(2007/Science Fiction/French/Magnolia/MagNet Blu-ray + DVD)
& B-/C & C+ Sound: B & B-/B- Extras: *B- Film: B-
good Science Fiction films are getting made that are not space operas or
outright bad that it is amazing when one comes along and works without selling
out to the lowest common denominator. In
a nice surprise, Franck Vestiel’s Eden
Log (2007) arrives on Blu-ray and DVD from MagNet and this French film is
the best of its kind since Danny Boyle’s Sunshine
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) offered a serious, ambitious work in the
time, it is not outer space or the sun, but the underground of the near future
where one man finds himself without a memory of what has happened to him and
happens to be covered in mud. Plastered
might be the term, but he slowly rises out as we try to figure out what is
going on. As clueless as he is, the
story begins as he moves around in what makes for an interesting mystery. Of course, the idea of a near naked man (or
any life) coming out of a body of water has its symbolism and the film delves
into that on occasion, but never becomes heavy handed in doing so.
beyond that is a SPOILER, so you might not want to read on and just see the
film. However…. (here we go) he finds a strange, dangerous
world to navigate through and one that includes mutated, dangerous life. He has to figure out everything, plus learn
what is really going on. I liked all of
this very much and if the film could not totally find the best resolution or
avoid resembling several other Sci-Fi classics (Alphaville, Brazil, THX-1138 before Lucas tampered with it,
Zardoz and of course, Metropolis) yet better than the few
that have tried to be like them of late and the many bad commercial over-digital,
over-priced, over-produced duds we see too often that aren’t about much of
anything. Not being like the latter is
an achievement in itself, but that the film works is great.
1.85 X 1 image on the Blu-ray is offered in two versions, with the English
print looking best and French print looking weaker, but this is the opposite
case with the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 DVD where the French version
looks better than the main English dub.
Done in modern black and white, lacking silver and being more grey scale
than having actual Film Black, the image has detail issues in all versions, but
the higher the letter grade, the sharper the image. Of course, there is often limited light since
they are underground for most of the film.
Director of Photography Thierry Pouget has created a look that is
different enough to be distinct, even if it will remind on of Terry Gilliam’s
work in the genre.
DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) lossless 5.1 track on the Blu-ray is the best of the
sound choices between the two releases, but is only available for the English
Blu-ray cut, so we have Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes that are not bad for the rest,
including ambient sound, but they fall short with this older codec. Still, the sound design has character and is
a solid complement to the visuals.
are no extras, unless you count the alternate cuts of the film in French, which
work better than the English since that is the way the film is originally
made. However, with the lack of dialogue
throughout, the difference is on the narrow side. In any language, Eden Log is a must-see for serious film fans.
- Nicholas Sheffo