Tuesday, October 24, 2017

THE GREEN SLIME (1969) WAC Blu-ray Review)


Label: Warner Archive
Duration: 90 Minutes 
Region: Region-FREE
Audio: English DTS HD-Master Audio 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1) 

Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Cast: Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi, Richard Jaeckel, Bud Widom,
Ted Gunther, David Yorston, Robert Dunham

The Green Slime (1969) opens with a set-up seemingly borrowed by the corny blockbuster Armageddon (1998) thirty years later, with a huge red asteroid on a collision course with the Earth. A mission is launched to plant an explosive device on the surface, hoping to alter the course of the cosmic projectile or destroy it. The mission is led by semi-retired Commander Rankin (Richard Horton) whom is tasked with heading up the mission, which involves travelling to Space Station Gamma 3 where they will stage the mission from, but the station is run my Rankin's former friend Commander Elliott (Vince Jaeckel), the men having had a falling out when a mission, years ago, lead by Elliot resulted in the death of ten men, in an to save one. The men resent each other strongly, and the relationship further complicated by a love triangle involving gorgeous former Bond-girl Luciana Paluzzi (99 Women), Elliot's fiance and former girlfriend of Rankin, who doesn't seem like she's over her ex!

A squadron of men fly to the asteroid's surface and drill a hole deep below the surface, planting an explosive device, and retreating a safe distance away before the bomb explodes, hopefully destroying the asteroid, or at least changing it's current extinction  trajectory. The asteroid's surface is covered in red rock, but dotted with pools of green slime, which seems to pulse with life. In true sci-fi fashion one of the scientists on the mission seems particularly enamored with the life forms and wants to take it back to the space station for preservation/documentation, but Rankin thinks it's a bad idea and destroys the sample, but a small dab of the green goo lands on the scientist spacesuit and is brought back to Gamma 3 where it goes undetected, thanks to some poor decontamination protocols, until it begins absorbing energy and growing into an army of green-skinned, red-eyed cyclops who overrun the station causing all sorts of 60's sci-fi fun with their electrically charged tentacles.

Coming just a year after 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) this seems absolutely kitschy when compared to Kubrick's landmark science fiction epic, this is more akin a 50's slice of space-schlock, but it has a charm that's hard to resist for fans of silly sci-fi and/or bad-movie awesomeness. The characters are one-note with hackneyed dialogue full of science fiction mumbo-jumbo and cliched testosterone-fueled grudges, the boring dialogue sort of drags this one down until the tentacled cyclops manifest and begins ruining everyone day. s

The vintage special effects are a wonderful mixed bag of miniatures, rockets on string, kids in rubber suits, plastic guns and cheesy laser blasts, it's fun stuff for the retro-minded, and the scene of a squadron of jet-pack propelled men fighting the green slime monsters on the exterior of Gamme 3 hull is fantastically  entertaining. On the downside the shots of rockets and their wispy trails of smoke trailing behind them are often laughable, the miniature sets and ships are nicely crafted and well-shot, but too often they appear like shiny new toys, too clean, and then they tellingly wobble, ruining the nicely staged shots with an inherent cheapness the movie cannot seem to escape for better or worse, depending on your predilection for sch-fi schlockiness.  

Audio/Video: Sci-fi shlocker The Green Slime (1969) arrives on Blu-ray from Warner Archive with a brand new 2017 HD Master looking rather spectacular, the source is clean and the grain look natural and well managed. Details and clarity are impressive, with he red and greens popping nicely, though the improved clarity and detail might actually work against the movie in a sense, the miniature sets are well-staged and shot but the clarity of the image lets you now you are watching miniatures and rocket ships on strings, but that's all part of the vintage charm of this one. Likewise the 
English DTS-HD MA Mono 2.0 audio is crisp and clean, the mono mix is well-balanced and the fantastic psychedelic main theme song is a highlight, optional English subtitles are provided. 

The only extra on the disc is a trailer for the film, which was not included on the previous 2010 manufactured-on-demand DVD release from WAC. This single disc release comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with the original movie poster art, a gorgeous painting that features a very Barbarella-esque image of Italian starlet Luciana Paluzzi in a spacesuit wrapped in the tentacles of the green skinned, red-eyed cyclopedia alien. The disc features the same key artwork. As with the recent WAC release of The Hidden (1987) the spine features not the usual gold/bronze logo coloring, but coloring keeping with the theme of the artwork, this time around we get a lime green logo, it's a small thing but I am liking it! 

Special Feature: 

- Theatrical Trailer (3 min) HD 

The Green Slime (1969) is a wonderfully campy sci-fi relic from the late-60's, loaded with the sci-fi tropes, laughable/narcolepsy inducing dialogue, testosterone fueled machismo, and some fun miniatures and rubbery, tentacled aliens. Fans of retro-sci-fi camp and kitschy outer space awesomeness need look no further, this new release from Warner Archive has got it all in wonderful HD.