BACK TO EARTH [BLU-RAY] (2009)
Red Dwarf: Back to Earth [Blu-ray] (2009)
Charles, Danny John-Jules, Chris Barrie, Robert Llewellyn
Format: Color, Director's Cut, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled,
Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (DTS-HD High
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 2
Studio: BBC Warner
DVD Release Date: October 6, 2009
Run Time: 90 minutes
- Cast Commentary
- Director Commentary
- All-New Exclusive Documentary
- The Making of Back to Earth
- Deleted Scenes
- Smeg Ups
- Web Videos
- Photo Gallery
- Easter Egg
Dwarf is of course the cult British science fiction sitcom – replete
with laugh track! – that ran between 1988 and 1999 on BBC (obviously).
It is a largely character-driven comedy set on an enormous
mining spaceship and features a cast of offbeat characters such as the last
known human alive, a feline life form named Cat, a hologram and a service
mechanoid. The setup is that the characters can’t stand one other, but still
have to share their living space – a tried and tested sitcom staple
throughout the years.
There have been several attempts since the show’s
cancellation after its eighth series to bring it back as either yet another
season or even a feature film. All of these efforts came to nothing and it
wasn’t until April 2009 that a three-part story titled Red Dwarf: Back to
Earth aired on the digital channel named, um, Dave.
The problem with cults however are that their appeal are
often – if not always – elusive to outsiders. The same can be said of
Back to Earth. It makes no attempt whatsoever to appeal to newbies and
at times has its head so far stuck up its own arse (that’s British for ass)
that one can only assume that the writers decided long beforehand that this
is one for the fans only.
The story involves the Red Dwarf crew being
transported to Earth and discovering that they are in fact fictional
characters in a television series played by characters. The jacket blurb
calls it “their metaphysical odyssey” to which one of the characters quip,
“Ooh, I always wanted one of those.”
The problem is however no matter how self-deprecating the
humor is, that this sort of post-modernism feels rather self-indulgent. Add
to this some really lazy writing and lame one-liners, and one gets the vibe
that even though one can do something – such as bring back a long-defunct
television series from the dead – it doesn’t mean that one should. Even
Back to Earth’s attempts at poking fun at
Blade Runner elicits only the
occasional chuckle. The truth is that Back to Earth simply isn’t that
funny or clever.
THE DISCS: Red Dwarf: Back to Earth clocks
in at a mere 70 minutes, which makes it feel more like a bloated television
episode than a full-length movie. Bloated television episodes aren’t usually
the sort of thing that one builds two-disc Blu-Ray sets around. Once again,
it feels all very self-important to have a second Making Of disc thrown into
the bargain on the second disc.
WORTH IT? Only if you’re a really dedicated fan.
RECOMMENDATION: This is a TV series that did much
better in its heyday. Rather check out the old episodes or the novelizations
if you’re new to the cult, er sorry, series.
NOTE: Luckily Red Dwarf: Back to Earth
spares us the laugh track this time round. Yeah, I hate them as much as
Woody Allen does . . .