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December 15, 2005
PSP UMD Movie Reviews Lot #3

ALIEN
Release Date Distributor Director OFLC Rating Run Time
5/10/200520th Century FoxRidley ScottM117 mins
The MovieVideo QualityAudio QualityExtrasOverall
ABCFB

The Story: When the crew of the space-tug Nostromo answers a distress signal from a desolate planet, they discover a deadly life form that breeds within a human host. And so the horror begins - a horror which will end the lives of six crew members and alter the life of the seventh forever. Sigourney Weaver stars as Lieutenant Ellen Ripley in one of the most suspenseful and powerful science fiction films of all time.
Pure classic...
Movie Impressions: When it comes to classic sci-fi movies few come close to the brilliance that Ridley Scott created with Alien back in 1979. Sure the visual effects are a little average by today's standards (although it did win an Academy Award in this department) and the horror comes more from a fear of the unknown then an enemy on screen all the time. This movie is all about the suspense and in our opinion Alien still holds up brilliantly today. No matter how many times I see this movie it remains as exciting as ever and if you've never seen this movie you in for something very special.
The Transfer: When looking at this movie one must remember that the film was originally made in 1979 and even the recent Alien Quadrilogy DVD set didn't have a perfect video or audio transfer due to the original source material. In particular the sound at times seems a little muffled but never to the point where you can't hear what's happening. The video has also been cropped from the original 2.35:1 to 1.78:1 to fill the entire PSP screen. The image, while occasionally a little grainy in general looks quite wonderful. I was worried that the strobe lights and gasses in many of the scenes would cause problems, but none are apparent. In terms of audio the movie include English, French and Italian while the subtitles include English, French, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish with the option for French or Italian inserts in the movie.
The Extras: None.
Overall: To see a movie of such brilliance brought over to the PSP is a cause to celebrate. There's probably not too many of you that haven't seen Alien yet, but its one which can be watched over and over again, and will almost certainly have you heart continually racing. A fantastic movie which deserves to be in every collection.

ALIEN VS PREDATOR
Release Date Distributor Director OFLC Rating Run Time
5/10/200520th Century FoxPaul W. S. AndersonM96 mins
The MovieVideo QualityAudio QualityExtrasOverall
C+AAFB

The Story: Two legendary alien species bring their lethal rivalry to earth in a spectacular battle destined to be the ultimate confrontation. In the early 21st century, the discovery of an ancient pyramid buried beneath the ice of Antarctica draws a team of scientists and adventurers to the site. But unknown to the explorers is the presence of Alien eggs ready to hatch, deep within the pyramid. Back on the surface, Predators arrive to perform a coming-of-age ritual. With time running out, the humans find themselves trapped in a battle-to-the-death between two alien races bred to kill.
The AVP PSP cover.
Movie Impressions: Despite a fairly good storyline this movie falls into a heap for the simple reason that the bean counters obviously pressured the production team to make this more accessible to kids by removing much of the violence. Perfect example - why aren't humans skinned anymore when killed by predators? Unlike the Predator and Alien movies of the past which have all had fairly high levels of violence this movie just feels so censored it's not funny. Still the movie ties into both universes nicely, and the inclusion of Lance Henriksen is a nice touch which actually works quite well.
The Transfer: For such a dark movie the transfer was handled very well to the PSP. You'll probably need to set your system to the brightest setting to see the detail in some darker scenes, but overall the action is handled very well with a super crisp image. In terms of audio the movie include English, French and Italian while the subtitles include English, French, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish with the option for French or Italian inserts in the movie.
The Extras: None.
Overall: As a popcorn flick this movie is great fun, especially if you don't like blood and guts! There's certainly not much of that here which is a damn shame. I do have to question the pricing of this movie on PSP. While the single DVD is now under $15, and the 2-disc DVD set under $20, one must question why you would want to pay $36.95 when you get no extras.

