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IMMORTEL (ad vitam) DVD Mini Review

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IMMORTEL (ad vitam) DVD Mini Review

Old 11-02-04, 09:04 AM
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IMMORTEL (ad vitam) DVD Mini Review

IMMORTEL (ad vitam) is finally out on DVD after watching its impressive trailer, about half a year ago. I read fair to bad reviews of the movie, especially since a lot of people were let down due to high expectations (a la CASSHERN and HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS). So I lowered my expectations, and I basically got what I expected, not more and not worse. Although I wasn't expecting it to be original, it was actually more original than a fair share of other science fiction movies out there. It's originality is mainly due to its mood, style, and characters. This movie most reminded me of the comic stories in the monthly publication comic magazine HEAVY METAL. I never saw the two movies HEAVY METAL and HEAVY METAL 2000, which I think covers something else, but IMMORTEL is very similar to some of the magazine comic scenarios in HEAVY METAL - with its combination of future, violence, and sex. IMMORTEL is pretty impressive for a science fiction movie. As a movie by itself, the story is fair, but it's the visuals and the whole feel of the movie which is amazing. This style is similar to THE FIFTH ELEMENT, STAR WARS, BLADE RUNNER, but the overall feel to the movie reminded me more of a movie like THX-1138, such that it felt more like a movie made from the future, and not like a movie made in present time made about the future. That's the main aspect I liked about the film - other than that type of mood, the movie uses a combination of humans, humans modified by CGI, and then totally CGI characters. The totally CGI characters were a step lower in quality than the ones in FINAL FANTASY, new STAR WARS and ANIMATRIX, but the way they were used were excellent. Concerning the combination of blue screen acting, CGI characters and CGI environments, I think IMMORTEL is the most successful than the new STAR WARS movies and SKY CAPTAIN & THE WORLD OF TOMORROW. IMMORTEL may have an advantage due to its R-rating in compared to the children movies STAR WARS and SKY CAPTAIN, but the dialogue and humans acting with CGI were just awful and dull in STAR WARS and SKY CAPTAIN, but excellent in IMMORTEL. Everything flowed together better in that sense in IMMORTEL. A lot of people said the movie was slow, which it isn't - it's a very entertaining movie. I had trouble following a part of the story because I was too distracted looking at the movie. But from what I understood, the God Eagle story was very interesting and the other story, concerning a serial killer, wasn't that interesting and hard to follow. The main actress is good looking and she gets naked in it, but I thought that Charlotte Rampling was much better looking. I was curious if the director CGI'ed out her wrinkles? But she looked good in the movie and Im curious to see more of Charlotte Rampling movies now.

This DVD is the French PAL Region 2, two-disk version. It's an excellent DVD package even if you don't speak French. It comes in a cool 3D hologram outer cover.
The anamorphic video is excellent. People say it's a theater movie, but this movie looks just as good on tv.
The audio offered on the dvd is French DD 5.1 EX, French DTS-ES (6.1), and English DD 5.1 EX. I watched the movie in English and the audio rocks - very active all around and well mixed. There are metropolis scenes with talking advertisements which are sort of hard to understand, but overall, it's an excellent audio presentation.
The subtitles. This is where the DVD is ANNOYING!!! First off, there are NO English subtitles if you want to watch the movie with the French DTS-ES. It's like a tease when one can't take advantage of a dvd with DTS-ES. Second, the most annoying thing is that when watching in the original English DD 5.1 EX, there is burned in French subtitles that one cannot turn off. It's pretty annoying. I remember that's how it went with the French DVD of KAENA. Those goddamn french. Their DVDs always drive me nuts - either because there are no English subtitles on their movies or something annoying with burned in French subtitles.
The extras are cool - there's a trailer (within a making of featurette), movie premier footage, a section where one can listen to all the songs in the movie (the movie has a good soundtrack), and some other making of featurettes, and director's commentary if you know French.

Overall, this movie is a good blind buy if you like science fiction or special effects movies. I might have bought the cheaper RUSSIAN DVD if I had known about that the subtitles issue on this DVD (assuming that the Russian DVD doesn't have burned in subtitles when watching it in the English DD 5.1). It's up in the air though - anamorphic video with burned in subtitles or non-anamorphic video with non-burned in subtitles. It's a tough choice...But either way, IMMORTEL is a very entertaining and visually impressive movie. The director is very skilled and I look forward to his next movies. If I had a choice, I would want this director to do the upcoming WATCHMEN movie. The director, Enki Bilal, has a bizarre and original style, very French, but not obnoxious (such as a director as Pitof). Jeuneut, Christopher Gans and now, Enki Bilal, are now my favorite French directors. IMMORTEL is a good movie - but could have been a masterpiece, if they fixed up half the serial killer storyline or just focused more on the Gods story. I had a similar feeling with this movie as I did with South Korea's NATURAL CITY, but I liked IMMORTEL a tiny bit more than NATURAL CITY. So check out this flick!


