Ghosts of Mars (Blu-ray)
SRP $28.95 2.40:1 Dolby TrueHD 5.1 SONY
 

John Carpenter's "GHOSTS OF MARS" doesn't come close to being as entertaining as "THE THING" or "HALLOWEEN," but it's still much more entertaining than the over-rated "ESCAPE TO NEW YORK" and inferior sequel.  In the not too distant future, Earth has become so overpopulated, that colonies have been established on mars, and mining operations are essential for the human inhabitants survival, needing the vital resources they provide.  A tough woman cop assigned to a remote colony and ordered to capture a criminal(ICE CUBE). However, she soon realizes she's going to need his help in fighting a mutually bigger threat to the human civilization's survival on the red planet! Apparently, the mining operations have released Martian entities(ghosts)that take over the bodies of human hosts, turning them into zombie-like soldiers, bent on destroying the human colonies until non-martian life is completely vanquished.

The plot borrows heavily from other superior films, including some of Carpenter's, as with "ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13." Henstridge, in the lead role, is better than one would expect from her previous efforts, and the rest of the cast is decent. While much of the film feels derivative of better sci-fi efforts, the pacing, music, and direction, manage to keep one's attention throughout, and "GHOSTS OF MARS" ends up being a fun, above average, effort, and definitely worth checking out.

SONY has provided the correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray.  While in scene-to-scene comparisons with the dvd, detail is greatly improved, there are many scenes that appear flat. Colors are inconsistent and the director's intentional use of tints to highlight a "red" planet, limit the the full potential for a great image. Blacks are inky and darker scenes actually fare the best in terms of depth. While there are some scenes wherein detail is terrific, overall, the image lacks the quality of most SONY blu-ray releases, and is disappointing.

SONY has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix.  Surrounds are rarely used, and these moments come across as artificial, and make the film feel more low-budget than it may be. Carpenter attempts to use music creatively, but the fidelity is often lacking, creating a less than impressive experience. Dialogue is intelligible throughout, but one expects much more from a lossy mix, than what's been presented here.

The exact same featurettes(all in standard resolution)found on the dvd, have been carried over. The commentary with Henstridge and Carpenter is too self-laudatory, and dull. The other featurettes are hit or miss.