Being that this film wasnít released in theatres all the long ago, I expected nothing less than a flawless picture - and for the most part thatís what we get. The film comes in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 in a single sided DVD. It has also been enhanced for those of us who are lucky enough to own 16x9 televisions. (Iím not one of themÖyet.)
Aside from some rare and extremely minor grain here and there, plus the occasional speckle, the picture is nearly perfect. A few of the wider shots in the film were a little soft, but a majority of the film was nice and crisp. The black levels were also right on the money. Shadows were consistently solid and dark, but at no time did you have to struggle to see any of the details within a scene. The colours were equally well defined and accurately represented. Skin tones looked very natural and over saturated colours were never an issue.
As expected, Impostor is presented with an exceptional Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and includes both English and Spanish subtitles.
The film isnít loaded with booming explosions, but it does feature a few scenes involving gunfire, which were absolutely fabulous. Gunshots were very loud, distinct and powerful - and the effect of bullets deflecting and zipping around your living room was very impressive and convincing.
During the scene in which Spencer Olham is drugged and under interrogation by the E.S.A. - hallucinogenic and hypnotic effects travel around the sound field, reinforcing the fact that Olham isnít in the best state of mind at that particular moment. In addition, chit chat between the principal actors in the underground tunnels of The Dead Zone echoed and reverberated nicely. Creating a nice ambiance and Closter phobic feel.
All in all, thereís hardly a scene in the entire film that doesnít make use of all 5 speakers. The rear surrounds in particular are well used and undergo a great workout. Thereís really nothing to complain about in the sound department - and the only thing that keeps me from giving the audio a perfect grade is the fact that the film itself never really pushes sound to the limits. Perhaps this is because the movie itself is fairly subdued and never really requires anything better from it. Overall, I found it to be a great soundtrack.
Impostor includes a few nice little extras, but compared to most other DVDís on the market these days itís a little under whelming. First up we have the Theatrical Trailer. Not a whole lot to say about this since you just watched the movie and already know the story.
Second up we have the Original Short Film. In what is explained a little more in the next supplement, we learn that Impostor was originally intended to be one part in a small Sci-Fi Trilogy. After Miramax and Dimension films saw the dailies of the short, they came to the decision that the film held a lot of potential and was worth a full feature treatment.
The original short runs for 37 minutes and 39 seconds and essentially goes on to tell the exact same story as the feature film, but without all the padding. The short is made up of pretty much everything we would see at the beginning and the end of the feature, with a few slight alterations. In many ways watching the short could also be viewed as a sudo-collection of deleted scenes - as it contains little snippets of dialogue that are not found in the feature.
Itís interesting to see the original short version of the film, but unfortunately it doesnít compare to the quality of the full length movie. Itís marred by lousy picture quality that is both too dark and loaded with print defects. Not only that, but the audio quality that I raved so much about in the previous section is nowhere to be found in the short. While the sound effects and music were identical, the short is only available in stereo.
It was a curiosity of mine to see the original short film, since it essentially spawned the feature, but somehow it just isnít worth watching when you have a better version of the movie on the disc already. In many ways it felt like an hour long episode of the Twilight Zone or Outer Limits, but without the inconvenience of commercials.
Next up we have a behind the scenes featurette entitled - The Impostor Files, which runs for approximately 11 minutes and 50 seconds. This short piece is primarily made up of interviews with some of the cast and crew, including the director, producer, production designers and visual effects people. In the beginning they quickly go over how this short film was picked up and eventually turned into a feature. The interviewees also discuss how they tried to make the film as believable as possible, despite taking place over 75 years in the future. The aim of the film makers was to create a futuristic environment that contained both architecture and technology that we would most likely see - if we were lucky enough to reach the ripe old age of 100-ish. Overall this small feature contained some decent information about the production of the film and was also fairly entertaining. Unfortunately this segment was a little shorter than I would have liked, but it was interesting none the less.
Also included on the DVD is an assortment of Sneak Peeks - although they hardly qualify as Impostor related material. Under this heading you can view a numbers of different trailers from films like Reindeer Games, Iron Monkey and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Woopee!
Despite that fact that Impostor recycled video clips and costumes from other, more notable Science Fiction films, I didnít find myself having any problems with the movie itself. While it will never reach the status of other Philip K. Dick stories like Blade Runner and Total Recall, I found that low expectations resulted in a fairly enjoyable viewing. Without a doubt I found much of the unfolding story to be fairly obvious and predictable, but at no time did I feel like it wasnít worth seeing - and that my time would have been better spent playing Ms. Pacman on my Atari.
The Impostor DVD features great picture quality and even better sound quality. While the sound was very rich and enjoyable, I didnít find that the film really pushed the audio to its limits. As far as the supplements went, they were acceptable, but by no means exceptional. Seeing the original short version of the film was a nice little extra, but when you have the full length feature right there are your fingertips, I really canít see why anyone would bother to watch it more than once - unless of course, they had a bus to catch in 45 minutes and donít have time to watch the full length movie.
Impostor is certainly worth a rental, but only serious Sci-Fi fans would find enough redeeming qualities in the film to make it worth adding to their library. I own the DVD now, and Iím sure that one day Iíll throw it into my player for another viewing, but thatís probably not going to happen any time soon. My recommendation is to play it safe and check it out first.