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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Epsilon (1995)

Epsilon (1995)

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Released 10-Aug-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Audio
Alternative Version-The US - Miramax Version (87:45)
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 97:46 (Case: 88)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Rolf de Heer

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Ullie Birve
Syd Brisbane
Alethea McGrath
Chloe Ferguson
Phoebe Ferguson
Case Custom Packaging
RPI ? Music Graham Tardif

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Even critics of Australian filmmaker, Rolf de Heer would have to acknowledge the courage and diversity in his filmmaking. His films constantly defy convention in style and subject matter - Epsilon is another example of this diversity.

    The idea and concept for Epsilon came to Rolf de Heer during the post-production of Bad Boy Bubby. After seeing some fine examples of motion control and time-lapse photography, he became interested in using the technique in a feature film. Rolf started work on a screenplay, which would deliver the narrative and characters to achieve this ambition.

    In the remote outback of Australia a light falls in the night sky. A naked woman materialises on a rock and looks around inquisitively. The woman (Ulli Birve) is from the planet, Epsilon and she is unaware that she has arrived on Earth. In the darkness, she finds a lone man (Syd Brisbane) sitting by his campfire. Much to his surprise, the form of a naked woman emerges slowly out of the shadows.

    When the woman realises that she has been sent to Earth, she is enraged. She tells the man that Earth and its inhabitants are a source of ridicule within the universe. The Earth is slowly being destroyed by a race of very low intelligence - the human race.

    With the ability to slow time and morph between locations, the alien woman shows the man the error of human ways. But despite all the contempt she displays toward the planet Earth, there is one element that emerges, which is truly universal.

    The US distributor, Miramax purchased Epsilon for the US market (released under the title of Alien Visitor) and requested changes to the structure of the film. Rolf de Heer later wrote and filmed additional scenes, which added more clarity to the narrative in the opening and closing scenes. This US version is ten-minutes shorter than the original cut and also removes some of the full-frontal nudity in the early scenes.

    This is the first time the original 1995 cut of Epsilon has been released on DVD. As a comparison, Umbrella has also included the 1997 US - Miramax version on this edition. The original cut is the preferred version, as it retains ambiguity and some mystery in the narrative. The US version neatly closes the film with all the relevant explanations. It's worth a look in comparison, but it's really quite lame.

    Epsilon features some stunning locations and amazing cinematography by Tony Clark - it is worth seeing for this reason alone. While it is an interesting film, in my opinion, it never really achieves the goals it strives for. What begins as a fascinating and beautiful sci-fi film soon descends into a preachy soap opera. The films premise is full of anticipation, but unfortunately, the end result is not one of Rolf de Heer's better films.

    Epsilon is presented as part of Umbrella's Rolf de Heer Collection. At the time of writing this review, this DVD isn't available for separate purchase.

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Transfer Quality


     The two alternate versions of Epsilon are presented on this DVD and both are presented in different aspect ratios. The original (previously unreleased) version is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is 16x9 enhanced. The US (Miramax) version is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.24:1, which is also 16x9 enhanced. The correct ratio for the film is 2.35:1. Directly comparing the versions on screen, there is minimal difference across the screen, but vertically the original version is considerably more open.

    Both versions exhibit a good degree of sharpness, although there is some minor film grain evident in some darker scenes. Blacks were generally clean and shadow detail was also good. Colours are full and vibrant on both versions.

    The changing colours of the Australian outback are well balanced and look stunning in some scenes. However, the balance of colour appears to be cleaner in the US version - a good example is to compare the sky in the city smog scene.

    There were no MPEG artefacts noticed. Film-to-video artefacts were negligible and film artefacts were mostly of a minor nature.

    There are no subtitles available on this DVD.

    This is a DVD 9, dual layer disc. The layer change occurs during the original version at 92:01.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Each version has one audio track - both tracks are surround encoded, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    Dialogue quality seemed fine and there were no apparent issues with audio sync.

    The original score by Graham Tardif is very effective. The score is mystical and intense, with traditional aboriginal ambience.

    The surrounds were noticed more during the early scenes of the film - especially in the original version. The rear channels predominantly carried music and ambient sound.

    The subwoofer enhanced bass elements in the score.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


The menu is static, 16x9 enhanced and features a sample of music from the film.

Apart from the fact that both versions of the film are included on the DVD, there are no other extras.

R4 vs R1

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

    There is a R1 edition of Epsilon released under the US title of Alien Visitor. This edition was released by Disney Home Video in September 2000. Naturally, it only features the US, Miramax version of the film and has no extras.


     Epsilon is an interesting, but not entirely successful film from Rolf de Heer. Ironically, the environmental themes in the story are probably more relevant today than when the film was made over ten years ago.

    The transfers are fine.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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