Terra Formars (2016) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Takashi Miike
Starring: Hideaki Ito, Emi Takei, Takayuki Yamada
Rated: UR/Region A/2:39/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Arrow Video
In the mid-21st century, humankind has been forced to look to colonizing other planets as a means of combating overcrowding on Earth – their first stop, Mars. With a population of cockroaches having been introduced on Mars some 500 years prior to help prepare the way for human colonization, a manned mission sets out to the red planet with the aim of clearing away the bugs. Upon arrival, however, they discover that the roaches have evolved to huge, vicious creatures capable of wielding weapons.
Takashi Miike making a live action version of a manga always seems to get great results and that’s the case again with Terra Formars. We basically have a Dirty Dozen type plot with a group of people facing death being offered to be cleared if they’ll take a job of going to space and killing roaches. Of course, they aren’t being told everything and when they get there they find out a lot about themselves on top of discovering that the roaches have now evolved and all look like a roach version of a prime Arnold Schwarzenegger. What you get all in all here is wild, over the top, and violent. In other words, it is a vintage Takashi Miike. A Takashi Miike that despite having made well over 100 movies now hasn’t shown any signs of losing his touch. This is a twisty and turning style plot and I’d suggest if you haven’t read the manga of the same name to at least hold off until you’ve seen this because a lot of this is probably best to go into not expecting it. The movie at hand here has a lot of different elements to it, but it’s every bit as stylish as it is violent and I can really appreciate that.
I don’t know if this is a movie that when all is said and done will stand alongside such Miike movies as Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q, and Audition, but it is every bit as good as most of what you see coming out right now in general. This is a creative work and it’s only better being in the hands of a man like Miike, who is well known to make crazy material all the wilder. Arrow brings this one to Blu-ray with new subtitles and it is really an eye-catching movie in HD. It pops a lot and even has an intro to reminds me of a whole lot of Blade Runner. You get other extras as well and I shall list them below, but this is one of my favorite movies I’ve seen this year and I’d be tempted to put it on a year-end best-of list if I could count it as such. This is the first time people in America and the UK will be getting a look at this and I’m happy to report that it is very much worth seeing if you haven’t.
– High-Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
– Original uncompressed Stereo and 5.1 DTS-HD MA options
– Newly-translated English subtitles
– The Making of Terra Formars – feature-length documentary on the film’s production featuring a host of cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
– Extended cast interviews
– Footage from the 2016 Japanese premiere
– Image Gallery
– Theatrical and teaser trailers
– Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork options
– First pressing only: Fully illustrated collector’s booklet with new writing on the film by Tom Mes
Quality of Transfer: 100%