The Rats (Colony, The) (Rental) (2001)
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)
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||John Lafia|
Twentieth Century Fox
Shawn Michael Howard
|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|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, mildly - Apple Computers|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
As this is a rental release, there are no substantial extras to be found.
Considering it was made for TV, the video transfer is not too bad.
The audio is flawed.
The extras are not there.
|DVD||Sony DVP-S525, using Component output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS797- THX Select|
|Speakers||Jamo X550 Left and Right, Jamo X5CEN Centre, Jamo X510 Surround|