Capricorn One tells the tale of a group of astronauts who are coerced into faking their Mars mission when a malfunction is discovered in their space capsule. Fearing that another public disappointment would permanently damage their funding and reputation, NASA sends an unmanned ship to Mars, while the intended crew films a mock landing from a sound stage in the Texas desert. Things get ugly when the unmanned ship burns up on re-entry and it becomes apparent to the astronauts that the only way for NASA to keep up the act is to kill them.
This movie had a lot of potential and a lot of good stuff going for it, but still managed to disappoint. The cast, including Hal Holbrook, James Brolin, O.J. Simpson, Sam Waterston and Elliot Gould, is a high-caliber crew for 1978. The action scenes are exhilarating and often surprising (Elliot Gould careening through town in a brakeless sedan), and the plot is intriguing from the start. Unfortunately, the thing you're most interested in finding out, the thing that keeps you watching to the end, is never resolved. It just ends. Bang. That's it.
This is an okay disc but not an outstanding effort. The color is oversaturated, especially during the mission to Mars scenes. For the rest of the movie it's dull, with bad light/dark distinctions. Perhaps the worst thing about this disc is the audio. Just because you CAN make a DVD in Dolby 5.1 doesn't mean you should. 2.0 Surround would have been fine for this film and nothing would have been lost. Instead we've got inconsistent sound with no obvious movement right to left and any ambient sound is lost in the fray.
Trailer and teaser trailer play more like the movie should. Cram all the action scenes together and cut out the interminable expository dialogue and this could have been a better movie. Cast and crew bios. To their credit, the studio didn't mince words on O.J.'s bio, including the whole murder mess with his football stats.
The interactive menu was easy to navigate, no whistles and bells but functional.
For the price, if you like this movie, you could do a lot worse than to add it to your DVD collection. At least with the chapter stops you only have to watch the good stuff.
Amy Morrison, 6/26/00