|Star:||Dennis Quaid, Louis Gosset Jnr, Brion James|
|Cert / Year:||15 - PG13 / 1985|
Humans have left their home planet and spread across the galaxy colonising the stars. Unfortunately we were not alone. A reptilian race called the Dracs has also been colonising planets and has laid claim to many others, leading to war. Willis Davidge (Dennis Quaid) is a earth fighter pilot, who during a dog fight shoots down a Drac fighter but in doing so damages his craft. Both spaceships crash on an inhospitable planet and both pilots survive. It quickly become clear that if they are to survive Davidge and "Jerry" (Louis Gosset Jnr) must put aside their differences and work together.
This is very much a Robinson Crusoe in space story. It concentrates on the characters rather than action, and this is the films strength. For a large part of the film the only characters on the screen are Davidge and Jerry. We see how their relationship changes as they try to survive, moving from hating each other (without any real understanding of why) through acceptance, and on to friendship. This understanding of different cultures is a valid sentiment that we all could do with learning.
With concentration on only two characters strong performances were required. Luckily both Dennis Quaid and Louis Gosset Jnr are excellent. Special credit must be Given to Louis Gosset Jnr, who not has to deliver a performance but has to content with elaborate (but extremely convincing) make up. His performance is superb ensuring Jerry is a totally convincing alien, from the great voice to the strange facial movements. Other roles of note include the young Bumper Robinson who plays the child Drac Zammis with a convincing performance of great maturity. Lastly Brion James provides a customary hick bad guy, the role he does better than anyone.
Helming the project is Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot) who again displays a knack for character based movies. Fantastic locations and sets help make the alien environment work perfectly. The best example of both are the scenes of Davidge’s exploration of the planet where some great long shots are used. Adding to the good direction is an atmospheric score from Maurice Jarre (yes Jean-Michel's dad), a man responsible for the music in over a hundred films. Here the score really adds to power of scenes, especially the emotionally charged ones between Jerry and Davidge (no I'm not going to say which ones that would spoil things).
As already mentioned the creature effects and especially the Drac makeup is fantastic. But this quality is transferred to all of the effects throughout the movie. The crown jewel though is the Matte paintings. The alien planet and spaces shots are top notch. Check out the meteor storms, or the planet filled space shots. Most effects here would not look out of place in a modern film, a fact made even more impressive when you consider that this is not CGI.
Not that many people remember this film, maybe this is because it is not all action in the vein of Star Wars, this is a far more intimate affair. A good story, great performances, and excellent effects make this a film you should watch. This is not a space opera with grand space battles, this film is rather more intellectual as it questions are need to fight, and our human prejudices. Well worth a watch.
|2.35:1 Anamorphic||Beautifully restored and it is excelent|
|Dolby Digital Surround||Better than could be expected from an old film|
|Three behind the scenes pictures|
|Supperb Transfer but little or no effort has been made with the extras. Yet again another sub-standard back catalogue release.|