Zachary Leeman reviews The Frank Darabont Collection…
Frank Darabont is a name not spoken nearly enough among film lovers. He can often go unappreciated despite being the man that directed IMDB’s top rated film and having originally developed one of television’s smash hits, The Walking Dead.
Despite being an artist of undeniable talent, there’s always something that has kept Darabont from getting the accolades he deserves. The Shawshank Redemption may be a hit now, but it was a flop upon first release, The Walking Dead got a new showrunner fast and some of his other films haven’t been able to muster the giant audiences a Spielberg or a Tarantino can earn from their names on posters.
However, with the new Frank Darabont Collection from Warner Bros., fans can take a few moments to appreciate an undersung hero of cinema. The collection contains three of Darabont’s four feature directing efforts: The Green Mile, The Majestic and The Shawshank Redemption.
Darabont’s two Stephen King adaptations (Shawshank and Green Mile) are obviously the meat and potatoes of the collection and the perk that most fans will find the most enticing. To review the movies now is pointless. Both are beloved in different ways (Shawshank is a masterpiece that has dominated the home video market and Green Mile is the slightly overrated box office hit that came after). What I will say about both is this: they look fantastic.
I’ve never doubted Darabont as a director or felt his films visually came up short (anyone seen The Mist?), but these freshly released blu-ray editions of both films made me realize just how damn pretty of a picture this guy makes. I’d call it poetic if I was a little more pretentious (or had a few whiskeys in me).
The high definition of blu-ray gives the viewer the chance to appreciate the scope Darabont brings to his pictures. He shoots sometimes with a minimalist approach that brings the little seen beauty we find in Eastwood pictures, but he also has times in both films where it seems he’s in control of every single detail onscreen not matter how wide or complex the shot. You want to pause the movies sometimes and then blow the frames up into pictures you can hang around the house as art. The two films should be case studies for any aspiring filmmakers.
Both are loaded with special features any fan can enjoy. Both have commentaries, Shawshank contains a still gallery (they read my damn mind) and there’s an old screen test of Michael Clarke Duncan that is great to watch just to appreciate the late actor.
The oddball of the bunch is Darabont’s expensive box office flop, The Majestic. The Jim Carrey starrer never racked up the good will Darabont’s first two films did, but it’s a hidden gem of a flick especially for film buffs. It’s a unique and solid movie that shows Darabont for the throwback cinema lover and expert he is. This packaging is a perfect chance for it to get another shot at winning an audience.
The Frank Darabont Collection is a perfect fit for any film lover’s collection. In an age when movie collections are moving from the physical shelf to the digital one, this collection is worth a buy both for the effort put into it as well as the spotlight it shines on three great films and one fantastic filmmaker.
You can buy The Frank Darabont Collection here