HOME   News   Reviews   Adv Search   Features   My DVD   About   Apps   Stats     Search:
  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • 3 Deleted scenes - 2 with commentary
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - Cast & Crew
  • Photo gallery - Production art of Set Design, Trap Design & Production Design
  • 3 Storyboards - 2 with video comparisons

Cube

Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 87 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Cube is a low budget arthouse/first-time type film that's about a bunch of folk who try to escape from a mysterious prison/maze composed of thousands of interlinked booby trapped rooms. Trying to utilise their individual abilities to overcome their situation, they soon discover that the biggest problem may just be surviving each other.

This film, although a bit shaky in the script department, has quite a bit going for it. A low budget, quickly filmed (it was shot in about 21 days) with just the one set piece (the cube room) and a handful of nobody actors (some deservedly so), it's lean and mostly efficient at jumping right smack into the middle of things. There's no real setup, and no real payoff, and although this might annoy people who like their stories with a nice neat beginning-middle-end, this angle seems to work fairly well for me with this kind of flick.

On the down side, someone should be ashamed of themselves for casting the cop character. He has the dramatic range of an avocado and clearly thought that to be menacing you have to hiss out your lines in a low whisper, as in "…hisssssss... I'm a bad baaad boy... hisssssssss…" His surprised/shocked/scared face has him looking like he can't decide whether or not someone has kicked him in the nuts. Also, the autistic-savant character is sooo much a rip off of Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man act that you can't help but make the comparison. Oddly enough, in the commentary they mention that no-one seems to have made this connection. Maybe they should have spoken to a few more people? On the whole though, even though I felt the script was extremely weak with the character dialogue, the stronger actors were smart enough to let the set do most of the talking.

Overall, Cube leaves me satisfied with the final result. The mathematical angle works well as a device for mathematically retarded simpletons such as myself, the direction by Vincenzo Natali is assured and confident and the idea simple yet well executed. If Natali can translate his ability into big budgets without selling out to Hollywood compromise, then I have high hopes for some interesting viewing in the future.

  Video
Contract

Initially, it appears that we're in for another average looking non-anamorphic print, but then you realise the image quality is sufficiently good so as not to draw unnecessary negative attention to itself. The low budget and minimal lighting of the set clearly didn't make things any easier to deal with, but apart from the slightly soft look, there is still a heap of detail visible in the design work of walls of the room. The confined set and environmental factors lead to darker areas of the picture tending to be a little overpowering at times. However, compared to the headache inducing VHS copy I watched a little while ago, which didn't cope with the detail and coloured gel lighting very well at all, this DVD image comes up relatively trumps.

  Audio
Contract

Upfront I'll say that I think this is a missed opportunity that really would have benefited from a DD5.1 remix, but only a DD2.0 stereo track is supplied. There's nothing wrong with it, though. It's just that the environment of the story naturally lends itself to the full use of discrete rear effects channels and really would have lifted the overall result a few big notches higher. Still, the audio has some good bass and clear dialogue. It's not the most dynamic I've ever heard, but once you're accustomed to the restrictions of the stereo mix, you're pretty much happy with it and just get on with enjoying the film.

On a side note, I played through the film a second time with Sony Cinema Studio EX –A mode on my receiver engaged and found the results much more enjoyable for the enhancement to the general ambience and presence. I think this is a DVD that would welcome a bit of experimentation with the sound processing on your behalf.

  Extras
Contract

I was very pleased that we didn't get a completely bare-bones disc with Cube. Films such as this and Pi have a lot to offer people interested in how films are made because restrictions faced due to budget tend to allow the vision/process to be a little more basic and creative.

The most essential extra here is the cast/crew audio commentary. Sounding like a bunch of friends shooting the breeze over a few beers, you feel comfortable in the natural chit-chat style which imparts info touching on many aspects of the story and production of the film. I really enjoyed listening to it, probably more so than many recently, as I got a real sense of the of limited resources available and how it affects the shooting processes.

The deleted scenes section has the option of viewing three scenes left out of the final cut, with two having a commentary option from director Natali to explain his reasoning.

Production Art allows you to view images detailing Set Design, Trap Design and Production Design.

Storyboard Art has three segments showing storyboards for the Mesh Trap, Spike Trap (unused in film) and Wire Twist Trap. Two of these (Mesh Trap and Wire Twist Trap) also allow you to view the storyboards and actual finished video segment on screen together. Although this section is short, I liked it enough to wish to have seen more scenes included.

Finally, we get a theatrical trailer which is well made.

  Overall  
Contract

Cube is a very good film that serves as a nice antidote to the poison of some of the big budget rubbish floating around. As a disc package, even without 16x9 enhancement, it comes up a winner and shows how to offer incentive and consideration for the purchaser. I happily recommend both the film and the DVD.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=448
  • Send to a friend.

    Cast your vote here: You must enable cookies to vote.
  •   
      And I quote...
    "...a very good film that serves as a nice antidote to the poison of some of the big budget rubbish..."
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB930
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
      Recent Reviews:
    by Vince Carrozza

    20 Million Miles to Earth
    "THRILLS! CHILLS! PLASTICINE!"

    Earth Vs The Flying Saucers
    "The people of Earth face their ultimate threat – not from the DEVIOUS COMMUNISTS! Not from the WILEY CHINESE! Not even from the sinister ROTARIANS!"

    City Under the Sea
    "What, indeed, was the point of this film, and why did they write a part for a bloody rooster?"

    Santana - Down Under Live at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion
    "Fans can look beyond the flaws though and just revel in the Gold FM hits without the annoying ads."

    Phantom of the Opera (1925)
    "It’s your typical ‘lovesick masked psycho meets girl, girl unmasks psycho, psycho goes on rampage” story."

      Related Links
      None listed

     

    Search for Title/Actor/Director:
    Google Web dvd.net.au
       Copyright © DVDnet. All rights reserved. Site Design by RED 5   
    rss