The thing about a lot films from childhood is that they rarely stand the test of time. Most of these golden films from our youth go untouched for years. Then once we do decide to 'rediscover' them, we can't help but wonder, "What the hell was I thinking?" I mean sure, they can manage to hold onto some nostalgic value and we can still derive some sort of enjoyment from them, but alas, the actual 'magic' itself is quite often gone...and forgotten. Then there are the films that truly do manage to stand the test of time. The films that we discover as youngsters and wind up revisiting well into our adult years. These are the films that remind us of our youth (and what was so special about it), give us that feeling of innocence that we tend to lose as adults and most of all, these are films that we truly do enjoy. And we enjoy these films because they are good movies, plain and simple.
The Lost Boys is a film that I seem to have always owned on home video at some point or another. I even had a copy of the old OOP (improperly letterboxed mind you) laser disc from way back when. Warner's had previously released a properly letterboxed movie only edition DVD not so long ago, so we knew it would only be a matter of time before the special edition was to hit. At 2-discs to boot, let's see what Warner's has done with a title that deserves more respect than most would even dare to let on.
Do we even need to give you a synopsis? Let's keep it short and sweet, we should all know the run down by now...and if we don't, for shame. Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) move to the beaches of Santa Clara California with their mother (Diane Wiest). Fish out of water, the two boys explore their surroundings, including the boardwalk nightlife. While Michael gets sucked (pun DEFINITELY intended) in with a local pack of vampires, led by David (Kiefer Sutherland at his utmost coolest), Sam gets in good with the Frog bros. (played by Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) who are trying to thwart the vampire's evil plans of chomping down on unsuspecting beach goers. 'Nuff said.
What makes The Lost Boys so special? Well, a lot really. Just about everything this film has going for it works towards its own advantage. A serious attempt at a smart, sexy, cool and most of all 'hip' vampire film geared towards a younger generation that never misses its mark. That's part of the key, 'a serious attempt' that in the end, doesn't take itself too seriously...and it works. As a matter of fact, The Lost Boys is the farthest thing from a 'serious' horror film, so don't go in expecting much in the way of classy vampires. What you should expect though is a fun, colorful, pulpy, tongue in cheek horror comedy, and that's just fine with me. The real appeal here is how well The Lost Boys manages to mix each of these elements without coming across as pretentious or annoying. While there's carnage, the film is NOT overly gory...as a matter of fact, I'd wager that if the film were released today, it might even be given a PG-13 rating. Maybe...
It's not surprising to discover that The Lost Boys was originally to be geared towards a 'younger' generation. Schumacher added a few 'adult' touches and in the end, a bit of a 'harder' Lost Boys was born. Comic books play an important role in the film, they serve as Sam and the Frog bros. primary source of info on how to stop the bloodthirsty creatures of the night. Schumacher manages to take full advantage of this, as much of The Lost Boys manages to retain a cool comic book feel throughout. Exceptional use of costumes, sets, cinematography and a ready, willing and able ensemble cast make The Lost Boys what it is today - a truly great representative of the vampire sub genre. And who could ever forget this guy!
Video quality is a notch above the previous DVD edition, and easily the best the film has ever looked. Print damage is virtually nonexistent while colors remain bold and sharp, easily retaining the films comic book visual style. Audio is presented in an underwhelming 5.1 mix, but still sounds fantastic nonetheless. With such a great soundtrack, I think it would have been nice for the audio mix to have a bit more depth, but I guess this just speaks to the limitations of what one can do with a remixed soundtrack sometimes. Still, audio and video quality are overly outstanding as a whole and definitely worth the upgrade.
Extras, extras, read all about 'em. Warners have really piled the goodies on this one. We start out with a feature length audio commentary with director Joel Schumacher, lots of goodness here. Disc two features a boatload of mini documentaries and while it's evident that it's just one massive session that has been cut into a bunch of smaller vignettes. I'm sure that many will see the value here, but I for one would have just preferred a 90-minute or so documentary on the making of the film. Still, there's a lot of great stuff here including chats with many participants, including Schumacher (once again) and the two Corey's. Also included are just under 15-minutes of deleted scenes (best left deleted), a trailer, image gallery, an interactive map that details the history of Vampires throughout the world and a music video for 'Lost in the Shadows.' My favorite extra feature though is a split angle commentary over some scenes from the film given by Haim, Feldman and Newlander. By using the angle feature, you can switch between each participant and see them and the scene they are speaking about, pretty cool. Really my only beef with the bonus DVD is the fact that everything is presented non-anamorphic, what gives?
A very respectable 80's vampire film, is given an even more respectable presentation on DVD from Warner Bros. It's a great film and package. Needless to say, this new special edition comes highly recommended.