RARE EXPORTS (BLU RAY)
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
In the depths of the Korvatunturi mountains, 486 metres deep, lies the closest ever guarded secret of Christmas. The time has come to dig it up! This Christmas everyone will believe in Santa Claus.
Is it good movie?
I wouldn't consider myself to be a very "big deal" as it comes to my
little review gig on the old interweb here, but I think it's safe and
fair to say that I watch and review a lot of movies. As it relates to
this, I forget about a lot of flicks. Sometimes if I revisit some of my
own reviews, I'll come across something and forget that I ever watched
it. That is to say that it takes a certain something for a movie to
really stand out for me, and I would say there are ten films or less
each year that get the title of being highly memorable or recommended.
I'm elated to mention that Rare Exports is going on my "must watch"
Christmas list for many holiday seasons to come. It's a little twisted,
sprinkled with dark humor and has a plot that keeps you guessing.You
see, Santa isn't the loveable fat dude we think he is. No, the truth is
that Saint Nick is a bit of a wild man. He was a nasty, nasty
individual who used to spank people raw if they'd disobeyed him. I'm
talking a huge demon- Santa ain't what you think. His elves? Yeah,
they're poor old men who fetch children for the guy. As if the dude
breaking into our houses each night wasn't bad enough!
Hearkening back to the old days of "don't underestimate the beliefs of
children" movies with a horror twist, this one will certainly keep your
attention. The pacing of the film is top notch, as a father and son are
going reindeer hunting to sustain themselves while a group of miners
have uncovered some sort of creature within the mountains. When the
precocious young boy named Pietari (amazingly played by Jorma Tommila)
looks into the matter, he finds out that it's Santa himself who's been
buried under that mountain.
Yes kids, this is an evil Santa who got buried with good reason, and
the young boy is the one leading the charge against evil to try and
defend his very life. The movie balances serious and dark scenes with
some truly hilarious and surreal moments (lots of male nudity and the
scenes with the elves taking charge are memorably demented). Don't
forget about the scenery, as Finland makes for one memorable backdrop
that is both beautiful and atmospheric. Rare Exports is certainly
packed with breathtaking cinematography and visual style. Several
times, I was taken aback by how nice the film looked.
I know that I mentioned Jorma Tommila's performance earlier, and it
needs to be expanded upon. You really want to root for this downtrodden
kid, and believe in him. He's just so darn cute and manages to really
come off like an innocent kid, spending a lot of the film toting
around a stuffed bear. Sure, it's a bit of fantasy to believe how much
of a heroic leader the young man becomes, but it's compelling fantasy
with a dark, dark twist on one evil Saint Nick.
There isn't much about this film that I didn't like. If I have to level
any negative criticism, I'll have to say that the final act wraps up a
bit too easily for my likings. Isn't really scary but it's certainly
not for children. I also loved the couple of twists and turns that keep
you interested throughout- learning what the film's title means and the
big Santa reveal are both really memorable and clever. Rare Exports
tips the typical Christmas film on its head, and makes for a compelling
and riveting watch that makes Christmas a bit more like Halloween. On
top of that, it's nice to root for an innocent kid again. Like the
excavators on the mountain, I dig it.
Video / Audio
Video is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen shining through at
1080p. It looks pretty much flawless, and the film really shines
through. I can't commend this picture enough. It's vibrant, sharp and
Audio is every bit as good as
the video, coming to us in a DTS-HD
Master 5.1 track that is just phenomenal. This is a mostly
Finnish film, and it sounds great.
First, I should note that this flick comes with the DVD version of the film as well, and
is very handsomely housed in a really cool cardboard sleeve with great
If you're not sure whether or not this flick might be for you, you can
find its predecessors on the internet, and on this disc. We're talking
about the 7 minute Rare Exports Inc.
and its 11 minute follow up from a couple years later, Rare Exports - The Official Safety
Instructions . These serve as humorous precursors that'll give
away a fun part of the movie though, so you might want to wait until
after you've watched it.
Also included is a half hour making of
featurette that is fairly standard with interviews and some behind the
You will also find four minutes of an animatic
and computer effects comparison if you're into that sort of
Next up is Blood in the Snow,
an all too brief featurette which shows off the cool art that was
created for the production of the film and compares it to the scenes
that weer actually shot.
Rounding out the disc are the Finnish
Theatrical trailer and a Photo
Oh, and did I mention that the awful, awful stinker Santa Claus Conquers The Martians is
included on this disc? Well, it is. All 100 awful, awful minutes of it.
I didn't finish it, but it's hilariously bad (and looks terrible too)
and fun to watch with friends.
I really liked this flick- it reminded me of something from the
eighties like Goonies or Monster Squad, with a bit more badassery mixed
in. Almost any audience could watch it (within reason, of course) and
be entertained. The flick looks great and the cast is wonderful, I
highly recommend it this holiday season.