Although he now mainly seems to be focusing on music, at one point, Sting actually tried his hand at acting in several pictures, the biggest of which was this "Frankenstein" remake. Watching it, the film certainly appears to have the budget at hand to attempt something substancial, but several wrong turns throughout the film really seem to make sure that it never gets off the ground.
The picture opens with Dr. Frankenstein (Sting!) working feverishly away in his lab attempting to create a soul mate for his creature, who awaits the results elsewhere in the castle. The creature becomes a little too impatient, though and storms into the lab to snatch his new bride (Jennifer Beals) away for himself. Things don't go quite as planned and the lab ends up completely destroyed.
The creature then hits the road looking for adventure and ends up meeting a new dwarf friend, Renaldo (David Rappaport). And I'm not kidding, this is really what happens. The other half of the picture revolves around Sting, er, Frankenstein and his latest creation attempting to teach her to function as a human being again.
Now, I really don't have a problem with Sting's music. In fact, I really quite like many of his solo relases and was a huge fan of the Police. On the other hand, I can plainly see why he stopped acting - his performance here is not particularly good and his scenes with Beals are dreadfully dull. The odd-couple friendship between the giant creature and his new aquaintance is unexpectedly charming and touching, but loses interest after a while. In fact, at nearly two hours, the film runs out its welcome with about 30 minutes to go.
It's unfortunate, because technically, the film is quite solid. It offers excellent cinematography from Brian DePalma's usual cinematographer, Stephen Burum. The film also boasts fine production design, costumes and score by Maurice Jarre. Yet, the roles often seem miscast and the bizarre story can't generate any forward motion or interest as the pace seems positively glacial.
VIDEO: "The Bride" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen by Columbia/Tristar. The image quality is often quite good, but the presentation can't escape from the occasional minor flaws here and there that take it down a notch. Sharpness and detail are pleasantly strong, with much of the movie looking well-defined. Some of the darkest scenes do tend to look rather murky, but overall, I was pleased with how much visual information was apparent.
Print flaws really didn't pose much of a distraction, either. I was suprised to see that the 1985 picture still remains in impressively fine shape, with only a few minor speckles here and there. I didn't see any larger signs of wear, such as marks, scratches or worse. Only a few tiny traces of pixelation and edge enhancement popped up, but neither took away from the otherwise very nice transfer. Although many of the scenes offered a rather subdued color palette, scenes that presented brighter colors looked superb, with bright, clean colors that showed no signs of smearing or other problems. This is a really nice effort from the studio and a suprisingly fine presentation. Subtitles are provided in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai
SOUND: "The Bride" is presented in Dolby 2.0. The film's soundtrack does not provide a wealth of activity, but the sound quality is exceptional, considering its age. The score and sound effects came through with fine clarity and warmth, as did dialogue.
MENUS:: Basic, non-animated menus livened by film-themed images.
Commentary: The studio has suprisingly included a commentary with Franc Roddam. Although the director filmed the picture 16 years ago, he's still able to recall a surpising amount of information. The length of time since the film's release also seems to have allowed him a bit of hindsight - he discusses in detail about things that he doesn't believe works, or what he'd done differently had the chance to do it all over again. In terms of the subjects he covers, he chats about his feelings in regards to casting, this film's take on the Frankenstein story, locations and other technical details. This is a very informative and entertaining track; the director carries the track well and only stops for a few very minor pauses of silence.
Also: Filmographies and trailers for "The Bride", "Bram Stoker's Dracula" and "Mary Shelly's Frankenstein".
Final Thoughts: "The Bride" is a good-looking, but entirely boring and weakly acted picture that overstays its welcome by a fairly large length. Columbia/Tristar has done a suprisingly strong job with the DVD, providing very good picture and sound quality along with an interesting supplement in the commentary. Fans of "The Bride", which is probably a "cult" picture, will be very pleased with the DVD and should defnitely seek it out. Others who are not familiar with the film should probably take a pass, though.
The Film *
Video 88/B = (352/400 possible points)
Audio: 84/B = (336/400 possible points)
Extras: 80/B- = (240/300 possible points)
Menus: 73/C = (140/200 possible points)
Value: 80/B- = (240/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: *
DVD GRADE: B