MOVIE: 8
DVD VIDEO: 9
DVD AUDIO: 9
EXTRAS: 7
OVERALL: 8
Old 11-02-04, 11:12 AM
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there is burned in French subtitles
Are you sure they are "burned in", or are they just forced? I don't think I've ever seen a French DVD with subtitles burned into the print before.

The reason I'm asking is that forced subtitles can be removed (depending on your equipment), but burned subitles can not be removed.
Old 11-02-04, 11:18 AM
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The Russian DVD has removable subtitles. My concern is that some of the gods speak different languages. Is there any version that will subtitle this in english?
Old 11-02-04, 11:39 AM
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DULLBOY,
That's annoying too, but it's no big deal since what they say won't cause any plot point confusion, since I figured out what they were saying (with the French that I remembered from high school)...in the beginning, when the gods speak, the English narrative is repeating the same thing as what they just said...and in other scenes, they are just confirming that Horace's time is running out...
The same thing happened with the Russian dvd of BLUEBERRY - the Indian dialogue didn't get English subtitles, which could have helped because there were tons of Indian dialogue in that movie...
Old 11-02-04, 11:44 AM
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SIFU,
whats the difference between burned in and forced?? Either way, there is no way to turn off the French subtitles when watching the English audio version. Even on the DVD audio menu, it states in parentheses that French subtitles will play with the original english audio....totally ridiculous feature!!!
Old 11-02-04, 01:04 PM
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I agree with you 100%. There is no need for subtitles to be forced, and it's very annoying!

Burned in subtitles are actually a part of the print. You would see this mainly on older Asian films where the prints were required to have English subtitles so they just applied them to the theatrical print.

Forced subtitles are a subtitle file that comes up automatically during playback, but they are not actually burned into the print. So they can technically be removed.

The Taiwanese DVD has optional English subtitles, but it's fullscreen.
Old 11-02-04, 05:35 PM
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I, too, got the french Immortel DVD a couple of days ago and was very disappointed with the subtitles on the 'original' english version. And that after being so positively surprised about the cool packaging.
Good news is that the subtitles are not burned in but forced. The bad news is that 'common' DVD players are unable to shield these.

Some vendors sell their players with a build in chip to make it region-free and at the same time let it ignore all forced commands from the dvd like forced subs, a forced trailer intro etc. You may also buy them seperately and install them yourself. But these chips cost about $150, are not available for every model and let expire the guarantee.

A much simpler way — which I used — is to backup your DVD and just omit the f%#§ing forced french subtitles. My program of choice is DVDShrink. You can select only the parts like sound and extras you would like to have on your backup and burn it to a 4.7GB DVD-R/RW. Of cause your player now needs to play DVD-R/RWs.

The other fault is now that you will only get about 80% picture quality along with the english DTS-ES audio track but I can easily cope with that and having no french subs.

On my TV there is hardly any picture quality loss noticeable. I do not know about projectors, though.

Maybe this helps to enjoy the great movie some more.
Old 11-03-04, 08:56 AM
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CUTMEOWNTROAT,
Thanks, but I don't think im gonna invest in all that software/hardware. What I did try doing was just zoom in and move it down till the subtitles were cut off the screen, but I only watched it like that for 30 seconds because it was zoomed in so much that it looked worse than zooming in on a non-anamorphic dvd to fill the screen and it also reminded me that I should have just bought the non-anamorphic Russian dvd, so I just changed it back to normal size and just watched the movie with the subtitles.
I have a Malata Region-Free DVD player...do you know of any Region-free dvd players that ignore the forced subtitle issue?
Old 11-03-04, 01:32 PM
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Maybe a friend of yours could do a backup of the movie for you.
Players which have UOP (User Operation Prohibitions) disabled should be found easily with Google. Also try out the forum at www.nerd-out.com for firmware updates of your player (they have an entire topic about Malata players).
Alas, I don't know any players that ignore UOP without any modification, but many vendors sell them already with a modchip or fw-update.
I am seriously considering moding my own player (a SONY DVP-NS930V) with a chip to disable UOP. I am constantly bugged with much too long DVD lead-ins and subtitle/dub regulations. No player should even be able to tell me: 'operation currently not prohibited by disc!'
Old 11-19-04, 10:55 PM
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Yeah, I'm pretty sure that this movie was actually filmed in English (like Blueberry) given the actors, but I could be wrong. It's been awhile since I read the preview articles and the one copy I've seen was in French with no subs at all.

