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Druids and Spacehunter on DVD

Druids is a epic wannabe, a Canada/France co production that tells the story of a Gallic chieftain trying to protect his fellow Druids against outside forces.

The film, set in the year 60 B.C., stars Christopher Lambert as Vercingetorix whose peaceful life with his fellow druids on the Celtic Isles is disrupted when Caesar and his army declare war on them. Fortunately, he gets "divine inspiration" just before going into battle when he's reunited with his childhood love who we met at the beginning of the movie. He then gets his people ready for an epic and historic battle.

The movie stars Christopher Lambert, with Max Von Sydow and Klaus Maria Brandauer - both of whom give far less wooden performances than Lambert.

The film is more than a tad ponderous, but the production values are very good and what you end up with is a lush looking and sounding film that tries to be more than it succeeds in being. Still, it's an interesting enough yarn and worth a look if you're into films like Braveheart (though this one doesn't come close to Braveheart's quality). It's basically a fairly schlocky tale dressed up in fine clothes.

As a DVD, Druids is pretty good. Columbia Tristar includes digitally mastered anamorphic widescreen and Pan&Scan versions on opposite sides of the disc, and the picture quality on both versions is excellent. Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1, and the sound quality is also very good, with good use of the surround channels as well.

You don't get much in the way of extras, however; just some trailers.

Druids, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
124 min. anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 TV compatible/Pan&Scan (1.33:1), Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Christopher Lambert, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Max Von Sydow
Produced by TFI International Eiffel Productions Transfilm
Written by Rospo Pallenberg, Norman Spinrad, Jacques Dorfman, Directed by Jacques Dorfman


If you're looking for something even more schlocky, take a boo at Columbia Tristar's Spacehunter - Adventures in the Forbidden Zone.

This is a rather campy sci-fi action/adventure flick with shades of Mad Max (especially Beyond Thunderdome) and many other films.

Wolff is a space salvage captain (sort of a garbageman), minding his own business and trying to keep his financial head above water. Then along comes an emergency, with a reward, and he's off chasing adventure across space.

Three Earth women have been kidnapped after their escape pod lands on Terra Eleven so, with his trusty sidekick Chalmers (Andrea Marcovicci) they head to that planet, only to find the pod's wreckage but no sign of the three babes. Fortunately, they have a tracking device which leads them to a train where the girls are; unfortunately, just as they're getting close the train gets attacked by Bad Guys, who grab the women again and take them off on high tech hang gliders.

It turns out that Terra Eleven is a planet in conflict between two sides, with Overdog (Michael Ironside) in overall ruthless control. He has turned the planet into a wasteland and the few survivors left are either Overdog lap dogs or "regular guys" who are fighting for a free planet.

While following the girls' trail, Wolff comes across Nikki (Molly Ringwald), a local girl who offers to take him to Overdog in exchange for food. They team up (reluctantly, of course) and eventually join forces with Washington (Ernie Hudson) a space cop who's also looking for the girls.

It's a pretty low budget flick, but they still manage to include some cut rate alien creatures.

Peter Strauss is okay, Ringwald is quite annoying in places (we think it's just her voice), while Ernie Hudson seems like Ernie Hudson. Ironside gives his normal over the top performance.

The movie's saving grace is that it doesn't take itself too seriously, and that works in its favor.

The DVD is presented in both anamorphic widescreen and Pan&Scan, but the quality of the picture leaves a lot to be desired. It could use a good restoration, though we aren't sure this 3D flick really deserves it. The audio is Dolby Digital stereo and it's okay.

The extras pretty well amount to some bonus trailers.

Spacehunter, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
90 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 TV compatible/ Pan&Scan, Dolby Digital Stereo
Starring Peter Strauss, Molly Ringwald, Ernie Hudson, Michael Ironside
Produced by Don Carmody, John Dunning and Andre Link
Written by Edith Rey & David Preston and Dan Goldberg & Len Blum, Directed by Lamont Johnson


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Updated May 13, 2006