Vestron Video Blu-Ray Review
Vestron Video has released all four Wishmaster films in one collection, comprising three discs – Wishmaster and its special features make up disc 1, Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies is on disc 2, and Wishmaster 3 and 4 are both on the final disc. This release gets new cover artwork and a slipcover case for its physical representation.
For ease of use, I will break each review down by film.
Wishmaster features a fairly good transfer, much better than Lionsgate’s original DVD release. With that said, it certainly has its share of problems that are similar to some of Vestron’s other releases. The film features some gate wobble during credit scenes which is otherwise unnoticeable during the film itself. There’s also some chunky grain patterns in the backgrounds of scenes, notable in dark scenes or any exterior shots; while it’s much clearer than the aforementioned DVD, I wouldn’t say that it’s necessarily the best that Wishmaster could look. Still, the film’s colors are well-represented and the red-hued scenes in the Djinn’s layer have better clarity. While some viewers may ultimately be disappointed by this transfer, I would urge anyone with qualms to check out how the original DVD looked over at Caps-a-holic to see vast differences in some of the film’s key scenes.
Audio is presented on this disc in 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio despite the packaging’s claims of surround sound. It sounds good, although the audio has a tendency to waver in volume (an issue that extends across all of the Wishmaster Collection). Still, no issues with the sound besides equalizing problems.
Wishmaster gets the bulk of the special features, including three different audio commentaries! One features director Robert Kurtzman and screenwriter Peter Atkins, another with Kurtzman, Andrew Divoff, and Tammy Lauren (very cool inclusion), and the last is an isolated film score with select interview moments with composer Harry Manfredini. This adds a lot of bonus content to the film, and the isolated score is a recommended listen (at least for the interview).
But there are over two hours of bonus content besides the commentaries as well. Interviews with Kurtzman and co-producer David Tripet, Peter Atkins, Andrew Divoff and Tammy Lauren, and director of photography Jacques Haitkin make up the bulk of this release’s extras, but there’s also the cool addition of interviews with Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, and Ted Raimi.
Besides the new interviews, there is also the inclusion of a vintage EPK and an old making-of featurette that adds additional content to this release. Theatrical trailers, radio spots, a still and storyboard gallery, and behind-the-scenes footage round of supplemental material.
Vestron Video has gone all-out with the Wishmaster extras, and for those most interested in the original film, this offering will be of huge interest.
Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies
Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies features a nearly identical transfer to Wishmaster, with much of the same positives and negatives. For brevity, I ask you refer to the above review. The film does get a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which sounds quite good in its ambient moments; however, it again suffers from volume equalization, and one scene in particular – the first casino entrance – is unnaturally loud in comparison to the rest of the film.
Bonus content is sparse for this film, although it does get an audio commentary from writer/director Jack Sholder. It’s unfortunate that Vestron was unable to procure some more extras for this release – at least an interview with Holly Fields or Chris Weber.
Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell
Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell gets a fairly equivalent transfer as the first two films, although there aren’t any issues with gate wobble here. Color vibrance is quite good, with some heavy green hues during outdoor shots. Still, grain is quite clumpy in some scenes and maintains a heavy presence throughout the film, and I’m a little surprised that this movie doesn’t look better than its presentation on this Vestron Video release. With that said, not many people are going to be running to Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell on this disc, so it ultimately doesn’t much matter. That’s a joke – kind of.
Audio on this disc is a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track, and it sounds quite clear and consistent throughout. I didn’t notice many volume spikes in this film, although the film doesn’t get much use out of its soundtrack or effects.
Vestron does include an audio commentary with Chris Angel, John Novak, Jason Connery, and Ouisette Geiss as a bonus feature for this film, which is probably more than most were expecting; it’s also the better way to watch the film, cutting out all the poor dialogue while Angel attempts to explain the making of this film.
Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled
This film’s transfer looks extremely similar to Wishmaster 3, as it should – they were filmed back-to-back. Again, some heavy grain presence but overall a solid image with some nice color vibrance. Audio for Wishmaster 4 is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, which is a strange decision considering Wishmaster 3‘s 2.0 setup. Audio sounds fine on this, although there’s not much use of the satellite speakers.
For special features, we get two different audio commentaries. The first is with director Chris Angel and stars Michael Trucco and Jason Thompson; the second features Angel and John Novak. While the two commentaries are more than generous, I’m not sure most viewers will have the stomach to sit through the film three different times. Also included is a vintage behind-the-scenes featurette showing the filming of various scenes, about seven minutes in length.
To sum up, this is a nice collection for fans of the Wishmaster series (particularly the first and second installments), although the third and fourth films could almost be considered filler on this release. The video transfers are good but not spectacular, but at least Vestron includes numerous special features for the first film and audio commentaries for the subsequent releases. Still, it’s hard to recommend this set to anyone that’s not a huge fan of the series.