712 Scanners

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

712 Scanners

#1 Post by domino harvey » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:49 pm

Scanners

Image

With Scanners, David Cronenberg plunges us into one of his most terrifying and thrilling sci-fi worlds. After a man with extraordinary—and frighteningly destructive—telepathic abilities is nabbed by agents from a mysterious rogue corporation, he discovers he is far from the only possessor of such strange powers, and that some of the other “scanners” have their minds set on world domination, while others are trying to stop them. A trademark Cronenberg combination of the visceral and the cerebral, this phenomenally gruesome and provocative film about the expanses and limits of the human brain was the Canadian director’s breakout hit in the United States.


DIRECTOR-APPROVED EDITION:

• New, restored 2K digital film transfer, supervised by director David Cronenberg, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
The “Scanners” Way, a new documentary on the film’s special effects
• New interview with actor Michael Ironside
The Ephemerol Diaries, a 2012 interview with actor and artist Stephen Lack
• Excerpt from a 1981 interview with Cronenberg on the CBC’s The Bob McLean Show
Stereo (1969), Cronenberg’s first feature film
• Trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Kim Newman

Criterionforum.org user rating averages


User avatar
perkizitore
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:29 pm
Location: OOP is the only answer

Re: 712 Scanners

#2 Post by perkizitore » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:03 pm

Finally, let's hope Stereo is in HD!

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: 712 Scanners

#3 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:03 pm

And in...stereo?

User avatar
EddieLarkin
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:25 am

Re: 712 Scanners

#4 Post by EddieLarkin » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:07 pm

Considering Stereo already featured as an SD extra on Blue Underground's Blu-ray release of Fast Company*, it would be entirely pointless for it to not be in HD here. I was hoping to see Rabid or Shivers as extras instead, but I guess Criterion never picked them up.

*Crimes of the Future also appeared on that release as an SD extra, so it might turn up in HD on Criterion's upcoming The Brood release.
Last edited by EddieLarkin on Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: 712 Scanners

#5 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:09 pm

I remember this movie was disappointing--full of outrageous imagery (finally, exploding heads in HD) and a bunch of interesting ideas, but underdeveloped, both in terms of its ideas and in how it begs for a scale that its budget obviously couldn't accomplish. Plus the lead actor was weak. I look forward to revisiting it, but unless there's been a sea-change in my taste, it'll remain minor Cronenberg.

Movie-Brat
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:14 am

Re: 712 Scanners

#6 Post by Movie-Brat » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:10 pm

I've been waiting for this for years. I'm very tempted to buy this and The Brood together when that gets a Criterion release.

User avatar
The Narrator Returns
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:35 pm

Re: 712 Scanners

#7 Post by The Narrator Returns » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:11 pm

EddieLarkin wrote:I was hoping to see Rabid or Shivers as extras instead, but I guess Criterion never picked them up.
I imagine that if Criterion had those, they would get their own releases.

User avatar
Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: 712 Scanners

#8 Post by Drucker » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:15 pm

I love this film, and almost bought it this past weekend from Second Run as a present for my wife, so I'm glad I didn't pull the trigger.

(For those wondering, I instead bought her Adventure Time Seasons 1 and 2.)

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: 712 Scanners

#9 Post by domino harvey » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:16 pm

I assume you mean Second Sight, as this would be quite a bold release from Second Run!

Movie-Brat
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:14 am

Re: 712 Scanners

#10 Post by Movie-Brat » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:18 pm

Out of curiosity, about The Brood; is that still in the works or it's getting a release this year?

User avatar
Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: 712 Scanners

#11 Post by Drucker » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:19 pm

Yes! Second Sight. Anywho, excited for this release. I've only seen this, Brood, and Videodrome, and this one is my favorite by far.

