CUBE [SIGNATURE SERIES]
Cube [Signature Series]
Starring: Nicole deBoer, Nicky Guadagni, David Hewlett, Andrew
Miller, Julian Richings
Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
Written by: Andre Bijelic, Vincenzo Natali and Graeme Manson
Produced by: Mehra Meh, Betty Orr
Released by: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Run Time: 90 minutes
Edition Details: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Format: Colour, Closed-captioned, Widescreen
DVD Features: Anamorphic, Dolby 5.1, director commentary, interview
with Nicole deBoer, deleted scenes, storyboards, set design, effects
The DVD market can
get quite confusing at times. Not only the whole region thingy, but also
the fact that studios sometimes bring out various editions of one movie.
Therefore, you would, for example get various editions of the
original Men In Black. First,
there's the Collector's Series edition, the Limited Edition
and the Superbit edition!
This is the second
release of Cube on DVD (or in the States at least), the first being
under Trimark Home Video. Now it has been re-acquired by Lion's Gate
films (whatever that means) and is distributed under their Signature
Series banner. The Signature Series seems to consist of this independent
distributor's more successful and well-known hits (in as much as art
house flicks can qualify as hits that is) such as Amores Perros,
Eve's Bayou and Monster's Ball.
THE DISC: How does this disk compare to the
previous one? Apparently the image transfer is better (but not by much)
but enhanced for widescreen TVs. While most of the original disk's
features are ported to this one, this disk includes a new and apparently
more informative director's commentary. In the process, an art gallery and
some other audio options have been lost, but a short interview with
actress Nicole de Boer has been added.
Anyway, here are
some things I've learned listening to director Vincenzo Natali's very dry
and serious audio commentary:
The film was made
with a grant of 350 000 Canadian dollars by a Canadian film institute. The
amount stayed the same regardless what film project it was - a sci-fi epic
or intimate drama!
Those fancy doors
seen never worked and only were only "fixed" halfway through the shoot.
The prop girl laughed aloud when she heard the impressive whooshing sound
they make in the movie after the final sound effects were added!
His initial idea
for the movie was that of a group of chartered accountants (!) waking up
in a fantastical old-fashioned maze. This maze would have alien food
growing in it and so forth . . .
AHEAD: Even in this original idea form, he made a point of not
divulging the origin or purpose of the maze. END SPOILER!
AHEAD: The movie tested badly with test audiences: they simply
hated the ending, which explains nothing. Initially the idea was to have
no-one escape from the cube, but this was considered too bleak - even for
the filmmakers! The American distributors wanted the ending changed, but
the director persisted. Besides, shooting a new ending would involve
bringing back the cast, building a new set altogether (the sets were
destroyed after filming) and it was estimated that this would cost as much
as what the entire movie was filmed for in the first place! END
The maths in the
movie is one hundred percent correct! They approached a statistician
boffin with plot requirements and he worked out the math around that.
Most of the film
was shot on hand-held camera. The camera whilst robust was quite noisy so
they draped the cameraman under a thick cloak during shooting, and he
ended up looking like The Elephant Man!
Cube, director Natalie is a talented guy and doors should have flown
open for the guy, especially directing a movie for very cheap that managed
to do quite well, especially in overseas markets (i.e., non-American
markets). However, the movie he has directed since then seems to have
stalled in that it took ages to find a distributor. The movie's name is
Cipher and is an SF effort, one that deals with corporate espionage.
Hopefully we'll get to see it soon.
Don't let the dreaded art house label scare you off - Cube is
quite a good sci-fi thriller that has built up a deserving cult audience
since its original release back in 1997. (An unnecessary sequel,
Cube 2: Hypercube was recently made by the
If you own the original disk is there any sense in forking out for this
one? Nope, it doesn't seem as if the Signature Series edition present a
clear upgrade. However, if you do not own the movie at all or haven't
rented it, then seeking out this edition would be the preferred option.