Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-John Lafia (Director)
Trailer-Heroes' Mountain, The Day Of The Roses, Avalanche
Trailer-Day The World Ended
|Year Of Production||2004|
|Running Time||158:38 (Case: 165)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||John Lafia|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (320Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Many of us anxiously enjoy watching a good disaster flick. Maybe it’s the stark reminder of how susceptible our towns, cities and material possessions are to the vagaries of nature's temperamental elements. Or perhaps it’s the horrible irony of just how fragile our bodies are to those steel and concrete structures designed to house and protect us. Like the small sub-genre of films dealing with earthquakes, 10.5 tries to exploit our vulnerability to the forces of our living earth - a force that has no hidden political agenda nor mercy for the life living upon it.
Beginning like an MTV video, with an extreme bike rider performing stunts through the streets of Seattle, 10.5 wastes no time in getting to the action. Suddenly, the quake strikes and the young rider is forced to outrun the Space Needle as it comes toppling down towards him.
Soon after Seattle has crumbled to dust, the President of the United States (Beau Bridges) sends in an expert, Samantha Hill (Kim Delaney) to investigate. She discovers this particular quake was in fact a forerunner to a series of cataclysmic seismic events that will eventually cause California to break away from the rest of the United States.
Shot with a sense of urgency that would make the producers of 24 and E.R. feel proud, the film is filled with dizzying zooms, camera pans, dramatic fade-ins and -outs, and enough split screens to guarantee that you will go cross-eyed. The characters inappropriately underplay or overplay their parts as if unsure about plot continuity. At one point, following the collapse of the Golden Gate bridge, not one of the cast members seems particular perturbed – even the President! It also doesn’t help when they are lumbered with lines like: “These (tremors) are not from our fault. They are from the faults affected by our fault,” says quake expert Hill confusingly. Or how about the bickering between political quake appointee Roy Nolan (Fred Ward) and Hill: “According to your hidden fault theory, we could be looking at the Big One,” he confesses to Hill. “Oh, Fred, you’re already soaking in the Big One, buddy,” she smugly replies.
If the dialogue doesn’t have you cringing, then the strange behaviour of the fault-lines will leave you gasping in disbelief. Amazingly, the cleaving earth follows an incredibly straight line as it chases and sucks a train down into a deep crevice. More astonishing is that the crack stops opening once the carriages and engine disappear.
On the plus side, there is a groggy, B-movie aesthetic coursing through the film a la its grandfather, Earthquake (1974). In trying to be sober, the narrative rocks and rolls like a bladder on a stick from one faux-melodramatic situation to the next. Any effective high drama is spectacularly swallowed up by the frantic visual style and grandiose special effects.
The film won an Award of Distinction, Mini-Series (for Part 1) from the Australian Cinematographers' Society in 2005. It was also nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Visual Effects (Mini-Series) and an Image Award for Outstanding Actor, Dulé Hill.
10.5 is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is also 16x9 enhanced. What the film lacks in captivating plot and narrative it certainly makes up for with excellent visual presentation.
Sharpness and shadow detail are generally crisp and clear. However, indoor scenes can sometimes appear a little murky due to poor lighting (16:24). Black levels are uniformly deep, showing no signs of low level noise.
To obtain a sense of clichéd grittiness, a thin veneer of grain has been added to certain scenes (6:59, 11:19, 13:35 for example). Although unnecessary, the “raw” visuals do go some way to intermittently endow the film with a quaint faux-documentary feel.
As most of the action takes place under the harsh Californian sun, colours are brilliantly rendered and appear appropriately vibrant and natural looking.
The layer change occurs at 79:10 between a fade-out and is not intrusive.
For a two-part television series, 10.5 is granted an excellent 5.1 surround sound mix.
The score by Lee Holdridge is a turgid blend of dramatic interludes, grunge and bombastic ambient noises. Although not memorable, it’s more than serviceable.
Surround use is frequent and effective. The tinkering of smashing windows, concrete splitting and explosions are enthusiastically channelled through to the rear speakers.
The subwoofer is put to excellent use by adding a guttural enhancement to the deep rumblings of the quake and earth tremors.
Dialogue is front-centred and comes through loud and clear.
|Surround Channel Use|
Like a doting father proudly showing his homely baby to a group of shocked onlookers, John Lafia talks lengthily and lovingly about his film. He’s articulate and intelligent, but much of what he has to say involves his intentions and technique, rather than how the film was actually received by viewers.
The Day of the Roses
Day the World Ended
10.5 has been released in Region 1 by Hallmark. The Region 1 has the same bonus features and 5.1 mix as found on our Region 4 release. However, the Region 1 version is a pan and scan rendering.
With an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, complemented by 16x9 enhancement, our Region 4 release is the clear winner.
10.5 is an incongruous, flashy film that will have you thrilled by its terrific special effects sequences. It also offers an opportunity for audience participation. In between the action you’ll have a great time yelling at the characters and laughing at the ludicrous plot contrivances.
|DVD||Yamaha DVR-S200 (it came free with the plasma), using S-Video output|
|Display||Yamaha 106cm Plasma. Calibrated with Sound & Home Theater Tune Up. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||get a marshall stack, and crank it up.|
|Speakers||2 x Bose Speakers and 4 NX-S200 Yamaha mini-speakers.|