R Dir: Neil Jordan | Warner | 2h 3min
Plot: What’s it about?
The mid 90’s were very good to Tom Cruise. Ok, well, so were the 80’s. And the 2000’s. Let’s face it, it’s good to be Tom Cruise. When Interview with the Vampire came out, Cruise was smack dab in the middle of an impressive run at the box office. 1992’s A Few Good Men was commercially and critically successful (it was nominated for Best Picture but lost to Unforgiven). Next up was The Firm, in which he played Mitch McDeere – the first of John Grisham’s novels to become a movie. After Vampire, was Mission: Impossible, which is still going as a franchise and then Jerry McGuire which garnered Cruise a Best Actor nomination. Each one of those films grossed over $100 million at the box office, impressive even by today’s standards. Cruise campaigned for the role of Lestat and author Anne Rice finally gave in (maybe someone explained “percentage of the gross” to her). Suffice it to say with Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas in the cast – there was no shortage in the looks department. My how time flies…
Interview With the Vampire covers a broad period of time, yet it “starts” in the 18th century. An interviewer, Daniel Malloy (Christian Slater) has convinced a vampire, Louis (Brad Pitt), to tell him his life story. And so it begins that, in a series of flashbacks, we learn the tale of Louis and Lestat (Tom Cruise). Louis had lost his wife and daughter in childbirth – a common occurrence at the time. Calling out for death to take him, Lestat turns him into a vampire. At first, Louis shuns his new “life” by feeding on the blood of rodents. However, his thirst for human blood deepens and in a fit of rage, he feeds on a young girl – Claudia (Kirsten Dunst). Lestat, sensing Louis’ guilt, turns her into a vampire as well, though she doesn’t share the same compassion for human life as Louis does. The trio become a loose-knit family and we follow them to Europe where they meet more of their kind, led by Armand (Antonio Banderas). I don’t want to give much more away, though there’s more to the movie than meets the eye.
Two decades have now gone by and Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt remain two of the biggest “A” list stars in Hollywood. Who’d have thought that this book, written by Anne Rice in the mid 70’s, would have produced a cast like this? Kirsten Dunst went onto a successful film career as well. Unfortunately, this was the only one of “The Vampire Chronicles” series of books to made into a feature film. I’d have liked to see Cruise continue to portray Lestat, eventually leading to his gig as a 70’s rock star. Now wouldn’t that have been something to behold? The film is very underrated and Brad Pitt was often criticized for his portrayal of Louis. I will say that having read the novel, he actually got it spot on – Louis was a whiner and was never truly happy with his life as a vampire. Still, Pitt was an easy target when the movie didn’t do as well as Warner had hoped. Amid the plethora of vampire movies these days, this one stands out as one of the better adaptations and it’s well worth a look if you’ve not had the chance to see it. Recommended.
Video: How’s it look?
This twentieth anniversary edition sounds a lot more impressive than it actually is. Warner put this movie out on Blu-ray back in 2008 and the transfer looked pretty good. It’s a dark movie (as most concerning vampires tend to be), though black levels are on the mark. I did notice that the detail has been improved since the previous DVD edition of this film. Despite the “darkness” of the film, I was impressed at how clear and detailed the film actually looked. When the trio heads to Europe, the streets glisten, the flesh tones (for lack of a better word) look as natural as they can on a vampire and despite a few soft scenes, I was overall impressed. It’s too bad a new 4K scan wasn’t done for this anniversary release – maybe the 25th anniversary?
Audio: How’s it sound?
Now this is where it gets interesting…the aforementioned 2008 Blu-ray contained a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Now that’s not too outrageous as some of the earlier Blu-ray’s didn’t have a full-blown uncompressed soundtrack. However, this movie did contain a DTS sound mix in one of the DVD releases. After digging that movie out of a box in my garage, the DVD actually sounded superior to the previously-released Blu-ray (and why it was never reviewed is beyond me). Cut to this new edition and we finally get a new DTS HD Master Audio mix. While not overblown, this mix has a subtle depth that really surprised me. Vocals are crisp and sharp, Louis’ vocals can even reveal a slight lisp (no doubt due to the fangs Pitt had to wear in some scenes). This alone is worth the price of admission and a welcome addition to this Blu-ray.
Supplements: What are the extras?
As far as new supplements, well we get one as well as the rest that were on the previous Blu-ray. Let’s sink our teeth in and take a look.
- Lestat, Louis and the Vampire Phenomenon – The lone new supplement is a retrospective look back at the film, the novel and features some interviews with the stars of the film with Cruise appearing in some archived footage. Running about 25 minutes it’s a noteworthy addition to this disc and only solidifies why this is the Blu-ray to own and not the former.
- Audio Commentary – This is the same commentary that appeared on the DVD from years ago, it’s not a bad track but has some amusing anecdotes and some praise for Anne Rice, the cast of the film and its worldwide appeal.
- In the Shadow of the Vampire – This is more of an EPK with some behind the scenes footage as well as some lip service by the stars of the film. Skip it.
- Introduction by Anne Rice, Neil Jordan and Antonio Banderas – In essence, that’s just it – an introduction to the film by Rice, Banderas and Jordan.
- Theatrical Trailer