Planet Terror (Two-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
Unrated, Special Edition
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Director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) is back with a rip-roaring, zombie-infested rollercoaster of a movie that sure as hell keeps you hanging on for the ride (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone). Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Bruce Willis, and an all-star cast fight for their lives in the ultimate showdown between an army of flesh-eating mutants and a motley group of rag-tag survivors. Featuring one of the most memorable screen heroines ever and the now-legendary mock Machete trailer, Planet Terror is as total blast funny, gory and over the top (Christy Lemire, Associated Press).
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Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan, who does a great dance in the opening credits)picks the wrong time to quit her job and leave town: it becomes overrun by zombies thanks to "Planet Terror," which is a bio-nerve gas. Seems that the military (Led by Bruce Willis, who is just all kinds of cool) needed it for personal reasons (I don't wanna spoil the storyline, but a line about Bin Laden seems weird considering), but a greedy scientist (Naveen Andrews) has other plans and accidently unleashes it. Pretty soon a group of survivors, including Dakota (Marley Shelton) whose all shades of crazy Dr. hubby (Josh Brolin) doesn't take kindly to her leaving him for her girlfriend (Black Eyed Peas's Fergie). Led by El Way (Freddy Rodríguez), they have to escape the zombie stampede.
It's an INCREDIBLY GORY FILM!
But that's what Grindhouse is about and kudos to Rodriguez for knowing this. It even has a "reel missing" scene that happens at the most inappropriate time, and the result is just fantastic.
If you want the whole movie, which includes the trailer, go for it. But if you just want to enjoy the bloody mess of Planet Terror, then go for it. You'll love it.
Regardless it's not like they are going to re-release the blu ray with a subtitle track for that version anyway so you should just pick this one up.
In this case action director Robert Rodriguez of Sin City and Desperado fame and Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction) sought to replicate the whole "grindhouse" cinema effect with a movie called... drum roll please... Grindhouse.
Grindhouses were cheap cinemas in the 1970s which showed B-rate exploitation flicks all day long -- usually in the form of double bills.
Grindhouse (the movie) consisted of a "double bill" of two movies, namely Death Proof and Planet Terror. The cinema prints of both movies were deliberately "aged" with scratches, faded colors and so forth to replicate the whole watching a battered print at a grindhouse cinema effect. Planet Terror actually has a faux trailer before the movie itself starts (it is quite funny and very reminiscent of those 1970's action flicks) for a fictional movie titled Machete.
It even has a deliberately "missing reel," letting the audience fill in the dots between scenes themselves. The DVD, by the way, goes one step further: you can select an audio track that replicates the cinema experience - you can hear an audience jeering and a guy eating pop corn in the seat next to you.
Death Proof starred Kurt Russell as a serial killer who drives a 1970s muscle car and targeted young women -- that is, until a group of them fights back.
In Planet Terror -- Rodriguez's flick -- cannibalistic zombies overrun a small town when a top secret virus is set loose at the nearby military base. The gore and violence is way over the top with some scenes directly stealing from movies such as The Thing, Evil Dead and Total Recall.
The most notable image from the movie is of a sexy Rose McGowan as an amputee with a machine gun as a prosthetic. Sensitive viewers should take care to avoid it. It stars several Rodriguez regulars and Bruce Willis in a small cameo. Watching it is like watching some forgotten straight-to-video effort from the early 1980's -- Highly stylized and reminiscent of B-movies from that era, the color palettes are often a sickly green with a dated synth music score (of the sort Carpenter's films were noted for) on the soundtrack. Its like watching a movie you have never seen before, but feeling as if you had, but can't remember when.
Cinema audiences however never got the joke as the whole "grindhouse" experience was as alien to today's young teenaged audiences that frequent today's multiplexes as were the concept of a drive-in.
There were many incidents of audience members not realizing that the movie consisted of a double bill and leaving the cinemas before the second feature started. Cinema owners weren't too happy at the film's long running time either and didn't go to any trouble to keep the movie running when the film proved to be a box office disappointment.
For the non-US. market (as well as the DVD release) it was thus decided to market and release the two movies separately. Thus with padded running times Death Proof and now Planet Terror are released as separate movies. All that remains of the whole "grindhouse" title is the "Grindhouse presents" moniker.
Back when Grindhouse was released as one feature in the cinemas director Tarantino remarked on the film's odd concept that audiences were desperate for something fresh, new and different. It would seems that he was wrong as Grindhouse proved to be a major box office disappointment. Or was he? Perhaps this was a film that proved to be too creative for its target audience, in this day and age of high tech video games, and instant gratification movies that have to 'dumb themselves down' so audiences 'get it'. I think this was a film that the target audience needed to be kids - if not teens back in the late sixties, early seventies to appreciate what had just been viewed.
THE DISC: The movie plus audio commentaries are to be found on the first disc. As stated previously, the film print has been deliberately aged to look much older than it is with all kinds of scratches, splotches, color fades and the like.
The second disc is filled with behind-the-scenes making of featurettes and interviews with the various actors and creative people involved. Unfortunately no time is spent on explaining the whole "grindhouse" phenomenon and inspiration to any newbies. But it is interesting -- and ironic! -- to see how 2000's high-tech computer technology is used to replicate a low-tech early 1980's B-grade look and feel to the movie.
RECOMMENDATION: Worth a look-see, particularly if you miss those genuine early 1980's B-grade straight-to-video efforts from that era's home video boom, and want to take a trip back to a time when movies were what they were - enjoyable, smart, and full of effort.
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