The Rats (Colony, The) (Rental) (2001)

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Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Trailer-Shallow Hal; The Golden Bowl; Behind Enemy Lines
Trailer-Soul Survivors; Kung Pow-Enter The Fist; Super Troopers
Trailer-Bandits;Black Knight;Die Hard: SE; Planet Of The Apes (2001)
Trailer-Ice Age
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 84:32
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Lafia
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Vincent Spano
Madchen Amick
Daveigh Chase
Shawn Michael Howard
Case ?
RPI Rental Music Elia Cmiral


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, mildly - Apple Computers
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

      The Rats is a TV movie from the USA which was originally titled 'The Colony'- referring to a colony of killer rats that is breeding beneath the streets of New York City. I guess that for a TV movie, it is passable but that does not mean that it is any good....at all.

    The main gist of the film is that there is an infestation of rats around mid-town in New York City. Susan Costello (Madchen Amick) is the Operations Manager for a high profile department store, and when one of her customers gets bitten by a rat she calls in the exterminator. Enter Jack Carver (Vincent Spano), the alpha male - the all-muscle, all-knowing, infallible, sensitive and experienced rat genius. This guy knows about rats. This guy knows how to see obvious traces of rat infestation that amazingly, nobody else has noticed. This guy has a number plate that reads 'N2RODES' (a long bow to draw for such an awful gag.). This guy is THE MAN!  Together, he and Susan track the colony of 'killer' rats to their hideout and devise a daring plan to Save The City (!!!).

    They do so after investigating a number of incidents around the city involving large swarms of rats that nobody else seems to take any notice of, including the Health Department. It is at this point that we get the ever-clichéd scenario where our hero, trying to get assistance from the government body, is met with flat-out refusal and denial which culminates in the line we have heard a thousand times in cheesy movies; "I cannot have my people running off working for you every time you get some crazy idea!!"- uurgh!  The old 'blockheaded person in a position of power not giving the hero enough credit despite us knowing better' routine.

    To go with the flimsy plot and even worse screenplay, the production values are also pretty bad. For the entire film, there was nothing to make these rats seem at all scary. There are two scenes where the cute little faces of these vermin are replaced with digital effects to make them snarl a bit, but for the most part, they are made to look scary simply by their numbers. As well as this, there are countless scenes where the rats are meant to look frightening, yet they are just sitting there licking honey off an object near where our hero has put their hand, apparently about to strike!  I really would have thought that the science behind getting Mr Ed to talk may have improved in 40 years.

    In summary, this film is bad. Really bad. Its hero is a one-dimensional meat head, its heroine gets into more trouble than Lois Lane, its villains are more cute than scary and its clichés are stronger than the plot itself.

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Transfer Quality

Video

   The video transfer of this film is far from terrible, however it is not striking either.
 
    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 as it was made for TV, and needless to say, it is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The main fault with this transfer is its lack of a sharp and crisp picture. The picture does not lose focus or have many artefacts worth noting here, but it contains very light grain for the majority of the film, which lends a slightly soft look to the film. Shadow detail struggles for the most part as well due to this grain. There is some edge enhancement present, with the worst example being on Susan's left cheek at 36:30.

    Colours are steady throughout, with the film holding a grey and brown colour palette which is characteristic of most films set in New York City. There is no colour bleed and flesh tones look natural.

    There are no MPEG artefacts to be found and no film artefacts either.

    English subtitles are present on this disc. I watched quite a lot of these subtitles and they are word for word with the film - sometimes annoyingly so - where subtitles are recorded for things happening in the background like P.A. announcements.

    This is a single layered disc.

    As this film was made for TV, every so often the screen fades to black and then comes back up at the next scene where ad breaks would have been taken. For mine, this detracts from the viewing experience and probably could have been tightened up for the production of this DVD. It would not have been too hard to go back into the editing room and bring these breaks together to help the flow of the film and give it more of a theatrical feel.

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

Audio

    There is only one audio track recorded on this DVD - an English 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround track.

    The audio transfer is very muffled and it is hard to understand what is being said at various times throughout the film - this is the reason why I watched most of this film with the subtitles on. There are no instances where audio sync is an issue.

    The music in this film is very strong and of decent quality. There is a lot of music present in the surround speakers, which adds to some of the 'tension'.

    The subwoofer is not used.



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

Extras

    As this is a rental release, there are no substantial extras to be found.

Trailers (16:37)

    There is a trailer reel here that plays upon disc start-up but can also be selected from the menu. The following trailers are presented with English Dolby 2.0 Surround soundtracks and all suffer from some slight pixelization and grain.

R4 vs R1

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

     Currently, this title is not available in Region 1.

Summary

    This movie was never going to be good, however it could have been a lot better. The countless clichés, terrible script and the rats themselves make for a very dodgy film.

    Considering it was made for TV, the video transfer is not too bad.

    The audio is flawed.

    The extras are not there.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Hugh Fotheringham (what the hell is going on in bio??)
Wednesday, July 03, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S525, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersJamo X550 Left and Right, Jamo X5CEN Centre, Jamo X510 Surround

Other Reviews
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DVD Net - Martin F (read my bio)

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