Robert Zemekis is one of the great directors, especially during the 80s and 90s when he created some timeless and beloved modern classics. Films like Back to the Future, Romancing the Stone, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Forrest Gump, Contact, and Cast Away have cemented his place in the public’s hearts. His films are always original, engaging and above all, entertaining. In 1992 he made a film that was definitely like no film we had seen before and was one of the first movies to really capitalize on the new CG technology at the time. Death Becomes Her makes its Blu-ray debut this week from Shout Factory.
Helen (Goldie Hawn), a writer, and Madeline (Meryl Streep), an actress, have hated each other for most of their careers. It doesn’t help that Madeline is married to plastic surgeon Ernest (Bruce Willis) who was once engaged to Helen. But when both women drink an anti aging serum they discover they are actually immortal and set out on an outrageous rivalry to try and find a way to kill each other once and for all.
You would be hard pressed to find a movie to compare to Death Becomes Her. Such a bizarre concoction of a movie, the story is a fairly straightforward rivalry/revenge movie but thanks to the addition of the immortal serum element and some really inventive and often hilarious CG effects, the film takes on a wacky, almost slapstick quality that truly works well. And to take a mix of actors like Streep, Hawn and Willis and let them play off each other in such a silly manner is really a brilliant move. Zemekis is a master of set up. Look at his other movies. Back to the Future has the set up of a kid going through time to meet his parents. Forrest Gump is a guy who inadvertently influences history; Roger Rabbit blends animation with the real world. Cast Away presents a big Hollywood movie with one guy alone on an island for most of the running time. This is what separates Zemekis from the rest of the pack; he is the master of the unique set up. And Death Becomes Her is a wonderful example of how well that set up can pay off.
Shout Factory has also included a fantastic brand new making of documentary featuring interviews With Director Robert Zemeckis, Writer David Koepp, Producer Steve Starkey, Director Of Photography Dean Cundey, Production Designer Rick Carter And SFX Artists Lance Anderson And David Anderson. Death Becomes Her is an often forgotten comedy classic worth revisiting. Highly recommended.