DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Highlander - The Source

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Osadciw, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

    Jun 24, 2003
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    Real Name:
    Michael Osadciw


    Distributor: Lionsgate/Maple Pictures
    Original Release: 2007
    Run Time: 86 minutes
    Genre: Action/Adventure/Science Fiction

    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 widescreen enhanced
    Colour/B&W: Colour

    Audio Formats:
    English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround

    Subtitles: English, Spanish
    Rating: R

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Release Date: AVAILABLE NOW

    Film Rating: [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Starring: Adrian Paul (Duncan MacLeod), Thekla Reuten (Anna Teshemka), Cristian Solimeno (The Guardian)

    Screenplay by: Stephen Kelvin Watkins, Mark Bradley
    Directed by: Brett Leonard

    I can’t say that I ever liked Highlander. Even though it was a film of my time, I never had a chance to watch it until a few years ago. Disappointingly, it didn’t live up to my expectations considering all of the hype built around it. I picked up Anchor Bay’s release a few years back expecting to be wowed, but as I was watching it I knew it wasn’t a film for me. I had “missed” the film during its time and now I see it as a dated sci-fi appealing to its fan base. Blasphemous, I know.

    But how unlucky it is for fans of Highlander to be graced with this fifth movie installment. Highlander: The Source is a straight-to-video release that reeks of TV movie quality. With poorly executed scenes, awful dialogue, and silly effects, even die hard fans of the series could not find this acceptable and save it from the series’ fallen grace.

    Duncan MacLeod, the Highlander, rejects his immortal life and skills as he mourns the loss of his love life. Even though some see being immortal as a gift, he could not grow old and die or have children with her. As the world crumbles into chaos, MacLeod teams up with several other immortals to find the source of immortality. But their quest isn’t an easy one as one very powerful immortal, The Guardian, prevents them from reaching their mecca.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Shot in HD, this DVD presents a very flat, 2-dimensional image that lacks resolution of details. It can be visibly blurry in one shot and clear in the next. Not only that, but the colour timing wasn’t quite consistent either. In the city, one moment it’s a red hue to show the coming of the apocalypse, and in other shots it looks relatively normal. In the country, the night shots have the common blue hue, but again, this can change in intensity from shot to shot. The inconsistency was bothersome. Daylight is grayed, and the black levels at night are never deep. The “black bar” of the 2.35:1 image always seemed about 5 shades darker than the lowest black level in the picture.

    [​IMG]AUDIO QUALITY: 2.5/5 [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    To be honest, this is an unexciting 5.1 soundtrack that had the potential to be. The result is a highly compressed sound with little dynamic range. When dialogue is about as loud as the biggest explosion, you know that fidelity isn’t a concern here. Music, sound effects – everything! So disappointing. Effects are OK, but some don’t sound right. For example, during the first fight between MacLeod and The Guardian, fire burns all around. The crackling of flames sound like falling rain in all channels. I was squinting to see if it actually was raining a bit in the scene; the fire had maybe turned it to steam before it hit the ground. Effects aren’t that aggressive and there are only a handful of moments with LFE, lasting about a second with each clunk. More attention needs to be given to dialogue integration. I found the switch from on site dialogue to ADR clearly noticeable – on site tends to be thinner and “distant” sounding – with a bit more of what the room sounds like, and then ADR – closely mic’d, thick and padded – all in the same scene.

    TACTILE FUN!! ZERO / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Not worth it!


    Highlander: The Process (1h21m, 4:3) – is an very in-depth behind the scenes documentary for this film. There is lots of cool stuff in here from the writing process to final shooting. I was surprised to see such a great collection of material that isn’t padded with fluff. It’s too bad that behind the scenes material for bigger films can’t be as in-depth.

    Storyboard to scene comparisons (6m31s, 16:9) – with the video from the film at the top of the screen and the storyboards playing at the bottom, this feature lets you view two scenes from the film.

    Tribute to Bill Panzer (15m22s, 16:9) – this feature looks a bit dated (I could be wrong), but this tribute to the creator and producer of the Highlander series features people who have worked closely to Panzer over the years.

    Highlander video game sneak peak

    The disc also contains trailers for other Lionsgate/Maple Pictures release films.

    IN THE END...

    Highlander: The Source is not a film I’ll remember for being great. It has not changed my opinion about the series and I’m not sure any other sequel will either. The lackluster video and audio quality of this release didn’t help much either. I’d recommend passing on this release.

    Michael Osadciw
    March 02, 2008.

    Review System

  2. Chris Joyner

    Chris Joyner Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 6, 2003
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    As much as I like the original "Highlander", I think if a few years pass, and somebody decides to remake it and relaunch this series, it wouldn't hurt my feelings. This is probably one of the only classic "cult" movies I would say that about though.
  3. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

    Mar 6, 2001
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    Now that Panzer has passed on, and now that the Source was soundly rejected by all fans of Highlander (who, fyi, were largely won by the excellent television series, not the shoddy films), it is time to sell the Highlander concept to someone who can do it right -- such as Timur Bekmambetov and the guys who made Night Watch.
  4. Brian D H

    Brian D H Second Unit

    Sep 2, 2004
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    I am one of those fans. I guess you could say a somewhat rabid one. Here's where I was coming from:

    Highlander: Loved it. I was 17 when it came out.

    Highlander 2: Hated it

    Highlander 3: OK, I guess. It added nothing to the mix.

    Highlander the Series: Loved it. While the first 2 seasons were only OK (kind of like Star Trek Next Gen); it really got it's legs by the third. The fourth and fifth were fantastic. The TV format allowed you to learn about the entire 400 year life of Duncan with great period flash-backs. Season 6 was a try-out for the failed spin-off "Raven" so it sucked with the exception of the last episode.

    Highlander 4 (End Game): I liked it. Shoddy production values, but a continuation of the Series and an honorable death to a favorite character.

    I went to "The Gathering" Highlander Convention in Denver in 1998. I went on the Highlander Cruise. I own the first movie and the fourth. I bought all the TV season videos and later the DVDs (with all the free stuff that came with them - pilsner glasses, pins, leather jackets, letter openers, CD Roms, etc.). I even gladly accepted "Raven" as a freebie, though I wouldn't have paid for it. Davis/Panzer productions still calls me every 6 months or so to try and sell me more stuff.

    But.. When they called me last month to try to sell me Highlander: The Source I laughed in their faces. I ranted to the poor customer service rep who had the misfortune to call me, that I had seen "The Source" on the Sci-Fi channel and that I wouldn't take a copy of that movie if they paid me for it. The bones of a fairly good plot out-line were there, but that's about it. Bad direction, acting, script, sound, FX, costumes and no budget to speak of. The nail is in the coffin; Clan Macleod is dead. I'll be re-watching the series soon to try and get rid of the memory.

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