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The Brain From Planet Arous (The Film Detective) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • The Brain From Planet Arous (The Film Detective) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: The Film Detective
    Released on: June 21st, 2022.
    Director: Nathan Juran
    Cast: John Agar, Joyce Meadows, Thomas Browne Henry, Robert Fuller
    Year: 1957
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Brain From Planet Arous – Movie Review:

    Directed by Nathan Juran and released in 1957, The Brain From Planet Arous tells us what happens when a giant floating brain from outer space decides it wants to take over our planet. After it initially arrives on Earth and hangs out in a cave for a while, two local scientists, Steve March (John Agar) and Dan Murphy (Robert Fuller) get some unusually high radiation readings and decide it would be in everyone's best interest if they went to check out what could be causing this spike.

    The two men arrive at Mystery Mountain near the cave the brain is hiding in and come face to face with the fiend who we learn is named Gor and who hails from, well, a planet called Arous (which should have been pretty obvious from the film's title). It doesn't go well, and it turns out that Gor intends to use his telepathic abilities to coerce mankind into building the giant nuclear force he needs to head back to Arous and rule supreme!

    Dan winds up getting blasted and Steve becomes the first of Gor's mind control victims, which is all well and good until his foxy lady friend, Sally Fallon (Joyce Meadows), starts to realize that something is off about her boyfriend's demeanor - he's much more sexually aggressive! Sally and her father John (Thomas Browne Henry) eventually come into contact with second giant floating brain named Vol, who is a good buy giant floating brain that decides to use his own telekinetic powers to inhabit Sally’s rad dog, to figure out what's going on and put a stop to Gor's sinister mission and hopefully save good old Steve in the process.

    Every bit as ridiculous as it sounds, The Brain From Planet Arous is a pretty fun watch, even if, or maybe because of the fact that, it’s pretty impossible to take seriously. The highlights of the movie are absolutely any scene involving either one of the giant floating brains, these moments are simply imminently watchable and as genuinely cool as they are patently ridiculous. The production values are never amazing and the effects are never convincing but there’s something legitimately awesome about the very idea of giant floating brains wreaking havoc in the California desert and at seventy-one minutes in length, you can’t fault the briskness of the pacing.

    That said, the performances are pretty fun as well. John Agar is charismatic and a lot of fun to watch as he hams his way through the movie, and Joyce Meadows, who is just simply likable, also pretty entertaining as his girlfriend. Robert Fuller is decent enough in his role as Steve’s right hand man/best friend while goofy old Thomas Browne Henry is pretty great as Sally’s well-meaning old man. On top of that, we get a mind controlled dog, so there’s really a lot to take in here.

    The Brain From Planet Arous – Blu-ray Review:

    The Brain From Planet Arous arrives on Blu-ray from The Film Detective in AVC encoded 1080p high definition in your choice of 1.85.1 widescreen of 1.33.1 fullframe, each separate encode taking up 18.5GBs of space on the 50GB disc. The framing on the 1.85.1 version looks better, though it is tighter. The Film Detective doesn’t note what source was used here, but it was likely a print as detail doesn’t quite rise to the level that it would on a scan taken from pre-print materials. Still, this generally looks pretty solid. Expect things to lean on the grainier side of things and prepare for some mild print damage here and there, but overall the black and white image shows nice contrast, good detail and solid depth and texture. There aren’t any problematic compression artifacts to note and the image always looks appropriately film-like, with no obvious noise reduction or edge enhancement to complain about.

    Audio for the feature is handled by an English language 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track, with optional subtitles offered in English and Spanish. The audio quality is just fine for an older low budget film. The track is balanced well, and the dialogue is always clean and easy to follow. There's a bit of depth to the score here and there, and the track is, for the most part, free of any hiss, distortion of sibilance.

    There is a nice selection of extras here, starting with an audio commentary track by historians Tom Weaver, David Schecter, Larry Blamire and The Brain From Planet Arous star Joyce Meadows. It’s an interesting talk, a good mix of trivia and analysis that occasionally offers doses of good humor as well. Meadows’ career and experiences on the production are often a focus but along with that we get plenty of info on the rest of the cast and crew, details of the production history, information on locations and effects work and plenty more.

    The Man Before The Brain: Director Nathan Juran is the first of two featurettes from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures and it lets Justin Humphreys spend twelve minutes going over the director’s life and times as well as some of his career highlights. The Man Behind the Brain: The World Of Nathan Juran features C. Courtney Joyner discussing the director and his work for fourteen minutes. Both of these are interesting and while there’s a little bit of basic crossover, they take different approaches to the same subject making them worth your time.

    Finishing up the extras on the disc is a new introduction by star Joyce Meadows titled ‘Not The Same Old Brain’ along with menus and chapter selection options.

    Inside the keepcase, alongside the disc, is a color insert booklet that contains a new, original essay by Tom Weaver titled ‘The Brains Behind Brain’ that is quite informative and which goes over the career of producer Jacques Marquette.

    The Brain From Planet Arous – The Final Word:

    The Brain From Planet Arous is a lot of good, goofy fun, a really entertaining slice of vintage science fiction from the atomic age that features some neat effects and a good cast. The Film Detective’s Blu-ray release is a good one, presenting the film in a nice presentation and with some decent extra features as well.



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