Total Recall 4K Blu-ray Review & Comments

rhino2k

Distinguished Member
Thank you Cas,

I have been waiting AGES for this! US iTunes have had a 4K offering for quite some time, Not sure what the master came from though?

This is a must have for anyone around the age of 40 surely :D
 

Casimir Harlow

Blu-ray Reviewer
Agree with that. It has been a while since I've watched my US 4K copy of ST but I don't recall (see what I did there, vainly trying to keep some sort of reference to this thread? :blush: ) anything looking wonky effects-wise.

It'll be interesting to read Cas' review of ST to see if it's the same as the US release or whether it has been rejigged for the UK version (I doubt it!).
Mate, it's the US version we're covering. Earlier this year when there was a bit of a dearth in 4K releases we did polls on a few back catalogue US titles to cover (Backdraft, Hereditary etc.) and I've still got Starship Troopers to cover, it's just UK releases have picked back up and I've been swamped. Total Recall has busted my memory cap and now I'm on a mission to get it done... well, if it weren't for the fact that the new cut of Godfather 3 just landed...
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
Agree with that. It has been a while since I've watched my US 4K copy of ST but I don't recall (see what I did there, vainly trying to keep some sort of reference to this thread? :blush: ) anything looking wonky effects-wise.

It'll be interesting to read Cas' review of ST to see if it's the same as the US release or whether it has been rejigged for the UK version (I doubt it!).
*deleted* See above :)
 

Hampy1972

Distinguished Member
Must have for us oldies who watched this when it came out.

Not many movies are ahead of there time....like Terminator, Gattaca, 2001 and Blade Runner.


Must buy for me when price drops... :)
 

Graham

Well-known Member
There definitely seems to be something up with this disc in a couple of places at least as regards the HDR version, as previously reported on other sites. I’m watching in HDR rather than DV (on a JVC N5) and I wouldn’t normally pause a film to comment like this but I know people may be interested in the HDR/DV differences. At 43.10 when the shuttle lands on Mars, the video bitrate drops to an unbelievable 1.2Mbps at one point! Even the audio is 2.5Mbps at the same moment. For a good few seconds it’s well under 2Mbps and the macroblocking is really obvious so I don’t know how that got through QC to be honest. When we get to the wide shot of the planet with the workers in the foreground it jumps up to 22Mbps again. It’s probably 20 seconds so far in total that looks very poor. There’s a similar drop to about 3.5Mbps briefly, although it’s nowhere near as bad at around 48 minutes in when Quaid looks out of the train window and there’s a swooping aerial shot of Mars.

Overall, so far aside from such annoying moments it’s actually a nice presentation with some absolutely terrific detail on close-ups, but given its age the usual understandable caveats re. softness in shots mixing live action and special effects (eg people walking in the frame with views of Mars outside windows). However it’s definitely not one for the grain haters (I’ve never really understood why people are bothered by grain, to remove it robs texture) although in HDR some of the grain seems to exacerbate a slightly strange colour mix of green and red to it, especially with skin tones if that makes sense - not sure if that’s a chroma issue, but someone more technically minded will no doubt be able to explain and so far I’ve only really noticed it in the early scenes in Quaid’s apartment and when he arrives at the Rekall building. But that may be something most people wouldn’t notice or be bothered by. In terms of audio the Atmos remix is fine albeit very bass-light so far.

Edit - I got to the end and it’s really annoying that the bit rate plunges again right in the second or two before - and then during - the final white-out shot. So it’s down again here to under 2.0Mbps which ruins this final few seconds for me as it becomes really obviously blocky and soft (literally sub-DVD soft). So frustrating, as the rest of the film is generally really nice, but I don’t understand how such errors get in. The final shot is the most annoying for me out of all of them, as it visually spoils a great last scene, and obviously so. Instead of thinking “what a great ending” as I always have before, I thought “what a terrible quality image” at that point. I imagine this is another shot that is rescued by the Dolby Vision layer, but certainly not the HDR from my viewpoint.

