04/21/2015  
Always Woodstock on DVD Apr 28The Strain: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray & DVD Jun 9A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night on Blu-ray & DVD Apr 21Science Fiction Theatre: The Complete Series on DVD May 12Rogue: Complete Second Season on DVD May 19That Man from Rio (1964) & Up to His Ears (1965) on Blu-ray & DVD Apr 4Masterpiece Mystery: Grantchester on Blu-ray & DVD Apr 7

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Always Woodstock on DVD Apr 28...
Rita Wilson diagnosed with breast cancer ...
Suzanne Somers on elimination from 'Dancing With The St...
The Strain: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray & DVD ...
20 of the Most Hated Women in Hollywood...
DWTS' Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Meryl Davis: Reunited and...
Barry Manilow Marries Manager Garry Kief ...
Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk Were the Stars of Robe...
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night on Blu-ray & DVD Apr 2...
James Best dies at 88; actor played sheriff in 'Dukes o...



Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

MGM Studios DVD presents
Empire of the Ants (1977)

"This has turned out to be one hell of a free vacation."
- Joe Morrison (John David Carson)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: November 07, 2001

Stars: Joan Collins, Robert Lansing, John David Carson
Other Stars: Robert Pine, Edward Power, Albert Salmi, Jacqueline Scott, Pamela Shoop, Brooke Palance, Harry Holcombe
Director: Bert I. Gordon

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: PG for (language, violence, gore, attempted sexual assault)
Run Time: 01h:29m:53s
Release Date: November 20, 2001
UPC: 027616868404
Genre: sci-fi


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- C+CB- D

DVD Review

H.G. Wells' short story Empire of the Ants (1905) was made into an okay little thriller starring Charlton Heston, entitled Naked Jungle. Having made a pile of money with The Food of the Gods the prior year, AIP and director Bert I. Gordon decided to see what they could do with the story, but they retained about as much of Wells as one might expect from AIP and Bert I. Gordon, which is to say, nothing beyond the title.

The always delightful überbitch Joan Collins stars as Florida real estate developer Marilyn Fryser, who hauls unsuspecting dupes out to her swampland project, Dreamland Shores. Assisted by Charlie Pearson (Edward Power) and boat captain Dan Stokely (Robert Lansing), she takes a group of prospects to scam them. Unfortunately, barrels of radioactive waste (helpfully labelled 'Radioactive Waste') have washed up on the shore and the local ants have gotten into it. Being that this is a picture by Bert I. Gordon (The Amazing Colossal Man, War of the Colossal Beast), this results in colossal ants. They are of course voracious and driven and immediately begin picking off the visitors after Captain Dan stupidly burns their boat to escape the ants. Mayhem and gore follow.

There are plenty of holes in the story here that make one want to slap the hysterical participants. Even though they recognize almost immediately that the giant ants don't like fire, the characters make no attempt to shelter their fire from a sudden rainstorm, and after the storm they make no effort whatsoever to build another fire. Of course, people huddled around a fire waiting for help would not make for a very interesting movie, so the characters thus are required to be aggressively stupid. On the positive side, after a pedestrian first hour, the movie suddenly takes a 90-degree turn in the last half hour that actually has some merit (spoiled completely in the trailer included on the disc). I won't say anything more about it, but the picture does in fact get better as one follows along, turning into a truly paranoid and creepy little fantasy.

Collins pretty much plays her usual character here, but it's a fun one and the viewer constantly roots for the ants to give her a well-deserved death. The visitors are almost all unlikeable as well; Margaret Ellis (Jacqueline Scott), the ostensible heroine, is a liar and a fraud, as is supposed hero Joe Morrison (John David Carson). Nearly all the rest are freeloaders after the boat ride and meals. Pamela Shoop's character implausibly becomes romantically interested in Joe after he attempts to rape her. Lansing is slightly interesting as the reluctant participant in the Dreamlands real estate scam. But by and large one doesn't much care whether these characters get devoured by the ants.

As in any Gordon movie, the effects range from mediocre to abominable. Whenever the ants and humans interact (which is seldom), the practical ant puppets are barely seen; the handheld camera swings wildly, apparently in an attempt to hide just how bad the puppets are. Otherwise, there's a fair amount of iffy back projection and some very poor miniatures work. The end result is laughable much of the time and only passable the rest. On the positive side, anyone with a fascination for leisure suits and other fashion abominations of the 1970s will find much to enjoy here.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The image is plagued by softness and lacking in detail, as if it were a laserdisc master. Colors are good but blacks lack impact, leaning only toward a medium gray. There are spots, specks and hairs present throughout. Bitrates are surprisingly high, causing me to suspect that the problems here are the result of using a poor master. It's a passable transfer but certainly nothing to write home about.

Image Transfer Grade: C

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, French, Spanishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The sound is surprisingly decent. Hiss and noise are at low levels. Although bass extension is quite lacking, the higher registers come through faithfully. In particular, the piercing chirp of the ants is almost headsplitting. The sound is dated but as good as this movie requires.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The sole extra is an anamorphic widescren trailer that is full of spoilers, ruining the only good parts of the movie. I therefore advise that viewers stay away. Chaptering is adequate. Although MGM announced many months ago that they would begin including English subtitles on all discs, there is none to be found here.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

An halting sci-fi effort implausibly trading on Wells' name, the effects and the characters are pretty unlikeable. The last half-hour does have some merit, however, and sci-fi fans might be interested in giving this a rental.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

drama, celebrity, rita wilson, tom hanks, fish in the dark, larry david, television, abc, dancing with the stars, suzanne somers, tony dovolani, suzanne sizzles, horror, movies, angelina jolie, gwyneth paltrow, leann rimes, katherine heigl, jennifer lopez, photos, sway: a dance trilogy, maksim chmerkovskiy, meryl davis, music, barry manilow, gary kief, married, copacabana, brad falchuck, robert downey jr., glee, chris martin, jennifer lawrence, james best, died, sheriff rosco p. coltrane, the twilight zone, andy griffith show, gunsmoke, dukes of hazzard, big bang theory, christine baranski, laurie metcalf, sci-fi, kim kardashian north west, keeping up with the kardashians, kanye west, joni mitchell, morgellons, joni mitchell: in her own words, mary leitao, comedy, cynthia lennon, john lennon, cancer, julian lennon, paul mccartney, ringo starr, movie, furious 7, paul walker, james wan, universal pictures, mystery, rolling stones, 15-city tour, keith richards, mick jagger, ronnie wood, charlie watts, san diego, cable, comedy channel, daily show, jon stewart, trevor noag, musical, one direction, zayn malik quits, 2015 lollapalooza, florence and the machine, sam smith, metallica, charlotte mckinney, keo motsepe, redfoo, rumer willis, valchmerkovskiy, action, the walking dead, noah, aiden, deanna, father gabriel, rick, carol

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store