Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre
- Street Date:
- December 7th, 2010
- Reviewed by:
- Tom Landy
- Review Date: 1
- December 7th, 2010
- Movie Release Year:
- Image Entertainment
- 84 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Release Country
- United States
Got a whale of a tale to tell ya, lads
A whale of a tale or two.
'Bout the flapping fish and girls I've loved
On nights like this with the moon above
A whale of a tale and it's all true,
I swear by my tattoo!
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Arr, me hearties! 'Harpoon: Whale Watchin' Massacre' (or 'Reykjavik: Whale Watchin' Massacre' to me European mateys) be bein' billed as Iceland's first e'er splatter movie, an' if ye haven't already guessed by th' great, grand title, th' film she pays a lovin' tribute t' landlubbin' Tobe Hooper's 'Th' Texas Chainsaw Massacre.' Aye, e'en Leatherface hisself, buccaneer Gunnar Hansen, be reeled in t' make a cameo! Only replacin' th' hillbilly folk o' Texas be a clan o' demented scallywags on the high seas -- paintin' th' black spot on a ship o' whale watchin' tourists an' sendin' 'em one-by-one down t' Davey Jones' Locker...
Hansen stars as th' ill-fated Pétur, a privateer who be takin' a boat full o' foreign lads an' lassies ou' carousin' in Icelandic waters t' witness th' majestic behemoths o' th' sea. Alas, before he e'en gets th' chance t' yell, "thar she blows!" a freak mishap leaves th' cap'n mortally wounded, strandin' th' sightseers far from shore. Now in times o' crises, sailors be radioin' fer help, 'tis be part o' th' code 't does, but this crew… they be singin' Björk tunes o'er th' loudspeakers! An' by th' powers, 't works! Jus' like a siren's call, th' wench's "'Tis Oh So Quiet" somehow lures in a nearby ship, an' thar be much rejoicin'. Th' fisherman seems t' be a friendly swabbie an' e'en offers t' take th' tourists t' safety. But when th' lad dumps them off on an ol', rusty whalin'' vessel before his deranged Greenpeace-hatin' kin, all hands on deck soon be reckonin' they ain't been saved at all -- they's th' catch o' th' day!
I be a sucker fer low-budget horror films, especially them wi' silly, cumbersome titles. Sadly, 'Harpoon: Whale Watchin' Massacre' suffers from many o' th' problems wi' any movie 'ere th' first idee struck be th' film's name. Director Júlíus Kemp an' writer Sjón Sigurdsson clearly wanted t' make 'Th' Texas Chainsaw Massacre' on a boat, howerethe script tries t' do too many things an' flies off on crazy, inexplicable tangents 'stead o' bein' a lean, mean, killin' machine. Fer instance, thar's a sort o' twist that's a nod t' 'Th' Usual Suspects,' but 'tis spoiled way too early an' didna really have a purpose 'n th' tale. Th' Björk incident wasn't a joke, either, an' th' endin' be so off-th'-wall I still be unsure what happened. Most o' th' characters be uber-stereotypical clichés, such as th' Japanese tourist always wi' a camera 'n hand an' th' annoyin' Frenchman, an' we dasn't care fer them since none o' th' victims be likable. An' whilst most slashers feature th' staple Final Lass, 'tis unclear in 'Harpoon' who exactly that be supposed t' be. I dasn't know if Kemp an' Sigurdsson be jus' tryin t' be diff'rent or what, but whaterethe case may be this didna seem t' gel.
Still, I'd be lyin' if I be sayin' I didna find at least parts o' 'Harpoon: Whale Watchin' Massacre' t' be enjoyable. Th' settin' on th' whaler be most certainly unique an' makes fer an interestin' killin' ground, fer sure. Th' level o' blood an' violence ortin' ta satisfy th' appetites o' most gorehounds, too, as thar be rapin', beheadin', kamikaze-style sacrificin', an' multiple impalings, includin' th' coupe de grace -- one by a full-fledged harpoonin'! Th' movie be also filled wi' dark an' unintentional humor, an' although th' movie can be predictable an' th' clichés do run rampant, thar be still unexpected surprises. Just be rememberin' this movie ain't fer everyone, and be th' kind o' picture best be viewed wi' shipmates an' plenty o' grog! Yo ho ho!
