Alien Adventure (1999) (NTSC)

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Released 1-Jun-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Trailer-Encounter in the Third Dimension; Haunted Castle
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Making Of
Gallery-Photo-2D; 3D
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-EPK
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 33:39 (Case: 85)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Ben Stassen
Studio
Distributor

Mindflux
Starring None Given
Case Scanavo-Opaque
RPI $34.95 Music Louis Vyncke
Lele & The Puzzlers


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.44:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Alien Adventure is Ben Stassen’s 2nd computer generated 3D animation film, a feature of the giant IMAX screens. This second effort is a tour of “Adventure Planet”, a new hi tech amusement park on an alien planet. This sci-fi adventure is basically a trip through a few roller coaster thrill-rides, spliced into a forgettable plotline. As with Encounter In The Third Dimension, I see these 3D films as they are intended – an exercise in computer generated 3D animation. Watched in 2D, this adventure is so-so to watch in your lounge room, but in 3D it is a fantastic piece of entertainment. This one comes with an introduction by the flying robot character M.A.X. from Encounter In The Third Dimension. He warns the viewer that the feature can at times become disorienting, causing dizziness or nausea. I have to agree with him, after finding myself a little dizzy at times. These roller-coaster rides sure do go fast. At times, an object appears on the track ahead of you, which is simply to give the viewer’s eyes a rest from the intense speed at which the roller-coaster is travelling.

    The 3D animation is again incredible, giving a great sense of depth, and providing some fantastic examples of 3D animation at its best. The faster the ride, the harder it is to take everything in. Sometimes it’s the more subtle shots that look the most impressive. The characters in the film are mildly amusing, but that’s not the point anyway. The actual look of the animation is a step up from Encounter In The Third Dimension, in that that the overall production is more stylish. Again, not the strong point to these films, but it just feels a little more polished than Encounter.

    These IMAX 3D films are a whole lot of fun. When watched in 2D, they all leave a bit to be desired, but in their 3D glory they are a real treat to watch. Alien Adventure is no exception to this, providing more 3D eye candy to be watched through the shutter glasses. I don’t quite like this one as much as Encounter, if only because it hones in on the roller coaster approach more than pure 3D imagery, but I still had a heap of fun with it. The total presentation of these DVDs only adds to the overall experience, in that their visual and audio presentations are magnificent (more on that below).

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Portions of the technical part of this review are identical to those in the Encounter In The Third Dimension review, as they are all of reference quality.

    The transfer of the 2D film is excellent, and is of reference quality. The transfer of the 3D film is of the same quality; only in 3D it appears to be less sharp. I think, though. that that comes down to the viewer’s ability to handle the 3D effect. Alien Adventure features a video transfer of the same quality as Encounter In The Third Dimension.

    The film is presented in a full frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, which means there is no 16x9 enhancement. I should mention that this is a Region 0 NTSC disc.

    Being digitally remastered from the large format film, the image is extremely clear and extremely sharp. The detail of the image is as crisp as can be. Shadow detail and black level are spot on. There is no low level noise. Alien Adventure is quite dark in parts, and really does need a bit of an adjustment to the brightness and contrast settings to be fully enjoyed in 3D. I feel that the 3D illusion is only enhanced by adjusting the levels slightly. Please remember that all TVs are configured differently, and not every set out there will require adjusting.

    Being a computer-generated film, the colours were vibrant throughout the entire running time. Reds were bold and bright, never bleeding or smearing.

    There were no MPEG artefacts or film-to-video artefacts seen throughout the entire production. Some slight aliasing was noticeable on a couple of occasions, but was never distracting.

    The 3D portion of the DVD copped the layer change, which occurred at 23.11, and again was unfortunately mid-sentence. The 2D portion fits comfortably within 1 layer, and required no layer change.

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

Audio

     This is an excellent audio transfer that enhances the production by creating an incredibly immersive soundfield. It is of reference quality.

    There are three different audio tracks on this DVD. The default audio track is English Dolby Digital 5.1. Additionally present are a dts 5.1 soundtrack and and audio commentary, which is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0.

    The dialogue was always clear and intelligible. There were no problems whatsoever with audio sync throughout the entire presentation.

    The music by Louis Vyncke and Lele & The Puzzlers was perfectly clear, never becoming distorted or too loud. With support from all channels, it is presented very well by this audio transfer.

    The surround channels were used constantly to support everything including dialogue, sound effects and music. Creating a 360 degree environment, the surround channels were used very effectively, and helped draw me into the on-screen action incredibly well while watching the film in 3D. There was not a single second that my concentration lapsed throughout the entire film, and a lot of that was contributed to by the surround sound mix. As far as Dolby Digital versus dts goes, I noticed a more 360 degree environment in the dts track, but the Dolby mix was still of a very high standard.

    The aubwoofer was used just as well as the surround channels, in that it perfectly supported all music and sound effects with some great bass. Like the surround channel usage, the subwoofer was mixed perfectly, adding greatly to the experience. I also give the edge to dts in the subwoofer department, if only just.

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

Extras

     All extra features are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. There are 3 audio tracks to choose from, but they are all identical.

Trailer - Encounter In The Third Dimension Trailer (1.15)

Trailer - Haunted Castle Trailer (1.26)

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    A fully animated shot from within a spaceship from the film, featuring our 3 main aliens.

Scene Selection Animation & Audio

    A static background picture, with fully animated thumbnails for the scenes from the film.

Audio Commentary

    Just like the commentary for Encounter, this screen-specific audio commentary features Executive Producer/Writer/Director Ben Stassen. This is just as informative and enjoyable as the track on Encounter, only this time there are a couple of occasions where Stassen has a very short breather. There's not quite as much to discuss this time around, but Ben still manages to provide a track well worth listening to.

Featurette-Making Of (4.12)

    This featurette is just really an extended trailer that features clips from the EPK (discussed below).

Gallery-Photo

    This is a 2D picture gallery featuring 39 shots from the film to look at. Those same shots are also presented in a short featurette running for 12.54 which you need your shutter glasses to view. They are just static shots, with 3D effect.

Theatrical Trailer - Alien Adventure (0.40)

Featurette - Electronic Press Kit (15.01)

    This was actually a decent featurette, featuring about three and a half minutes worth of soundbites (interviews with the cast and crew). It was not too informative, but it was good to hear from a few of the other people involved. This was followed by roughly two and a half minutes of B-roll footage, which showed some behind the scenes footage of the actors, and a behind the scenes look at some of the computer work involved. This was all followed by about three and a half minutes of selected clips from the film.

R4 vs R1

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

     This is a Region 0 release, which is the same across all regions.

Summary

     Alien Adventure was not an incredibly interesting and entertaining film when watched in 2D, but was the complete opposite in 3D. While maybe not quite as good as Encounter In The Third Dimension, I still had a lot of fun with it.

    The video quality is excellent and is of reference quality. Only a couple of shots were a bit too dark on my screen, but not enough to keep it from receiving the highest score.

    The audio quality is excellent and is of reference quality, which enhanced the overall production substantially.

    The extra features are better than anyone would expect, with a fantastic audio commentary, and a good (if too short) look at some behind the scenes action. Not the most elaborate set of extras, but better than I was expecting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Pockett (If you're really bored, you can read my bio...)
Friday, July 19, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayTeac 82cm 16x9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
Speakers5 Sony speakers; Sherwood 12" 100w Powered Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
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