Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Cyberella: Forbidden Passions (aka Forbidden Passions) (1995)
"You're getting screwed in more ways than one."- Mara (Debra Beatty)
Stars: Debra Beatty
Other Stars: Marshall Hilliard, Rebecca Taylor, Daniel Namath, Landon Hall, Leslie Kay Sterling, Daniel Patrick Walls, Shayna Lee, Daniel Millbern
Director: Jackie Garth
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexuality and brief language
Run Time: 01h:26m:38s
Release Date: 2003-03-18
Genre: late night
DVD ReviewAh yes, the dreaded virtual reality plot, a premise that has proven time and again to be generally ridiculous and laughable. In Cyberella: Forbidden Passions that tradition brazenly continues, but at least it is slathered in gratuitous sex, sex, and more sex, all done in a hazy sort of Penthouse magazine softcore glory.
In this 1995 effort from director Jackie Garth, who also did the vaguely similar (i.e. lots of sex) Dream Master: The Erotic Invader the same year, a beautiful woman dies in a tragic candle-induced fire and gets to live in limbo trapped in a computer-generated virtual world until she can help four people learn a valuable lesson; if she can do this, she will ascend to some higher plane, or some such nonsense. That woman is Mara (Debra Beatty, veteran of a number of the Emmanuelle sequels), who just happens to be an ace VR programmer and has designed a software package called DreamWorlds. The movie never makes clear exactly what DreamWorlds is, but it seems designed to exist strictly as a low-budget sandy locale for Mara to cavort and writhe around in the nude.
The setup of the "helping four people" angle is really just a shaky crutch on which to hoist some erotic body grinding, all of which conveniently features the undeniably alluring Beatty buck naked. She has a dalliance with a lonely painter, serves as a leather-clad voyeur during a nerdy programmer's sexual conquest, joins a lesbian encounter with a frustrated dancer, and eventually consummates a mattress-thumping with her old high school flame. Apparently the valuable lesson all these people needed was to simply orgasm, which they do with the typical soft-focus intense facial contortions that only exist in late-night cable fare like this.
I suppose the sex stuff is fairly erotic, in that fake, gelled lens kind of way. Softcore sex should be the only reason to even want to see a film such as this, and Cyberella: Forbidden Passions certainly isn't meant to pose even a sliver of a threat to meatier mainstream VR flicks like The Matrix or eXistenz. This is the kind of thing you would find by accident while flipping channels late at night, and you might momentarily sit back and marvel at the attractive bodies rolling around, but you would never feel even slightly inclined to actually finish watching the film.
Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||no|
Image Transfer Review: The 1.33:1 full-frame transfer from Artisan is plagued by being far too dark, which tends to turn the ever present sex scenes into so many muddy amalgams of undulating flesh. Many of the scenes are meant to be lit by candlelight, or some such romantic mood lighting, and the transfer fails to generate any substantial image detail. Black levels are poor, and the subsequent sex scenes look like they are being watched through a dirty veil. Some intermittent white specks are also evident.
Image Transfer Grade: C-
Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in 2.0 Dolby stereo surround, and it is more than adequate for the silly line reads and constant heavy breathing. No noticeable hiss or crackle, and the pseudo-sexy score elements from Ollie Wood sound pleasantly full.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Extras Review: Apparently passion isn't the only thing forbidden, because there is not a single bit of supplemental material here, aside from the requisite 16 chapter stops.
Extras Grade: F
Final CommentsIt's difficult to completely bad mouth a film with so much flagrant nudity, but Cyberella: Forbidden Passions is really just a wobbly platform on which director Jackie Garth has staged some mildly erotic encounters.
Rich Rosell 2003-04-13