you F1nut.

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