DVD & Video File (Starburst Reviews) DVD File and VideoFile by Ian Atkins
From Starburst's monthly Reviews section
selected from Starburst #274

Selected this month:
Pitch Black on DVD; Highlander: Endgame and The Kid on VHS

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Pitch Black
28 May • Cert 15 • Columbia Tristar • Format: 2.35:1

Pitch Black on DVD - order from BlackStar today!

Diesel Used To Illuminate The Dark

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Constant delays to a cinema release date rarely make for good publicity, and Pitch Black’s numerous British postponements meant that it didn’t get the audience it deserved. The story – a crashed ship’s crew attempt to survive on a planet whose total eclipsing will unleash darkness-inhabiting carnivores – isn’t entirely new, with more than a little of the Aliens about it. But with the crew containing a psychopath who might be as much threat as saviour (excellently played by Vin Diesel), an original approach to who survives and who doesn’t, and some dazzling cinematography, direction and FX, this is way above the usual heroes-under-siege efforts.

Starburst rating: 9

Extras

Two commentaries are provided, both with director David Twohy, the first also bringing in actors Vin Diesel and Cole Hauser while the second, more technical, also has producer Tom Engelman and FX supervisor Peter Chiang.

For such an FX-filled movie, it’s a huge disappointment to only get a five-minute FX featurette. The documentary about a rave music event – only tenuously linked to the film – is four times as long! Also present are two trailers and some brief text-based production notes and biographies.

Starburst Rating: 4

Highlander: Endgame
21 May • Rental • Cert 15 • Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Highlander: Endgame on VHS - order from BlackStar today!

It’s a Kind of Rubbish

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Whenever there’s a new Trek film out, you get a majority of critics saying that it’s baffling to all but the dedicated fans, and scarcely worth a silver screen outing. This marks a similar point for the Highlander films, with Endgame presenting a dense plot nigh on incomprehensible to those who haven’t watched and re-watched the TV series it draws on.

Duncan and Connor MacLeod are Immortals, people whose origins are unknown (well, so this says, but there was an unsatisfactory explanation in the second movie) and who get to live forever as long as they keep their heads attached to the rest of them. These Immortals have lots of fun indulging in flashback sequences and whacking sharp bits of metal through each other, apparently on the quest for some great prize: what this is, and why they want it, varies from film to film. Here it’s not explained at all, except that baddy Bruce Payne (no better here than his purple-lipped turn in the recent Dungeons and Dragons) should not be allowed to win it.

What follows is baffling, as characters turn up we’ve never met, horrendously violent sequences (and heads) roll one after each other, the time-frame zaps around in flashbacks which rarely push the story on, and every ten minutes something blows up. There are a couple of great ideas in here (mainly what Duncan did to his wife years ago) but no one stands around long enough to let acting get in the way, and after the first hour you give up hope of following it. Fans aware of the back story will get more out of it, and should add five points.

Starburst Rating: 2

The Kid
14 May • Rental • Cert PG • Walt Disney Home Video

The Kid on VHS - now out on rental (or retail from Blackstar)

Confronted By His Inner Child

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It’s a pity that the title and Disney distribution have rendered this as ‘children’s movie’ when it’s anything but; factors which resulted in many adults giving this a wide berth when it’s they who should really see it.

In a way this is a contemporary take on A Christmas Carol, with Bruce Willis’ image-consultant Russ visited by his eight year old self – a sort of Ghost of Birthdays Past – to discover what he’s lost in the interim years. The end result is a brilliant, Twilight Zone-esque movie (appropriate, as it reminds of Willis’s Shatterday episode) which is heart-tugging, funny and strikes a chord with anyone whose childhood was less than perfect. Which is, surely, all of us. Most satisfying is that it concerns itself more with the characters than how this is happening, and the wonderfully metaphysical usage of a red airplane intrigues rather than answers all the questions. This is a good timing for the release, as Unbreakable’s arrival on tape will distract Willis fans, and it gives all of you a chance to have a look: go on! Now!

Starburst Rating: 10

Reviews © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction