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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Z.P.G. aka "Zero Population Growth" [Blu-ray]

 

(Michael Campus, 1972)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Sagittarius Productions Inc.

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:34:40.841

Disc Size: 21,396,812,928 bytes

Feature Size: 19,372,898,304 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.93 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 28th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1556 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1556 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

Audio Commentary by Film Historian Steve Ryfle
Trailers; The Neptune Factor (3:02), Chosen Survivors (3:06), The Earth Dies Screaming (2:14) and The Satan Bug (2:12)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: In the tradition of Logan's Run and Soylent Green - Oliver Reed (Burnt Offerings) and Geraldine Chaplin (Doctor Zhivago) star in this dystopian vision of things to come. Under the weight of overpopulation, human society has begun to self-destruct. A policy of Zero Population Growth is upon citizens in hopes that twenty years without new births will right the sinking ship that is our planet. Couples are issued dolls to take the place of children, and neighbors are encouraged to speak out about any illicit breeding. Reed and Chaplin play a couple that decides to subvert the will of the government and have a child of their own, but need to hide their crime from big brother, baby-snatchers and even those they had trusted most. Co-written by Frank De Felitta (The Entity, Scissors) and Max Ehrlich (The Reincarnation of Peter Proud), directed by Michael Campus (The Mack) and co-starring Don Gordon (Bullitt) and Diane Cilento (The Wicker Man).

 

 

The Film:

This provocative sci-fi outing is set in an over-populated, horribly polluted 21st century where child-bearing has become illegal. To help ease the tension and stress caused by not procreating, married couples use robot dolls to substitute for children. One couple decides to break the law and have a real baby in secret. Unfortunately, their neighbors find out and demand that the couple share the baby with them. The other couple does so, but finds that the neighbors get too attached to the infant. They stop sharing their child, and the neighbors becomes so angry that they report them to authorities. The couple and their baby are arrested and sentenced to death. Fortunately, the clever husband anticipated this and made a few plans in advance.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

 

In the future, the world is severely polluted, food comes in a tube, and animals and plants are extinct things of the past. All the nations of the world agree to the Zero Growth Edict where people are forbidden to have children for the next thirty years. Those that break the law are arrested and they and the child publicly executed in asphyxiation domes. People are given lifelike dolls and encouraged to regard them as substitute children. Husband and wife Russ and Carol McNeil work at a museum where they playact the roles of 20th Century couples for curious onlookers. Carol becomes obsessed with having a child and makes the decision not to use the home abortion machine after they have sex. She is forced to hide the pregnancy and subsequently the existence of baby. When this is discovered by neighbours George and Edna Borden, they at first agree to help hide the baby but soon want to share and then have control of it.

Excerpt from Moria located HERE

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

The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Z.P.G. looks consistent in 1080P. The effects are not particularly transparent in the higher resolution. It is in the bastardized 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The transfer exports the film's thickness. It doesn't look crisp or glossy. This Blu-ray gave me a watchable, unremarkable, viewing - superior in quality to SD.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1556 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. There are effects in the film - sci-fi future-related sounds and a unique score by Jonathan Hodge. It tended to be another campy attribute of the production. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

I appreciated the audio commentary by film historian Steve Ryfle author of Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G". He gives a unique perspective to Z.P.G. bringing up lesser-known details of the production. There are also trailers for The Neptune Factor, Chosen Survivors, The Earth Dies Screaming and The Satan Bug.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I had never seen Z.P.G. but was aware that it was not, initially, very warmly received. The movie was, more or less, what I expected - a modest science-fiction effort, that really paved the way for many similar films. It's a good concept with something to offer. I was impressed with Geraldine Chaplin and the modest effects seemed to work. The Kino Lorber
Blu-ray adds significant value with the commentary. I thought it was an interesting artifact from the late 70's. Perhaps a shade ambitious - but nice to see a film that goes out on a limb.  Recommended to the right crowd.  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 37% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

March 17th, 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 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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