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PHOTOGRAPHY

RED DWARF: BACK TO EARTH Director's Cut
DVD Review by David Blackwell
 
DETAILS:    70 minutes, two audio commentaries, making-of documentary, featurettes, Smeg Ups, deleted scenes, trailers, web videos, photo gallery, easter egg
VIDEO:  1.78:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO:  English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles:  English
 
STUDIO:  BBC Video/ 2 entertain/ Grant Naylor Productions/ Dave
RELEASE DATE:  10-6-2009

David Lister is the last human being in the universe on the mining spaceship Red Dwarf about three million years in the future.  His only companions are a hologram of the man who annoys him the most (Rimmer), a humanoid descendant of his cat (Cat), and a crazy mechanoid (Kryten).   They have endured several comedic adventures together.  It has been nine years since the love of Lister’s life (Kochanski) was supposedly sucked out of an airlock.  Things change when they discover a squid in Red Dwarf’s water supply.  After their attempt to kill it, they come across a dimensional rift to any universe.   The hologram of a female Russian science officer (Katerina) appears and says it is time for Rimmer to wrap up his affairs (24 hours before he goes offline).   She discovers a way to access the rift and the Red Dwarf crew end up on 21st century Earth where Red Dwarf is a TV series (even promos for BACK TO EARTH are playing and the scenes parallel the story for the show being made). 

 

The three of them decide to find the creator of RED DWARF to make sure they have more life.   What begins is a journey that is hands down the best BLADE RUNNER homage/ parody ever.  RED DWARF: BACK TO EARTH honors my favorite film while making fun of it in classic RED DWARF fashion.   They twist various scenes from BLADE RUNNER to comedic effect (like going to a plastic nose maker, Kryten zooming and flipping a picture, and even a take on the chase through Chinatown).   The virtual sets make the Red Dwarf seem more real and bigger than the actual sets they used for the old series.   I want to see how they use virtual sets for future Red Dwarf episodes.  The new shows were shot with the Red One camera which shoots in 4K digital resolution.  It feels like RED DWARF has never been gone because this is easily one of the best of the series.   Hopefully, the news of new scripts being written means additional episodes will be made.   RED DWARF: BACK TO EARTH can be viewed as three episodes or as one 70 minute Director’s Cut.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The only extra on Disc One are two audio commentaries:

Writer/Director/Co-Creator Doug Naylor provides commentary for the Director’s Cut with insight in the making of the three episodes and the difficulties of trying to make RED DWARF as a movie (which fell apart).   The cast provide audio commentary for the episodic versions.

 

Disc Two has a wealth of extras starting with the two part THE MAKING OF BACK TO EARTH (Part One runs 23:59 and is less spoiler filled while Part Two (47:53) is full of spoilers and should only be viewed after you watched RED DWARF: BACK TO EARTH).   Six deleted scenes (4:29) with optional commentary by Doug Naylor show scenes cut for pacing reasons while almost 11 minutes of SMEG UPS provide some very funny bloopers.

 

Featurettes:

THE SFX OF BACK TO EARTH (19:24)- a detailed look of the various SFX of the new RED DWARF from the creation of a digital matte painting to the virtual sets of Red Dwarf.

BACK TO EARTH PREMIERE (5:41) has the cast at the premiere of the new series while the CAST SIGNING SESSION (7:44) is as funny as the SMEG UPS.   The PRESS KIT VIDEO (6:25) is a brief EPK promotional featurette.  The Web Videos are split up into four short videos: CARBUG (very funny), LISTER ON THE STREET, CAT ALWAYS LANDS ON HIS FEET, and ROBOT ON A WIRE.

 

Two photo galleries are on the disc in the form of Production Stills and Behind The Scenes while various trailers and promos round out the disc (including broadcast trailers, USA PBS Announcements, a LIFE ON MARS APRIL FOOL VIDEO, and an intro by Craig Charles shown at the premiere)

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  RED DWARF: BACK TO EARTH is RED DWARF at its best.  Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 10 years for more.   This extras full two disc DVD is full of fab extras.

 

This DVD review is (c)10-16-2009 David Blackwell.  This cannot be reprinted without permission.  All Rights Reserved.  No vampires were harmed during the writing of this review.  Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com