Plot: What’s it about?
U.S. Marshal Richard Dix (Leslie Nielsen) is well known (perhaps infamous is more the word) for his skills as a negotiator, detective, and all around crime fighter. As such, he has been called in to take on one of most assignments in bureau history, one which could have the fate of the world resting on Dix’s shoulders. His mission is to travel to the alien infested Vegan space station, where some alien forces have broken the international laws against cloning, by churning out some replicant humans. In fact, these aliens have cloned some of Earth’s most important leaders, including the President of the United States, as part of a most nefarious plan. The clones are to be taken to the planet, where the real leaders will be kidnapped and the clones put in their place, so that the aliens can hold the power of those leaders. Dix has to find the real President before it is too late and while he has some connections, nothing is easy for this U.S. Marshal…
After the success of The Naked Gun and its sequels, lead actor Leslie Nielsen (Airplane, Wrongfully Accused) has tried several times to recapture the silly magic, but he has never been able to even come close. The latest attempt is 2001: A Space Travesty and while it has moments of promise, it winds up as yet another feeble Nielsen effort. It looks like some solid funds were poured in, given some of the sets and creature designs (not that they’re great, but they’re so plentiful), but I guess minimal cash was spent on the writing staff and in the end, that is what causes this picture to live up to its title. The writers throw an endless string of puns, gags, crude material, and outlandish characters out there, but one in twenty actually works, which is a shame. Nielsen seems up to his usual standards, but with such lackluster material to work with, it makes him look terrible, save for the fart jokes, which he handles with ease. I did laugh more than a few times here, but in the end, the good stuff was totally buried in failed humor. If you’re a Nielsen fan or just love bad comedies, then give 2001: A Space Travesty a rental, but don’t expect much.
Video: How does it look?
2001: A Space Travesty is presented in a full frame transfer. I’m not positive on the original aspect ratio here, but this seems to be an open matte edition. I’m not sure why Columbia hasn’t included an anamorphic widescreen version, but I am let down and I think those interested might lose some interest as a result. Aside from the lack of a widescreen treatment, this transfer looks good and never dips below above average. The colors seem natural and bright, while black levels provide good shadow depth and accurate detail. I am knocking the score a point due to the full frame only decision, but this still turns out to be more than watchable.
Audio: How does it sound?
I had no real expectations in terms of audio, but the included Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is a terrific one, no doubt about it. The surrounds are used often and to effective ends, to enhance the space atmosphere and of course, place the various fart sound effects. You won’t confuse this for an action movie, but given the material involved, this mix goes above and beyond all calls of duty, to be sure. The music also sounds better than expected, with a richer, more expansive presence throughout. I had no issues with the dialogue either, as vocals were clean and well presented at all times. This disc also includes English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials.