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December 19, 2005
PSP UMD Movie Reviews Lot #4

FANTASTIC FOUR
Release Date Distributor Director OFLC Rating Run Time
14/12/200520th Century FoxTim StoryPG106 mins
The MovieVideo QualityAudio QualityExtrasOverall
CB-ADC+

The Story: Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis head a sexy, star-powered cast in this explosive adventure about a quartet of flawed, ordinary human beings who suddenly find themselves with extraordinary abilities. After exposure to cosmic radiation, four astronauts become the most remarkable, if dysfunctional, superheroes of all time. Reed Richards/Mr Fantastic, elongates his body; Susan Storm/Invidible Woman, becomes invisible at will and can render other objects invisible; Johnny Storm/Human Torch, shoots fire from his finger tips and bends flames; Ben Grimm/The Thing, a hideous monster with superhuman strength. Unfortunately, the mission’s sponsor has also been transformed - into the world’s most lethal super villain – setting the stage for a confrontation of epic proportions.
Jessica Alba is hot.
Movie Impressions: Superhero and/or comic book based movies have become big business over the last decade and Fantastic Four is a property which Fox were hoping would emulate the success of Spider-man, X-Men and the Blade movies both commercially and critically. Sadly this movie pretty much failed on both counts. The movie didn't quite live up to expectations at the box office, and the reviews were less then glowing. Personally I didn't think the movie was horrendous with some nice action scenes - in particular the opening on the space station - but what let the movie down for me was the woodenness of the actors. Jessica Alba is gorgeous, and its not surprising to see her prominent on the cover of this movies, but the rest of the cast just seem a little overwhelmed by the entire production. Still, this is entertaining and the end result is a film that deserves to be viewed at least once.
The Transfer: It must be said that for such an effects driven movie there's plenty to admire about the transfer. The Human Torch in particular looks quite spectacular as he catches on fire, and there's not a compression artifact to be found. There were some aliasing at about the 28:20 mark in the background buildings, but it will take keen eyes to spot it. At times we did felt that the image was a little on the soft side with a lack of definition in some of the smaller detail - but it's a very minor complaint. The disc only includes English audio and subtitles, but the quality is superb - very clear and with plenty of stereo effects.
The Extras: Well, well, what do we have here then? For the first time Twentieth Century Fox are including a couple of extras on a PSP movie disc. The first is a behind the scenes piece which isn't very detailed with a runtime of only 5:09, but has brief interviews with many key members such as Avi Arid (Producer) and many cast members. The disc also includes a music video clip called Everything Burns by Ben Moody featuring Anastacia.
Overall: I have to admit that despite the lack of fantastic (get it) script or acting I was pretty entertained by this movie. The transfer to PSP appears a little soft a times, but in general is very solid. It's also fantastic to see Fox finally throwing some bonus material on the discs and despite being rather short, it should pave the way for future titles. With a PG rating younger movie fans will should lap this movie up, and it's worth adding to your PSP library if you're a fan.

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
Release Date Distributor Director OFLC Rating Run Time
14/12/200520th Century FoxRidley ScottM145 mins
The MovieVideo QualityAudio QualityExtrasOverall
B-B+AFB-

The Story: Amidst the pageantry and intrigue of medieval Jerusalem, Orlando Bloom plays Balian, a young Frenchamn who, having lost everything, finds honour and redemption on a valiant quest. Against staggering odds, Balian battles overwhelming forces to save his people and fulfill his destiny as a true knight.
KOH has a great cover.
Movie Impressions: It was always going to be a tough job for Ridley Scott to create another period piece following the phenomenal success of Gladiator, and it may be due to that movie that this title also suffers somewhat. What can't be faulted it the excellent acting from Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson and a host of lesser known, but equally superb actors. The movie really sucks you into the Crusade era with gorgeous costumes (apparently over 14,000 were created for this production) and locations. The story is rather deep but when you get into it you'll be sucked in and won't want to leave.
The Transfer: First thing that hits you with this movie, unlike most others the movie hasn't been cropped to fill the screen with the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio being retained for this transfer. With a runtime of almost two and half hours one may assume that the movie would struggle with compression onto the 1.8GB disc, but this isn't the case. The colour reproduction is gorgeous and even in low light scenes the detail is still very clear. I have to say there is one gripe I have with this, and many other Fox transfers, in that there are too many chapters. In this movie there are some 46 chapter stops, that’s one every 3 minutes or so making skipping through the movie a bit of a chore. Audio on the title is limited to English, but the subtitles include a slightly wider selection with English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish. Harry Gregson-Williams has created a wonderful score for the movie which helps to emphasise the scale and scope
The Extras: None.
Overall: Kingdom of Heaven is middle of the road Ridley Scott - which still means it is better then most other movies released these days. It's bemusing as to why this movie, which is so brilliantly produced, failed to light up the box office, but if you like action movies then Kingdom of Heaven is a movie which you'll do well to check out even at a high recommended retail price.