At any rate, I've read a stack of Bilal's graphic novels and plan on getting the DVD as soon as I can (probably spring). I highly recommend picking up the Nikopol Trilogy hardcover -- contains both books that the movie was loosely adapted from (can't remember the first title offhand) and "The Woman Trap". Though to be honest, I didn't catch too many similarities to either story aside from the characters.

You can order the EXCELLENT humanoids publishing hardcovers from Amazon for a pretty good price. If you like these ones, you can check out his older stuff and the current trilogy (parts 1 and 2 are out) -- my memory's failing me and I'm about out of time here. Anyhoo, check out www.humanoids-publishing.com . All the books are being distributed through DC now so they're not using their awesome HC format anymore, but at least there are lots of the previous versions still available and new stuff is coming out.
Old 11-20-04, 03:32 AM
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Originally posted by Tuan Jim
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that this movie was actually filmed in English (like Blueberry) given the actors, but I could be wrong.
You are not wrong!!

Pro-B
Old 11-20-04, 05:04 PM
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@toddly,

alternatively, watch in on your HTPC & use one of the numerous software solutions which defeat UOPs ... remoteselector & anydvd come to my mind. dvdregionfree might also do the trick.
Old 02-05-05, 09:04 PM
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Has anyone seen the Japanese version: http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview....EY=PCBH-50119#

Is the commentary in English or with English subs?
Old 02-05-05, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Tuan Jim
Has anyone seen the Japanese version: http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview....EY=PCBH-50119#

Is the commentary in English or with English subs?

I have the LE version of the Japanese disc. The commentary is in French, with optional Japanese subtitles.
Old 02-06-05, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by greydt
I have the LE version of the Japanese disc. The commentary is in French, with optional Japanese subtitles.
Thanks.

I gotta wonder how many copies they pressed of the LE for it to already be OOP at cdjapan. Nobody else even lists it that I can find. Heck, I picked up the LE Teshigahara box at least a year after it came out. Oh well. I guess it's all about demand.
Old 02-07-05, 09:04 AM
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I must watch this now - I finally bought it last weekend after waiting for the price to come down (got it for 15€ instore as opposed to the previous 25€ it was selling for). The resurrection of this thread has inspired me to make it jump a few places up the pile of my as-yet-unwatched discs...

Dazza.
Old 02-07-05, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuan Jim
I gotta wonder how many copies they pressed of the LE for it to already be OOP at cdjapan. Nobody else even lists it that I can find. Heck, I picked up the LE Teshigahara box at least a year after it came out. Oh well. I guess it's all about demand.

If you're looking for the LE version, Amazon Japan has it for sale (it's where I got mine). It still has the 20% off.
Old 02-07-05, 10:41 AM
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I liked this movie alot. A must own, imo.
Old 02-07-05, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by greydt
If you're looking for the LE version, Amazon Japan has it for sale (it's where I got mine). It still has the 20% off.
what name is it under? "immortel" turned up nothing. Is it under that god-diva title?

edit -- never mind, I found it: http://www.amazon.co.jp/exec/obidos/...986366-6625921

Last edited by Tuan Jim; 02-07-05 at 06:16 PM.
Old 02-08-05, 12:01 AM
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immortel

can anyone tell me where they ordered the french version of the immortel dvd? I'm in the states and am absolutely DYING to see this. I have a region free player that I think will be able to run the english verison without the forced french subtitles - but I saw in this thread that if that doesn't work, I can use dvdshrink to get rid of it. Sheesh, dvdshrink really is a great little program =)
Old 02-08-05, 02:24 AM
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http://www.fnac.com/Shelf/article.as...c3e450d7c&Fr=0

Ciao,
Pro-B
Old 02-08-05, 07:49 AM
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... or http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001NGFEQ/

I've also seen this one around in one or two French stores, although as its status on Amazon.fr indicates it's in pretty short supply:

http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002J49AG/

(Nice as it looks, I think 15€ is all I want to spend on this title at the moment!)

Dazza.
Old 02-08-05, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Dazza

...Nice as it looks, I think 15€ is all I want to spend on this title at the moment!
Dazza.
I would not spend even that much...but you got a great price considering what price tag everyone else has on it.

Pro-B

Last edited by pro-bassoonist; 02-08-05 at 02:05 PM.
Old 02-08-05, 01:57 PM
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Just a warning. I'm prety sure the French DVD has forced French subtitles for the English track. Can anyone confirm?
Old 02-10-05, 01:03 PM
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Yes, they do seem to be forced. I tried my disc just now, and couldn't turn off the subs from either the menu nor by using the remote when the movie was playing...

Dazza.

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