Friday, April 11, 2008

This is the (Widescreen) Voice of Colossus!

DVD Times is reporting some good –potentially great – news. Colossus: The Forbin Project, a personal favorite from 1970, is being released on DVD in the UK on May 26th. The packaging says “widescreen”, which should mean anamorphic as well. For fans in Europe, and those us in the Colonies with all-region players, this will be the first DVD release of the film in its original aspect ratio. Previously, Universal irked many an ire over its bargain-bin ready release of a few years ago; a crummy full-frame transfer that would have been an anomaly even in the early days of the format. We also applaud the use of the original ad artwork for the cover. For the many who have never seen the film (a group whose numbers have swelled thanks to Universal’s bungling of the title on DVD) it sits beside the next year’s The Andromeda Strain as the beginning of truly intelligent Sci-Fi filmmaking in the 70s. It’s ironic that Michael Crichton, who seems content to be the Lawrence Sanders of techo-fiction, was responsible for two novels that were turned into truly remarkable films that represent the best examples of the trend; the aforementioned Strain, a deft mix of docu-drama and detective story, featuring 4 scientists in a secret government lab attempting to isolate a mysterious germ brought back to earth by a crashed satellite, and The Terminal Man, examining the ethics of a microchip-facilitated cure for violent behavior. The Andromeda Strain fared far better under the Universal banner, receiving a deluxe DVD presentation with a sparkling anamorpic transfer and input from both Crichton and director Robert Wise, but The Terminal Man (owned by Warner) is a no-show on DVD, but Xbox 360 owners can access a decent looking 480p widescreen version via the Live Marketplace.

In other UK news, the Scribe will be visiting the home of Hammer for the next week, and have been making use of this site in preparation. The site is a bit of a tease to get you to buy the book, but based on the ones that I’ve looked at, I’d say it’s worth the price. There’s a link to purchase it near the bottom of the page.