Twilight Zone: The Movie Blu-ray Review
PictureThe Twilight Zone is pretty much a mixed bag in terms of quality of image. Over 25 years old now, certainly the print is free from blemishes, scratches and dirt as on offer here in it's 1080p resolution, VC-1 encoded, original 1.85:1 aspect transfer. The darker scenes including the prologue, some night scenes in Segment 1 and some in Segment 4 all exhibit some degree of noise, there's just no escaping it.
Alternatively the rich colours on offer in Segment 2 and 3 are bold, solid, and tightly held within their borders. In terms of general cleanliness these two features are certainly presented the best. The Golden Years of the cast in Kick the Can is highlighted and enhanced by the wonderful soft lighting re-pleasant with golden yellows, reds and browns. In the next feature, It's a Good Life, the colours and cinematography again parallels the storyline with some wonderful use of colour, set design and black and white imagery.
Blacks are more than adequate, rarely loosing depth and detail. Whites never bloom during outdoor scenes and there appears to be no artefacts that we encountered all too often on SD releases. All in all it's a respectable enough transfer for film stock which has lain dormant for so long, but it's not one which will have you reaching for it to showcase your system.
SoundOn the English side we have on offer a PCM 5.1 track, a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and an original Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. Also on offer are French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. When faced with a PCM track I'll always take it and this film was no different in that regard. Comparisons between the PCM and the Dolby Digital 5.1 track didn't produce a vast difference, the standard Digital track more than holds it's own. Purists may enjoy the Dolby Digital 2.0 track but in all honesty I do believe you're better off with some ambiance coming from your surrounds, especially for this kind of release.
Obviously some 25 years ago the surround sound formats as we have today didn't exist so what has been offered here is a remixing of the audio, sometimes it works and more often the case it's rather subtle, simple sounds, light movements, never bombastic nor in your face. Most of the action coming from your frontal array is adequately presented, vocals firm and detailed from the centre, sounds panning as required between left and right spot on.
The score, in the main by Jerry Goldsmith, makes more use of the surrounds than most of the features themselves, certainly opening up the sound stage. It's wide and flowing from the fronts, detailed and expansive from the surrounds. I felt this was a good use of the score as opposed to shoe horning in specific effects from the features themselves. In saying that though the surrounds do kick in with Joe Dante's and George Miller's pieces at the end of the movie. Cartoon effects from Dante's, thunder and aircraft effects from Miller's work will satisfy those of you who always demand action from all of your speakers.
ExtrasAll on offer on this disc is the original trailer for Twilight Zone: The Movie, and really they're not extras at all.
VerdictI looked forward to Twilight Zone: The Movie when I originally saw it 25 years ago in the cinema. With Spielberg, Dante and Landis it offered work from some of my favourite directors of the time. Unfortunately though I was let down, in this case the whole's definitely not greater than the sum of its parts, and generally I tend to find this with most montage pieces.
Then again, I was more a lover of The Outer Limits over the original Twilight Zone so I might have been biased a little before even entering the cinema. In the end though people have been waiting on this release on disc for an eternity and what they are receiving here now is not great, but no real turkey either; it just really wasn't for me way back then and time hasn't improved it at all.
As mentioned before, what has carried on the memory of Twilight Zone: The Movie for all of these years is the utter tragedy which could have been avoided by adhering to common sense and actual law. It is this knowledge which viewers knowing the history of the film will have with them during watching, and as such you can't really get into the film to any great degree. This will always be Twilight Zone's legacy, obviously not one which any cast and crew now want to be associated with, and hence the lack of extras; I mean what could you say, really? All in all if you liked the original series, or remake for that matter, then this film might have some appeal. I would have thought though that that appeal would be few and far between.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £17.09
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