Season of the Witch (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 06-29-2011, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=216336&d=1309370319
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

86






Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 95 minutes
Genre: Horror/Fantasy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore, Claire Foy, Stephen Graham, Ulrich Thomsen, Robert Sheehan, Christopher Lee
Directed by: Dominic Sena
Music by: Atli Orvarsson
Written by: Bragi Schut
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 28, 2011







"Not all souls can be saved"



Film Synopsis:

Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman star in this supernatural action adventure about a heroic Crusader, Knight Behmen (Cage) and his fellow soldier, Felson (Perlman) who must transport a woman accused of being a witch to a remote monastery. The arduous journey across perilous terrain tests their strength and courage as they discover the girl's secret and find themselves battling a terrifyingly powerful force that will determine the fate of the world.





My Take:

Crusading knight, Behmen (Cage), and his faithful companion/fellow crusader Felson (Perlman), tired of the brutality of war and misguided direction of men hiding behind the church abandon their calling and return to Europe. Upon their arrival they discover that the Black Plague has decimated many. A beleaguered church, deeming witchcraft as the culprit of the plague, has arrested a young girl who is suspected as the source. A local cardinal seeks out the two knights and commands that they transport the accused witch to a remote abbey, where monks will perform a ritual in hopes of ending the pestilence. Behman accepts the assignment under the condition that young peasant girl receives a fair trial. They set out with a local guide, a priest and a third knight who is grieving the loss of his wife and daughter to the Black Plague. After a series of inexplicable mishaps they come to realize that their young captive is something more than she appears to be. When the embattled party arrives at the abbey, a horrific discovery jeopardizes the knight's pledge to ensure the girl receives fair treatment, and pits them against an inexplicably powerful and ancient destructive force.

I would like to tell you that Season of the witch is an engaging and edgy supernatural action thriller. I would LIKE to tell you that but unfortunately I can't. The premise is fine but the script gets mired down in attempts at epic proportions and needless drama that eats into its 90 minute runtime leaving little development for what is ostensibly the focal point of the narrative. The opening shows promise but the sequences that immediately follow present a back story on Behman and Felson that runs too long and too campy. It covers a twelve year time span during their crusading years and features cheap looking special effects, nonsensical buddy banter and uninspired drama that is both poorly written and played. Afterward things quickly shift to their presence in the plague infested lands where introductions are brief before they set out on their quest to transport the witch to the monks at the abbey. Along the way there are veiled attempts to build suspense while purposely playing up the potential guilt or innocence of the girl. It is made abundantly clear (too much so) that there is more to her than meets the eye which in my opinion is probably the only interesting aspect of the film. Later when things play out there are no surprises, effectively frightening moments or rewarding payoffs. It just comes away feeling hokey, melodramatic and almost laughable.

I remain a Nicholas Cage fan but seeing him running around on the battle field with that ridiculous helmet on his head I couldn't help but feel for him. The sword play/fight choreography was so obviously staged that it never felt legitimate. The dialogue didn't come close to coinciding with the time period depicted in the story. As for the cast, I like Ron Perlman but he isn't much of an actor and I didn't care for Stephen Graham in the role of Hagamar. Ulrich Thomsen is great but isn't onscreen long enough to be a factor, neither is Christopher Lee who I didn't even recognize. Thanks goodness for newcomer Claire Foy who plays the girl/witch and Stephen Campbell Moore as the priest. I thought she did a decent job and proved to be the film's most engaging character. There is an alternate ending included. It's a little different and doesn't change the outcome but I thought it was probably just as good as the theatrical ending. Luckily this film isn't long at 94 minutes or so. I think that had that time been spent differently this had the potential to be better. Unfortunately Season of the witch turned out to be rather dull, suffering from lackluster special effects, a mediocre script, and uninspired performances from leads Nicholas Cage and Ron Perlman.





Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic elements, violence and disturbing content.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 84



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692



Video: 88


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Season of the witch comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 36 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.

