A Clockwork Orange: HD DVD Review
Stanley Kubrick's disturbing imagery and powerful use of classical music are haunting in HD.
Scary films these days involve horrible looking ghouls, flying body parts and blood splattering everywhere. Contrast that heavily with Stanley Kubrick’s interpretation of Anthony Burgess’ disturbing novel about teenagers in a future time where tech seems to have replaced conscience but where the old ultra-violence is still a very personal thing to share with your fellow citizens. Scenes are slow, even antiseptic in nature and methodically panned across - with the violence, of which there is plenty, seeming lyrical and choreographed. You might think you’ve seen some terrible things, but nothing compares with Alex’s mix of self-composure and cruelty.
I had seen this film in Cinemascope when it first came out and it’s just as potent to the eye watching it at home. Plus it’s fun seeing the mini-cassette and remembering the belly laughs of the audience about how impossible something that small could be for playing music at the time - and yes I can read the label which is just too darn sweet. In fact, it’s fair to say that Warner hasn’t let me down with a transfer yet of a Kubrick title to HD; all the brilliance and starkness the director has put on screen stand forth strong and painfully proud. Plus the purity of the colors are as vivid and potent as they should be. I’m also impressed by what TrueHD can do for the audio, as a Kubrick film’s use of classical music can’t afford to sound thin and wasted and needs to be enveloping. Provided you have a decent audio system and a good subwoofer, the aural sensations will be a treat, even if you’re not into tapdancing, and the bass will lodge in your chest long after the movie ends.
Let’s also tip our hat to the studio for including a second disc, the first holds the movie and commentary by Malcolm McDowell and a film historian, which is filled with documentaries as well as new takes on just what this film is all about. Some of which is in HD too, along with standard-definition. Good stuff.
Format reviewed: HD DVD
Return to full story:
Disc Size: N/A
Aspect ratio: 1080p, 1.66.1
Audio: Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Screenwriter: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke, John Clive, Adrienne Corri, Carl Duering, Paul Farrell, Clive Francis, Michael Gover, Miriam Karlin, James Marcus, Aubrey Morris, Godfrey Quigley, Sheila Raynor
Studio: Warner Home Video