Planet Terror Review
Just before he left our national game, Jose Mourinho said something very telling. Likening his former squad at Chelsea to dairy products, he pointed out that you need the best eggs if you want to make the best omelette. What, though, if you are trying to make an omelette that is merely trashily tasty? This thought put me in mind of the words of one reviewer pointing out that when U2 made their album Achtung Baby that they had spent an awful lot of money to get the rough and ready lo-fi sound of many a feedback peddling indie band. Like Achtung Baby, Robert Rodriguez' Planet Terror does try to use the best eggs to make something deliberately imperfect. And like the reviewer I quote, I am left thinking why would you spend all this money on roughing up an over produced movie rather than embrace the frugal production values of the films which inspired it?
Extending the eggs metaphor, Planet Terror illustrates how to make a competent meal whilst using the biggest kitchen, the best chefs and the largest pan. For something supposedly inspired by low rent Grindhouse movies of icky effects and ropey stories, Planet Terror is rather too crafted and over resourced. Like other films from Robert Rodriguez, it feels like the kitchen sink approach obscures heart and simple functionality. If ever a director needed to make a film to remind himself that human beings are not made of pixels, and to rediscover passion and warmth, it's Rodriguez. Planet Terror could have been that film as it has a charm in its exploitation roots, but Rodriguez ends up pleasing himself in a flurry of digital effects and dense homage.
This is a two disc set with disc one containing a longer extended cut of the movie and most of the extras appearing on disc two. The main feature is accompanied by a director commentary and an audience reaction track. Visually, the film has been transferred well with excellent sharpness and good contrast. The deliberate ageing of the film apart, the image is very good with my only criticism being a lot of speckling at times in lighter tones such as McGowan's flesh above and the night sky above her. The film is presented anamorphically at 1.78 and dual language options of Spanish and English 5.1 are offered. The surround track has very effective rumble and bass to complement Rodriguez own score and the plethora of bangs and bumps in the film, and the dialogue is mixed well and clearly without any distortion. The surround is well distributed between the side and rear speakers with dialogue only from the centre, it is quite easy to lose yourself in the audio and the 5.1 mix is very solid overall.
The remaining extras are a number of short featurettes and comes on a single layer disc. First up is a commentary from Rodriguez on some of the effcts he did for the film, explaining the pegleg and the ageing of the film's look. Next are two documentaries celebrating first the women and then the men who lead the cast in the film, where Rodriguez explains that he cast the film before completing the script so he could write to actor's strengths. A piece on the film's stunt work follows, and finally the director talks about his casting of friends in cameos as a doctor, an orderly, and an estate agent.
Last updated: 19/04/2018 01:07:02