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After its original run of eight series, RED DWARF: BACK TO EARTH ($30) reunites the characters of the popular Britcom for a new adventure. For those unfamiliar with the original series, the series is set onboard the mining spaceship Red Dwarf, where technician Dave Lister (Craig Charles) was in suspended animation at the time of a radiation leak, which killed the rest of the crew. Lister is kept in suspended animation until the radiation died down, which turned out to be about three million years, and he awakened to discover himself to be the last surviving member of the human race. Also on board the Red Dwarf are Arnold Judas Rimmer (Chris Barrie) the holographic recreation of his former bunkmate, as well as Cat (Danny John-Jules), a Felis sapiens humanoid that evolved in the shipís hold from the progeny of Listerís pet cat. Over the course of their original adventures, a service mechanoid called Kryten (Robert Llewellyn) is added to the crew. The plot of RED DWARF: BACK TO EARTH finds the crew in a typically mucked up science fiction situation, which transports them to an alternate reality. In the alternate reality, they find themselves on Earth circa 2009, a place where they are characters on a fictional Red Dwarf television series. Unfortunately, the Creator of the television series has grown tired of the characters and intends to kill them off, which leads our heroes on an adventure to save their own skins. The cast of RED DWARF: BACK TO EARTH also includes Sophie Winkleman, Richard O'Callaghan, Jeremy Swift, Richard Woo and ChloŽ Annett.

BBC Home Video (via Warner) has made RED DWARF: BACK TO EARTH available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080i presentation is very pleasing and a far sight better than the look of the original series. Image sharpness and detail are pretty impressive. Colors are strongly saturated, without any kind of distortions. Blacks appear accurate, as do the whites. Contrast and shadow detail are never presented with any significant challenges and appear just fine. Overall, this is an appealing looking presentation.

RED DWARF: BACK TO EARTH is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The lossless encode may be overkill for the material, but I am still glad it was chosen. Considering the talky sitcom nature of the production, the sound is largely front-loaded. Some directional effects find there way into the outlying channels, with ambience and fill being the primary component of the rear channels. Fidelity is as good as the material allows. The bass channel has relatively little to do, but does it well, when called upon. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and is always easy to understand. No other language tracks are present, but English subtitles are provided.

The interactive menu gives one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. Starting things off are two running Audio Commentaries; the first is with writer/director Doug Naylor, while the second features actors Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules, and Robert Llewellyn. Next up is The Making Of Back To Earth, which runs seventy-two minutes and looks at the production in detail. Featurettes include The SFX On Back To Earth (nineteen minutes), Back To Earth Premiere (six minutes), Cast Signing Session (eight minutes) and Press Kit Video (six minutes). Behind The Scenes Web Videos and some Trailers close out the extras.

RED DWARF: BACK TO EARTH provides an amusing reunion for some out of this world characters. The Blu-ray looks and sounds great. Recommended to fans.



Red Dwarf: Back To Earth [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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