DVD & Video File (Starburst Reviews) DVD File and VideoFile by Ian Atkins
From Starburst's monthly Reviews section
selected from Starburst #278

Selected this month:
Farscape: 2.4 and
The Evil Dead on DVD,
and Psi Factor on VHS

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Farscape: 2.4

27 August • DVD Boxed Set • Cert 12
Contender Entertainment • Screen Format: 4:3

Farscape 2.4 on DVD - order from BlackStar today!

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Another two-disc boxed set from Farscape's Season Two opens with the highlight of the collection - indeed of the second year - Won't Get Fooled Again, in which a Skarran attack throws John Crichton into a reality he knows can't be correct. Before you can say 'Aeryn Sun in a rubber nurse uniform', things have become extremely surreal, with Scorpius as a jazz drummer being particularly hilarious. Things are more restrained - and familiar (witness Next Gen's Inner Light) - in the irrelevantly titled The Locket, as John and Aeryn are stranded on a planet where they live out their lives due to a tricky Time effect. A sweet tale, somewhat derailed by its ending and some poor old-age acting and make-up. The first story on disc two is The Ugly Truth, one of those 'same event seen three way' tales (compare X-Files' Bad Blood, Invisible Man's Going Postal, etc) when an enquiry tries to discover why Moya's gunship-child Talyn opened fire on another craft. Closing the set is A Clockwork Nebari which chronicles a gruesome 4/5encounter with Chiana's own race, and, like Crichton, your eyes will be out on stalks at the stuff the BBC cut.

Extras

A stills gallery (actually mostly production sketches) gives an idea of the amount of design work which goes into making Farscape so visually impressive. The welcome profile of Chiana is 18 minutes of interviews and clips, with an engaging Gigi Edgely unrecognisable out of make-up and costume. There's a single deleted scene from The Locket, 3/5though as it adds nothing it was best left out of the story and is a curiosity only. Text biographies describe the show's producers.

Psi Factor:
Chronicles of the Paranormal, Volume 3.1

3 September • Cert 15 • Clear Vision Video

Psi Factor on VHS - now out from Blackstar

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Such as you want to review a show in its own right, it's impossible to look at Psi-Factor without the words 'X' and 'files' popping into your head within seconds, and Dan Ackroyd's Twilight Zone-esque introductions don't fool anyone. It's hard to see how this show's survived so long without legal action from Chris Carter, but as it's now into its third year, the lawyers are presumably still on a break.

Comparisons are especially unfriendly this month with X-Files putting out Deadalive (also reviewed in this issue), in which a series regular who disappeared at the end of the last season suddenly resurfaces half dead but still in danger. For that's exactly what happens in the opening two episodes here, with Jaunt and Comings & Goings retelling this in much the same way, right down to our heroes' boss proving to be more involved than he's letting on. However, it should be noted that Psi-Factor does have a few points over X-Files: its central OSIR team (Office of Scientific Investigation and Research) has more staff, which allows the dynamic between them to be better than a simple 'will they won't they?' frisson, while Matt Frewer brings humour, which X-Files has frequently lacked, to the show as the team's leader Matt Praeger.

With the OSIR team reunited, the first of the final two stories of this value-for-money tape shows that they can occasionally get beyond Mulder-esque activity, with the chemical weapon problems of Heartland. Unfortunately, The Kiss is a hybrid of X-Files' Genderbender, Born Again and Lazarus which does the show no favours at all by provoking this déjà vu. Had you never seen 3/5X-Files, then Psi-Factor would be an impressive show, but as with Charmed and Buffy, it's more likely to be seen as an eager imitator.

The Evil Dead

3 September • UncutDVD • Cert 18
Anchor Bay Entertainment • Screen Format: 1.85:1

Evil Dead on DVD - now out from Blackstar

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It's difficult to believe that this was once held to be one of the most depraved examples of all that is wrong with movies and violence. Twenty years on, it's impossible to see why there was so much fuss over a short feature full of tongue-in-cheek effects so cheap that they look like produced on Why Don't You?

Bruce Campbell plays Ash, the sole survivor of a party lost in the woods who must use any means possible (including chainsaws and shotguns) to defend himself from attacking demonic powers. Given that 3/5the Evil Dead II is the same thing with better production values, this would be mere curiosity were it not for the...

Extras

There are two commentaries: one with producer Rob Tapert and writer/director Sam Raimi, and another with star Campbell. The latter is so funny that you wish he'd been on the former too as it suffers in comparison (being 4/5too buried in production trivia). Sadly the trailer is most interesting for how out of proportion it is, and the photo gallery is small both in size and selection.

Reviews © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction