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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

At the Earth's Core [Blu-ray]

 

(Kevin Connor, 1976)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: American International Pictures (AIP)

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:30:29.507

Disc Size: 33,464,220,871 bytes

Feature Size: 23,733,970,944 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.97 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 13th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1646 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1646 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1747 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1747 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Commentary by director Kevin Connor

• Interview with Actress Caroline Munro (28:43)

• Interview with director Kevin Connor (22:03)

• Making of Featurette (5:43)

Original trailer (2:53)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: They're in it Deep now! Murderous monsters, scantily clad prehistoric playmates and telepathic pterodactyls inhabit the center of our world in this colorful fantasy-adventure about a manned "drill-craft" boring its way to the center of the Earth! Starring sci-fi superstars Doug McClure (The Land That Time Forgot), Peter Cushing (Nothing But the Night) and Caroline Munro (Maniac), this subterranean chiller is the most endearingly whimsical entertainment on - or under - the planet's surface! There's more than lava at the Earth's core. There's also Pellucidar: an underground empire where gargantuan pterodactyls torture and enslave all humanoids - including the lovely Dia (Munro). But all that could change when a surface-dwelling scientist (Cushing) and an American businessman (McClure) drive their powerful "Iron Mole" straight into Pellucidar... stirring up a great deal more than dirt, rocks and lava! Wonderfully directed by sci-fi specialist, Kevin Connor (The People That Time Forgot).

 

 

The Film:

This is the second sci-fi adventure based on a novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first being 1975's The Land That Time Forgot. At The Earth's Core stars Doug McClure as explorer David Innes and Peter Cushing as professor Abner Perry, whose experimental "iron core" drill goes out of control and leads them to the underground kingdom of Pellucidar, where the Wing People are ruled by the monstrous, flying Mahars. With the help of the professor, Innes leads the Wing People in revolt against their evil masters. Monsters and mayhem abound in what is essentially a well-produced, if somewhat juvenile, knockoff of The Time Machine.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

While 1974's The Land That Time Forgot discovered prehistory alive at the North Pole, here Messrs Cushing and McClure run astray while testing their mechanical mole and discover the lost world of Pellucidar at the end of the journey to the centre of the earth outlined in Edgar Rice Burroughs' source novel. Scantily clad Ms Munro, vengeful telepathic pterodactyls and cut-price explosions comprise a familiar mix, but it's daft enough to enjoy if you're in a schoolboy mood. The winged dinosaurs seem specially conceived so they can be played by blokes in suits, inspiring the sort of glee now lost forever to these days of tediously flash CGI effects.

Excerpt from Timeout located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Well, let's just say that the 1080P transfer of At the Earth's Core on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber is far superior to the film itself.  Perhaps some would say much better than the film deserves. This is dual-layered with a max'ed bitrate and is easily as good as the film has ever looked on digital. There is a tightness and depth - skin tones and colors look balanced. The only issue is that the high resolution further identifies the modest effects. Contrast is layered with no noise or damage and overall the video is quite solid.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1646 kbps does a competent job of exporting the film's verbose effects of 'creature' and 'native' sounds. There is a bit of weakness in the high end but I can only anticipate that this is a function of the 40-year old production's audio production values. The score is by Michael Vickers (The Sex Thief). It seems a bit juvenile but gains some depth via the lossless. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Kino Lorber include an interesting and amusing commentary by director Kevin Connor (The People That Time Forgot, The Land That Time Forgot, Motel Hell even an episode of Space: 1999) who I like and it's light and perfect for the level of film. We also get interviews with Actress Caroline Munro (1/2 hour) and more with director Connor (for 22-minutes.) There is also a vintage Making of Featurette showing some storyboarding and production details and lastly an original trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I'm generally a fan of these Drive-In-level sci-fi, creature-feature, pop-corny efforts although my tastes lend themselves to the older, more grassroots - innocent, flics. I was pleased with the work put into this Kino Blu-ray. Perhaps if I had saved my viewing for a late Friday night, I might have been less cynical about the final product. This presentation was strong but I wasn't as keen on the film itself. Perhaps a revisitation will benefit - but the commentary and other extras so accentuate this value. 

Gary Tooze

January 7th, 2015

Amicus was another British film production company. They were based out of Shepperton Studios, and produced films from the early 60's  to 1977. They specialized in Horror movies, in a similar vein to Hammer Studios (Peter Cushing often starring) but also made portmanteau films in that genre. They were revived in 2007 with Stuart Gordon's Stuck, Here are a few of their titles available on digital:

The City of the Dead (1960)

The Deadly Bees (1965)

Dr. Terrors House of Horrors (1965)

The Skull (1965)

The Amicus Collection

Torture Garden (1967)

Madhouse (1974)

The Land That Time Forgot (1975)

At the Earth's Core (1976)

The People That Time Forgot (1977)

Tales From The Crypt / Vault Of Horror)

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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