COLUMBIA TRISTAR has revisited the rightly acclaimed
“THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE” from Director Guillermo Toro, coinciding with
the dvd release of his unique comic-book adaptation, “HELLBOY.”
While the previous version from COLUMBIA TRISTAR is excellent, there
are some distinct advantages to this new “special edition” making it
worthwhile to add to one’s collection.
The story, while paying respects to classic horror tales of the
past,including “DIABOLIQUE”, it still feels original, and at times,
unpredictable. It’s a classy ghost story! Set at an orphanage made
up of surviving children of those fighting against facisim in the
Spanish Civil War, the set designs and the characters inhabiting them
are always captivating.
Making the film even more intriguing is the fact that
character and unlikely hero, Carlos, is just a young boy. Having
been dumped there, it’s not long before he finds that a ghostly
apparition of a former orphan, Santi, is seeking him out to reveal a
dark secret and exact justice for his death.
Toro skillfully juggles between the scares inherent
in any good ghost
story, and those found in the darker side of human nature. The main
handyman at the orphanage is up to no good, although we’re not made
aware of what, until the plot carefully progresses.
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has presented a new transfer, still
1.85:1 aspect ratio, with 16:9 enhancement found in the earlier
release, but offering distinctly better clarity. There’s some grain
present, however this time, it’s absolutely intentional when found!
Colors are also more accurate and rich. Fleshtones appear natural.
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has also presented a new Dolby
Digital 5.1 mix.
Surrounds and even separation, are minimally utilized. However, the
restraint of them makes their impact that much more effective when
used. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion. The
previously available mix was fine, but this one has better bass and
While we’re disappointed that this version doesn’t
keep the “making
of “ featurette and commentary of the previous version, there are
plenty of extras making this exciting!
A brand new commentary with Toro is offered. It’s
very different than
his commentary on the previous version, but no less entertaining.
His passion is evident in every sentence, and he offers a great deal
of insight into the film’s themes that were partially overlooked
before. He explains the film’s title, background information for the
film’s setting and much, much more. It’s never dull and ranks as one
of the better commentaries of the past year.
“THE DIRECTOR’S THUMBNAIL TRACK” offers “thumbnail”
Toro, appearing in the bottom right of the screen.
“THE MAKING OF THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE” is a documentary
made up of six
featurettes. These all offer various, entertaining perspectives
relating to the film’s production, including its story development
and creation, cinematography, effects and more!
“DELETED SCENES” offers four brief scenes, with the
commentary. It’s worth viewing, but none of them added enough to
deserve retention in the film.
A selection of scenes with storyboard comparisons,
are offered in
Several trailers are also included.