I, ROBOT
Release Date Distributor Director OFLC Rating Run Time
5/10/200520th Century FoxAlex ProyasM115 mins
The MovieVideo QualityAudio QualityExtrasOverall
B+AAFA-

The Story: Will Smith stars in this action thriller inspired by the classic short story collection by Isaac Asimov, and brought to the big screen by dynamic and visionary director Alex Proyas (Dark City, The Crow). In the year 2035, robots are an everyday household item, and everyone trusts them, except one, slightly paranoid detective investigating what he alone believes is a crime perpetrated by a robot. The case leads him to discover a far more frightening threat to the human race.
I, Robot - a great movie!
Movie Impressions: When I saw this movie in the cinemas I was blown away. Will Smith is, well, Will Smith with plenty of wry humour injected through the movie, but he is also a great serious actor and it shows in this movie. The action is intense, the futuristic city is probably among the most realistic seen in many movies. Visual effects are quite amazing (and indeed the movie was nominated for a Best Achievement in Visual Effects Academy Award), and the films climax will have you on the edge of your seat.
The Transfer: With a run time of around 115 minutes this movie is one which certainly pushes the PSP UMD's 1.8GB, but you'd be hard pressed to know it. At times the image appeared a little on the soft side, but the original also had this look in places so its probably more of a directorial decision then transfer. I Robot also sounds fantastic with several instances of stereo effects and plenty of great speaker shattering effects. Audio tracks on this disc include English, French and Italian with subtitles including English, French, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish with the option for French or Italian inserts in the movie.
The Extras: None.
Overall: Without a doubt this is Will Smith's best movie since Enemy of the State. It's fast, action packed and full of attention to detail. The representation of the future is quite superb and Alex Proyas' direction is impressive. If you haven't seen this movie and don't mind a bit of science fiction you're in for something quite special. Despite the lack of extras this is one movie worth adding to your collection.

LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN
Release Date Distributor Director OFLC Rating Run Time
5/10/200520th Century FoxStephen Norrington M110 mins
The MovieVideo QualityAudio QualityExtrasOverall
D+AAFC-

The Story: A hunter, a scientist, a vampire, an invisible man, an immortal, a spy, a beast… When a masked madman known as The Fantom" threatens to launch global Armageddon, legendary adventurer Allan Quatermain commands a legion of superheroes, the likes of which mankind has never seen. Now, despite fighting their own personal demons - and each other - they must join forces to save the world.
The cover looks nice at least.
Movie Impressions: I'd never seen League of Extraordinary Gentlemen until I got it on PSP UMD and I have to say that the movie really didn't impress me at all. In fact, it's one of the worst movies I've seen in a long time and after doing some research for this review - which actually wasn't that much - I soon discovered how many difficulties took place during production. The sets in Prague were destroyed by floods, the director Steve Norrington said this movie production was so bad he never wants to direct again, and Sean Connery apparently even took over editing himself only weeks before release. Sadly this all shows in the movie which in places seems cobbled together, and in others just plainly uninteresting. It's not all horrific with some wonderful set design, and also some good acting in places (especially from Sean Connery) but this is still not a movie I will want to revisit in future.
The Transfer: Not having seen the original theatrical presentation I can't really say if this is a fault of the transfer, or the artistic decisions, but the colours are very muted. Even the red on the British flag looks dark moroon. The movie also has some motion blur on the PSP's screen and due to the number of dark scenes you'll certainly want the brightness turned up on the PSP. Soundtracks on the disc include English, French and Italian audio, with each quite impressive in their presentation. Subtitles included on the disc are English, French, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish with the option for French or Italian inserts.
The Extras: None.
Overall: I really can't recommend this movie for a number of reasons. Primarily the movie is just plain bad. The production values are good, the set design spectacular in places however the storyline is so all over the place that it just can't survive as a movie. Technically the disc is very good, but if you've never seen the movie you may just want to hire the DVD, or wait for it to appear on TV. It's a sad way to end our first batch of Fox UMD Movie reviews as the three titles reviewed above are all vastly superior to this effort.

Review(s) By: Dave Warner

Be sure to check out reviews of Anacondas, SWAT and Be Cool right here
and reviews of Kung Fu Hustle, Final Fantasy: Spirits Within and Mask of Zorro here.

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