Thursday, 7 June 2018

The Return Of Swamp Thing Blu-ray Review

MVD; 88 minutes; Amazon

Before Hollywood overloaded the theaters with countless big-budget superhero flicks, comic book films weren't very popular until 1989's Batman. Released just barely a month prior toe the caped crusader was The Return Of Swamp Thing, a sequel to the 1982 cult classic Swamp Thing, which was directed by the late Wes Craven. Jim Wynorski (Chopping Mall) directed the sequel and he took a slightly different approach by adding in a bit of slapstick humor.

Upon its original theatrical release, the sequel received mostly negative review from mainstream critics and bombed at the box office, but just like the first film, the movie has developed a cult following.

The Return of Swamp Thing arrived on Blu-ray + DVD last month courtesy of MVD Entertainment Group, who released the film under their MVD Rewind Collection. The Blu-ray features a brand-new 2K High-Definition transfer (1080p) of the film and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 mixes. The DVD disc features the film in Standard Definition (480p). As added bonus the release comes with a collectible mini-poster.

Special Features include:
  • NEW Audio Commentary from Director Jim Wynorski, Composer Chuck Cirino and Editor Leslie Rosenthal
  • Audio Commentary from Director Jim Wynorski (from 2003)
  • NEW Interview with Director Jim Wynorski (HD)
  • NEW Interview with Editor Leslie Rosenthal (HD)
  • NEW Interview with Composer Chuck Cirino (HD)
  • NEW Interview with Lightyear Entertainment Executive Arnie Holland (HD)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (NEW HD Transfer from original 35mm materials)
  • 6 Promotional TV Clips (SD)
  • 2 TV Spots (SD)
  • 2 Greenpeace Public Service Announcements (SD)
  • 1989 Promo Reel (SD)
  • Photo Gallery (accompanied by Chuck Cirino's film's score)

Final Thoughts

The Return Of The Swamp Thing is one of those films that's so silly and campy, that it's actually likeable. All the seriousness of the original Wes Craven movie is replaced with slapstick humor. The main plot centers on Abigail Arcane (played by Heather Locklear) traveling to Florida to confront her stepfather, Dr. Arcane (played by Louis Jourdan), about her mother's mysterious death. It doesn't take her too long to suspect that Dr. Arcaneis up to something evil. Well, he wants to use Abigail's genes to create a serum that will stop him from aging. Of course the only creature who can save the day is Swamp Thing (played by (played by Dick Durock).

For a sequel, the film has very little to do with the first film, besides for Dick Durock and Louis Jourdan starring in it. The return of the villainous Dr. Arcane makes no sense! The character was turned into a wolf-like mutant and was killed by Swamp Thing by the end of the original movie, so there was no logical reason for his magical return. The only explanation in the sequel is some nonsense about Dr. Arcane being resurrected by his doctors.

The only thing the sequel does improve on from the first film is Swamp Thing's makeup and suit. The character no longer looks like a man wearing a rubber suit, but instead it actually looks like Swamp Thing from the comic books. Speaking of comic books, the movie has a great opening credits scene which features covers from many Swamp Thing titles.

Despite the film's many flaws, I do actually like it. I have fond memories of watching the movie on USA during the1990's (way back when I was in middle school). I was surprised to learn the film was never released to Blu-ray in the United States, well, until MVD Entertainment Group released the film as part of their MVD Rewind Collection last month.

The new 2K High-Definition transfer looks amazing and the sound is topnotch on the Blu-ray. If you like bonus features, well, you're in luck, as the Blu-ray is loaded with them. A few of the features have been carried over from the 2003 DVD release, but everything else is new, including brand-new interviews and a commentary from Director Jim Wynorski, Composer Chuck Cirino and Editor Leslie Rosenthal.

Overall, The Return Of Swamp Thing Blu-ray is must-have for any fan of  the Swamp Thing comics or for those of us that recall watching this science fiction comedy sequel during our childhoods.

*Note -  I received a complimentary copy from MVD Entertainment Group. All opinions are my own.

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