LIONS GATE has released a special edition of the confusing film “WONDERLAND.” Director James Cox has fashioned a film around the end of porn star John Holmes’ career. The highs and lows of this porn star’s career, could make for an engaging docudrama, but Director James Cox never managers to thoroughly captivate the viewer.
Sure, the film has its moments, and the acting is great, but the film is still far too disjointed for its own good. Cox utilizes split-screen, animation and many other cinematic devices, making the film more interesting in its parts than as a whole.
This is also true about most aspects of the film. Kate Bosworth, Val Kilmer and Lisa Kudrow, all give fine performances, and specific scenes stand out, but none help the film progress in a successive style lending to the film’s completeness. At the end, the viewer is left feeling as empty and numb as the main characters. It’s even more disappointing when considering the events which the film is supposed to be built around,“THE WONDERLAND MURDERS” stand out on their own due to their extreme viciousness, and its link to Holmes’ diminishing career, could make for a fascinating film. It’s just not this one.
LIONS GATE has presented a terrific transfer! The film’s 1.85:1 aspect ratio is intact with 16:9 enhancement. Colors are solid, and often rich. Contrast is excellent, and even the darkest scenes are impressive due to their detail. Fleshtones are accurate throughout. LIONS GATE has provided an energetic soundmix. While the music intermittently overshadows the dialogue, it’s generally well balanced, and there are enough discrete/surround/bass effects, to show off any 5.1 sound system. LIONS GATE has provided substantial extras for this release! Director Cox and one of the four scriptwriters lends an audio commentary. It’s energetic and technical at the same time, perfect for aspiring filmmakers. Val Kilmer, Josh Lucas and other cast members provide interviews about the film. While brief, they’re worth checking out. There is a deleted scenes segment, but none of the seven featured really offer anything substantial to the film, and were rightly cut. They’re all in good shape, quality-wise.
A featurette, “COURT TV: HOLLYWOOD AT LARGE,” actually offers more of a gripping insight into the main event of the film’s title than the actual film itself! Believe it or not, but the actual “Crime scene video” is included! It’s tought to watch, but undoubtedly, there are those who will be interested in the film for this extra alone. It too, is far more powerful than the film. It also captures the real feel of a crime scene, and the time period of the murders. VCR was the big thing, and there’s an eerie image of a tv with static that’s allowed to go on, so as not to disturb the crime scene. A picture gallery, with photos of the crime scene is also offered. The 2nd disc of this 2 disc release, offers a lengthy documentary, “WADD: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN C. HOLMES.” It traces his life via interviews with former wives, P.T. Anderson and more. It’s terrific!