Body Snatchers (1993)

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Released 14-Oct-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 83:34
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Abel Ferrara
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Gabrielle Anwar
Billy Wirth
Terry Kinney
Forest Whitaker
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $14.90 Music Jon Delia


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0
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 Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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Plot Synopsis

     Body Snatchers is the third film adaptation based on the terrific novel of the same name by Jack Finney. The story is simple: Alien pods land on earth and start replacing the human population with emotionless replicas. The invasion escalates and forces mankind to battle for its survival. The first film adaptation was Don Siegel's 1956 Invasion of The Body Snatchers. The film was a well-made B movie that drew parallels to the Cold War paranoia that was running rampant at the time. It also drew on the mistrust of one's neighbours so prevalent in the 1950's in the United States, which was at the time struggling with McCarthyism. The 1978 version was directed by Philip Kaufman and was one of those rare examples where the remake was far superior to the original. The 1978 version is simply one of the best science fiction films of that decade. The cast was led by Donald Sutherland and Leonard Nimoy and the screenplay by W. D. Richter (Big Trouble In Little China) was just superb. 15 years later, producer Robert Solo decided to update the concept and thus was born 1993's Body Snatchers.

    This modern version relocates the pod menace to a military base. A young father, Terry Kinney. who works for the Environmental Protection Agency arrives at the base with his young family in tow in order to conduct ecological tests. His eldest daughter, Gabrielle Anwar, discovers that the residents of the base are displaying some abnormal behaviour. The eventual discovery of the pod invasion forces Anwar, with the help of a heroic helicopter pilot played by Billy Wirth, to stage one last battle to remain human.

    The film is directed efficiently by exploitation B movie stalwart Abel Ferrara. Ferrara excellently combines the story's paranoia and mistrust elements and thankfully gives them equal consideration as well as providing first rate action scenes. The entire cast provide solid performances and the make-up effects by Star Trek prosthetics guru Thomas Burman are first rate. The screenplay by Stuart Gordon and Dennis Paoli of Re-animator fame is a class act and revels in the subject's B movie roots. Although the film never scales the heights of the 1978 version, it remains a quality science fiction entry and should be relished by fans of the two previous versions.

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Transfer Quality

Video

   The DVD cover indicates that Body Snatchers is presented in an aspect ratio of 1:85:1, but thankfully this is incorrect and we are given a superb 2:35:1 16x9 anamorphic version.

    Sharpness levels are spot on with only one noticeable aliasing problem located at the 6:57 mark. Thankfully, it is of a miniscule duration and does not distract in the slightest. Shadow detail is solid with excellent depth and solid black levels. There were no grain or low level noise problems.

    Colours were natural and there were no bleeding issues. It must be said that Director of Photography Bojan Bazelli's use of available light sources was exceptional, and thankfully the print shows this to best effect.

    There was little to no interference from film or video artefacts.

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

Audio

    The film has a solitary English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded track.

    Dialogue is very clear and I did not detect any obvious audio sync problems.

    The film's score by Joe Delia fits the film like a glove and adds an excellent atmosphere to the on-screen activity.

    Surround channel usage was surprisingly solid. The soundtrack possesses many fine examples of directional sound manipulation.

    The subwoofer supports the audio track very nicely indeed.

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

Extras

     There are no extras.

R4 vs R1

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

    All versions of this DVD are currently essentially the same.

Summary

    Body Snatchers is a first rate moderately budgeted science fiction movie. The audio and video presentation are excellent, but the film is sadly lacking a solitary extra. Considering the retail price of this film is under thirteen dollars, Warner Home Video should be publicly congratulated for such a fine presentation.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Thursday, October 23, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony HT-K215
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

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