The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: The Weinstein Company - 2007
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Feature running time: 105 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4) – VC-1
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English/Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Naveen Andrews, Bruce Willis
Written & Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Music by: Robert Rodriguez
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 16, 2008
Director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) is back with a rip-roaring, zombie-infested rollercoaster of a movie. Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Bruce Willis, and an all-star cast fight for their lives in the ultimate showdown between an army of flash-eating mutants and a motley group of rag-tag survivors. Featuring one of the most memorable screen heroines ever and the now legendary mock Machete trailer.
Before offering my feelings on this film I wanted to summarize a description that I found at Wikipedia as I think it offers brief but pertinent info:
"Planet Terror is a 2007 film written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, about a group of people attempting to survive an onslaught of zombie-like creatures as they feud with a military unit, including a go-go dancer searching for a way to implement her "useless talents". The film is a tribute to the zombie film genre and was released theatrically in the United States as part of a double feature with Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof under the title Grindhouse in order to replicate the experience of viewing exploitation films in a "grindhouse" theater."
I really like the whole Grindhouse concept. I had seen the trailer for Grindhouse while at the theater but I don’t recall ever seeing it playing locally. From what I remembered it looked interesting but was never really on my radar after that. This is not a film that should be taken literally. Its intent, in my opinion, is to be over the top, gory and satirical in its homage to zombie flicks. I think it maintains a level of control with respect to its action based elements which made it fun for me. I don’t consider myself a fan of zombie movies per se but this was a bit different. The “sickos” were infected by a chemical agent that turned them into puss oozing, crazed, flesh eaters who died when they were shot. This gave it a bit more of a sci-fi/horror feel. I liked the presence of the strong female characters that were not afraid to kick butt and take names. I am not so sure that Freddy Rodriguez was the right choice to play the “Badass”. I just didn’t find him to be credible as the “I never miss” tough guy with the kind of reputation that is spoken of in whispers and given legend status. His presence certainly didn’t detract from the film though. Rose McGowan, where did SHE come from? Honestly I have never seen her in anything else but it was hard to focus on anyone else if she was in the frame. I loved the machine gun leg. I watched chapter 26 (when she gets the machine gun prosthetic) three times in a row. I enjoyed the entire third act and thought it was easily the best part of the movie. There are several high profile cameo roles that lend support to the main players but this script keeps things pretty simple which under the circumstances is fine. I thought things moved along nicely and stayed on point. There was plenty of action and enough emphasis on the gory details to keep thrills and suspense brewing. This is probably not a film for everyone because if looked at in the wrong context it would probably be considered silly. However, if you leave the word literal at the door and bring your imagination with you I bet you will have a good time on Planet Terror.
This film contains strong language, violence, nudity, and gore. Not for younger viewers.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Planet Terror comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p AVC (original version) and VC-1 (scratch free version) encoded video that both have an average bitrate of approximately 19 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio (original version) that has an average bitrate of 3.7 mbps and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 channel audio (scratch free version) that has a constant bitrate of 640 kbps.
I watched the original version during my evaluation and only checked out select portions of the scratch free version. This presentation utilizes a stylized look that is intended to create an aging film effect by using a layering process to introduce the appearance of print damage that comes in the form of speckles, scratches running lines and obvious editing cuts. Dynamic lighting is also used to enhance the effect during certain segments. Grain is intact, and it appears as though differing film stock is used during certain segments as grain is moderate in some cases and heavier in others. It works toward promoting the film’s intended look and seems dependent on the story‘s course. The color palette isn’t extensive and makes use of darker tones which matches the theme of the movie. Red is used in several shades and stands out quite nicely against the other colors within the film’s range. The filtering and lighting used tended to water down fleshtones however they didn’t appear unnatural. Blacks had good dynamic range while being slightly crushed. Shadow delineation was decent which allowed me to discern enough detail within objects in dark backgrounds to give those sequences ample depth. I didn’t detect any obvious signs of video related anomalies but due to the nature of the video it wasn’t always easy to tell. Resolution and sharpness were very good overall and the video had appreciable dimensional depth and resolvable detail. The nature of the photography doesn’t lend itself to glossy, vibrant, imagery that jump off of the screen but I think the look works well within the parameters of the director’s vision. The scratch free version is devoid of the earlier mentioned processes and has a more conventional look. My comments regarding clarity, blacks/shadow detail and artifacts are essentially the same. Quite honestly I preferred the look of the original version. There was nothing overtly wrong with the scratch free version but its smooth wrinkle free texture didn’t have appeal of the original. This is probably only because I watched the original first and became accustomed to it. I think it was a great idea to include both versions which gives viewers a choice.
The lossless Dolby TrueHD audio featured extended dynamics and tight, punchy bass that augmented the films action sequences. Dialogue was clearly rendered and articulated through the center channel. I thought it could have been a bit more prominent within the front soundstage but that didn’t inhibit perception in any way. The presentation leaned more toward the front with the surrounds providing directional support to broaden the depth of explosions, gunfire and background auditory elements. Sound effects had excellent dynamic energy and descriptive sonic detail. Robert Rodriguez’ simple yet engaging music had a nice hard rock edge that was highlighted by the power of the electric guitar and smooth tone of the saxophone. I was impressed by the track’s well defined bass, that never achieved demonstration like depth, but easily reached deep into the room to underscored the low frequency detail present in the mix. Its presence was never in question as it struck quickly and subtly fell back below the surface. I think a bit more surround activity would have better integrated the front and rear soundstages. This is a minor complaint though. I am guessing that this probably closely matches the theatrical presentation which falls in line with the source material and subsequently the director’s intention.
** Sony PS3 users should note that this film wouldn’t load on its own in my PS3. Once I placed it in the unit I just got a black screen. I hit the Top Menu button on the remote and it then loaded just fine. I have the latest firmware release installed on my PS3. FYI.**
- Scratch free version of the film
- Feature commentary with Writer/Director Robert Rodriguez
- Audience reaction track option
- BD-Live access - Not online until release day
- (HD) 10 minute film school: Planet Terror - hosted by Robert Rodriguez
- The badass babes of Planet Terror - Featurette
- The guys of Planet Terror - Featurette
- Casting Rebel - Short segment on the youngest cast member
- Sickos, Bullets, and Explosions: The stunts of Planet Terror
- The friend, the doctor, and the real estate agent - Featurette
- Planet Terror - International trailer
- An International poster gallery
Planet Terror isn’t your everyday run of the mill action flick or zombie movie. It is a fresh take on each genre that requires the audience to look beyond the boundaries of what is the norm. If you keep it in perspective its easy to look past the otherwise weaker aspects of its story and simply sit back and enjoy the ride. The Weinstein Company has impressed me with the quality of their Blu-ray Disc releases. This is another quality disc that delivers excellent lossless sound and visually rewarding images. The bonus content is entertaining and even includes an additional version of the film as well as BD-Live access. I would recommend a rental prior to purchase for those who are curious. I am sure that fans already have it pre-ordered so ‘nuff said.
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Knowledge isn't Truth; it's just mindless agreement.
Yes, it has the complete "Machete" trailer which plays before the film.
BTW when you got the black screen, how long was it for? I only say because when playing WALL-E it said the screen may go black while the disc checks for on-line extras.
Maybe the waring was omitted on the Planet Terror disc.
Too long and it only happened with the PS3. My Panasonic BD55 loaded it right up..
The whole film was shot digitally, so there wasn't any film stock used, all the grain is artificial. How heavy it is was just how much they wanted simulated in post-production.
I'm assuming the question had to do with the other three so-far-unreleased trailers that served as a sort of intermission between Planet Terror and Death Proof -- Don't, Thanksgiving Day (?), and (best of all) Werewolf Women of the SS (hysterical). I don't think they've shown up in any home video form.
The TrueHD track was very effective, while the look was great and enhanced the overall cheesy feeling.
I have Death Proof sitting here, looking forward to it.
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How about Rose McGowan? She has "great leg"......Wow! I didn't bother renting this one, just went out and bought it and I've already watched it twice in a few days. I still smirk when I visualize the scene where Naveen Andrews'......ummm, shall we say "parts" ways with the group.
My BDP-05FD, still going strong and still my favorite player!
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