Just over ten years ago there was a little movie called “The Craft” which starred Skeet Ulrich, Neve Campbell and Robin Tunney to name a few. The movie was a modest hit but certainly didn’t break any box-office records. Still, it was fun and enjoyable and reeked of mid-90’s persona. Flash forward a decade and we have what I’ll call the “anti” Craft. “The Covenant” takes pretty much the same plot and instead of starring four giddy high school girls, replaces them with four high school boys (who all look like Abercrombie & Fitch models, no less). Naturally you can’t really call a male a witch, they’re more commonly referred to as warlocks but no matter how you slice it, it’s about as believable as me winning the Pulitzer Prize. The man behind the camera is Renny Harlin who’s actually made some pretty enjoyable movies in “The Adventures of Ford Fairlane”, “Deep Blue Sea” and “Cliffhanger” to name just a few. I suppose every director is allowed a few mishaps and let me say that this is one of them.
At the Spenser Academy, things aren’t all they seem. Four families go back a long ways and the most recent four sons of those families are all endowed with powers that set them apart from the typical students. Their personalities are as different as night and day and should they use their powers too much, it will wreak havoc on their bodies and will cause them to age prematurely. That, however, is the least of their problems as Chase (Sebastian Stan), the new kid and the relative outsider has more to him than meets the eye. You see, when these kids turn 18 they’ll “ascend” and their powers will come to fruition and there’s an evil force that’s trying to stop that from happening. In between all of this is a budding romance between Caleb (Steven Straight) and new girl in town Sarah (Laura Ramsey). Will Caleb and Laura be able to live happily ever after or will the 300 year long secret finally be revealed? Truth be told, I really didn’t care and don’t now. If you like looking at male models who need acting lessons, then this might be for you but as for me – I think I lost a few points off my IQ and I don’t have that many to spare.
Video: How does it look?
I’ve had the pleasure of watching this fine film not once, but twice now. I gave the movie another look when the Blu-ray version arrived and I can say that the image quality is a few notches better than its standard DVD counterpart. “The Covenant” is presented in a fairly good-looking 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer. The movie is dark in both tone and how it’s literally presented. Essentially, anything that was wrong with the standard DVD has been fixed here. Any hint of artifacting or the edge enhancement has now been fixed. Sony has given “The Covenant” a very nice-looking MPEG-2 HD transfer that does to justice to the picture. While the majority of the movie does look identical to the standard DVD, it’s the little things that make this Blu-ray transfer a little something more.
Audio: How does it sound?
As I’ve started to cover Blu-ray titles, I’ve noticed that there’s really no consistency with how the different studios name their respective tracks. Fox uses DTS HD, whereas Sony uses a PCM Uncompressed version. In essence, it’s the same thing as we have the option of selecting the original master track. This means we’re getting true lossless sound and not something that’s been compressed to fit onto a 4.7 gigabyte disc. In the case of “The Covenant”, the soundtrack does pack more of a punch than its standard DVD counterpart (it contains a Dolby Digital 5.1 track that’s also availabe on this disc). My expreience has been that there’s just more of a depth to these tracks. I liken in to popping your ears when on an airplane. All of the sudden, you can just hear a lot more a little better. While “The Covenant” might not be the most robust track out there, it sounds pretty darn good in some areas and the ending battle scene certainly sounds better than the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on the standard DVD.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The exact same features on the standard DVD can be found here as well. The audio commentary by Renny Harlin. Harlin often gives very good commentary tracks and this is no exception. He seems pretty proud of his work here, so I have to feel a bit sorry for him. Still, for those clamoring for more of “The Covenant” this would be it. There’s also a behind the scenes featurette “Braking the Silence: Exposing The Covenant”.