Senior HTF Member
- Jul 3, 1997
- Real Name
- Ronald Epstein
What can I say? I love 3D! From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content. I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite. That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT. I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky. However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation. These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves. I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum. My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released. As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.
Studio: Kino Lorber
Product Release: March 1, 2016
Audio: DTS Stereo
Running Time: 85 minutes
On A Scale 0-5
Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 5
3D Separation: 5
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 3
Buried beneath the desert lies a top-secret research facility controlled by an electronic "brain" known as Novac. It is here that the world's top scientists are conducting freezing experiments intended for human space travel. We soon find that things are going horribly wrong at this underground laboratory as the machines are beginning to turn against the humans. Something has taken control of Novac, and it's up to Investigator David Sheppard (Richard Egan) to find out "who" or "what" is behind the sabotage.
Based on a short story by Ivan Tors, GOG is a film way ahead of its time. It is a story written for today, but filled with realistic possibilities for tomorrow, as it presents an amazing array of scientific possibilities that, for most of which, would eventually become reality. However, all this futuristic "mumbo jumbo," as fascinating as it is, becomes the biggest problem for this film. The story becomes extremely weighed down by showing off all these technological wonders, which leaves its characters standing around doing nothing for most of the feature. Most of the action sequences are left for the film's final act, which come across as goofy, as robots "Gog" and "MegaGog" run amok, trapping their prey under the silliest of circumstances which makes one wonder how escape wasn't possible.
Such are the problems with most of these B-rated, low-budget films from this period. Their aim to entertain is well intended, but they mostly come across as laughably stupid. It's unfortunate, but most (but not all) of the titles released during the Golden Age of 3D fall into this category. That being said, I still have immense interest in viewing these titles solely for their 3D presentation.
Viewing GOG in this newly-restored Blu-ray release was quite a rewarding experience. One has to take into account that this was the most challenging restoration effort taken on by archivists Greg Kintz and Robert Furmanek. In their words, "The only surviving 35mm left side element was totally faded with no yellow or cyan information whatsoever. Every single shot in the film required up to seven levels of correction, including color restoration, left/right panel matching, flicker reduction, image stabilization, detail extraction from the superior right side element, stereoscopic vertical alignment and dirt/damage clean-up."
I was invited to a private screening of this Blu-ray at Bob's home a few weeks back with two members of Home Theater Forum. All three of us agreed that this was the finest restoration effort that we had seen come out of the hands of the 3-D Film Archive. Believe it or not, the word "Warner Brothers" was tossed around in our conversation, as a studio that puts this much care and effort into a restoration. Most of the credit has to be given to Greg Kintz, who has such an incredible passion for these kind of films and tirelessly committed himself to making this film look as good as it could under a very limited budget. The transfer looks nearly flawless. Colors are vivid (check out the redhead), and the 1080p transfer presents an outstanding level of clarity that brings out a well-detailed image. There are a few blemishes here and there, but when you watch the restoration demo in the included supplements, you realize the night and day difference in print quality. As Bob Furmanek explains, nobody ever thought this film could be saved, and this is the very first time it is being seen in its original widescreen aspect ratio with all its content fully replaced.
The 3D presentation is quite good. The most important thing I want to point out is the film's use of staging and camera positioning to highlight depth. This makes for a highly satisfying dimensional viewing. I think you'll find it interesting that Director Herbert L. Strock suffered from monocular vision. He could not see 3D. However, he had the best cameraman in the business, Lathrop B. Worth, who guided Strock through the process, ensuring that every scene was meticulously planned in advance not to waste any film nor make the 3D too severe that it would hurt the eyes of movie-goers. The result is a very natural 3-dimensional offering with an excellent amount of depth between foreground and background objects. While there is an attempt to throw things towards the audience, I am afraid most of the attempts fall short of being effective. The very first shot we see in the opening of the film is of a nurse with a needle, that is pointed at the viewer. In both projected presentations that I viewed (at Bob Furmanek's and my own home), it was marred by ghosting. This is not unusual for many similar kind of outward projections, and whose severity (or none at all) is dependent on what equipment you are viewing the disc on. Later in the film, attempts to propel a flame-thrower forward falls completely flat. However, there is a very brief moment when the robot MegaGog turns its own flamethrower tube at the viewer, and it works quite well. Take notice of a scene with a group of electronic tuning forks that seem to curve outward. It's one of the better well-pronounced forward protrusions.
The film's 2-channel DTS-HD presentation is excellent, with the film's tantalizing soundtrack and accompanying dialogue effortlessly prioritized without any noticeable background hiss.
As I mostly try to keep my reviews centralized on the plot and presentation, I rarely talk about the supplemental materials that are included. In this case, I want to urge owners of this disc to check out the restoration demo by Greg Kintz and Bob Furmanek, presented in 3D. I have to give kudos to Mr. Kintz in his creativity in making it a very entertaining and educational watch. Furthermore, I also urge the viewing of the 2003 interview with Director Herbert L. Strock, who has some remarkable stories about the making of the film. Also included on this disc is a Trailer Gallery as well as running commentary from Film Historians Tom Weaver, Bob Furmanek and David Schecter.
For me, GOG is one of the less entertaining films released during the Golden Age of 3D. That being said, I have continually mentioned in my many reviews that it's important that support is given to these releases so that we may see more of them. There are still dozens of these titles yet to be released -- with quite a few now in the pipeline. For that reason, good or not, these B-rated films remain a curiosity for those of us who have immense passion for the format itself.
The amount of attention that has been given to this title by Mr. Kintz and Furmanek is quite evident when you see how tremendous the transfer looks. Thanks must also be given to Kino Lorber for the efforts they made to secure the rights to this film so the restoration could be done in the first place. GOG is the most ambitious effort put forth by the 3-D Film Archive and every frame of this film exemplifies the amount of care they put into its restoration .
Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc.
Sony HW55ES Front Projector calibrated by Gregg Loewen, Lion AV
Oppo BDP-93 3D Blu-ray Player
Denon 3311CI Receiver
Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear side and back speakers
SV Sound Subwoofer