User avatar
EddieLarkin
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:25 am

Re: 712 Scanners

#12 Post by EddieLarkin » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:20 pm

The Narrator Returns wrote:
EddieLarkin wrote:I was hoping to see Rabid or Shivers as extras instead, but I guess Criterion never picked them up.
I imagine that if Criterion had those, they would get their own releases.
I suppose, but if that was the case I would expect them to be up on iTunes with Scanners and The Brood. Regardless, I remain hopeful.

criterion10
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:19 pm

Re: 712 Scanners

#13 Post by criterion10 » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:21 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:I remember this movie was disappointing--full of outrageous imagery (finally, exploding heads in HD) and a bunch of interesting ideas, but underdeveloped, both in terms of its ideas and in how it begs for a scale that its budget obviously couldn't accomplish. Plus the lead actor was weak. I look forward to revisiting it, but unless there's been a sea-change in my taste, it'll remain minor Cronenberg.
I actually felt the same way about The Brood. Both films are fun entertainment, but undeniably poorly made (at least in my opinion). These problems started to wear off in Videodrome, which is probably Cronenberg's first great film.

User avatar
Taketori Washizu
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2005 10:32 am

Re: 712 Scanners

#14 Post by Taketori Washizu » Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:14 pm

criterion10 wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:I remember this movie was disappointing--full of outrageous imagery (finally, exploding heads in HD) and a bunch of interesting ideas, but underdeveloped, both in terms of its ideas and in how it begs for a scale that its budget obviously couldn't accomplish. Plus the lead actor was weak. I look forward to revisiting it, but unless there's been a sea-change in my taste, it'll remain minor Cronenberg.
I actually felt the same way about The Brood. Both films are fun entertainment, but undeniably poorly made (at least in my opinion). These problems started to wear off in Videodrome, which is probably Cronenberg's first great film.
Videodome was his first film with a major studio, so bigger names and better production values. I personally like his lower budgeted affairs a lot; and Scanners is the most accomplished from that bunch.

That said, what's the deal with no audio commentary from the C-Man? It has always been a staple from previous Criterion releases. Even a consolidation prize of a new interview with the man would have sufficed.

User avatar
Cronenfly
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:04 pm

Re: 712 Scanners

#15 Post by Cronenfly » Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:52 pm

Really like that cover art, but I'm happy with the Second Sight BD, which looks to compare quite favourably extras-wise. Doubt the transfer will differ too greatly, and the SS edition has been quite cheap for some time, only 7-8 pounds or so. Hope Cronenberg will do a commentary for The Brood, though I feel like he might not want to do one for that either (The Brood for personal reasons pertaining to his divorce, Scanners because of the sequels and all the production/budget difficulties involved, or at least that's what I'm guessing).

User avatar
Taketori Washizu
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2005 10:32 am

Re: 712 Scanners

#16 Post by Taketori Washizu » Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:44 pm

Maybe he's been too busy with the production of 'Map of the Stars' to be more involved. Who knows.

bamwc2
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:54 am

Re: 712 Scanners

#17 Post by bamwc2 » Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:49 pm

Drucker wrote:I love this film, and almost bought it this past weekend from Second Run as a present for my wife, so I'm glad I didn't pull the trigger.
That's the sort of gift that I'd give my wife if I ever wanted to try and goad her into a filing for divorce.

I'll also echo Sausage's statement. I'm generally a big fan of Cronenberg's, but Scanners does little for me despite the fact that I'm totally in love with the premise. It's the execution that I find lacking. I even like The Brood less, so I'm not the least bit sad to see it fail to turn up. If we got any of the other Cronenberg titles bandied around on here (Crash, Shivers, Rabid, The Dead Zone) then I would be a very happy boy.
Last edited by bamwc2 on Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Cronenfly
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:04 pm

Re: 712 Scanners

#18 Post by Cronenfly » Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:55 pm

If he came in to supervise the transfer, I find it hard to believe he couldn't have found time to record a commentary as well, if he wanted to. Maybe like Friedkin he's had it with commentaries (which is too bad if so, because he's a lot better at them than most directors), or just doesn't want to talk at any length about his earlier work any longer (seeing as he did one for Cosmopolis fairly recently).

