Humanity's End (2009) (NTSC)

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Released 14-Aug-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 86:32 (Case: 84)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Neil Johnson
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Jay Laisne
Rochelle Vallese
Cynthia Ickes
William David Tulin
Kari Nissena
Peta Johnson
Don Baldaramos
Joseph Darden
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Nedy John Cross


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.05:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.05:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Eight hundred years into the future an alien race, called the Nephilim, aided by the part human Konstrukts, have hunted Homo Sapiens almost to extinction across the galaxy. It seems that in all the universe only one human male remains alive; a coarse, red-neck starship captain named Derasi Vorde (Jay Laisne). On his battered ship with Vorde is the mechanic Contessa (Rochelle Vallese), who is a robot but does not realise it, second mate Sorgon 387 (William Tulin), who knows he is a robot, and ship’s computer Blue (Peta Johnson), who has a personality all her own. Vorde is still alive only because the Nephilim want to capture his ship intact as they need its computer. Then, deep in space, Vorde rescues a ship carrying Alicia (Cynthia Ickes), a “Class A Breeder” and one of the few human women left alive. It seems that the survival of the human race is in the hands of Vorde and Alicia, that is if Vorde can obtain enough weapons to defeat the Nephilims and the Konstrukts who are hot on his trail, repair his ship and get Alicia to talk to him. It is tough being the last man in the universe.

     Humanity’s End is a low budget B-film that is an absolute hoot. The director, co-writer, co-producer, co-camera operator, co-costume design, co-modeller and probably much else besides is Neil Johnson, who has made somewhat of a name for himself with low budget sci-fi straight to video films with apocalyptic themes such as Battlespace (2006), Nephilim (2007 - a film which sets up this alien race, although the film has no connection otherwise with Humanity’s End) and Alien Armageddon (2011). These themes continue in evidence in Humanity’s End.

     The film’s prologue in 7 minutes sets up an alternative history of the Earth over thousands of years, detailing the eras and the conflicts between humans and Nephilim, before getting straight into the first of the explosive action scenes with spacecraft, lasers, cannons and explosions all over the screen and sound stage. For sure, the models and computer graphics are cheesy, but it is all done with such exuberance and good humour that it works. Some reviewers have found the character of Vorde obnoxious, and decry the fact that the females in the film find him attractive, but this is far from the truth as we hear that he had been abandoned by his one true love while Alicia, whose job it is to breed, finds him less than scintillating. The DVD cover of Humanity’s End provides a quote that the film is “The adventures of Han Solo’s long lost red-neck cousin”; Han Solo may not (originally at least) have had much class, but my feeling is that a better comparison for Vorde would be the attitude and humour of Snake Plissken! In answer to those who consider the film misogynist, I can only say that women are pretty much in control throughout, and certainly have the last word!

     Humanity’s End is unashamedly B grade. The story is almost non-existent, the effects are cheesy, but the banter is funny and the film never for one second takes itself seriously. It is a heap of fun; a rip-roaring adventure with aliens, space battles, explosions, humour and a battle of the sexes to save humanity from extinction. What’s not to like?

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Humanity’s End is a NTSC print in a ratio of approximately 2.00:1. The original ratio is not given by the IMDb, but this certainly does not look cropped while viewing. The print is 16x9 enhanced.

     This print has been heavily digitally manipulated for colour and effects, most of which are very obvious. Close-ups of faces and interiors are sharp enough, but for wider shots detail can be lost. Colours are bright, the explosions a vibrant yellow and red, the blacks of the cosmos with the stars twinkling deep, shadow detail fine. Skin tones are natural, brightness and contrast did vary with the CGI and manipulated backgrounds, but never seriously.

     Other than some digital noise reduction, artefacts were absent.

     There are no subtitles except where burnt in white subtitles translated the sections of Nephilim dialogue.

     The print was fine for a low budget film. The manipulations are obvious but this adds to the experience of a B-film.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The only audio choice is English Dolby Digital 5.0 at 224 Kbps.

     While the DVD cover indicates the film has 5.1 audio this is a 5.0 track. Not that it matters: this is a loud and aggressive audio and some booms and engine hum are redirected to my subwoofer. Indeed, this audio track has been recorded at an extremely loud level; I like my audio loud, but I had to turn it down about 7 stops to get it to a normal level.

     Even so the music and effects were so loud in the sound mix that dialogue was indistinct in any action sequence. The rears were in use constantly with music, space ship engines, lasers, cannon and rocket fire and explosions, although in the main it was sound without a great deal of separation or real directional effects. As noted, some sounds were redirected to the subwoofer with effective results.

    Lip synchronisation was fine.

     The original score by Nedy John Cross was loud and bombastic, which suited the film fine.

     The audio track was loud, and a bit unbalanced, but will certainly annoy the neighbours and any pets in the room.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are absolutely no extras of any kind. The menu lists “Play” and “Chapters”.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 1 US DVD of Humanity’s End seems to be in the aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and be without extras. Amazon UK lists a Region 2 DVD that is PAL and includes as extras a Making of, a featurette “The Forbidden Saga of Humanity”, deleted scenes and a trailer. The aspect ratio is not listed, and I am unable to find a review. On the face of it, this seems the better version.

Summary

     Humanity’s End has received some negative reviews. High art it is not, but it is a rip-roaring adventure with aliens, space battles, explosions, humour and a battle of the sexes to save humanity from extinction that is a heap of fun.

     The video and audio are acceptable for a low budget film and get the job done. There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, September 16, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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