ROBOTS
Release Date Distributor Director OFLC Rating Run Time
14/12/200520th Century FoxChris WedgeG84 mins
The MovieVideo QualityAudio QualityExtrasOverall
C+A+AFB-

The Story: From the makers of Ice Age comes Robots. Robots tells the story of Rodney Copperbottom, an aspiring inventor, who travels to Robot City to meet his idol, Bigweld. Along the way he quickly makes a whole gang of new friends, and together they encounter the evil Ratchet. Under the guidance of his mother, Ratchet has taken over Bigweld’s company and is denying the other ‘bots the spare parts they need. Is Rodney built from the kind of stuff it takes to save the day!
THe cast of Robots.
Movie Impressions: Being a gamer I generally have a love for computer animation. Sure, it can be a little too clean and sterile at times but I love seeing just how far movies can push the medium, and perhaps how close video games are to movies these days! In terms of the actual movie Robots is very entertaining. There was more then a couple of times when I had a sense of Futurama (which isn't a bad thing), and the world is lively, lifelike and very entertaining. Unfortunately unlike movies like The Lion King, Ice Age or Toy Story you never really grow an emotional attachment to the characters, possibly due to the humorous nature of the characters, or the fact that they are robots. Still, Robots is a fun ride worth taking.
The Transfer: With this movie coming direct from a digital source to the PSP there was little doubt it would look pristine, and that is very much the case with this transfer. Colours are vibrant and the image simply gorgeous to look at. With the original movie formatted at 1.85:1 the movie loses very little in transferring to PSP which has a screen ratio of 1.78:1. There is one baffling aspect to this title in that while the NTSC and theatrical versions run for 91 minutes, the PAL DVD and this PSP version run for 86 minutes indicating that Fox have sourced the PSP version from a PAL transfer of the movie. For such a short movie we really were amazed that the disc only offers English audio and subtitles although the stereo effects are pretty good when played through a decent speaker set.
The Extras: None.
Overall: Robots is a tremendous movie for youngsters. For myself personally I still prefer director Chris Wedge's Ice Age, but this movie has some magnificent voice acting with Ewan McGregor, Robin Williams and Mel Brooks up to their typical best. The only disappointment with this movie on PSP is the price, which is $44.95 - but undoubtedly you'll find it cheaper in stores.

THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW
Release Date Distributor Director OFLC Rating Run Time
14/12/200520th Century FoxRoland EmmerichM124 mins
The MovieVideo QualityAudio QualityExtrasOverall
B+AAFB

The Story: When global warming triggers the onset of a new Ice Age, tornadoes flatten Los Angeles, a tidal wave engulfs New York City and the entire Northern Hemisphere begins to freeze solid. Now, climatologist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid), his son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal) and a small band of survivors must ride out the growing super storm and stay alive in the face of an enemy more powerful and relentless than any they've ever encountered: Mother Nature!
One of the best disaster movies.
Movie Impressions: Roland Emmerich is a king of disaster movies with a string of hits including Independence Day, Godzilla and Stargate to his name but The Day after Tomorrow takes his stock up a few notches. Not only is the storyline realistic (to an extent) but you really do start to feel for the characters as they battle to survive, and come across a series of obstacles the no one should have to face. It's quite easy to see why this $US125 million movie grossed almost $US550 million around the globe. Everything gels together extremely well and even after repeat viewings I still love this movie.
The Transfer: In terms of the transfer one only needs to look at the opening scene on the Larsen B Ice Shelf to discover the rich colours during the sunrise (or sunset), and this richness continues throughout the remainder of the movie. If anything the move to the PSP's LCD screen has made the movie look even better. While the CG effects were generally brilliant on a big screen they are noticeable but on the smaller screen they look much more realistic. Soundtracks include English, French and Italian audio, each of which sounds very impressive. Subtitles included on the disc are English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Italian, Norwegian, and Swedish with the option for French or Italian inserts.
The Extras: None.
Overall: It doesn't matter how many times I see this movie I still love it. All the actors (including the gorgeous Emmy Rossum) do a wonderful job and without a doubt this is one of the better disaster movies available. Being able to watch it on the go is a bonus and fortunately as seems to be the case with almost every Fox title the transfer to PSP is superb. Well worth picking up, even at a slightly high price point.

Review(s) By: Dave Warner

Be sure to check out reviews of Anacondas, SWAT and Be Cool here, Kung Fu Hustle, Final Fantasy: Spirits Within and Mask of Zorro here, and reviews of Alien, Alien Vs Predator, I Robot and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen here.

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