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Ghosts of Mars aka "John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars" [Blu-ray]
(John Carpenter, 2001)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Screen Gems
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 42,043,365,731 bytes
Feature Size: 31,149,715,008 bytes
Video Bitrate: 33.43 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: January 30th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 4213 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4213 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
English (SDH), none
Audio commentary by director John Carpenter and actor
• Special Effects Deconstruction (2001, 6:32)
• Video Diary: Red Desert Nights - Making ‘Ghosts of Mars’ (2001, 16:58)
• Original theatrical trailer (2:07)
• Conceptual Art Gallery (0:23)
• Guardian Interview (Part 2 - 40:45)
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Nick Pinkerton
Limited Dual Format Edition of 5,000 copies
Description: IT’S THEIR PLANET. WE ARE THE ALIENS.
Sci-fi feature directed by John Carpenter and starring Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge and Jason Statham. The year is 2176 and Mars has been colonised by Earth, but the spirits of the old planet still continue to cause trouble. When a police team travels to a distant Martian mining outpost in search of the mass murder suspect Desolation Williams (Ice Cube), they find the place populated mostly by headless corpses. Williams is discovered locked in the town jail, and when the team is attacked by a mob of miners possessed by Martian spirits, it seems the jail might be the safest place for them all to be.
John Carpenter blends horror and sci-fi in this action adventure set on Mars in the year 2176 as Martian police battle supernatural forces unleashed by a deep mining facility.
As the film opens, a ghost train pulls into Chryse City, so
named for a flat plain north of the Martian equator. No driver is at the helm,
and only one passenger is on board. She is Melanie Ballard (Henstridge), a cop
who headed a detail to an outlying mining town named Shining Canyon to bring
back a killer named Desolation Williams (Ice Cube). Called up before a tribunal
in the matriarchal Martian society, she tells her story, and most of the action
is in flashback.
'Ghosts'' is an eco-fable that attacks the smugness of colonialism, and,
this being a John Carpenter movie, it's also a fatalistic eco-fable.
Characters drop like tech stocks, and actors resolutely deliver the
lines in tones stripped of everything except a need to get them out with
as little emotion as possible.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Ghosts of Mars looks solid on Blu-ray from Indicator in the UK. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. Close-ups show detail in the 1080P presentation. There is no noise in the film's many dark sequences. Colors appear unmanipulated. The HD seems to show adept contrast and does a stellar job of exporting the Ghosts of Mars' desert-like, and stark, appearance. I expecty this is a very strong replication of how the film originally looked.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Indicator give the option of a very robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround or a linear PCM 2.0 channel. The former exports some solid depth in the film's aggressive effects. There are also instances of reasonably crisp separation.The multi-talented Carpenter, again, does his own score as in all of his films including Christine, They Live, Big Trouble in Little China, Prince of Darkness, Vampires etc. It adds pace and tension. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and the Blu-ray disc is region FREE.
Indicator include the previously heard audio commentary by director John Carpenter and actor Natasha Henstridge and it has some value to fans of the production There is a 6-minute, 2001, piece, Scoring ‘Ghosts of Mars’ with behind the scenes footage at the recording sessions with John Carpenter and bands Anthrax and Buckethead as they record the score for Ghosts of Mars. The Special Effects Deconstruction runs 6.5 minutes and is also from 2001 showing storyboards etc. Also from 2001 is the 17-minute Video Diary: Red Desert Nights - Making ‘Ghosts of Mars’ featurette directed by Laura Nix with Danielle Burgio, John Carpenter, Richard Cetrone and others providing soundbytes on the film's red-planet look etc.. There is an original theatrical trailer and conceptual art gallery plus the second part of the Guardian Interview (running over 40-minutes) which is mostly a Q+A from the audience. Part one is on Indicator's Vampires Blu-ray. This limited edition of 5,000 copies, has an exclusive booklet with a new essay by Nick Pinkerton and being dual-format includes a second disc DVD.
January 22nd, 2017
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 3500 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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