This film's elements aren't lent to overly vibrant colors and high gloss video quality. Images tend to lean toward darker color schemes, and grittier textures that provide the look that the filmmakers strive for to drive the story's elements. This is done to good effect. Shadow delineation is quite good and revealing of subtle details within dark backgrounds and low lighting sequences which gave those scenes better visual depth. Stable contrast and black levels allow scenes containing mixed content to appear dynamic with punchy dark highlights. Detail is rendered quite well with crisp textures and definitive resolution that brings forth subtle nuance within images onscreen. Colors are limited to darker tones with occasional splashes of vivid hues which stand out nicely against the film's dark visual aesthetic.

The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack has good dynamic range, detail rich clarity and makes ample use of the entire surround platform to drive the film's elements. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room's acoustic environment is notable. I found that the audio seems to have been mixed at a lower volume which required me to raise it beyond my listening reference level. This compensated but there were still times where I felt that the front soundstage sounded a little compressed. Otherwise I was satisfied with the quality of what I heard. The low frequency effects channel is active as the subwoofer works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the palpably rich bass and dynamic impact associated with the action based sequences. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel and renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction. I enjoyed this audio presentation but for an action based film there was little about it that left an indelible impression on me.



Bonus Features:


  • (HD) 7 deleted scenes

  • (HD) Becoming the demon - 8 minute production featurette

  • (HD) On a crusade - 6 minute production featurette

  • (HD) Alternate ending - 9 minutes

  • Theatrical trailer

  • Digital Copy Bonus Disc




Final Thoughts:

Season of the witch takes a fairly decent premise and mires it down with a boring script, uninspired performances by Nicholas Cage/co-star Ron Perlman, and paper thin special effects. On a positive note its high definition presentation on Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment proves more satisfying than the film which may make it worth a rental for genre fans.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






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AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





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post #2 of 30 Old 06-29-2011, 12:15 PM
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I guess this will be a rental....hoping cage comes back strong in ghost rider....

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post #3 of 30 Old 06-29-2011, 01:13 PM
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I thought it was pretty decent...I would have given it a 3 star at least (this is not to infer it's Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List though). Maybe I'm just generous with movie ratings.
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post #4 of 30 Old 06-29-2011, 01:36 PM
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This is actually one of more Nic Cage's better movies. Thought the story was decent and had some good amount of action scenes in it. Found this one much better than his Drive Angry movie (if it weren't for Amber's eye candy this movie would've been a total loss not that it already is lol ).

Ending was kind of interesting.
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post #5 of 30 Old 06-29-2011, 01:43 PM
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Wow, 2 stars? I haven't seen it but I assumed it was terrible considering Rotten Tomatoes has it at 7%.

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post #6 of 30 Old 06-29-2011, 09:26 PM
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I liked the alternate ending better (Blu-Rays are great for this sort of thing) because it featured characters more than the blase CGI of the theatrical release. Ralph is right about the opening crusade portion of the film. It throughs what is an interesting story line out of whack. I enjoy "Season of the Witch" with the non CGI ending, but it's not better than "Drive Angry 3D," which is one of the funniest and best bad movies made recently. My friends all loved that one as well. We should all be locked up.
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post #7 of 30 Old 06-29-2011, 09:28 PM
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Drive Angry was obviously a parody on a serious action movie. It was so sarcastic...that is what was hilarious about the movie. It wasn't terrible. There are terrible movies...Drive Angry and Season of the Witch aren't among them IMO.
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post #8 of 30 Old 06-29-2011, 09:30 PM
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Nice review Ralph! I'd like to say I am going to skip this but am a sucker for this genre.

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post #9 of 30 Old 06-30-2011, 06:44 AM
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I saw this on an overseas flight and thought it ok. It might be better in my home theater as opposed to a 4 inch screen. Still the acting is hokey. It's almost as if this was intentional.
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post #10 of 30 Old 06-30-2011, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepyourgameup View Post

Wow, 2 stars? I haven't seen it but I assumed it was terrible considering Rotten Tomatoes has it at 7%.

And that is why I rarely visit Rotten Tomatoes. With the influence of the Internet, too many "critics" seem to exist only to bash...or to at least jump on a bashing bandwagon. WITCH isn't a great movie but it doesn't deserve a 7% rating, any more than GREEN LANTERN deserved a 27% one. While I agree with some of Ralph's viewpoints on this, I found it relatively entertaining, enjoyed Perlman (who at least looks like he belongs on the battlefield), and even was surprised at some of the battles which tried to skirt above its PG-13 rating more than, say, LORD OF THE RINGS did (though I'm NOT comparing those films to this!!!) Can't comment on the alt ending, since Fox (like Warners) eliminates any and all extras from rental discs. Warts and all, I liked it much better than something like PRINCE OF PERSIA. (What was the RT rating on that POS!)

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post #11 of 30 Old 06-30-2011, 08:59 AM
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I'm trying hard to remain a Nick Cage fan but it's really becoming difficult. Thanks for the review, Ralph. This will be a pass for me.
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post #12 of 30 Old 06-30-2011, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinema13 View Post

And that is why I rarely visit Rotten Tomatoes. With the influence of the Internet, too many "critics" seem to exist only to bash...or to at least jump on a bashing bandwagon.

That's not true at all. In fact, I find that way too many critics will give a "fresh" review to a film that absolutely does not deserve it. Also you have to admit that the vast majority of major studio releases are horrible. But, that is a good thing because I would never have time to watch them all if they were all good anyway.

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post #13 of 30 Old 06-30-2011, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capnvid View Post

but it's not better than "Drive Angry 3D," which is one of the funniest and best bad movies made recently. My friends all loved that one as well. We should all be locked up.

Drive Angry was funny as heck in a bad, push the envelope kind of way.

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post #14 of 30 Old 06-30-2011, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepyourgameup View Post

That's not true at all. In fact, I find that way too many critics will give a "fresh" review to a film that absolutely does not deserve it.

Oh, I agree. The reverse is true also, which is just another reason I never reference it.

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post #15 of 30 Old 06-30-2011, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinema13 View Post

Oh, I agree. The reverse is true also, which is just another reason I never reference it.

However, the good thing about RT is that you get a big sample size, so if a movie has a rating of less than 40% then chances are good that it sucks. Unfortunately, alot of those movies are romantic comedies and my girlfriend makes me watch them anyway.

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post #16 of 30 Old 06-30-2011, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepyourgameup View Post

However, the good thing about RT is that you get a big sample size, so if a movie has a rating of less than 40% then chances are good that it sucks. Unfortunately, alot of those movies are romantic comedies and my girlfriend makes me watch them anyway.

Well, I know THAT feeling. But as I said, I missed too many good films because of critics consensus (especially when that consensus includes so many Internet sites like "BillyJoesNeat-oFilms". Looking at the site today, it appears that TRANSFORMERS 3 gets higher marks than WITCH or LANTERN...but I enjoyed those two films, despite their flaws, more than both of the previous Robot films combined! (At least one could tell who was fighting who, unlike the jumble of metal in the TF flicks.)

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post #17 of 30 Old 06-30-2011, 02:12 PM
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i liked this one.

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post #18 of 30 Old 06-30-2011, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

Great discussion on this one..

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post #19 of 30 Old 07-01-2011, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepyourgameup View Post

However, the good thing about RT is that you get a big sample size, so if a movie has a rating of less than 40% then chances are good that it sucks. Unfortunately, alot of those movies are romantic comedies and my girlfriend makes me watch them anyway.

Totally agree with your sample size statement. I find I pick out reviewers I like and read their comments. It helps immensely.
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post #20 of 30 Old 07-02-2011, 03:40 PM
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By coincidence, I watched it yesterday on DVD and got surprised by the horror scenes though. Tought is was kinda more related to the Medieval Age and the Church condemning the "infidels" to death (Inquisition Time), but was really surprised by the role itself, apart of the overall nice picture, but all in all it's a dark movie for a dark age though. Good movie, IMO.

