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December 24, 2012

Movie Review: The Faculty (1998, Blu-ray Edition)

Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Starring Jordana Brewster, Clea Duvall and Laura Harris

Some very weird shit is going down at Harrington High School. Shortly after one of the students finds a strange little creature on the schools football field, all hell begins to break loose, as the teachers seem to have been taken over by a mysterious force and not long after, the students themselves begin to become “possessed” by some sort of alien entity that is taking over the minds of everyone in sight. A small group of five students find themselves the only ones left to figure out the mystery and attempt to defeat the alien take-over before they too fall victim to the mind-controlling parasites which are now running their school.

Teen movies, by their very nature, are directed towards that magic movie-going demographic that people my age have long since passed by. They aren't really made for people my age, so when someone as ancient as I am has a blast with it over a decade past its original release,then that really says something about how great a movie it is.

The story itself here isn't all that original, but with a funny script, good acting and some pretty cool special effects, The Faculty manages to breath some new life into a story that's been making the rounds through Hollywood since the 50's.

There is a genuine feel of paranoia to this movie, reminiscent of the old classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). But unlike the overall dark tones of that film, The Faculty mixes in a nice balance of comedy and teenage angst which actually makes this a surprisingly fun ride of a film. Think- The Breakfast Club meets Invaders from Mars.

The cast is pretty stellar with even the supporting players being now, big names. Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) Josh Hartnett (30 Days of Night), Jordana Brewster (Fast & Furious), the super-hot Famke Janssen (Taken), and even John Stewart (The Daily Show).....not too shabby a cast right there. For me personally, just getting to see John Stewart stabbed in the eyeball with a ball-point pen filled with crystal-meth was more then worth the price of this re-released blu-ray. A surprisingly good balance of CGI and practical effects was also one of the high-points for me. The CGI was top quality for its time and they even took the time to create and shoot some of the main scenes featuring the beastie with good old-fashioned practical effects.

The 1080p blu-ray transfer quality is pretty decent, not perfect but not so bad as to make you notice the few minor flaws in quality in certain places. Some of the darker scenes did appear a bit blocky but it wasn't that big a deal, as the average viewer is going to be wrapped up in whats happening in-story to the point of probably not even noticing that stuff. This was a good effort by Echo Bridge. It was nice to see such a fun movie getting a nice little face-lift & re-release.  The only thing I did find disappointing about this release was the absence of any special features or extras. Still a definite Thumbs Up though.

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