Forbidden Planet. Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers. Each of these movies is considered to be a timeless sci-fi cinematic work. Each movie was also released in 1956 – obviously a good year for the sci-fi industry. That year also saw the release of Godzilla, King of the Monsters, World Without End and the equally beloved The Mole People. That latter movie, released by Universal International Pictures (also known as Universal Pictures), is scheduled for re-issue on Blu-ray on Feb. 26 via Shout! Factory’s horror division, Scream! Factory. The movie’s upcoming re-issue is a wonderfully entertaining work for any and every sci-fi purist out there. That is proven in part through the movie’s very story. This will be discussed shortly. The bonus material featured with the movie’s forthcoming release does just as much to make this presentation appealing for sci-fi fans. It will be examined a little later. The movie’s average price point adds even more to the interest of its upcoming re-issue. It will also be addressed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of The Mole People. All things considered, they make Shout! Factory’s upcoming re-issue of The Mole People the first of this year’s great new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.
Shout! Factory’s upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of The Mole People is the first of this year’s best new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues. That statement is supported in part through the movie’s central story. The story follows a group of archaeologists that is studying an ancient Sumerian site somewhere in Asia. The somewhere is noted as the story never precisely notes where in Asia. The men are led to the top of a snow-covered mountain through its investigation, where they discover a hidden Sumerian temple. That discovery ends up leading the men deep into the mountain and yet another discovery – that of an ancient society whose people are not overly happy to have them there. The story leads to plenty of action as the explorers investigate the pre-historic people and their ways, including run-ins with a group of giant creatures, and of course some romance. While on the surface, the movie is just a fun rainy day watch (as is noted in the bonus features, which will be discussed a little later) on the surface, it is also a little bit more than that. There is a certain allegorical element to the story, too. Not to give away too much, but that allegorical element comes as the ancient people mistreat their mutant “creatures of the dark.” The creatures are used as slaves for the much lighter-skinned figures, who interestingly enough are dressed a la Romans of eons ago even though their temple has Egyptian hieroglyphics with Roman architecture. That crossing of cultures in the costume and set design is so awful that it’s entertaining. Getting back on track, the matter of the treatment of the “creatures of the dark” by the albino people is certain to create plenty of discussion. As a matter of fact, it is addressed in the movie’s bonus “making of” featurette, which oddly enough is not listed on the back of the movie’s box, despite being included as a bonus. That discussion and others included in the bonus content will be addressed later. Getting back on track again, the simple story of the adventurers finding a “lost” civilization and their attempt to escape the slightly homicidal peoples makes for plenty of action and adventure for audiences. That secondary element of the story’s seeming allegorical nature combine to make this story one that is certain to appeal to plenty of audiences. To that end, the movie’s central story is key to the movie’s overall presentation. It is just one of the important elements to examine here. The bonus content featured with the story adds even more appeal to the movie’s presentation.
The bonus content featured with The Mole People offers plenty of insight – and entertainment – for audiences. The previously noted “making of” featurette, which again is oddly not listed on the movie’s packaging, despite being present, is just one of the most important bonuses included in the movie’s presentation. Audiences learn through this featurette, about topics, such as the cost-cutting measures taken in the movie’s creation, the allegory in the story, which even in its original theatrical run, apparently was not lost on audiences and even the change in the movie’s ending. That discussion on the movie’s ending is directly related to the topic of the story’s deeper message. It is certain to create its own share of discussion about censorship, civil rights and other related topics. On a lighter note, the “making of” featurette also includes discussions on the costumes for the “creatures of the dark” and the connection of the costumes to other movies of the age.
The discussions featured in the movie’s bonus “making of” featurette offer lots of insight into the movie, and in turn, making the movie’s presentation that much more appealing. It is just one of the bonuses that should be noted in examining the movie’s presentation. The dual feature-length audio commentary from Tom Weaver and David Schecter offers its own share of insight for audiences. Audiences learn from Weaver, about the use of the Sierra Canyon set’s use not only in this movie, but in a variety of other movies from the time. He also offers his own commentary about the use of the stock footage from the documentary Conquest of Everest (1953) for the movie, going into a bit more depth along the way than was offered in the movie’s bonus “making of” featurette. Schecter takes his time addressing items, such as the seeming discussion on race relation presented within the story, as well as the movie’s production and cast. Each man offers plenty of insight in his own right. The only real downside to the discussions is that each is clearly scripted. They are not natural at all. This honestly detracts from the experience of hearing them discuss the movie. It makes one feel as if discussing the movie was a chore for each figure. In their defense, maybe it wasn’t a chore, but the delivery just feels so flat and lifeless. To that end, their commentary is a toss-up. It is enlightening, but at the same time, it is also not natural. When the commentaries are considered with the information shared through the “making of” featurette, that overall breadth of information creates even more appeal for the movie and strengthens the movie’s presentation even more.
The discussions on The Mole People’s aesthetic elements featured in the movie’s bonus content goes a long way toward making the movie’s upcoming re-issue a positive presentation. Those discussions are just part of what makes the movie’s companion bonus content so noteworthy. The inclusion of the full-length 1997 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in which Mike and his robot pals riff the classic flick adds yet another level of enjoyment to the movie’s presentation. This episode’s full-length presentation is a win for audiences and for Shout! Factory. The full presentation gives audiences a glimpse into what made the classic series so great (and important). In turn, that understanding can lead audiences to want to start adding the full volumes of MST3K that have been released, to their own home libraries. When this episode – with its nonstop entertainment – is considered along with the movie’s bonus commentaries and “making of” featurette, the whole of the noted items shows clearly why the bonus content included in this movie’s presentation is so important to its presentation. When they are collectively considered along with the movie’s entertaining story, the whole of these elements more than makes The Mole People worth the watch. Keeping all of this in mind, the average price point for the movie’s upcoming re-issue proves to be money well-spent.
The average price point for Shout! Factory’s upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of The Mole People is $25.34. That price point is reached by averaging the movie’s listed price at Amazon, Walmart, Books-A-Million and Shout! Factory’s own store. It is not listed at Target, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Walmart and Amazon’s price of $25.19 is just below that average, while Shout! Factory’s price point of $22.99 is well below that average. Books-A-Million’s price of $27.99 is the most expensive of the listings. In other words, at this point, Shout! Factory is the most economical choice for those choosing to purchase the Blu-ray, which again is a great addition to any sci-fi purist’s movie library. It is especially well worth the money considering everything that has been discussed here. When the movie’s primary and secondary content is considered along with this price point information, the whole proves to be a welcome re-issue.
Shout! Factory’s upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of The Mole People is a welcome new addition to the home library of any sci-fi purist out there. That is proven in part through its story. The concept in the story is actually believable, as it can be compared – to a point – to famed author Jules Verne’s classic novel Journey to the Center of the Earth. Suspension of disbelief is actually quite possible because of that ability to compare the story to Verne’s classic literary work. This is even despite the issues of the costumes and sets not exactly matching up. The bonus content included with the movie’s upcoming re-issue adds plenty of entertainment and insight for audiences, in turn giving audiences even more to appreciate here. The movie’s average price point is affordable, and is money well-spent, considering the breadth and depth of the bonus content featured in this presentation. Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of The Mole People. All things considered, they make The Mole People a welcome addition to the home library of any sci-fi purists and the first of this year’s best DVD and Blu-ray re-issues. It can be pre-ordered via Shout! Factory’s online store. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:
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