If we had any doubts that the Blade movie franchise was dead, they were put to rest the moment star Wesley Snipes sued New Line for making such a bad movie.
This career-ending outing concerns vampire hunter Blade's capture by the FBI after being set up to kill a human disguised as a bloodsucker. In the storming of Blade's hideout, his mentor Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) is killed (yet again), but Blade is not totally alone - he's rescued by the Nightstalkers, a group of vampire hunters led by Whistler's daughter, Abigail (Jessica Biel) and former vamp Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds). Oh, yeah, somewhere in there our major vampire villain (Parker Posey, easily the best thing about the picture) has raised the First Vampire, a being we know as Dracula (Dominic Purcell - John Doe himself) to take care of the Blade problem.
That sounds like a pretty good movie right there - but what is delivered is a scattered mess. Blade, usually a fairly likeable badass, is here one-note and unrelievedly grim. An attempt is made to develop three leads simultaneously and birth a new franchise, such that the main event - Blade vs. Dracula - is all but lost in the wash (a major reason given in Snipes' lawsuit). In short, Trinity is an attempt to spawn a Buffy-like franchise, and fails horribly, as Joss Whedon's sly pop humor, apparently beyond writer/director David Goyer's grasp, is replaced by random goofiness and overbearing vulgarity.
Too bad, as there is some nice stuff in here - but it all has to do with Blade, who is reduced to being a supporting character in his own movie.
New Line's Platinum Series has always excelled at delivering top-notch sound and picture, and when you're dealing with a horror movie, shadow detail is very important. The video delivers strong, deep blacks with no washout, and the audio actually tricked me into buying the soundtrack album. I bought it used, admittedly, but it sounded better with the visuals. The Platinum Series also has a tendency to go overboard with the animated menus, but that seems a little more under control this time - although having to go to a submenu just to see who is speaking in either of the two commentary tracks is a bit much.
Ah, the usual Platinum bonanza of extra material. Disc One contains your movie and the aforementioned two commentary tracks. The first features Goyer, Reynolds and Biel, and is nicely lively and informative. The second features Goyer again, producers Peter Frankfurt and Lynn Harris, production designer Chris Gorak, editor Howard Smith and cinematographer Gabriel Beristain; it is much drier and more technical, but quite informative. Though I may not think much of his movie, Goyer is a wonderful moderator, and keeps things moving on both tracks.
Disc One also houses all your DVD-ROM goodness, and this is very high-quality stuff. A printable screenplay which can be viewed side-by-side with the finished movie, an archive of downloadable materials from the website and the usual web hotlinks; but where this disc shines is the "Interactive Viewing Experience", a beautifully designed interface which can play the movie windowed while storyboards, script, photos and a "Kill Count" update themselves.
Disc Two, helpfully labeled "Extra Content", starts with "Inside the World of Blade: Trinity", a series of featurettes about various aspects of movie making; these are all quite good and highlight the quality work done for this movie... and for realizing that everyone involved actually thought they were making the best of the three movies. "Goyer on Goyer" presents the writer/director interviewing himself through the magic of split screen. This gets very tiresome very quickly.
There is also an alternate ending (which is far better than the one we got, but pretty much implies that Blade is dead), a blooper reel, Galleries of special effect progressions and vampire-killing arsenals, and trailers for Trinity, Wedding Crashers, The New World, King's Ransom and the Extended DVD of The Return of the King. DVD-ROM offerings on this disc are limited to another weapons gallery, some concept art-to-finished product shots, and a reprise of the web links.
Oh, and let's not forget the keepcase-sized Marvel comic book packed in to fill us in on the backstory of Abigail and King (at least in this reality).
Really, the best feature about the DVD-ROM material? It allowed me to confirm my suspicions about the additional material in the extended version (hint: the phrase "10 Minutes of More Action!" is a lie) without actually watching the movie again - which, frankly, I was not about to do.
Dr. Freex, 5/31/2005