Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1987)

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Released 8-Jun-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Theatrical Trailer
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 95:31
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Gary Nelson
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Richard Chamberlain
Sharon Stone
James Earl Jones
Henry Silva
Robert Donner
Doghmi Larbi
Aileen Marson
Cassandra Peterson
Martin Rabbett
Rory Kilalea
Alex Heyns
Themsi Times
Philip Boucher
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Michael Linn
Jerry Goldsmith


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Greek
Romanian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Allan Quatermain and Jesse Huston are back, and this time it'll be double the adventure! With Allan and Jesse preparing for their wedding, it seems that nothing can distract the happy couple from the quickly approaching day. But when an acquaintance of Quatermain's comes out of the jungle with barely his life while being chased by a strange unknown tribe, Quatermain is interested. When the same man is later found dead, seemingly at the hands of the same unknown tribe, Quatermain must get to the bottom of the caper. Allan is also interested in the fate of the visitor and the pursuing tribe, as it may have something to do with his brother who was lost years ago in search of treasure.

    Employing the services of the fierce warrior Umslopogaas (James Earl Jones) and having to tolerate the snivelling and untrustworthy trader Swarma (Robert Donner), Allan Quatermain heads out in search of his brother, and with wife-to-be Jesse in tow, the search for the Lost City of Gold is underway. There are many pitfalls and hurdles on the way, but nothing can prepare them for the unbelievable world that awaits them, and if they survive, it could be the biggest treasure ever found!

    "The Action is Back!  The Adventure is Back!  But most of all, The Fun is Back!  If ever there was an adventure hero, his name would be Allan Quatermain. Now, in their biggest adventure, Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone star in the action film of the year. Grab your hat, Grab your coat and hang on tight, for the biggest, scariest and most fun adventure romp ever!"...That would have to be the spin. The reality? The Boredom is back. The Bad Script is Back. But most of all, The Crap is Back. Take off your shoes, sit back and prepare for what would have to be the lamest action sequel ever. If ever there was an adventure hero, his name would surely have to be Indiana Jones. Why Richard Chamberlain and Co. keep trying is anyone's guess. Never have I seen such an uninspiring film spawn an equally uninspiring sequel. In one of the lamest comebacks ever, Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone reprise their roles from the unintentionally hilarious 1985 'adventure' film King Solomon's Mines. Even with the legendary James Earl Jones on board, this film doesn't even come close to the uninspiring heights of the first film, with new lows in terms of bad script, bad acting, really terrible sets, 'special' effects that are so bad that they destroy the suspension of disbelief and a storyline that has to be seen to be disbelieved. As I've seen Chamberlain and Stone in the earlier film, and can almost accept their taking on the roles again (they were apparently under contract for a sequel under the terms of the first film), I cannot believe that James Earl Jones would stoop to the lows of this film. Even I can't believe that he had rent to pay and can only believe that he must have owed someone a huge favour. Jones is a much better actor that we see here, and the role of Umslopogaas (as written in the script here) isn't worthy of his participation.

    Robert Donner is another actor that can be singled out, but only for his atrocious portrayal of the ludicrously named Swarma. Swarma is a conglomeration of every bad stereotype in regards to Hindi culture. I've seen Donner in much better roles, such as that of Exidor in the 70s series Mork & Mindy, where he demonstrated a quite good sense of comedic timing. Perhaps the role was so poorly written that nothing could be made of it, but watching him in this film made me cringe. Terrible. There is little to redeem this film from the depths of mediocrity, except the one saving grace of the previous film, King Solomon's Mines:  the 'So bad, it's good' factor. The truth is, 'so bad, it's good' is never enough reason to make a sequel, as one is always enough. There seemed to be a contractual clause that made the original film's main stars return for this drivel. There couldn't be any other reason, could there? Everything that rang untrue in the first film rings twice as untrue here. The sets are even worse than the first film, with the canoe in the canals sequence so obviously a set that it wasn't even funny (okay, a little bit funny). Some of the rear projection and blue screen effects are even worse than that seen in the first film, which is saying something. Far from simply unsuspending your disbelief, it'll rip you right out of any disbelief you might have ever had. The dialogue is even worse than the first film, with Swarma's proclamations cringeworthy throughout. Whenever the group faces any peril, you almost wish that something would happen to them so the horror would end. Thankfully, it does end. This is terrible cinema (if you could call it that) and only the most hardened of cinema-goers should attempt to take this on. Not for the fainthearted, as it is truly bad.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    We get a watchable video transfer here.

    The feature is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with 16x9 enhancement.

    The level of sharpness available here is similar to that seen in the first film of this franchise, King Solomon's Mines. Sharpness is workable here, but suffers from some of the focus issues seen in the first film. Despite the lower bitrate used, there is enough to adequately transfer the various flaws in the transfer print. Shadow detail is fair here, and adequate enough for the material. It is nowhere near any reference quality, but then we aren't expecting it here. I had no problems with low level noise.

    Colour's use during the film is the same as the first film - fairly natural in style but somewhat muted as is expected from an 80s production, again, due to the age of the transfer print or intended stylistically by the producers. Colour's committal to disc is acceptable.

    This disc is formatted as a single layer, so with a running time of just over 95 minutes, we aren't going to get as high a bitrate as we did with the King Solomon's Mines disc which was dual layered. The average bit rate ranges between 4.50 Mb/s and 5.25 Mb/s. The bitrate was a bit more reactive than the King Solomon's Mines disc. Still, the image wasn't all that different and I didn't find it much worse than the previous film's transfer. The bitrate was quite a bit down, but then you have to consider what was being used for the transfer and also the fact that audio options weren't over the top in terms of numbers and bitrate. Edge enhancement is present with this disc as it was with the King Solomon's offering, but the most glaring artefacts are the numerous nicks and flecks evident during the presentation, with 26:49 being a prime example. Some of the stock footage used is much worse than the film's original print, but the numerous flaws in the transfer print, along with a high level of grain visible throughout does hamper the overall clarity and quality of the transfer. That said, I expected nothing less.

    We get a host of subtitle options with this title, and what we get in terms of English serves the material in an adequate fashion without being word for word.

    This disc is formatted single layer and as such, a layer change is not an issue.

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

Audio

     We get a fair audio transfer here, but nothing remarkable.

    There are 4 audio options here, these being English, German, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mixes running at a very basic bitrate of 192 Kb/s. I listened to the English audio track in total whilst having a quick listen to the others available.

    I found the dialogue quality to be adequate throughout. While the film was made at a time where quality audio was becoming more and more available, we don't get anything exceptional here as the budget probably didn't warrant it. I had no serious issues with audio sync. There is the odd instance of obvious ADR, but nothing out of the ordinary and nothing I didn't expect.

    Music for this feature comes from the late film score editor and composer Michael Linn. Michael worked in sound production on such films as Steel Dawn and the 1988 Dennis Quaid / Meg Ryan thriller D.O.A. and composed the scores for Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo and American Ninja before doing the score for this film. Working with the main theme composed by Jerry Goldsmith for the first film, Michael goes in much the same direction with a score that does the job without being overly memorable. Sadly, Michael passed away in 1995 whilst in his early 40s.

    There isn't a huge amount of surround material here. My processor was able to derive a simple atmospheric surround presence with the audio here, and any simple Pro Logic amp should do the trick, just don't expect too much. LFE wasn't a large portion of the sound either.

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

Extras

    The pickin's are as slim here as they were with the first film. There isn't very much on offer.

Menu

    After the Language Select menu, we are taken to the disc's Main Menu which offers us the following:     The menus are silent, static and 16x9 enhanced.

Original Theatrical Trailer   -   1:09

    The voiceover says that this is the action film of the year. All I can say about that is that 1987 must have been a lean year for action films. It puts the film in the best light and makes it seem that it can make up for the lack of any Indiana Jones films. Still, quick and selective editing can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear and the cheap budget shows through. You can even see the wire holding up Richard Chamberlain's stunt double at one point during this trailer (it's in the film as well). The image here is quite soft, but it does feature 16x9 enhancement of a 2.35:1 image. Audio is in English Dolby Digital 2.0.

R4 vs R1

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

    As with King Solomon's Mines, this film was released in Region 1 on February 10th, 2004 in a form quite similar to that which we get here.

     The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:      Besides the Region coding, the package is the same between regions. The Region 2 is exactly the same as we have here as our disc is coded for both Region 4 and Region 2. Grab whatever suits your fancy, but I'd pick the local version as it's probably the better option with local affordability and availability along with a PAL transfer.

Summary

    You can throw a million things at a picture, all things that should equate to success in both quality and storytelling. Not one thing was thrown this picture's way. Once and future bankable stars such as Richard Chamberlain (once) and Sharon Stone (future) and quality contributors such as James Earl Jones and Henry Silva don't help the film any, despite their appearance. The only reason you'd get this film is to see if it is really as bad as the first film. It isn't, it's worse. View at your own peril.

    The video is watchable, but the image suffers from excessive grain and quite a number of nicks and flecks.
 
    The audio is simple and suits the material.

    The only extra is a theatrical trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Saturday, June 26, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD RP-82 with DVD-Audio on board, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko TRW 325 / 32 SFT 10 76cm (32") 16x9. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RX-V2300 Dolby Digital and dts. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2300 110w X 6 connected via optical cable and shielded RCA (gold plated) connects for DVD-Audio
SpeakersVAF DC-X Fronts (bi-wired), VAF DC-6 Center, VAF DC-2 Rears, VAF LFE-07 Sub (Dual Amp. 80w x 2)

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