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Oracle, The

Studio: Wicked Pictures » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 3/19/09

XCritic's Advice: Recommended

The Oracle (Blu-ray)

Wicked Pictures

Genre: Feature

Director: Francois Clousot

Cast: Kaylani Lei, Brooke Haven, Barrett Blade, Randy Spears, Derrick Pierce, Eva Angelina, Ryder Skye, Roxy DeVille, India Summer, Marcus London, Chris Cannon

Length: 85:02 minutes

Date of Production: 6/10/2007

Extras: The extras looked to be reasonably intact this time, one small note being that the bonus scene, while presented in high definition, was actually Kaylani Lei with Randy Spears instead of Chris Cannon as labeled. It wasn't a bad scene as the sunlight helped enhance the moment more in high definition though the compression rate appears to have been lower than usual, bordering upper SD levels for those that care. The time code was fucked up too, a standard issue with such scenes on Wicked's titles. The Behind the Scenes feature was presented in SD though, lasting 23:46 minutes long and largely focusing on Kaylani and Randy but others getting a chance to jump in too. There was a main photogallery and seven starlet driven galleries besides (for the ladies in the movie), as well as four trailers that were newer than the ones in the original release. I didn't miss the spam, Star Stats, or DVD ROM content and was happy that the basic body of extras was close enough this time to offering what the upgrade offered.

Condoms: Yes

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Audio/Video Quality: The Oracle (Blu-ray) was presented in widescreen color as shot by director Francois Clousot for Wicked Pictures, this high definition version using a 1080p resolution under the VC-1 codec. The video bitrate was decent in most cases, clocking in around 20.1 Mbps most of the time I bothered with it, but the upgrade was immediately noticeable in the movie, such things as the individual strands of hair on the ladies, the symbolism of the medallion, or fine little hairs on the bodies of the ladies. Still, there was some soft focus and visual effects employed that weakened some of the enhancements, the feature elements decidedly more important than the sex elements in the production from what I could see. The lighting was moody and atmospheric too, all indicative of Francois' features of late, hanging around his peers at Wicked Pictures rubbing off on him. The editing was again better for the story than the sex but the porn aspects of the movie were again downplayed as fans of the director will already understand. The fleshtones were accurate though and even in the night scenes, the contrast ratio was better thanks to the upgrade, allowing some of the scenes to work better than they had in the past. There was some grain in the darker scenes but it was less noticeable than on the SD version of the movie for those paying attention. The audio was presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital English with a 384 Kbps bitrate and 48 kHz sampling rate, all standard issue for whatever version of the movie (though lacking the Spanish dub of the standard definition version from what I understand). The music was exceptionally fitting and the aural effects decent but there was no doubt in my mind that no attempt was made to shoot the flick with a surround track, the 5.1 added in during post production. In short, the audio was the same from what I could tell with no upgrade to speak of.

Body of Review: Francois Clousot is currently the director of photography for most movies made by Wicked Pictures but he also manages to find the time to make a flick now and then, usually a lighthearted little romp full of flesh and frolic, the kind that most audiences find decent enough if they like the performers involved. Last year, he went against his usual grain to release a darker movie starring contract performer Kaylani Lei though, the high definition upgrade being The Oracle (Blu-ray). While I did not review the original release at the time, I did get to see it late last year as part of my reviewing chores (I vote in several organizations) and found it a likable feature with a darker side, the kind usually associated with company director Michael Raven. I won't spoil the plot for you other than to say it seemed slightly deeper than usual, not written on a weekend bender like Stormy reportedly does, nor the result of multiple directors jumping in to assist (watering down the results) as in some of the company's other offerings. Kaylani did a fine job in the lead and the attention to the admittedly short sex scenes was pretty solid.

The back cover described the movie like this: "The Oracle, an amulet with the power to control the dead, or is it the dead who control the amulet? Cassie (Kaylani Lei) is about to find out after she stumbles into the clutches of the amulet. This young swindler, working with her sometimes boyfriend, cons people into thinking she's a fortune teller. As long as she uses The Oracle for positive things, all is well. But when her boyfriend attempts to use it in their cons, unspeakable things begin to happen. Eventually Cassie learns to harness its powers to explore her sexuality and discovers a new life on the other side..." Having read Ravyn's take on The Oracle last year, I thought she covered all the minute details regarding the standard definition (SD) pretty well, that being the primary reason I did not feel the need to review the standard definition version of the title (beware though, she had a lot of spoilers in her take on the flick) and frankly, the main purpose of this review is to outline the Blu-ray enhancements/extras package so if you'd like to know who boned whom, the genetic juice breakdown can be found on Ravyn's review. My own tastes are a bit different than hers but I thought the title was easily worth a rating of Recommended with those new to porn (or at least far less jaded) perhaps a notch higher. I admit to being price sensitive and considering this version is more than twice as expensive, asking for more extras doesn't seem too unreasonable but the movie itself was better than expected (and well within the boundaries for what most expect from Wicked Pictures these days).

Summary: The Oracle (Blu-ray) by director Francois Clousot for Wicked Pictures managed to offer all the usual movie elements combined with some modestly strokable porn, the right kind of blending for the market niche the company has sought to fill for all these years so it warranted a rating of Recommended from me. This was not one of the big movies of last year from them and as such I was surprised it received better treatment than they did, sometimes the logistics of Blu-ray getting in the way when a company needs a release right away instead of done properly. Still, those of you with an appreciation for supernatural stories might find this a welcome refuge from the mountains of gonzo titles populating the market, especially fans of Kaylani Lei. In short, The Oracle (Blu-ray) was a pleasant little bit of entertainment, not seeking to be more than it was and coming out ahead because of it so check it out if you are equipped with the proper high definition gear.

You can email me with questions at Houstondon @ hotmail.com if you have any constructive criticism of the review too. :) Also you can follow me on twitter @HoustonDon

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