Unrelated but possibly of interest: Second Sight's Brood Blu is just under 8 pounds at base.com right now, cheapest I've seen it.

User avatar
Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: 712 Scanners

#19 Post by Drucker » Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:17 pm

bamwc2 wrote:
Drucker wrote:I love this film, and almost bought it this past weekend from Second Run as a present for my wife, so I'm glad I didn't pull the trigger.
That's the sort of gift that I'd give my wife if I ever wanted to try and goad her into a filing for divorce.

I'll also echo Sausage's statement. I'm generally a big fan of Cronenberg's, but Scanners does little for me despite the fact that I'm totally in love with the premise. It's the execution that I find lacking. I even like The Brood less, so I'm not the least bit sad to see it fail to turn up. If we got any of the other Cronenberg titles bandied around on here (Crash, Shivers, Rabid, The Dead Zone) then I would be a very happy boy.
As I've alluded to in other posts, my wife loves sci-fi/horror and children's movies.

User avatar
Cold Bishop
Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 9:45 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: 712 Scanners

#20 Post by Cold Bishop » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:58 am

Mr Sausage wrote:I remember this movie was disappointing--full of outrageous imagery (finally, exploding heads in HD) and a bunch of interesting ideas, but underdeveloped, both in terms of its ideas and in how it begs for a scale that its budget obviously couldn't accomplish. Plus the lead actor was weak. I look forward to revisiting it, but unless there's been a sea-change in my taste, it'll remain minor Cronenberg.
I'll agree that that's how I first felt about this - and Shivers for that matter - but I like both films a little more every time I see them. I didn't even mind Stephen Lack's performance the last time I saw it, and found its vacuity oddly appropriate!

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 712 Scanners

#21 Post by knives » Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:21 am

Yeah, there's no denying it is a terrible performance, but Lack seems to work great in context. Also the film gives a lot of exposition to explain the vacuum of personality that is Lack. I don't think a good performance would make sense for a character deranged in this specific way. Specifically the father character mentions that due to the scanner abilities he never developed a real personality or something along those lines.

bamwc2
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:54 am

Re: 712 Scanners

#22 Post by bamwc2 » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:26 am

Drucker wrote:As I've alluded to in other posts, my wife loves sci-fi/horror and children's movies.
You're lucky. My wife only likes rom-coms (the cheesier the better) and Disney films. In fact she's seen the opening scene of Scanners and chastised me for watching it.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: 712 Scanners

#23 Post by MichaelB » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:04 am

Mr Sausage wrote:I remember this movie was disappointing--full of outrageous imagery (finally, exploding heads in HD) and a bunch of interesting ideas, but underdeveloped, both in terms of its ideas and in how it begs for a scale that its budget obviously couldn't accomplish. Plus the lead actor was weak. I look forward to revisiting it, but unless there's been a sea-change in my taste, it'll remain minor Cronenberg.
It's certainly the weakest of his early features, and I agree with everything you say - although it's probably worth noting that it was a rush job: money suddenly became available but with a deadline attached (I suspect this was a Canadian tax-shelter thing), and so Cronenberg went into production with a desperately inexperienced leading man and a script that was still being written.

Although Cronenberg owes it a lot - because it made number one at the US box office, if only for a week at a not particularly busy time, he suddenly became a significant commercial player and was able to persuade Universal to back a film as formally and conceptually radical as Videodrome.
domino harvey wrote:I assume you mean Second Sight, as this would be quite a bold release from Second Run!
I'd say "surprising" rather than "bold" - pretty much anything in their catalogue is bolder than a revival of one of David Cronenberg's best-known films!

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: 712 Scanners

#24 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:11 pm

I don't really find Stephen Lack's acting lacking (he also briefly turns up as the sculptor in Dead Ringers later on, which is an interesting development from Scanners!) as he is performing in a kind of spaced out, other worldly manner that you can also see happening in Jennifer O'Neill's more powerful performance (as someone who has learnt to control and wield her powers rather than being buffeted around by them, as Cameron is), which helps O'Neill's character to be able to be more of an equal to him, and even end up having her own significant revelation outside of Cameron's story. I think we're also meant to be a bit ambivalent to his heroic qualities anyway, as Cameron moves from a kind of child-like clean slate at his opening induction through to becoming a kind of corporate agent against Revok's rebel leader, which anticipates the muddling up of hero and villain (both halves of a whole family) in the ending.

