Magic Lantern (VCI)
Cast: John Ashley, Patrick Wayne, Leigh Christian, Lenore Stevens
Extras: Biographies, Previews
South of the Philippines some local fishermen discover an unknown island and with it a civilization of people they weren’t aware of. With pearly eyes, these people are able to breathe under water and many of their rituals are taking place at the bottom of the sea. Now, these people need mates form the outside world to ensure their species’ survival and the fishermen are captured to server their needs. ’Beyond Atlantis’ is an adventure movie that features some colorful and nice underwater photography as well as an interesting story that is rather well delivered, especially considering the minimal budget of less than $200.000 this 1973 movie was shot on.
VCI Home Video is presenting ’Beyond Atlantis’ in a fullframe presentation on this DVD, which may be the film’s original aspect ratio. Although the source print itself seems to be in rather good shape and doesn’t exhibit distracting defects, the picture quality of the transfer into the digital domain is rather poor. The picture seems to come from a rather low-end master source and has a washed out look without detail. Edges and colors are bleeding throughout and excessive film grain adds to the rather poor look of the movie on this DVD. Unfortunately every compression artifact imaginable is visible in the transfer, including from pixelation, banding, dot crawl, shimmering and ringing. The black level of the transfer is good, creating deep blacks, but due to the low definition of the transfer, shadows lose all information and become murky throughout. Although strong in their hues, colors are inconsistent throughout the presentation, even within single frames, and an over saturation of green is evident through the entire film.
The film features a monaural Dolby Digital track that sounds very compressed and due to its missing low end has a very tinny and thin quality. The disc also contains some selected biographies and previews to a series of other VCI Home Video releases. The menus, although colorful and sharp have an annoying ’plastic’ quality that doesn’t match the movie or its presentation in any way.
Although the movie itself is not all that bad, ’Beyond Atlantis’ is a big disappointment on this DVD. The presentation of the movie is just not suitable for what DVD can do. Given the current standard of DVD releases in the market, this DVD may have been able to sneak by three years ago but in this day and age, one would assume that publishers manage to avoid common compression pitfalls as seen on this disc.