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Daily DVD Bargains


Mysterious Island (Encore Edition) (Blu-ray)

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&#13 Loosely primarily based on Jules Verne’s 1874 novel (which was itself a quasi-sequel to each 20,000 Leagues Below the Sea and In Search of the Castaways, the initial of which also featured Captain Nemo), Cy Endfield’s Mysterious Island (1961) has been adapted numerous other times for film, Tv, and other media. The source material is ripe with the possibility of imaginative visuals and…well, mystery, making this film a best showcase for the enjoyable creatures and effects from the mind of Ray Harryhausen. Featuring a terrific score by Bernard Hermann, strong performances, and memorable visuals, there is a lot to like here and it all ties together nicely throughout this brief but sweet adventure. &#13

&#13 We’re dropped in the middle of a Confederate prison camp for the duration of the American Civil War in 1865, where Captain Cyrus Harding (Michael Craig) and three males are planning to escape in a nearby gas-powered balloon sitting outdoors. Their strategy functions and, with Confederate Sergeant Pencroft (Percy Herbert) reluctantly in tow, the Union prisoners escape into the stormy night. Eventually floating west, high above the clouds (but nevertheless really considerably at the wind’s mercy), they ultimately land on an uncharted volcanic island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Captain Harding naturally assumes command Pencroft (once more, reluctantly) falls in line, as do Union soldiers Herbert Brown (Michael Callan), Neb (Dan Jackson), and war correspondent Gideon Spillet (Gary Merrill). Every single have their own duties, with the typical targets of (a) staying alive and (b) arranging a different escape, given that the balloon’s out of commission.&#13

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&#13 Survival would be difficult sufficient with no a giant crab, dino-sized bird, lurking cephalopod, and marauding pirates, but that pesky volcano begins acting up as well. Even with the assist of two shipwrecked English girls (Joan Greenwood and Beth Rogan) and Captain Nemo himself (Herbert Lom), things heat up once the lava flows. Luckily, they’ve got a strategy: resurrect a sunken ship with that trusty gas balloon and sail to freedom. Simple enough, correct? &#13

&#13 Even those new to Mysterious Island (or the perform of Ray Harryhausen) should have no trouble jumping appropriate in. There’s quite small fat right here…just tons of adventure, amusing interplay among the diverse cast, and no shortage of impressive visuals. In reality, the closest issue to dead weight is a budding romance between young Herbert Brown and the fetching Elena Fairchild: it’s natural that the settings and circumstances would yield romance, but their characters are two of the least developed. As a result, the whirlwind relationship feels far more like a desperate stab at sex appeal than an earned, organic element of an otherwise tight story. But as a whole, Mysterious Island works as nicely as it does due to the triple threat of Harryhausen, composer Bernard Hermann, and director Cy Endfield, who are capable to craft an enjoyable romp via uncharted territory that can make just about anybody feel like a kid at the movies. &#13

&#13 Mysterious Island reappears on Blu-ray as an “Encore Edition” from Twilight Time, who released a a limited edition in 2011 that sold out quickly. These who bought that original disc might be annoyed at the prospect of re-acquiring a film just three years later (specially considering that this one particular offers a modest A/V upgrade and numerous new extras), but it’ll probably hold its value for these hunting to unload their 1st pressing for further pocket money. Either way, this is an incredibly well-rounded disc that fans will appreciate owning and newcomers must think about while it is still in print.&#13

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High quality Handle Division

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Video &amp Audio High quality&#13
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&#13 Word has it that this clean and crisp 1080p, 1.66:1 transfer of Mysterious Island looks a small distinct than the previous Twilight Time Blu-ray (and slightly for the far better)…but since I do not own that out-of-print disc, I can not say for certain. It is obvious, even though, that this is a best-top quality effort: image detail and film grain are consistently attractive, the colors are rendered nicely, no main damage is present, and black levels are really very good. The only glaring issues are likely unavoidable and normally due to the effects shots: matte lines are highly visible (and may possibly even be mistaken for heavy edge enhancement at instances), tiny color fluctuations pop up every now and then, and contrast levels do not usually match up evenly. But taken for what it is, Mysterious Island looks amazing on Blu-ray and was realistically never meant to be picked apart by videophiles with high-definition displays and the potential to freeze-frame.&#13


&#13 &#13 DISCLAIMER: These compressed and resized screen captures are purely decorative and do not represent the Blu-ray under assessment.&#13 &#13


&#13 The audio’s been provided a small additional enjoy as effectively: there are no significantly less than 5 separate tracks on this Blu-ray, including a brand new DTS-HD two. Master Audio mix that replicates the original two-channel encounter. Still on board, of course, are the lossless mono and remixed five.1 tracks from the early Twilight disc both are superb for completely distinct motives, but it really is hard not to get swept up in Bernard Hermann’s original score in the course of the far more enveloping but tasteful 5.1 mix. An audio commentary is integrated also, as pointed out in the Bonus Features section. Either way, with this a lot of choices obtainable it is nearly impossible to give Mysterious Island anything much less than a ideal score soon after all, what much more could you want right here? Optional English subtitles have been included for the duration of the film as nicely.&#13

