Spherical Panavision - 1.85:1
1.71:1 - 16:9
Screenplay by: Peter Filardi and Andrew Fleming
Directed by: Andrew Fleming
Starring: Fairuza Balk, Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Christine Taylor, Skeet Ulrich, Assumpta Serna, Cliff De Young, Breckin Meyer, Nathaniel Marston, Helen Shaver, Jeanine Jackson, Brenda Strong, Elizabeth Guber, Jennifer Greenyut, Arthur Senzy, Endre Hules, Mark Conlon, Christine Louise Berry, William Newman, Erin Tavin, Rod Britt, Brogan Roche, Rebecca McLaughlin, Tony Genaro, Janet Rotblatt, Jason Filardi, Karyn J. Dean, Danielle Koenig, Janet Eilber, Esther Scott
When you're a teenager, it's tough to be different. It's tough to feel powerless. It's tough to fend off the not-so-subtle scorn of your fellow students. They stare, whisper and smirk. They let you know in no uncertain terms just how weird you really are. Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Rochelle (Rachel True) and Bonnie (Neve Campbell) are the three least popular girls at their school. They're best friends and witches. All they need is a fourth witch to complete their circle and when troubled new girl Sarah (Robin Tunney) arrives, they take her into their fold as new best friend and fellow witch. Sarah doesn't know it, but she happens to be a real witch who possesses real powers. Once she's a part of the circle, the girls find they can cast spells with amazing results. Bonnie, a scarred and shy burn victim, gets the beauty and attention she always wanted. Rochelle, the only black girl in school, finally gets revenge on the popular blonde who's been tormenting her. As for Nancy, she is finally freed of her nasty stepfather. And Sarah makes the most popular boy in school fall in love with her. It's great funfor a while. Unfortunately, some of the girls never learned the most important rule of witchcraft whatever you wish on others will come back on you times three. This is the premise of The Craft...
I wasn't really expecting that much from The Craft, which is why I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was far better than it had any right to be. The Craft is fun, entertaining and exceedingly stylish. The script is well written and the performances are outstanding. The four lead "witches" are very comfortable and believable in their roles, and this works to the film's advantage. Additionally, Helen Shaver steals all her scenes as Nancy's trashy mother Grace, whose sole lifelong dream is to own a jukebox full of nothing but Connie Frances records! Also highly recommended is Graeme Revell's excellent score, which helps set the mood for the entire film (this was finally released on a CD soundtrack through Varèse Sarabande a short while ago; only the standard pop music soundtrack was previously available).
Columbia TriStar released the DVD version of The Craft on August 5, 1997. As you've come to expect from Columbia TriStar, the transfer is almost completely impeccable. The focus is razor sharp, the colors exquisite, and the contrasts perfect. The original 1.85:1 Spherical Panavision image appears letterboxed at an approximate 1.71:1 aspect ratio (it is also encoded properly for those of you with 16:9 widescreen sets). To Columbia TriStar's credit, no "modified" full-frame or pan & scan version of The Craft appears on this disc, thus ensuring that the director's original vision appears intact for all viewers. There is but one minor problem with the disc transfer there is a split-second transfer-related error that occurs at the beginning of the end credits sequences (at 99m29s) where all of the onscreen text "smears" momentarily. I am not sure whether or not this is a problem with only our copy of the DVD, but it really seems to be in the original master itself.
The Craft DVD features a total of four audio tracks: English Dolby Surround (2ch), English Dolby Digital 5.1 (6ch), Spanish Dolby Surround stereo (2ch) and French Dolby Surround (2ch). As is usual with Columbia TriStar DVDs, the disc defaults to the standard 2-channel English Dolby Surround audio when you begin playing it. You'll need to manually switch it over to audio track 2 to hear the superior 6-channel Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, which is definitely richer in quality than the 2-channel version. The Spanish and French 2-channel mixes are fine and sound similar in quality to the 2-channel English mix. All four audio tracks can be switched with the "audio" button on your remote, or through the "Spoken Language" menu option.
The Craft has subtitle options in both Spanish and Korean. The subtitles are presented in a distinct white text, but I cannot attest to their accuracy. The disc also contains English closed-captioned subtitles, which require the use of an external decoder. The dialogue in the film is accurately reproduced without much paraphrasing, as are various sound effects. The Spanish and Korean subtitles can be changed through your remote or through the "Subtitles" menu option.
The interactive menu contained on The Craft is a simple, blue-colored scheme. The cover art for The Craft appears on the left side of the screen, and three option choices appear on the right side: "Chapter Selections," "Spoken Language" and "Subtitles". "Chapter Selections" are chosen by chapter number and title only, and are spread over a total of nine pages (there are 5 chapter selections per page). With "Spoken Language" you choose either the English Dolby Surround, English Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish or French soundtrack. Finally, the "Subtitles" options allows Spanish, Korean, or Subtitles Off choices.
This DVD contains one "extra" feature a Columbia TriStar DVD promo clip which appears before the start of the film (it's at chapter #1). This 2m31s promo hypes the DVD system and Columbia TriStar's titles, and is the same promo reel seen on most of their other current releases. The promo reel is following by the usual FBI warnings, after which the film itself begins.
Columbia TriStar has made The Craft available in both standard "jewel box" and "keep case" packaging. Our copy came packaged inside the sturdy, all-plastic "keep case". The case contains a full-color four-page booklet featuring several stills and a listing of all 45 chapter markers (44 for the film, 1 for the opening promo reel). The case also includes Columbia TriStar's six-page CD-sized booklet featuring their upcoming titles. The Craft is compatible with the parental lock feature of your DVD players, and has been encoded for use in Region 1 players only (U.S., U.S. Territories, Canada).
Review by Paula Krispow
Original Review: 08/14/97
Last Updated: 08/22/97