The Ice Pirates (1984)
Main Menu Audio
|Year Of Production||1984|
|Running Time||90:05 (Case: 94)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (38:50)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||Stewart Raffill|
Warner Home Video
Michael D. Roberts
Daryl Keith Roach
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The success of the original Star Wars trilogy opened the doors wide for a slew of sci-fi to flood the market, each hoping to cash in on the success of George Lucas' masterpiece. A number cashed in on the commercial success of Star Wars, a few cashed in on its critical success, The Ice Pirates managed neither. Like The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, it has built a notable cult following over the years for being "so bad it's good" despite being a bit of a turkey in its day. Although intended to be a pantomime spoof of sci-fi of the day, as many of the laughs to be found in this one come from the sheer stupidity of the movie itself and its styrofoam sets as they do from intentional gags.
In a future where water is the most valuable commodity in the universe, Jason (Robert Urich) and his crew (including cult favourites Angelica Huston and Ron Perlman) are ice pirates - regularly raiding container ships carrying ice blocks between worlds. One day they hit the motherload - millions of gallons of ice and a beautiful princess (Mary Crosby, daughter of the rather more talented Bing) to boot. Instead of escaping with the loot, they find themselves captured and sentenced to live as eunuch slaves (did I mention that The Ice Pirates falls back on potty humour on more than the odd occasion?) only to be rescued by the princess and taken on a rather nonsensical quest to find her missing father and stop the evil corporation that holds monopoly over the water supply in the galaxy.
This is a very silly ride. Anyone looking for remotely serious sci-fi should steer well clear, but anyone looking to laugh as much at the movie as with it will have a good night in with The Ice Pirates.
The video quality is reasonable for a budget release. It is certainly better than any VHS transfer you are likely to find of the film, but not to the standard you would typically expect of a full price DVD release.
The video is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio that is 16x9 enhanced.
The video is a little soft, but even throughout. The brightness level of the image is significantly higher than it should be throughout the film, and is occasionally a little uneven though this does not detract from the film too much. The brightness does wash out the darker scenes somewhat and consequently the level of shadow detail is relatively poor. There are no issues with grain.
Occasional small film artefacts are visible throughout the feature, but the transfer is generally quite clean. Mild telecine wobble is evident throughout the whole film, particularly during the opening credits. This effect does not make the film unwatchable, but can be mildly distracting at points where the camera should be static.
A large MPEG blocking artefact is visible around one spaceship as it moves across the screen at 2:12 (the near static bright box follows the movement of the ship), but there are no other DVD video compression related issues.
There are a large range of subtitles available on this disc.
The layer change is somewhat awkwardly placed during a scene at 38:50, but was not noticeable on my equipment.
There are three audio tracks available; English, French and German Dolby Digital mono (192 kbps). Although each of the audio tracks is very basic they are true to the original source. There is no surround use or deep bass that reaches the subwoofer
The audio is quite clear throughout the feature and there are no sync issues. The score is quite upbeat, the kind of rock/orchestral score that screams '1980s science fiction'.
|Surround Channel Use|
This disc opens with an interesting twist on the dreaded anti-piracy clip many DVD owners have come to hate. When the disc is first inserted, the viewer is prompted to select their location. Depending on the location selected, the viewer either skips the anti-piracy clip or gets a regionalised version of the same trailer. Whilst getting threatened in a foreign language is worth a chuckle, this is ultimately an even bigger pain than the anti-piracy clips usually are because it requires interaction to proceed.
Static menu with an adventurous segment of the film's score.
Once upon a time, Hollywood hadn't figured out how to make a slick trailer. This is a relic from that time that fits well with the so-bad-it's-good nature of the movie. It also features a few clips that didn't make it into the movie!
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 version misses the German language track and most of the subtitle tracks of the Region 4 edition. Region 4 misses nothing. Particularly given the low price, there is little incentive to shop overseas (although I have not viewed the transfer quality for comparison).
The movie is so bad it's good! Star Wars this is not.
The transfer and lack of extras are not great, but are befitting of the budget price of this release. A Star Wars transfer this is not.
|DVD||LG V8824W, using S-Video output|
|Display||LG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|