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PHOTOGRAPHY

UNDER THE MOUNTAIN

DVD Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS: 91 minutes, audio commentary, making-of documentary

VIDEO:   2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

AUDIO:   English 5.1, 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles:  Spanish

 

STUDIO:  Lightning Home Entertainment/ Lionsgate/ New Zealand Film Commission

RELEASE DATE:  8-10-2010

Rachel and Theo are redheaded twins who go visit their aunt and uncle in Auckland, New Zealand after they lose their mom.   They meet the mysterious Mr. Jones (Sam Neill) and he brings them in the battle against creatures who want to lay waste to the world (think of space aliens who are like H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Ones).  The head of the evil space aliens known as the Gargantuans, Mr. Wilberforce, is out to destroy the twins and free his kind.  Seven of them are trapped under the volcanoes of Auckland.   Mr. Jones is trying to teach the twins that they are powerful together to destroy the aliens.

 

UNDER THE MOUNTAIN is a high quality New Zealand production done on a low budget.   A vast and sweeping orchestra score along with a H.P. Lovecraft/ Cthulhu plot for the whole family.    The cinematography is like a big ad to visit Auckland and its volcanoes.   The actors playing the twins aren’t bad, but I do wish they had a meatier story for their characters.   Sam Neill chews scenery in every scene he is in and still he is fun to watch.   UNDER THE MOUNTAIN is popcorn entertainment for a breezy 90 minutes.   They could have beefed up the story and made the movie more epic, but what they done on a small budget is impressive.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The 46 making-of documentary is too long with lots of behind-the-scenes footage that looks into the filming and the alien make-up, but it would have been tighter if they edited it down.

 

The audio commentary by Director Jonathan King and Writer Matthew Grainger is more interesting as they talk about the book the movie is adapted from, the making of the film, and the TV adaptation that was made back in the 1980s.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:   UNDER THE MOUNTAIN is worth a watch for a rainy day or even just to see the wonderful Lovecraftian designs of WETA along with a great epic sci-fi score.

 

This DVD review is 8-14-2010 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com