Apollo 18 Blu-ray Review
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get a high definition 1080p video presentation that is perfectly acceptable in its representation of the intentionally low budget-looking material – all camcorder footage and surveillance cam shots, the aspect ratio flips between 1.33:1 16mm shots and 1.85:1 HD-camcorder footage accordingly, but all of the material has been intentionally processed to look old, aged, dated, and exactly what you would expect from footage of a lunar landing. Scratches, pops, dirt, and varying grain are all par for the course in this intentional processing, and even the bleak, almost monochrome colour design is appropriate to the material, with nothing that you could criticise the video presentation about, other than in that it could simply never be used for demo material.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 aural accompaniment, whilst neither immersive or bombastic, does a decent enough job at providing an engaging soundtrack, picking up on the smaller atmospheric touches, delivering a surprising amount of rear action and surround dynamics, and attempting to enhance the events in the movie as best as it can. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently from across the frontal array, and effects are given enough room to breathe across the surrounds, and whilst the LFE channel is reserved at best, this is a perfectly decent accompaniment for the production, far from demo quality, but far from problematic either.
First up we get a full-length Audio Commentary from the director, who talks about his driven quest for authenticity, how they achieved so much on such a small budget, the difficulties of shooting in confined environments (or at least in making it look claustrophobic) and the processing required to make it look like 40 year-old lunar footage.
There is also a selection of deleted scenes, which mostly amount to more improvisationally-styled outtakes, and no less than four alternate endings, which don’t particularly improve the movie as a whole but which, at least in the case of one alternate ending, would have given it a more satisfactory conclusion.
Had this film been more like just a straight horror-version of Apollo 13, it might have proven more successful: the increasingly desperate attempts of a space crew to get home always prove suitably tense and dramatic, particularly with characters that you actually care about. Unfortunately, you simply don’t care about the characters in this movie – whilst the filmmakers probably thought that the whole ‘found footage’ approach was a unique selling point for the production, unfortunately it’s neither unique nor particularly conducive to character development. Fatally flawed, there’s little of worth to be found in this low budget feature, other than in a SyFy-channel movie kind of way.
On Region B locked UK Blu-ray we get video and audio in line with the found-footage style of the production, as well as a few extras which hardcore fans will be pleased with, but this release is only a recommended purchase to those few who actually love the movie for some inexplicable reason, everybody else should steer clear until it pops up on TV. Below average.
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