Plot: What’s it about?
In Atomic War Bride, a young couple’s love and new marriage is tossed aside, when the threat of nuclear war looms on the horizon. Before the honeymoon can even begin, husband John is pulled off to serve in the military ranks, even though he is more of a Pacifist, to be honest. He is sent into the urban areas to move residents into fallout shelters, whether they wish to do so or not, to ensure the safety of the citizens. It seems like his wish for peace could get him killed at times, since his fellow soldiers are bent on a total conflict, but he manages to remain alive. As he wanders through the urban landscapes, he winds up reunited with his bride Maria and her family, which results in a plan to rally the government for peace. But at the same, a full nuclear assault is being prepared and not just on one side of the issue. In This is Not a Test, a small band of small town citizens await the arrival of certain doom, as the bomb is headed right toward them. As time begins to run out on their lives and perhaps their entire world, how will these normal and some not so normal people handle the tense situations they have to endure?
A special double dose of atomic hijinks, this release from Something Weird is a real boomer, with two very fun movies, for one low price. I love old movies about atomic disasters and these two were tons of fun to watch, with all kinds of nuclear madness to be seen. As you should expect, these films won’t be remembered as classics, but they offer great entertainment to those interested, without question. Atomic War Bride has an awesome title and packs all the usual atomic frills, as does This is Not a Test, easily the more humorous of the two pictures. As I mentioned, these movies are bad by traditional standards and even by atomic fun levels, but I found them to be worthwhile and a good value, given the complete package here. You’ll see blatant stereotypes, poorly constructed dialogue, frequent jokes that misfire, out of hand performances, and of course, this could spell disaster or success, depending on what you’re expecting. So if you like atomic age nonsense, plenty of memorable bad lines, and scenes of global panic, then give Atomic War Bride & This is Not a Test a look, the disc is well worth a purchase to those interested.
Video: How does it look?
Both of these atomic adventures are presented in full frame, which is not good news. Atomic War Bride was shot in a scope format, which means we have a full on pan & scan disaster, while This is Not a Test looks to be an open matte version. I know some people will say widescreen doesn’t matter on these kind of movies, but I have to disagree. I can deal with the open matte edition, even though I prefer anamorphic widescreen, but when it comes to obvious pan & scan, I simply cannot be supportive. I understand Something Weird works on a limited budget and has to use what materials they could track down, but I think the least they could do would be including a letterbox edition, just to preserve the intended visuals. This is a real shame in this case, as the prints look stable and the images are sharper than expected, but the pan & scan of Atomic War Bride (not to mention some trimmed scenes) leaves me very disappointed here. The score on This is Not a Test would be a 3/5, while Atomic War Bride clocks in at 1.5/5, hence the final, balanced overall score.
Audio: How does it sound?
The order of the day here is mono, which is the kind of audio both films have been served here. Atomic War Bride’s dubbed English track sounds clean enough, as does This is Not a Test, with all the basics well covered in both cases. As expected, some defects can be heard in the materials, but since these are older, very low budget pictures, I can’t imagine anyone being too let down, so no hard feelings in that respect. So more than acceptable, but not too memorable, the audio on both films should live up to most everyone’s expectations.
Supplements: What are the extras?
In addition to two humorous television spots, this disc also contains a total of six priceless atomic themed short films. Those seen here are You Can Beat The A-Bomb, Survival Under Atomic Attack, the immortal Duck and Cover, Medical Aspects of Nuclear Radiation, One World or None, and Atomic Blonde in Action, all excellent and most welcome inclusions.