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post #21 of 30 Old 07-03-2011, 06:06 AM
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lately Nicholas Cage has been taken on some horrible role/movie. This movie wasn't as bad as I thought, but still suck.
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post #22 of 30 Old 07-06-2011, 02:34 PM
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I really enjoyed the aspect ratio and shadow detail of this movie and the content is down my alley- dark movies like this look so good on the kuro. Even broke out the Jester King Wytchmaker Rye IPA to enhance the mood a little!

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post #23 of 30 Old 07-07-2011, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parrish View Post

I really enjoyed the aspect ratio and shadow detail of this movie and the content is down my alley- dark movies like this look so good on the kuro.

I agree - The Kuro really excels displaying movies like this one. That is what I enjoyed the most about this title.

Like most here, I wasn't too crazy about the movie itself. A 2 is just about right for this one.
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post #24 of 30 Old 07-07-2011, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by GOLFVUE3 View Post

I agree - The Kuro really excels displaying movies like this one. That is what I enjoyed the most about this title.

Like most here, I wasn't too crazy about the movie itself. A 2 is just about right for this one.

I'm with you guys on this one. Agreed on all your points. Including the Kuro ones...

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post #25 of 30 Old 07-13-2011, 04:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GOLFVUE3 View Post

I agree - The Kuro really excels displaying movies like this one. That is what I enjoyed the most about this title.

Same here, but in my case it was with the LG 50PX950, the picture quality kept pulling me into the film.

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post #26 of 30 Old 07-15-2011, 04:02 PM
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Rented this movie, didn't have any real expectations but it was better than I thought it would be.
It's not great or even good but not that bad either.
I think Ralph Potts sums the movie up pretty well.
Definately agree with the stupid looking helm in the beginning, it looks rediculous

The main plot is not that bad though, kind of got the same "feeling" for this movie as "Warlock", which isn't great either but kind of fun to watch

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post #27 of 30 Old 07-28-2011, 08:39 AM
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I watched this last night and thought it was entertaining in a silly sort of way. Agree with most of the comments and review. The battle scenes are the start of the movie were cheap looking and reminded me of some of the bad reenactments on the History Channel. The modern day buddy banter about who pays for the drinks after the game, umm, I mean battle. But once we move past this the movie settles into a more typical Nicholas Cage mode. He really loves to do these comicbook-like adaptations lately and this was very much like a graphic novel. It was funny to see Ron Perlman resurrect his Hellboy banter with lines like "We're going to need more holy water". In the end I would give it a 5 or 6 out of 10. I'm not buying it but it was a decent rental for a "what should we watch tonight" moment.

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post #28 of 30 Old 07-28-2011, 08:54 AM
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Since this movie had such dismal reviews--and I know Nick tends to agree to any movie as long as it pays--I didn't have great expectations. But the movie delivered more than I expected it would. It was an enjoyable watch. I got it from Netflix and don't plan to add it to my collection. I'd probably up the review by one start to 3 stars. I also enjoyed seeing another fine performance from Ron Perlman--always a delight with his Hellboy roles but for me, I only recently started watching Sons of Anarchy and love the show--and his performance as Clay Morrow.

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post #29 of 30 Old 08-05-2011, 11:08 AM
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I knew nothing of this "film" going in. It was two (or so) hours that i will never get back. Incredibly wooden performances by Cage/Perlman (not that either is capable of much range) and the writer should be drawn and quartered ...


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post #30 of 30 Old 08-08-2011, 12:28 PM
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This was better executed than I thought it would be and was a fun B movie night. Low expectations are great and

Location: Beaverton, Oregon

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Reply Official AVS Blu-ray Disc Reviews

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Season Of The Witch Blu Ray , Oppo Bdp 93 Blu Ray Player , Samsung Bd C7900 1080p 3d Blu Ray Disc Player
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