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Green Slime, The

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    Ian Jane
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  • Green Slime, The

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    Released by: Warner Archive

    Released on: October 26, 2010.
    Director: Kinji Fukasaku
    Cast: Robert Horton, Richard Jaeckel, Luciana Paluzzi
    Year: 1968

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    The Movie:


    Handled by Toei in Japan and Warner Brothers in the United States, The Green Slime was directed by none other than Kinji Fukasaku. Set in the future, the film follows an astronaut named Jack Rankin (Robert Horton) who comes out of retirement when the top brass tell him that he's the only one who can lead a crew towards an astronaut that's hurtling towards Earth and sure to destroy the planet on impact. Rankin suits up and blasts off and lands at a space station run by his former best friend, Vince Elliot (Richard Jaeckel), who is all set to marry Rankin's former flame, foxy Lisa (Luciana Paluzzi), who also lives on the space station. Rankin sets out to put together his crew and Elliott decides to join them. When they land on the asteroid and set the charges to blow it up before it gets too close to Earth, they unwittingly bring back to the space station some sinister looking green slime which grows into a monster and then multiplies. As the creatures take over the space station and destroy everything in their path, tensions rise between the different players who find they must work together if they want to survive.


    Shot fast and cheap with limited resources, Fukasaku and his crew nevertheless create a ridiculously entertaining picture (emphasis on ridiculous) with The Green Slime. Fearlessly using what are obviously toy miniatures to depict life in the future and the complications of space travel, the movie is almost like a weird kid's dream brought to live. The plot is fairly thin and the love triangle aspect of the picture hurts the pacing here and there even if former Bond Girl Paluzzi looks hotter than hell in the film, but there's so much going on here that, pacing problems or not, it's hard not to have a good time here.


    The acting is wooden, the dialogue riddled with one cliché after another and the story pedestrian even by the G-rated standards of late sixties kids movies (and this was definitely marketed to a younger audience when it played North American theaters and then later on late night movies on TV stations around the continent) but there's so much delicious monster mayhem crammed into the last half hour that the film completely redeems itself. The monsters are goofy looking - awkward one-eyed creatures with flimsy looking electric tentacles - but damn if they aren't enthusiastic about their work. It's a blast watching Horton and Jaeckel play tough guys against a bunch of short Japanese guys in cheap rubber suits and the sheer ambition shown throughout the film in both its set design, its miniature work and its effects work is nothing if not inspired.


    You can't call The Green Slime a good movie in the traditional sense of the word, because it's got massive plot holes, bad acting and a fairly awful script but the film has understandably found a loyal cult audience thanks in no small part to the unintentional hilarity found in the picture. The psychedelic garage rock opening theme written by Charles Fox and arranged by an uncredited Richard Delvy (of The Bel-Airs) sets the right tone from the get-go and the bat-shit crazy last twenty minutes ends it all on a high note. Goofy? Yep, absolutely, but charmingly so and just so completely determined to overcome its obviously low budget that you can't help but love it.


    Note: This DVD contains only the longer American cut of the film. The Japanese cut ran quite a few minutes shorter and chopped out the love triangle subplot and removed the infamous theme song. The Japanese cut of the film was released on DVD in Japan through Toei Video. The tighter pacing and focus on action in the Japanese cut makes it a different film in many regards and it would have been to have seen it included here.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    The Green Slime generally looks pretty good in this 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors are nice and bold and well defined, particularly the green used in the slime itself, which has a nice glow to it. Skin tones generally look okay and print damage isn't ever problematic even if it isn't all too difficult to spot some specks here and there. There aren't any compression artifacts to note and while further restoration could have cleaned this up a bit more than it has been here, this isn't a bad transfer at all.


    The English language Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack is fine. There's a bit of hiss in a couple of spots but you probably won't notice it if you're not looking for it. The film's opening (and closing) theme song sounds appropriately fuzzed out and bad ass while the dialogue is always easy to understand and never problematic.


    There aren't any, just a static menu with chapter stops encoded every ten minutes.

    The Final Word:

    The Green Slime looks and sounds pretty good on this DVD but the complete lack of extra features is a shame. The film is an established cult classic and it would have been nice to see some supplemental love shown here. That didn't happen, but at least the quality of this release is decent.


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