Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on October 15th, 2003
Hundreds of years ago, alchemist Fulcanelli created the Cronos device, a contraption thatlooks like a silver Faberge egg. This device conveys eternal life, but at a price, as a kindlyantiquarian (Federico Luppi, who also starred in The Devil’s Backbone) discovers. Hebecomes younger, but also monstrous, and develops a thirst for blood. He must also battleRon Perlman, thuggish henchman of a dying millionaire who also wants the device. Then there’sthe bond Luppi has wit… his granddaughter. A very original horror film, one that is in factmore sweet and tender than terrifying.
The 5.1 sound is very solid. The voices are clear and undistorted. The music sounds just fine,and the sound effects are pleasing too. Some nice environmental moments: one such is when wefirst see Luppi’s antique store, and clocks are ticking all over the place, both in his store and inyour viewing room.
The colours are very warm, with nice contrasts. The blacks are good too. Less good is thesharpness of the image, which could be stronger. There are some shots where there is a verynoticeable loss of detail. There is some grain too. The 16×9 anamorphic widescreen picture isattractive enough, thanks to the beauty of the movie itself, but could be improved upon.
There are two commentaries here, one by the producers (and for this you will need to engagesubtitles, as two of them speak in Spanish), and one by Del Toro. There are long gaps in theproducers’ talk, and interesting as their making-of stories are, Del Toro’s commentary is whatshines. He provides excellent background on the film, its themes, and the history of the shooting.The “Director’s Perspective” featurette is a 15-minute interview with Del Toro where hediscusses his approach to film, beginning with his earliest Super-8 attempts (clips are included).The Making-Of featurette is a period promotional piece featuring a subtitled interview withLuppi and plenty of behind-the-scenes footage. There’s a photo gallery, but more interesting isthe art gallery, consisting of Del Toro’s conceptual sketches. Selecting the Lions Gate logo getsyou trailers for Cronos, Cabin Fever, Godsend and Intacto. Themain page of the menu is animated and scored, while the second-level pages are scored.
A touching, original, moving horror film, that is stunning to look at, but should have lookeda bit more stunning than it does on this transfer.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- Producers’ Commentary
- Director’s Perspective
- Making-of Featurette
- Theatrical Trailers
- Photo Gallery
- Art Gallery