BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
While the results are far from perfect, The Neptune Factor probably began its life as an imagined undersea adventure with some unexpected moments of the bizarre. It’s certainly creative with what it offers, but the results are beyond disappointing. The film cuts its characters a bit too close to the bone to be of any real interest. Genre fans might nibble on its visual bait, but they won’t like its rather weak taste. They will soon tire of it and swim with bigger game, leaving the super-secret mini-sub at the heart of the adventure without an audience.
Starting below the surface, The Neptune Factor, directed by Daniel Petrie (Cocoon: The Return) gives us a glimpse of a possible future of domestic dwelling, wait for it, UNDER THE SEA (cue the steel drums) and then – with an unexpected earthquake – reminds us of why this would be beyond problematic. Starring Ben Gazzara, Walter Pidgeon, Ernest Borgnine, Yvette Mimieux, and Donnelly Rhodes, the slow-moving tale is solely for B-movie enthusiasts as it’s engine stutters and stalls more often than it starts as a rescue team is gathered to go looking for the OceanLab II, their missing underwater dwelling.
What they find down in the depths is a bit on the fantastic side of the spectrum. Deep within a large unexplored trench, there is quite an impressive haul of oversized marine life swimming about. Too bad then that the film doesn’t quite live up to the impressive underwater photography of Paul Herbermann; his shots are fantastic. The resulting film; however, just toothlessly chomps while humans react ridiculousy to gigantic eels and goldfish.
The film – which sees Borgnine hilariously fleeing in terror from really big seaweed – just has nowhere to go since it fails to create any amount of tension or suspense. There’s a grand amount of laughter to be had at its expense, though. Just how threatening can a film be that emphasizes the spectacular use of miniatures while mixing shots of the crew against actual marine life? The answer is not t all. It can be weird and wacky, though, not to mention fake-looking as hell.
There’s entirely too much wanting aboard this strained production. It wants to be like The Poseidon Adventure. It wants to be compared to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. It wants to be as thrilling as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Truthfully, it is none of these movies. At best, it is a c-grade student film from a rural school district. Very little works. To say the film lost its way is an understatement.
Skip it, fellow freaks. The Neptune Factor is one Canadian feature that gives Canuxploitation itself a no good very bad name.
MPAA Rating: G.
Runtime: 98 mins
Director: Daniel Petrie
Writer: Jack Dewitt
Cast: Ben Gazzara, Walter Pidgeon, Ernest Borgnine
Tagline: The most fantastic undersea odyssey ever filmed.
Memorable Movie Quote: "That's strange. The deeper we go, the hotter it gets."
Theatrical Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Release Date: August3, 1973
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: December 6, 2016
Synopsis: When an underwater ocean lab is lost in a earthquake, an advanced submarine is sent down to find it and encounters terrible danger.
Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray - December 6, 1973
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: The 2.0 DTS-HD MA
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc
Region Encoding: A
Kino-Lorber presents The Neptune Factor on blu-ray with mixed results. Obviously, the image is crisper than anything that has been previously seen. Unfortunately, that’s not saying too terribly much. The ocean is a pure blue, but black levels are uneven and lines struggle to maintain their edges when the oversized goldfish appear. Minor print damage, at the beginning of the film, settles down after a bit. The 2.0 DTS-HD MA sound mix, while muffled a bit, is adequate for this release.
The audio commentary by Film Historians Paul Corupe and Jason Pichonsky focuses more on the technical side of things and might be the ONLY reason to scoop up this title.
Kino-Lorber is sorta a newbie at providing quality supplemental material with their genre releases; they tend to dump and drive away. There are some items worth checking out, but one look at the titles of the featurettes will tell you all you need to know. No one is going to graze here for very long.
- Theatrically Released Isolated Score & F/X Track by Lalo Schifrin
- Never-Before-Released Isolated Score Track by William McCauley
- Animated Montage of Images
- Trailer Gallery