Th' Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Harpoon: Whale Watchin' Massacre' be settin' sail on a BD-25 Blu-ray disc housed inside a standard blue keepcase. This here be th' unrated version wi' two additional minutes o' "slumgullion" (that be blood spillin' for ye lily-livered folk). Before th' menu, thar be three forced previews fer 'Th' Lost Tribe,' 'Bangkok Adrenaline,' an' 'Damned by Dawn: Th' Dead Will Rise.' Ye gentlemen o' fortune from any region be free t' plunder this booty!
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Deep within this Blu-ray's blubber be a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 (2.35:1 aspect ratio) encode courtesy o' Image Entertainment. Th' video presentation be very gritty an' grainy, as 'Harpoon' appears t' ben shot usin' 16mm film, an' thar be wee depth t' th' picture as a result.
Th' openin' credits be usin' ol' stock footage o' real whale massacrin' an' these clips be poor due t' th' condition o' th' source material, but things improve vastly fer th' rest o' th' movie. Th' palette be cold an' dreary, an' contrast runs a bit hot here. Black levels, they be pretty impressive, an' although shadow detailin' could be stronger, 'tis still quite nice. Whilst clarity o' th' image t'ain't too bad, some blurriness still be creepin' in wi' a loss o' fine detailin' e'en in certain facial close-ups. Thar be compression artifacts an' areas 'ere video noise fluctuates t' th' heavy side, but at least th' transfer seems t' be free o' studio tamperin', she does.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
This Blu-ray only be offerin' one soundtrack, an' 'tis a default lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix in English.
Th' sound design fer 'Harpoon' be fore-heavy, 'tis, wi' th' only rear speaker activity bein' ambience o' crashin' waves, rainfall, an' periodic score bleed from Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson's music. As fer th' speakin' parts, they be soundin' generally clear an' intelligible, an' bass can be thunderous. Thar be very powerful thumpin' in a nightclub scene before th' expedition, an' shotgun blasts an' explosions pack a hearty wallop!
O'erall, th' mix be held back some by rather average directionality an' dynamics, but 'tis main problem be an inconsistency in volume levels. Some scenes be so blarin' they'll be sure t' awaken th' Kraken from 'tis slumber! E'en so, this audio presentation still t'ain't that bad fer what 'tis, aye.
Whilst this Blu-ray dasn't include any optional subtitles, a handful o' forced translations be appearin' throughout th' film. Alas, if ye be a 2.35:1 Constant Image Height projector enthusiast, then ye best be preparin' t' keelhaul th' scurvy dogs responsible fer spillin' 'em o'er th' lower letterbox!
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
- Behind-th'-Scenes wi' Gunnar Hansen (SD, 16 minutes) – This be mainly a collage o' random behind th' scenes scraps wi' th' odd comment cast in t' th' fray by buccaneer Hansen. Skip 't.
- Trailer (SD, 2 minutes) – And here be th' trailer for 'Harpoon: Whale Watchin' Massacre.'
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
Alas, thar be nay exclusives, high-def or otherwise.
Begad! I couldna find any eggs! Th' crows nest, she be empty too!
'Harpoon: Whale Watchin' Massacre' has some fun, entertainin' parts t' be surely makin' some Rogers jolly, but since 'tis a production by sprogs withou' much experience under the'r belts, 't won't be shiverin' all sea dogs an' land lubbers' timbers. This Blu-ray be havin' adequate video an' audio, an' unimpressive supplements, 't does. Whilst I probably wouldna want t' watch 't again anytime soon, 't still didna make me want t' be walkin' th' plank, so if ye be feelin' brave -- give'r a rent.
- Unrated (w/2 additional minutes o' extra "slumgullion")
- BD-25 Blu-ray Disc
- Region Free
- 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Behind th' Scenes wi' Gunnar Hansen
All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More
about our gear.
Puzzled by the technical jargon in our reviews, or wondering how we assess and rate HD DVD and Blu-ray discs? Learn about our review methodology.
Dawn of the Dead (2004): Collector's Edition
The Devil's Candy
One Dark Night: Special Edition
Night of the Living Dead (1968): 50th Anniversary Edition