Lake Michigan Monster (Arrow Video) Blu-ray Review


Lake Michigan Monster is the type of film that is destined to become a cult classic. The film has a way about it that I have never really seen before and there are some very funny moments throughout. Today, we take a look at the brand new blu-ray from Arrow Video.

Studio:
Arrow Video
Release Date: July 31st, 2020 (theatrical) / November 3rd, 2020 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 1 hour 18 minutes
Region Code: FREE
Picture: 1080p (1.78:1 aspect ratio)
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English LPCM 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Slipcover: Yes (original pressing)
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, Erick West, Beulah Peters, Daniel Long, Wayne Tews, and Steve Hoelter
Written by Ryland Brickson Cole Tews
Directed by Ryland Brickson Cole Tews
Rating: Not Rated (some mild sexual content and brief language)

THE FILM


An eccentric ship captain and a crew of specialists plot revenge against the most mysterious creature of the deep -- the Lake Michigan Monster.

LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER makes an error in judgment: it tries to be a bad film. This is a huge misstep for a lot of films out there. Films like SAMURAI COP 2 and BIRDEMIC 2 tried to capitalize on the bad films that came before them by trying to be even worse. This almost never works as the charm of bad films is that the filmmakers thought they were making a good film. While the makers of LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER always have a leg up on the material, it often results in jokes falling flat as well as the film feeling much longer than its very short 78 minute run time. 

The film almost makes up for its flaws by being a feast for the eyes. It is clear that the makers love monster movies as well as old films so every effort is put into making the film look and feel like an old monster movie you would stumble upon while Channel surfing late on a Friday or Saturday night. The film has a very grainy look at it and there is a lot of film damage throughout as well. I love the way the film looks and often found myself marveling over the technical aspects of the film far more often than paying attention to what was happening in the film.

The effects are really well done too. Scene transitions, overlays, double exposures, etc are all employed to give the film a very distinct style while also trying to look like an old film. The last ten or fifteen minutes are done on greenscreens but they look impressive. When the monster is revealed at the end of the film, I have to say that it looked like something straight out of a silent film. 

Aside from the technical aspects, the film didn't really work for me. It runs at a breakneck pace, so much so that it becomes tiring after a while. Most of the jokes land with a thud but there were some that I laughed at, like a gag with a sword late in the film as well as some of the sight gags that may allude you the first time out. These jokes, as funny as they are, don't make the film much better, but I applaud the effort.

I hate not liking films that are clearly made with heart and soul. Nothing in LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER feels like it was made with money in mind. These guys just wanted to make a film and they did. I didn't jive with it all that much but that doesn't mean that others won't. I say give it a try and see if you like it. 

THE PICTURE AND THE SOUND 


Presented in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.78:1, LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER looks great. The picture has been manipulated with added scratches and other distress to make the picture look like it was shot on film (we assume it was shot digitally) and was not kept in the most ideal conditions. Contrast is boosted and grain is heavy throughout. Blacks are deep and detail is very high. I love the way the film looks and this transfer does the film justice. 

The included 5.1 track sounds really good. The entire film was looped so there is no problem with any of the dialogue and the score comes through well.

THE FEATURES


Cast and Crew Audio Commentary
Drunken Audio Commentary
Critics Audio Commentary
Effects Breakdown (9m 51s, HD, 1.78:1) Here we have a split-screen comparison of the film’s underwater sequence, including storyboards and pre-composited footage.
Dear Old Captain Seafield (5m 15s, HD, 1.78:1) The Captain Seafield theme song, performed by the Seafield Monster Sextet.
Interview in a Cabin (9m 3s, HD, 1.78:1) Interview with writer/director Ryland Tews and actor Daniel Long at the Fantasia International Film Festival.
Interview in a Cabin (12m 43s, HD, 1.78:1) Interviews with the cast and crew of Lake Michigan Monster at the Beloit International Film Festival in February 2019.
Interview by a Fire (23m 58s, HD) Interview with editor Mike Cheslik on Mark Borchardt’s Cinema Fireside in December 2018.
L.I.P.S. - The 1st season and pilot of Ryland Tews and Mike Cheslik’s hybrid animation/live-action sci-fi comedy web series.
        -L.I.P.S. Season One (22m 13s, HD, 1.78:1)
-L.I.P.S. Pilot (7m 15s, HD, 1.78:1)
Arrow Video Channel Promotional Videos
        -Call to Action (1m 51ws, HD, 1.78:1)
-Filmmaking Guide (3m 5s, HD, 1.78:1)
-Manufacturer's Guarantee (52s, HD, 1.78:1)
Theatrical Trailer (2m 4s, HD, 1.78:1)
Behind the Scenes Photos (58 photos)

I liked the cast and crew commentary, but the others I didn’t really like all that much. The effects breakdown is the best feature on the disc as it is really informative. The interviews tend to repeat the same stories over and over again and the rest of the features are hit or miss.

THE WRAP-UP 


I may not have liked LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER, but I can appreciate the filmmaking talent that went into it. There is a lot of talent on display here and hopefully, this film takes them all places. Arrow Video has definitely given the film the royal treatment with great video and audio and some good special features. If you liked LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER, then you will love this blu-ray release.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog