Re-cycle (Gwai wik) (2006)
|Year Of Production||2006|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (60:31)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Oxide Pang Chun
Beyond Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||Chinese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Tsui Ting-yin (Angelica Lee, the Malaysian singer best remembered as the star of the original The Eye) is an author who is celebrating the successful release of a movie based on her best-selling trilogy, a tale of doomed romance that she had based on her own failed romance. Her publisher begins hyping her next novel, a fantasy thriller named "The Re-Cycle" immediately. As she begins feeling the pressure of delivering the novel, the unusual events that she is writing about start to happen to her and she is transported to a strange fantasy world populated by things that people have abandoned (the titular "recycled" things).
Re-Cycle was subject to a lot of hype throughout Asia and the International film community. As well as having a significant budget, Re-Cycle was the next film from the prolific Pang Brothers who had taken the world by storm with their The Eye trilogy and the early footage was visually stunning. The film was subsequently chosen as the closing night film for the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006. It received a wildly mixed response, though most could agree with its main fault - it tries to be too many things at once.
The film essentially has two storylines; one is very good, the other isn't. The good storyline of the film is a brilliantly conceived dark fantasy. Much like an Asian, adult take on Alice in Wonderland. The dark fantasy storyline is wrapped rather awkwardly in a somewhat muddled and very clichéd Asian horror story (the bad storyline). The two fit together like oil and water. Worse still, it is the muddled horror storyline that opens the film and introduces the story as another tired Hong Kong ghost story. I am honestly left wondering whether the lame horror wrapper was the result of heavy-handed producers demanding the horror movie they were hoping for rather than the dark fantasy they were delivered.
Throughout the good storyline, Re-Cycle looks stunning and the movie is easy to recommend on that basis alone. The good storyline is engaging, a little unsettling and highly original. The bad storyline is simply tired Asian horror going through the motions. I highly recommend checking Re-Cycle out, but be prepared to look past the tired opening half hour and be taken in by the latter part of the film.
The film is presented in its 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.
The image is razor sharp. There is a good level of shadow detail. Very mild film grain is visible throughout the film, which gives a natural theatrical look to the video.
The film uses a dynamic palette, particularly when depicting its fantasy world where some scenes are washed out with green, blue-grey or red light at various points. The colours are bold and natural when not deliberately altered.
There is no sign of compression artefacts in the transfer.
White English subtitles are present for the feature. The subtitles are occasionally too literal a translation of the original Mandarin and Cantonese and are occasionally a little too fast for slower readers. The subtitles feature a rogue character, a circle followed by 'K', appear randomly throughout. This doesn't make them unreadable, but is a little distracting.
This is a RSDL disc. The layer break occurs at 60:31 but was not noticeable on my equipment.
A single Mandarin & Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps) audio track is present for the film.
The audio mix is impressive throughout the film. The dialogue is clear and easy to discern. The audio/visual sync looks to be a fraction of a second out for the duration of the film, however it is hard to tell for certain as a non-Cantonese speaker.
The film features a rather conventional orchestral score, that is presented very well in the mix.
The surrounds are put to great use throughout the film and create an engrossing atmosphere. One of the few highlights of the irksome horror story opening to the film is the creepy use of the surrounds. The LFE channel is used for plenty more than dull thuds. The subwoofer add great effect to things like as grating machinery in many parts of the fantasy world.
|Surround Channel Use|
A somewhat misleading theatrical trailer that presents the movie as horror film rather than the dark fantasy that it really excels as. The video is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect, not 16x9 enhanced, and features excessive macro blocking throughout.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Re-Cycle is due out on DVD and Blu-ray in Region 1 in late September 2008. Early specs indicate it will have more in the way of special features than the local release, however it is too early to provide a definitive comparison. For now, Region 4 is your most reliable bet unless you want to hunt down one of the numerous Region 3 editions and hope for decent English subtitles.
Re-Cycle is an imaginative dark fantasy that has been awkwardly wrapped up in a lame horror storyline. Though the lame horror storyline certainly mars the overall film, it is still worthy viewing thanks to its stunning visuals throughout the fantasy portion of the film.
The video and audio are of a high standard. The sole extra is a rather heavily compressed trailer for the film.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3, using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|