The Neptune Factor: An Undersea Odyssey – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

20th Century Fox Pictures presents The Neptune Factor: An Undersea Odyssey. Written by Jack DeWitt. 98 minutes. Rated G. Originally Released in 1973

Directed By:

Daniel Petrie

Cast:

Ernest Borgnine. Chief Diver Don MacKay
Ben Gazzara. Cmdr. Adrian Blake
Walter Pidgeon. Dr. Samuel Andrews
Yvette Mimieux. Dr. Leah Jansen

The Film:

Deep in the Atlantic Ocean some scientists are working in an underwater habitat creatively called “The Ocean Lab II.” Some idiot decided to build the lab near a deep ocean trench and an earthquake knocks it down in the depths where no man or submarine can go. No submarines that is, except a new “advanced” submarine called the Neptune. Now it’s up to Ernest Borgnine and his crew to rescue the trapped scientists!

This film is everything that’s great about bad 70’s films: The acting is stiff, the plot is iffy at best, the special effects are special indeed and the movie itself is slower than molasses. Yes, everything one would want from a 70’s undersea adventure. Now that’s not to say this film is good. It’s no Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea or Poseidon Adventure. Nor is it an oceanic 2001 as the title might suggest, but rather a low budget corny film that can almost be called so-bad-it’s-good.

The one element that makes this film even remotely worth sitting through is the Borgnine Factor. He makes even the crappiest film entertaining and succeeds here as well. Ben Gazzara also elevates the entertainment value of this film with his deadpan delivery. These two actors know they’re in a crappy movie and you can tell they’re just trying to have fun with the whole thing.

But the real kicker of The Neptune Factor, the thing that makes sitting through it, sadly doesn’t come in until the very end of the film. Like with all low budget horror and sci-fi films the big reveal is held off as long as possible, and the same is true here. And man, what a pay off: giant over-sized sea life! It starts with sea plants, then the tropical fish show up, including a sea horse, all of which are fish you’d find in your dentists fish tank shot close up to make it look big. All the footage here is equally pretty and silly. Then, wouldn’t you know it, Borgnine has to go out to explore, but look out Borgnine, it’s a giant lionfish! And the climactic rescue from the man-eating eels, well, I’ve said too much already.

Very few people will enjoy this film. Most will find it boring, pointless and out-dated. But those who do enjoy it for what it is, and perhaps for what it isn’t, they’ll have one hell of a good time.


Borgnine vs. the Giant Lionfish.

The DVD:

The Video:

The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1. For such a low budget and old movie, the transfer here is pretty good. All the undersea footage looks fantastic. It’s a shame there isn’t more of it in the film.

The Audio:

The film is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and Mono. The sound is interesting. The music in the undersea parts complements the footage well and the sound of the fish, well, they are what they are. Whether you like it or not, it sound is good.

Extras:

Theatrically Released Isolated Score & F/X Track by Lalo Schifrin: Interesting I guess, when there is sound and music that is. However, when its just people talking and you get no sound at all. That’s really lame.

Never-Before-Released Isolated Score Track by William McCauley: Just like the other audio track although this one is just the music. Frankly I don’t see what anyone would ever want to sit through the film like this. Unless maybe, they were a hard-core audiophile.

TV Featurette: This is a TV special that air before the release of the film. As someone who is a fan of old featurettes like this, this was amazing to watch. This featurette is just as cheesy as the film. It’s hilarious how epic and important they try to make the film sound.

Original Trailers: 2 Theatrical, 2 TV.

Still Galleries

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
The Neptune Factor: An Undersea Odyssey
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

6
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

6
REPLAY VALUE

2
OVERALL
5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
The Neptune Factor is a low budget cheesy 70’s adventure movie with very little pay off. Some will enjoy it but not many. Frankly, the new packaging is far more exciting than anything that happens in the film. The serious lack of worthwhile special features does nothing to help the over all score of this DVD release.