Plot: What’s it about?
When a truck driver pitches some stinky eggs out of his payload, little does he know what he just caused. Those eggs he threw out weren’t chicken eggs, that’s for sure and what is inside them, is much meaner than a clucking bird as well. Inside those eggs were komodo dragons and since the Florida weather suits them well enough, they survive and manage to establish a nice place to roam & feed. But when an industrial company develops the island, many of the smaller animals were killed off and this leaves the komodos with little to no food to consume. At some point these green terrors will become starved and that means they’ll devour whatever they find, including perhaps even humans. And when push comes to shove, that is what happens and the hungry beasts feast upon a small child’s parents, leaving him in shock and with little memory of what happened. But now a child psychologist thinks he should return to the island and perhaps there, he can piece his past back together. But if he returns…will they be waiting on him?
I guess I am in the minority on this issue, but I like those campish “animal attacks” flicks and since this title falls into that genre, I am pleased to add this disc to my personal collection. This looks like another low budget disaster, but in the end, this turns out to be a fun movie with some terrific special effects. I don’t mean good for a lower budget film either, I mean these are some superb special effects. This is due to the involvement of Michael Lantieri and Tippet Studios, both of whom played vital roles in the special effects of the Jurassic Park flicks. The komodos look awesome and a few sequences have real visual flair, which I have to admit I wasn’t expecting. But special effects serve as the finest portion of the film, as the acting is weak and the writing (cowritten by the writer of Anaconda) is troublesome at best. But in the end, do you watch a movie like this one for the acting or writing? No, you want to see some killer animals and cool special effects, both of which Komodo offers in spades.
Making his feature film directorial debut with Komodo is Michael Lantieri, who has worked on the special effects for films such as Jurassic Park, Deep Impact, The Flintstones, Mars Attacks!, and Mousehunt. If you’ve seen these films or any of the others he has worked on, then I am sure you’ll note how impressive those special effects were. So it is simple to see why Lantieri was brought on to helm this feature, since it is loaded with special effects pieces. Lantieri brings a lot to a film like this one and I am pleased someone so talented was chosen to pull the whole film together. The special effects were divided up between John Cox (animatronics) and Tippet Studios (computer images) and I have to say, both have come up with some super cool stuff for this movie. Maybe this work isn’t as groundbreaking as the stuff in Jurassic Park, but it is impressive and I think people will be stunned at how good the effects are in this film. The cast of Komodo includes Billy Burke (Without Limits), Paul Gleeson (The Thin Red Line), Nina Landis (True Love And Chaos), and Jill Hennessy (Molly, Dead Ringers).
Video: How does it look?
Komodo is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Aside from some problematic stock footage, this is an excellent visual transfer and the authoring work is flawless. I found no instances of compression errors in the least, while the film looks sharp and very well defined. The film wanders into darkness often, but this transfer doesn’t even flinch and the shadows look terrific. I saw no visible detail loss in even the darkest of scenes and I was also pleased with the minimal grain evident. The colors look lush and bold, with no color errors and the flesh tones appear normal and warm too. This is a very good transfer and I am pleased that this low profile title was given the red carpet treatment.
Audio: How does it sound?
I found the included Dolby Digital 5.1 track to be good in the end, but I wish it was more active than it is. A lot of small missed chances for atmospheric audio are present and if you add them all up, that could have added a lot to the audio tone of the movie. But this track handles the basics well enough, so I will cut it some slack when it is time to score the disc. The musical score is moody and effective, while the sound effects range from eerie & excellent to dull & laughable. But it all mixes together well in the end and isn’t that what counts? Also no real issues with the dialogue, which comes through loud and clear in this mix. You can also find Spanish subtitles and a 2.0 surround track, should you need them.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This is a Millennium Series title and as such, it comes packed to the hilt with bonus goodies. A very informative audio commentary by director Michael Lantieri kicks off the supplements and if you like this film, you will want to give this track a spin. He discusses the special effects at length, but also mulls over various other aspects of the production. You can learn more about komodo dragons by reading the included komodo facts or you can even watch a featurette on the subject, titled Maximum Fear. The piece is rather brief, but does include some cool information on komodos and clips from behind the scenes as well. Another featurette is also found on the disc, which runs about eleven minutes and contains interviews and behind the scenes footage. The disc also contains theatrical trailers for this and other Studio titles, a trivia game, still photo gallery, talent files, and some cool animated menus. I don’t usually discuss the menus, but I liked the ones used here so I wanted to mention them.