Robert Zemeckis’ Death Becomes Her Gets Rejuvenated On Blu-ray
It’s common knowledge that Robert Zemeckis is best known as the director behind fun-for-the-whole-family adventures like Back to the Future and tasteful-for-the-whole-family dramas like Forrest Gump (which earned him a Best Director Oscar). However, he’s always held a keen interest in the macabre, as evinced in films like 2000’s underrated What Lies Beneath and beloved small screen horror anthology Tales from the Crypt, which he directed three episodes for in addition to executive producing alongside Richard Donner, David Giler, Walter Hill, and Joel Silver.
Zemeckis is also heavily influenced by advancements in technology that allow filmmakers to pull off once-unimaginable feats. Before he became completely enamoured with CGI in full-on digital films like Beowulf, The Polar Express, and A Christmas Carol, Zemeckis fused technical and practical effects with great precision. A prime example of this is 1992’s Death Becomes Her, a black comedy about two aging arch rivals (Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn) who drink a magical elixir (courtesy of a mystery women played Isabella Rossellini) that makes them immortal and impervious to the getting old and wrinkly thing. All they have to do is keep their bodies intact, which of course they do not. Fighting over the same man (Bruce Willis) leads to shotgun blasting, shovel swinging, and staircase tumbling, and then it’s up to Willis’ gifted alcoholic surgeon to repair them, even if the results are dodgy at best.
As a 10-year-old who was still years away from being age-conscious, I adored the film simply for its inventive Looney Tunes violence, which still looks better than most films made less than a decade ago. Now that I have a few more wrinkles, I can appreciate the script’s gallows humour made even funnier by the film’s charismatic cast and playful direction. Having not seen Death Becomes Her since the early ’90s, watching it on Blu-ray was a revelatory experience. In fact, it’s so good-looking you’d think Scream Factory dunked an old VHS into a vat of whatever magical potion those ladies were drinking.
On to the disc’s extras, which include a fresh 25-minute making-of that features interviews with Zemeckis, writer David Koepp, DP Dean Cundey, production designer Rick Carter, and special effects artists Lance and David Anderson. It’s nice to get a current-day reflection on the film and hear some fun anecdotes from the production team—although getting the stars today would’ve been a hoot (I know, unrealistic). If you’re looking for something a little more old school, there’s also a delightfully dated 10-minute EPK that goes into some of the film’s key special effects moments and, as a nice vintage touch, concludes with the theme music to Tales from the Crypt. Lastly, there’s a photo gallery and the film’s theatrical trailer, which you can watch below.