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Menus, Presentation, &amp Packaging
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&#13 Not considerably to the menu: it’s just a static interface that’s fundamentally identical to the original cover art with separate possibilities for playback, chapter selection, audio/subtitle setup, and bonus features. This 1-disc release is packaged in a clear keepcase and includes a recycled Booklet with specs, production notes, and an essay by Julie Kirgo. &#13

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Bonus Functions
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&#13 Twilight Time’s original Blu-ray incorporated the previously described Isolated Score track, as properly as an original Trailer and Television Spot for the film those bonus features return right here, along with a number of others for very good measure.&#13

&#13 First and foremost is a function-length Audio Commentary with film historians Randall William Cook, C. Courtney Joiner, and Steven C. Smith, who contribute a solid track loaded with comments about director Cy Endfield’s contributions, the detailed effects operate from Harryhausen and his group, shooting places, Bernard Hermann’s original score, and much far more. Also new here are two short featurettes (16 minutes total): “Ray Harryhausen on Mysterious Island features the effects legend discussing the film (along with storyboards and vintage photographs), and “Islands of Mystery” is a black-and-white promotional piece highlighting the production. Finally, we get a Re-Release Trailer, two Tv Trailers, and two much more Television Spots. Overall, it is a good set of extras that will only frustrate these who have to acquire it once more.&#13

Final Thoughts

&#13 Mysterious Island offers no shortage of escapism, enjoyable adventure, memorable locales, fantastic music, and some of Ray Harryhausen’s most creative and profitable effects shots. What’s more is that these components blend together smoothly, and it really is all sewn with each other by capable direction from Cy Endfield. The end result is hugely entertaining and accessible, regardless of whether the spectacle of Harryhausen’s perform impressed you as a kid or you are just looking for a great jumping-on point. Twilight Time’s “Encore Edition” finally tends to make Mysterious Island available once again soon after their original Blu-ray sold out swiftly this updated package adds in many worthwhile bonus functions and a bit of fine-tuning in the A/V division. For clear reasons, choose this up although it really is nonetheless obtainable! Extremely Advisable. &#13

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Randy Miller III is an affable office monkey by day and film reviewer by evening. He also does freelance design function, teaches art classes and runs a website or two. In his restricted free of charge time, Randy also enjoys slacking off, juggling HD DVDs, and writing in third particular person.&#13


Blu-Ray Evaluations


The Curse of Oak Island: Season two

Judge David Johnson prefers the Curse of Balsam Island.

The answer is down there. (Possibly?)

Going to re-up this from Season 1 evaluation, to give you some background…

Years and years and years ago, when I was perhaps a wee middle-schooler, I bear in mind reading a book about great unsolved mysteries. 1 of them was some thing known as “The Cash Pit” and for some cause it stuck with me to this day. Situated off the coast of Nova Scotia on the enigmatic Oak Island, the Pit has been the location for fortune hunters from across the globe. Why? Due to the fact a shocking matrix or booby traps and secret chambers have prevented even the most skilled adventurer from figuring out what—if anything—lies beneath the flooded levels and muck.

With me? So, “The Income Pit,” this awesome, enigmatic treasure pit, socked away in the guts of the frigid North Atlantic, has foiled numerous would-be treasure hunters.

The 1st season introduced us to Rick and Marty Lagina, brothers who grew up in love with the story and who’ve decided to pony up their summers and a boatload of money (mostly Marty’s money, as he’s the CEO of a productive power business). With History Channel tailing them, documenting their adventures in soil-sampling and ground radar, the Laginas venture forth yet again to drum up something—anything—that would suggest that there is certainly big treasure down the hole.

I truly do appreciate this show, tuning in each and every week when it broadcasts to see if this is the week the Laginas make some progress. And here’s the dirty tiny secret: they don’t. Ever. The greatest you can hope for is possibly a splintered board or a man-produced stone or maybe a Templar insignia drilled into a stump. Due to the fact, bro, we’re neck-deep into this factor and the early returns are not promising. But I can not stop watching.

Season two is when items take a genuinely wacky turn, with the brothers globe-trotting to meet with a series of yahoos claiming that the treasure in Oak Island could or not be precious religious artifacts smuggled away from Europe by the Templars. You know, the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail—stuff like that.

It is in these moments, when The Curse of Oak Island comes across as a half-assed History conspiracy show. The Holy Grail? Really?! And the stock footage reveals that’s the director obviously has by no means noticed Indiana Jones and the Final Crusade. The Son of God would not drink from a fancy cup.

Whatever. You would be forgiven for speeding by means of these bits. But make positive you stick about for the actual treasure hunting. The engineering and difficulty-solving is a lot of exciting and although disappointment virtually constantly awaits, that sense of “will they discover anything these days???” is pervasive—and addictive.

The DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2. stereo and 20+ minutes of behind-the-scenes footage.

DVD Verdict