25th Reich, The (Blu-ray) (2012)
Featurette-Making Of-Behind the Reich (9:44)
Featurette-First Auditions (7:40)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Making of the Mozzie Sequence (8:02)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Monster Magic (10:37)
Notes-Authoring & Design
|Year Of Production||2012|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Stephen Amis|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
In February 1943 a squad of five US soldiers are in the Australian outback searching for two pumas that the army had lost (don’t ask). The squad members are Captain O’Brian (Jim Knobeloch), Sergeant Weaver (Serge Denardo), Corporal Updike (Jak Wyld), Rifleman Barelli (Angelo Salamanca) and Private Ishback (Dan Balcaban). At the end of the road they abandon their jeep and carry a strange looking piece of equipment into the surrounding ranges. Ostensibly, this is supposed to emit a sound wave that attracts pumas, but in reality it is a time machine; their mission, as revealed by Weaver who shows ID as an OAS colonel, is to go back in time 50,000 years to recover an alien flying saucer and to bring back its advanced technology to defeat Hitler. But one member of the squad is a German agent wanting the saucer to ensure German victory, both now and into the future as far as the 25th Reich.
The 25th Reich is based upon the novella 50,000 Years Until Tomorrow by JJ Solomon. It was directed and co-written by Australian Stephen Amis and shot entirely in Victoria’s Grampian Ranges. It is in many ways a very strange film although the opening titles, the opening voiceover and cheesy information scroll indicate that this is a film that is very much tongue in cheek which draws its inspiration from 1940s cliff hanger serials, 50s sci-fi such as Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) and films like The Lost World (1960). The budget was miniscule; there are only 5 cast members, all sequences were shot on location in one section of the Grampians, there are no sets and the special effects are pretty cheap. Not to mention that nothing much happens for much of the film!
The film clocks in at 84 minutes, including closing credits. For almost the first 30 minutes the five soldiers walk through the Grampian Ranges (which admittedly look spectacular) spouting cheesy dialogue in very dodgy, and uneven, American accents. They go back in time, are attacked by a prehistoric creature they call a marsupial lion, swarmed by a mass of giant mosquitoes, philosophise about God, find the flying saucer, the traitor is revealed, the survivors travel back to 2249 where they are attacked by Nazi mechanical robot spiders, and find a base full of Nazi flying saucers. The Germans had won the war. Then the film ends, a spoof screen informing us that the film is to be continued in The 25th Reich: War with God.
The acting, with the exception of Jim Knobeloch, is not very convincing, the dialogue is cheesy, not a lot happens and the special effects are mostly indifferent; the marsupial lion is poor, the swarm of giant mozzies are okay is it is mostly quick moving blobs plus sound effects, the robot spiders weird. The concept and ideas behind The 25th Reich are ambitious, the execution and budget, however, are unable to sustain the ambition. The film does get marks as a spoof of 50s sci-fi and lost worlds adventures, rather than war films, and looks beautiful, but I doubt that this is enough for most people.
The 25th Reich is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.
There are no complaints about the look of the film; shot using Red One cameras it looks great. Detail is very strong, which unfortunately shows up the flaws in the CGI, colours are deep and rich with some beautiful vistas of the ranges. Images at night are atmospheric, blacks and shadow detail firm. Skin tones are fine and brightness and contrast consistent.
I did not notice any artefacts or marks.
No subtitles are provided.
Audio is English DTS-HD MA 5.1 or Dolby Digital 5.1. The default is the Dolby Digital, but I listened to the DTS-HD.
Again, whatever the merits of the film, this is a nice audio track. Dialogue is clear and the rears and surrounds feature ambience and music. There are creature growls in the distance, when O’Brian hears the alien whispers they come from all around the room as does the high pitched sound effect of the time machine. When the giant mosquitoes appear, the sound of insect wings fills the sound stage. The subwoofer supported the mozzies, music and action at the end. The score by Ricky Edwards is rousing and varies between martial marches and sci-fi electronica, thus supporting the film well.
There are no lip synchronisation issues.
|Surround Channel Use|
Some on-set footage plus comments by director Stephen Amis, the production designer, make-up and special effects person, DP David Richardson and all the cast. Everyone praises the film, saying how great it was, and the director but there is not a lot of useful information: probably the best parts are Jak Wyld talking about going out to dinner in Melbourne in character or sound designer Chris Goodes discussing the sound mix of the film.
Audition footage of Jak Wyld and Dan Balcaban.
Some on-set and before and after comparisons plus the director, the cast, mark-up / special effects man Nik Dorning, visual effects supervisor Seldon Whittaker and sound designer Chris Goodes talk about how the sequence was done while production designer Ruth Lyon shows off the giant mosquito model.
Visual effects supervisor Seldon Whittaker talks us through the creation of some of the CGI effects including the robot spiders, the marsupial lion, the flying saucers and the Nazi city in the future.
One screen of information.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There is no US Region A Blu-ray of The 25th Reich listed. There are Region B UK and German releases which seem to be the same as ours, the only variation being a German 3D version.
You can see that the filmmakers of The 25th Reich were trying to spoof / pay homage to those sci-fi / lost world B movies from the 50s. Their ambition is impressive, the ideas wide-ranging, the budget tiny; sadly images of soldiers walking over a landscape, however beautiful, do not a complete film make. The 25th Reich has its moments, and whether one thinks the ending is clever, or a cop out is open to debate.
The video and audio are good, the extras reasonable.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|