Bats: Collector's Edition (1999)
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Theatrical Trailer-(Full Frame, DD2.0, 1:12 minutes)
Featurette-Bats Abound (Full Frame, DD2.0, 5:32 minutes)
Storyboard Comparisons-2 (1.85:1, DD2.0, 5:12 minutes)
Featurette-Special Effects Comparisons-2 (1.85:1, DD2.0, 6:49 minutes)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Audio Commentary-Louis Morneau (Dir) & Lou Diamond Phillips (Actor)
Isolated Musical Score
|Year Of Production||1999|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (49:17)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Louis Morneau|
Columbia Tristar F/D
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Lou Diamond Phillips
Leon Carlos Jacott
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
German Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Sony monitors|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Two words are sufficient to describe Bats: Pointless and Stupid. There really is nothing to recommend this film. The plot, such as it is, is devoid of interest, there is no characterization and even the many deaths occur with a randomness and lack of consequence that just goes to show how little thought went into the film's making.
There is no surprise to learn that this is a story about killer bats, loose on the citizens of sleepy Gallop, Texas. By necessity (is it ever anything else?) the bats in question are the product of some genetic/viral experimentation by a government agency, staffed by loony power-hungry scientists and with links to the military. Dr Shiela Casper (Dina Meyer) is the local authority on bats, and she and her sidekick Jimmy Sands (Leon) are called in to help eradicate the bats. The happy group is rounded out by the town's Sheriff Emmett Kimsey (Lou Diamond Phillips), the nice guy Dr Tobe Hodge (Carlos Jacott) and the loony scientist Dr Alexander McCabe (Bob Gunton), but they are gradually whittled down as they go about their quest of killing the bats by - wait for it - refrigerating their lair.
We are treated to lots of scenes of bats flying, killing, sleeping and generally hanging around looking nasty. Funny thing was, I never felt even the least bit scared. It's that type of film.
Picture clarity is pretty much spot on, but there is so much camera motion throughout the entire film that it's hard to get long views of anything much. Personally I found all that movement more than a little irritating. Given the subject matter, much of the scenery is shot at night, yet shadow detail is wonderful all the way through. There wasn't even a hint of low level noise.
The colour palette was a little odd, in that yellows and greens seemed to dominate during daylight scenes. Blue was the colour of night. This tended to lend the whole film a strange feel - similar to the feel of a sweltering summer's day. Perhaps that was the desired effect. I have no evidence to suggest that the colours presented on the disc are anything other than what was originally intended by the filmmakers.
Other than a tiny instance of aliasing on a USA flag the transfer held up with no noticible artefacts. There is not much you can say beyond that - well done again to the guys at Columbia Tristar.
The disc is an RSDL with the break coming between chapters 15 and 16 at 49:17. It is your normal garden variety break and is not disruptive to the flow.
Dialogue is clear at all times. There is clearly a lot of looping throughout this film but it comes across very naturally. There are no problems with audio sync at any stage.
The musical score by Graeme Revell provides a dark backdrop heavy with percussion, but it is far from memorable.
The area where this film and DVD really stand out is in the surround channel action. I doubt if I've ever heard as much sound coming out the back as here, where the sound of flapping wings literally comes at you from everywhere. It's great, but not enough to see the film just for this reason. Unfortunately, the subwoofer doesn't seem to get the same treatment, which is strange given the size of the explosions that make up the finale to the film. All in all it seemed to get into the action when there wasn't any, and failed to show up when there was.
|Surround Channel Use|
In this case, the answer is (d). There was never going to be anything to be said, so why spend an hour and a half saying it. To top it all off we are even promised a sequel!
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-K310, using S-Video output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T43W1 (125cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Richter Wizard (front), Jamo SAT150 (rear), Yamaha YST-SW120 (subwoofer)|