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WUTHERING HEIGHTS (MTV)

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Erika Christensen, Mike Vogel, Katherine Heigl, Johnny Whitworth, Aimee Osbourne, John Doe, and Christopher Kennedy Masterson
Director: Suri B. Krishnamma
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital Surround
Studio: Paramount
Features: See Review
Length: 88 Minutes
Release Date: January 27, 2004

Film **

Wuthering Heights has been remade time, and time again.  After viewing this version, I am forced to take a cue from a song on it's soundtrack; “If it ain't broke, break it!” I think they took that premise a bit too literally with their version of this classic.

Wuthering Heights is a tragic tale, of love, loss, deceit, and ultimately betrayal.  There is no happy ending for a movie like this, and no matter what time period you set this story in, it's going to take some pretty decent acting to pull off the true emotional grit a film like this requires.

Erika Christensen (Swimfan, The Safety Of Objects) plays the youthful and innocent Cate who falls in love with Heath, the homeless boy, whom her father took in when they were children. 

Heath has grown into an insecure, moody musician who wants nothing more than to play his guitar and love Cate forever.  Their world falls apart around them when Cate's father dies, and leaves everything to her looser brother Hendrix, who feels lost in the shadow of his family's love for Heath. 

Erika Christensen is someone to keep your eye on if you want to know who has a shot at being one of Hollywood's next big things.  She's got all the right stuff and has been very impressive in almost every role she's taken on.  Her only problem in this film is the choppy editing and the mediocre acting of her supporting cast mates. 

Now before anyone takes offense at my comment about the editing, let me say that I do believe in letting the camera tell a story of it's own, instead of relying solely on the acting and/or scripting.   Symbolism through visualization is a major part of today's society and it has become commonplace in modern movie making ventures.  However, this movie felt like an eighty-eight minute music video with stop-n-go photography, and a minimal amount of dialogue. 

Audiences have become more sophisticated over the last ten years and Hollywood would do well to take notice.  You can't just throw a bunch of hot bodies onscreen anymore and expect people to ignore the other aspects that make up a movie. 

The supporting actors didn't really seem to flow together very well.  Their interactions with each other felt forced and uncoordinated.  There were actors and actresses taking their first steps onto the big screen with this one, but I think perhaps they should have waited a bit longer before making that leap. 

Now the one thing that stood up and said HELLO about this film was the soundtrack.  The compilation of songs and music was very modern and fluid.  I will admit to popping the disk back in after viewing it, and scene skipping to the points where Mike Vogel, who plays Heath, was singing.  He has one of the most beautiful voices I've heard in a while.  The songs he sings definitely pull at the heartstrings, and make you want to cry at times.  This DVD is worth it if for no other reason than the soundtrack audio.

Video **

The video quality on this disc was good.  It wasn't spectacular and nothing in particular seemed to stand out, so it's just good.  The colors painted a balanced picture from scene to scene without any bleeding or haziness.   There was a very tiny amount of dirt visible in scenes where the lighting was brighter, but otherwise a very clean print.

Audio ***

This was one of the prettiest Dolby Digital Surround mixes I've had the pleasure of listening to.   Not only was the audio crisp and clean, it truly resonated through my speakers.  The dialogue and music bed balanced perfectly against the background effects, allowing this DVD to shines dramatically in the audio department.

On a side note, the soundtrack was absolutely full of great songs and wonderful music.  I would definitely recommend picking up the soundtrack at a music store near you.

Features ˝ *

Scene selection is the only extra feature on this DVD.

Summary:

Beautiful video and stunning audio don't go very far when the direction is poor, and the acting is mediocre at best.   The lack of extra features sticks out like a sore thumb, especially for a movie aimed at teen viewers.  Teens are the ones who really get into the outtakes and featurettes.  The effort was there, but this one just didn't hit the heights!