Stranded (2013)

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Released 20-Nov-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Trailer-Eagle Entertainment trailers x 6, but not for this film
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 82:49 (Case: 80)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Roger Christian
Studio
Distributor

Eagle Entertainment
Starring Christian Slater
Amy Matysio
Brendan Fehr
Michael Therriault
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Todd Bryanton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 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

     A mining base on the Moon with a crew of four, Colonel Gerard Brauchman (Christian Slater), Doctor Lance Krauss (Brendan Fehr) and crewmembers Ava Cameron (Amy Matysio) and Bruce Johns (Michael Therriault), is hit by a meteor storm that severely damages the base and knocks out their communications with Earth. While trying to fix some of the damage Ava retrieves a small meteor which seems to have spores attached. When investigating the spores Ava accidentally pricks her finger and within hours appears to be pregnant and near term. Placed into isolation she gives birth to an alien creature that is capable of mutating and adopting humanoid form; it escapes and begins to target the crew one by one, starting with Johns. But is this really happening or, as Doctor Krauss thinks, is it a hallucination produced by carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from the damaged air supply.

     Stranded has received some poor reviews. It is certainly nothing original, lifting bits of Alien with some of The Thing thrown in for good measure. The film is directed by Roger Christian, who shared a Best Art Direction- Set Decoration Oscar in 1978 for the original Star Wars but who is probably better known for directing the John Travolta starring multiple Razzie Award winner Battlefield Earth (2000). Yet, although derivative, Stranded is actually quite good.

     For a start Stranded wastes no time on character background or development; within the first minute the moonbase is being bombarded by the meteor shower and from there the action never lets up during its short 80 minute running time. The film also makes advantage of using only a few dark closed in sets representing the corridors, command centre and the living quarters of the base to create a spooky, claustrophobic atmosphere and a number of scares. As well, due to damage inflicted on the base, many of the scenes are dimly lit and / or smoky, enhancing the feeling of something unseen lurking in the darkness, although the scenes from the POV of the creature seem a misstep as reduce the tension, not increase it. The small cast perform well and although nominal star Christian Slater is mostly on autopilot, Amy Matysio and especially Michael Therriault are very effective in their roles.

     Stranded is not as bad as some critics would have you believe. While completely derivative, it is tense and scary, makes a virtue of its small dimly lit rooms and corridors, and is never dull.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Stranded is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     Set almost exclusively within the confines of the moonbase with its dark grey corridors and rooms, often with smoke or dim lighting, there are no bright colours in Stranded and shadow detail is often purposefully indistinct. However close up detail is sharp, blacks solid, the skin tones natural, brightness and contrast consistent

     There was occasional motion blur against panels and at 2:38 a circular pattern occurred within the grey smoke. There was also a fair amount of digital noise reduction in some dark scenes, resulting in a grainy texture. Marks were absent.

     The layer change at 44:38 was during a scene change and resulted in a slight pause.

     There are no subtitles.

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

Audio

     Audio is a choice of English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps or English dts 5.1 at 754 Kbps. I listened to the dts and sampled the Dolby Digital. Both were good although to my ear the dts was crisper.

     Dialogue was always clear and centred. Right from the beginning the surrounds and rears were utilised for the meteor shower with rocks flying past and crashing into the Moon and the base. Afterwards the complete sound stage was used for music, the hum of machinery, hissing pipes and the creature noises, and included directional and panning effects. The sub-woofer gave appropriate support to meteor hits, engines and the music.

     The original score by Todd Bryanton was very effective, nicely adding to the atmosphere and tension without signalling scares.

     I did not notice any lip synchronisation issues.

     This is a very good enveloping audio track.

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

Extras

Trailers

     On start-up there were trailers for A Common Man (1:38), Ring of Fire (2:14), Eve of Destruction (1:40), The Crown and the Dragon (1:04), CAT.8 (1:51) and Exploding Sun (1:42). These trailers can also be selected from the main menu.

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 release of Stranded includes a number of short extras including a Making of (15 min) and effects featurette (6 min). According to the IMDb Stranded was released on DVD with a run time of 84 minutes (which is our version with PAL speed-up) but there appears to be an extended edition running 88 minutes (NTSC). The US Region 1 DVD is listed as running 88 minutes, but it also is listing as being cropped to 1.78:1.

     If the US release was in the correct ratio it would clearly be the best version; buyer’s choice.

Summary

     I quite enjoyed Stranded. It is nothing original but it is tense and scary, makes a virtue of its limited budget and is never dull. There are far worse sci-fi thrillers as long as you just enjoy what is on offer without too much comparison to the other films.

     The video is good, the audio excellent. Trailers for other films are the only extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, January 16, 2014
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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Stranded - Region 2 - wolfgirv REPLY POSTED