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Specimen review

Old 05-17-99, 02:58 AM
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I just watched my first DVD from Simitar, called "Specimen" starring a chunky Mark Paul Goesselaar (Zack from Saved By the Bell fame). It is basically a really dumb straight-to-video sci fi movie about a human spawn of an alien impregnation.

Anyway, that's not the important part- the thing that amazed me was the absolutely horrible audio quality! One interesting thing is that the film actually has a choice between 5.1 and pro-logic sound, but you do not access it through the menu like other movies, but instead using the 'audio 1" and "audio 2" choices on your DVD player remote! I actually like this, since it allows shift-on-the-fly between pro-logic & AC-3. Why aren't other movies commonly doing this? Anyway, back to the sound- I don't know who the heck mastered or dubbed this, but there is SO much loud hiss in the background whenever the sound track of the movie is on. It sounds find when there is just music, but whenever the actors start speaking or you hear sound effects, suddenly, it's like they dubbed the audio from a cheap walkman! The hiss goes away as soon as the actors stop speaking. It's almost like the vocals were dubbed in after the fact. And get this- the hiss is much louder on the AC-3 track then the prologic track. Other than that, I could not differentiate any difference between the 2 audio formats. There are also periodic drop-outs in the audio, inconsistent audio volume, and some very bad audio edits.

As for the video quality, overall, it's like watching a dubbed VHS tape- somewhat better than a tape recorded in EP, but not much. Also, the same terrible edits abound.

And oh, don't get me started about the acting. Let's say it makes the typical acting in pornos look like oscar material. And as for special effects, the Power Rangers was more realistic than this.

Other gripes: the "special features" consist of a one-page data sheet on the movie and a one-page listing of Mark Paul's other movies, and nothing else. Simitar also includes a coupon for a free DVD when you buy 4, but guess what- it's printed on the back side of the chapter listing insert! Of course they accept originals only, so you'd have to lose your chapter listing if you wanted to take them up on the offer. Also, they want you to send the original UPC, which requires you to cut the barcode completely off the cover artwork, leaving a big hole! Grrrr... is this what I can expect from all Simitar titles?

Any comments are appreciated.

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