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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Cube Zero
Cube Zero
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // February 22, 2005
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeff Paramchuk | posted March 9, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie

First time director Ernie Barbarash takes the reigns in fleshing out the Cube series in this prequel to what I felt was a great little slice of creativity and tries to both expand on the mystery of the Cubes as well as create some mystery of his own with Cube Zero. After the disappointing Hypercube, many fans of the series are wary of yet another direct to video sequel, but actually I found Cube Zero to be much more deserving of a viewing than I was expecting. Cube opens in a similar fashion to the first where a poor soul is navigating his way through the maze of cubes, testing each before stepping fully inside, only to be trapped and then killed in a horrible way. I didn't find the opening kill as awe inspiring as the slice and dice of Cube, but this really helped show the fact that we're back in the game of gore, and you know there'll be more to come.

This time, aside from following the "unwilling" participants through their search for answers within the Cube itself, we get to see a different side of the facility, that being from the viewpoint of technicians (Zachary Bennett and David Huband) who can view the action from a safe position. We soon learn however that not all is what it seems when working for an organization that runs a people killing puzzle, as orders come via telephone which is under lock and key and suspiciously the employees wear the same overalls as the cube victims. Also, what happens to a person who can actually make it to the exit of the cube is demonstrated here in Cube Zero, in a scene that seemed a little preachy for a movie such as this, I for one could have done without it, but I am sure that some will feel that it adds another layer of complexity to the overall Cube mystery.

When something goes awry with one of the technicians, a group of men descend from "upstairs" and they take over the control of the cube, setting traps in all surrounding rooms, then ultimately triggering a reset which does a clean sweep of the rooms and resets them to their starting positions. This small team of men is lead by a one-eyed man called Jax, who's played way over the top by Michael Riley, his comedic relief seems slightly out of place for a movie such as this, but in all honesty it actually was welcome.

The DVD

Video


Given that the movie is contained to a number of sets that can be counted on one hand, the movie looks quite nice. The colors and ambience of the cube was well shown in a quite sharp presentation, considering the small budget of the movie. The darker scenes in the technician room tended to be a little soft and the blacks didn't quite come across as well as they could have, but for what the movie is I felt it was more than adequate.

The video is presented in a16:9 aspect ratio, but also contains the verbiage that it's been altered from it's original aspect ratio to fit on our screens.

Sound

Presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital, though the audio is not something you'll be using to demonstrate the high end speaker system you just bought as the movie more dialog driven than other science fiction movies. The surrounds are used nicely to create ambience from the other cubes around the scene, and the sound mix isn't distracting. For those without a surround sound system, a two channel stereo track is also included.

The musical score was barely noticeable, and what there was fit in well with the mood of the movie heightening tension when necessary and letting the actors carry the scene when required.

Extras

A 19 minute featurette called Inside the Box is here, which takes a look at the making of Cube Zero, Also a feature length directors commentary is included that sheds some light onto the things within the movie that you may or may not have noticed. I found it to be a decent entry into a commentary, especially by a director rookie.

Other treats we get are some storyboard comparisons as well as some conceptual art, some like this type of feature but not this reviewer. There is also a music video that really was out of nowhere, the band's name isn't featured and it's a forgettable piece of metal set to scenes from the movie, as well as some trailers for other Lions Gate films such as Saw.

Overall

While not groundbreaking like Cube, Cube Zero really hits the mark on what the fans of the first were looking for in a sequel unlike Hypercube. You get more information into what the Cube really is, why it's around, and even why the people who are unfortunate enough to be put in it are. Fans of the first who are wary to be bitten again should not have fear of this title, as I think it does Cube justice and is worthy of watching. I had my doubts going in, but within the first 15 minutes I was hooked and just as intrigued as I was the first time I popped Cube into the DVD player years ago. For fans of Cube, I'd recommend this as an addition to your collection, but for doubters and the general population this is a perfect rental.
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