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Adapted from the novel by Maurice Gee, this much loved eight part TVNZ series that first screened in the early 1980's has finally become available to its many loyal and ardent fans.
Beneath the extinct volcanoes that surround Auckland, giant slug like creatures from another galaxy are waking from a spellbound sleep that has lasted thousands of years. When they are released they start to devour the earth, turning the planet into mud.
Twins Rachel and Theo are saved from death by a kindly and mystical stranger, and eight years later when they visit Auckland, find they have been chosen for a momentous task against the forces of evil - they must save the world from the terror under the mountain.
I was but a young lad when this first made it's appearance on TV... full of freaky sluggy aliens and nasty old men, kids with telepathy and adults with silly grins thinking the kids were just playing a make-believe game... I could so empathise.
Now, almost 2 decades later, I finally get to have a look at my youthful fantasy show through adult eyes... and y'know... the magic is still there, despite the special effects being so much more swish these days. For their day, they were actually pretty advanced, but I can still watch the show and see it through younger eyes, full of magic and slime...
The age of the original filmstock shows, even on a digital medium, and the good folks even place a little message letting you know the graininess isn't a faulty TV or dirty laser on your player. Nice to know... and the 'rough' nature of the film actually added a little more character to the show for me, giving me a chance to see it now as I saw it then, bringing back some of the old feelings of wonder and what-if.
The menu system is basic, there are no special features or bonus clips, which is a bit of a shame as I think something new could have been added, like a "Whatever happened to..." section on some of the key actors, but for what it is, a digital copy fo a classic NZ sci-fi venture, this is still brilliant.
Overall, for the die-hard Kiwi-Movie buff, or those who enjoyed the books in their youth, or even a modern sci-fi buff who likes a bit of nostalgia now and then, this is an excellent addition to the collection, and certainly one that should be watched, if only once. Even my 8 year old son, who has inherited his father's taste for the 'out there' entertainments, loves sitting back snuggled under my arm, watching this with his Dad.
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