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Wonderland Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: R
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 5, 2010
  • List Price: $19.99

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Wonderland -

Purchase Wonderland on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Say the name “John Holmes” and there’s a good chance someone will recognize him as the particularly well-endowed porn star from the 1970’s, but how many are familiar with his spiral into self-destruction after his career in the adult film industry was over may be another matter.

Wonderland, based on a true story, tells of John Holmes in that point in his life. It is the story of the brutal 1981 murders that took place in Hollywood’s Laurel Canyon, in a condo on Wonderland Ave., from which the film takes its title, and in which John Holmes was implicated. Val Kilmer plays the lead, but he never quite channels the out of control porn star, seeming more like a throwback to his early-90’s role of Jim Morrison.

The true pulse of Wonderland is from its supporting characters Dylan McDermott, Josh Lucas, Lisa Kudrow, and Eric Bogosian who put on superb performances that overshadow Kilmer, and perfectly tap into the film’s early-80’s L.A. grit.

The story of the murders and how they may have occurred is told from two different perspectives utilizing a variety of stylish film techniques to weave them together, but director James Cox falls into the trap of staying with the first story for too long and rushing the second half of the film.

In the end, rather ironically, Wonderland ends up feeling like a hollow take on director Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, which does a more convincing job depicting porn’s halcyon days and its underbelly.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Wonderland comes with a 1.78:1 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encoding. The image shows a lot of speckling from dust, dirt, and scratches and it’s rather soft looking overall. Grain level is high and inconsistent as are the flesh tones, which vary from natural, to displaying some red push, to pale.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The sole audio option on Wonderland is an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. The mix is front-heavy, but there’s a good balance of ambience in the surround channels and the film’s classic rock soundtrack really opens up with good dynamics and a big soundstage.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

Wonderland comes loaded with a heavy dose of supplements related to John Holmes and the film. The most compelling extra is the hour-and-forty-minute-long John Holmes documentary, WADD — The Life and Times of John C. Holmes, which I would actually recommend watching for background information before watching Wonderland.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Audio Commentary with James Cox and Captain Mauzner
  • Interviews:
    • Val Kilmer (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:00.55)
    • Josh Lucas (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:01.32)
    • Tim Blake Nelson (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:00.51)
    • Eric Bogosian (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:01.19)
  • Deleted Scenes (1.33:1; 480i/60):
    • Your Arab Friend
    • She’s Gonna Come Later
    • Half Pint
    • What’s Mine is Yours
    • Whatever it Takes
    • Untouchable
    • Don’t Go
  • “Hollywood at Large” — Court TV (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:05.45)
  • LAPD Crime Scene Video (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:23.41)
  • WADD — The Life and Times of John C. Holmes (1.33:1; 480i/60; 1:45.22) — Documentary film about the adult film star.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Wonderland is stylish and gritty with a host of powerful performances, but it falls just short of feeling complete, particularly in Val Kilmer’s below average portrayal of John Holmes. The Blu-ray also suffers from far too much source issues to be completely satisfying visually, so I’d recommend this release as a rental first.

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right”]B003Y5H5EM[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Wonderland -

Purchase Wonderland on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com


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