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"Ravenous" on DVD

A Movie to Get Your Teeth Into

by Johnny Bray

Hey, what's eating these guys? Or rather, who?

Ravenous, which sucked at the box office, is all about cannibalism. The movie centers around an apparent Indian legend that says if you eat another human, you consume their soul, and gain their strength.

If that's the case, then I could use a big ol' "Stew o' Schwarzenegger" right about now...

What the legend neglects to tell you, is that once you've tasted the flesh of man, you just can't get enough. The phrase 'you are what you eat', takes on a completely new meaning when you watch this movie.

Guy Pearce is, apparently, the lead actor, but until the last half hour, he only has about five lines, and even them he speaks with absolutely no enthusiasm. He plays the cowardly Capt. John Boyd, a typical army guy who accidentally chickens out in the middle of a battle and causes the deaths of most of his regimen. Then, to top it all off, he plays dead, and gets buried under a whole mound of dead guys. He even has a half shot-off head dripping blood on his face.

Sounds like an exciting Saturday night, doesn't it?

Anyway, I don't want to give away the plot, so I'll just tell you that the best part of the movie is Robert Carlyle (you'd probably know him best from The Full Monty), although he only does about a half-Monty in this one. He plays the villain and goes from being a starving Scot to a psychotic cannibal, then to a normal army dude and to a psychotic cannibal. He steals every scene he's in (he's just a phenomenal actor), especially when he's in a scene with Guy Pearce.

Maybe I'm being unfair to Pearce, because he does a pretty good job in the last five minutes of the movie, when he goes from becoming a cowardly half-assed cannibal, to finally becoming the hero. He' has the look, the walk, and the overall style of a movie hero, and I'm thinkin' this wasn't the best role to cast him in (he probably fired that agent pretty quickly!).

Also in the movie are Jeremy Davies, Jeffrey Jones, Neal McDonough, and David Arquette. Honestly, I don't even know why Arquette was in this movie, his role is so minuscule and pathetic that, with his fame, it's almost embarrassing to say you've heard of him.

Now that I'm done trashing it, I will tell you that the movie isn't all that bad. Sure, it has some problems, but with all the gore you forget all about it. Ladies, I'm sorry, but you're probably not gonna have a lot of fun with this one.

Definitely not an Oscar contender, Ravenous is nothing more than a violent action flick that was poorly cast, except for Carlyle of course. It's not bad to see once…but only once.

As a DVD, Ravenous follows Fox's (and others') tradition of defaulting to Dolby Pro Logic instead of Dolby Digital, though the digital soundtrack is there for the taking. The audio and the widescreen picture quality are first rate.

Extras include the usual theatrical trailer, plus a TV commercial. There are also deleted scenes, production stills and three (count 'em) separate audio commentaries: one with the director and composers; one featuring actor Robert Carlyle, and one with writer Ted Griffin and actor Jeffery Jones.

"Eat to live. Don't live to eat." -Ben Franklin

"Ravenous," from 20th Century Fox Home Video
103 minutes, widescreen (2.35:1), Dolby Digital
starring Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, Jeremy Davies, Jeffrey Jones, ,David Arquette .
Screenplay by Ted Griffin, Directed by Antonia Bird.


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Updated May 13, 2006