I love this film for all of its slightly laughable qualities because all of those qualities end up sort of defining the fun factor of the film for me: the horror movie soundtrack, at its worst over the exterior shot of Dr Ruth's warehouse laboratory (a warehouse location reminiscent of The Fly later on); the heartbeat yoga guru who gets more than he bargained for; the touchy-feely cult commune of ineffectually liberal scanners (which of course gets wonderfully brutally disrupted); the computer sequences (which do date the film but I remember my dad talking about Commodore PET computers, with this film being the only one that I could turn to for examples of that technology! And I love that the end credits are done in that style! The second half of the film stands as kind of a testament to a particular era of technological development, when home computers were co-existing networked into giant supercomputers running spinning discs of information!), and so on. The one flaw I would perhaps point to is that the film often becomes more conventional when you get into the spy henchmen, paranoia thriller stuff (strangely very similar to the scenes that crop up in De Palma's The Fury a couple of years earlier!), but even here you get the magnificently slimy Keller as the career climbing middle manager villain!

I even love the moment of twisting the vision of two guards and making them see our heroic duo as members of their family, which is both funny and raises questions of just how dangerous the scanners are if they can not only do physical damage but perform a kind of mental assault too.

But there are also a lot of magnificent scenes, particularly the introduction of Jennifer O'Neill's character in the art gallery followed up by the visit to Robert Silverman's tormented artist character.

The early internet version of networking with computers over long distances is also fantastic (the film brings up still relevant questions of massive private databases of information - banking, medical, national security, etc - being built up for nefarious means). The gloved fist gripping the melting payphone handset is a fantastic image as powerful as any to come in Videodrome and makes for a great expression of emotion through technology, in this case rage rather than lust/power of Videodrome. Making the film a key throughline from The Brood's psychically manifested expressions of rage through to Videodrome's hallucinatory techno-manipulations of the psyche!

And of course the final, almost endless seeming battle scene with imagery that still goes beyond anything else and accentuated by Howard Shore's sawing, circular, glacially shocked score. (I love the conversation scene between Lack and Ironside that precedes it just as much though, and this whole thing is getting at the key Cronenberg theme of cosy environments suddenly being tainted by unspeakable horror taking place within them. It is also interesting to compare that final discussion scene with the one at the end of Cosmopolis)

I think it is no accident that our main scanner hero and villain were both born in 1945. It does feel like a film dealing with the fallout of a lot of aspects of the Second World War, abstracted through genre (much as say the giant ants in Them!, or Godzilla itself are legacies of nuclear tests) - there are themes of medical experimentation , trauma expressed through art, minorities persecuted for the threat they pose to society, assassination/slaughter squads, and finally the nuclear bomb metaphor itself of devastating power unleashed and unchecked.

There are also the obvious allusions to Thalidomide swirling around in there (although here the unborn are left with unintended superpowers), although it would be reductive to just say that is the only theme of the film in the same way that, yes, The Fly could stand as a metaphor for AIDS but also for aging in a wider sense and what that deterioration does to all relationships.

Plus I've always like the montage of whispering voices. Who wouldn't be driven crazy by hearing hundreds of people asking themselves whether they left the oven on, or that they must pick up their dry cleaning?

And who hasn't wanted to almost kill the person who even thinks horrible things about you?
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sat May 17, 2014 4:11 pm, edited 9 times in total.

User avatar
Cash Flagg
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:15 pm

Re: 712 Scanners

#25 Post by Cash Flagg » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:48 pm

perkizitore wrote:Finally, let's hope Stereo is in HD!
Confirmed as 1080p in a Mulvaney email.

Post Reply