Cheers
 
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featherhall

Distinguished Member
There definitely seems to be something up with this disc in a couple of places at least as regards the HDR version, as previously reported on other sites. I’m watching in HDR rather than DV and I wouldn’t normally pause a film to comment like this but I know people may be interested in the HDR/DV differences. At 43.10 when the shuttle lands on Mars, the video bitrate drops to an unbelievable 1.2Mbps at one point! Even the audio is 2.5Mbps at the same moment. For a good few seconds it’s well under 2Mbps and the macroblocking is really obvious so I don’t know how that got through QC to be honest. When we get to the wide shot of the planet with the workers in the foreground it jumps up to 22Mbps again. It’s probably 20 seconds so far in total that looks very poor. There’s a similar drop to about 3.5Mbps briefly, although it’s nowhere near as bad at around 48 minutes in when Quaid looks out of the train window and there’s a swooping aerial shot of Mars.

Overall, so far aside from such annoying moments it’s actually a nice presentation with some absolutely terrific detail on close-ups, but given its age the usual understandable caveats re. softness in shots mixing live action and special effects (eg people walking in the frame with views of Mars outside windows). However it’s definitely not one for the grain haters (I’ve never really understood why people are bothered by grain, to remove it robs texture) although in HDR some of the grain seems to exacerbate a slightly strange colour mix of green and red to it, especially with skin tones if that makes sense - not sure if that’s a chroma issue, but someone more technically minded will no doubt be able to explain and so far I’ve only really noticed it in the early scenes in Quaid’s apartment and when he arrives at the Rekall building. But that may be something most people wouldn’t notice or be bothered by. In terms of audio the Atmos remix is fine albeit very bass-light so far.

Cheers
Thanks. I’ve read this on a few forums so have decided to cancel my preorder. I don’t have DV , my Samsung Q90R has HDR 10+ , so will leave it and maybe pick up later in a deal
 

gkralicek

Novice Member
There definitely seems to be something up with this disc in a couple of places at least as regards the HDR version, as previously reported on other sites. I’m watching in HDR rather than DV and I wouldn’t normally pause a film to comment like this but I know people may be interested in the HDR/DV differences. At 43.10 when the shuttle lands on Mars, the video bitrate drops to an unbelievable 1.2Mbps at one point! Even the audio is 2.5Mbps at the same moment. For a good few seconds it’s well under 2Mbps and the macroblocking is really obvious so I don’t know how that got through QC to be honest. When we get to the wide shot of the planet with the workers in the foreground it jumps up to 22Mbps again. It’s probably 20 seconds so far in total that looks very poor. There’s a similar drop to about 3.5Mbps briefly, although it’s nowhere near as bad at around 48 minutes in when Quaid looks out of the train window and there’s a swooping aerial shot of Mars.

Overall, so far aside from such annoying moments it’s actually a nice presentation with some absolutely terrific detail on close-ups, but given its age the usual understandable caveats re. softness in shots mixing live action and special effects (eg people walking in the frame with views of Mars outside windows). However it’s definitely not one for the grain haters (I’ve never really understood why people are bothered by grain, to remove it robs texture) although in HDR some of the grain seems to exacerbate a slightly strange colour mix of green and red to it, especially with skin tones if that makes sense - not sure if that’s a chroma issue, but someone more technically minded will no doubt be able to explain and so far I’ve only really noticed it in the early scenes in Quaid’s apartment and when he arrives at the Rekall building. But that may be something most people wouldn’t notice or be bothered by. In terms of audio the Atmos remix is fine albeit very bass-light so far.

Edit - I got to the end and it’s really annoying that the bit rate plunges again right in the second or two before - and then during - the final white-out shot. So it’s down again here to under 2.0Mbps which ruins this final few seconds for me as it becomes really obviously blocky and soft (literally sub-DVD soft). So frustrating, as the rest of the film is generally really nice, but I don’t understand how such errors get in. The final shot is the most annoying for me out of all of them, as it visually spoils a great last scene, and obviously so. Instead of thinking “what a great ending” as I always have before, I thought “what a terrible quality image” at that point. I imagine this is another shot that is rescued by the Dolby Vision layer, but certainly not the HDR from my viewpoint.

Cheers
Yes just watched my copy of the UK disc tonight in HDR10 and there are indeed a few instances of macroblocking (the first obvious one being on the carolco logo itself at the beginning of the movie) and even posterization (martian sky in the opening sequence along the cliff) due to a drop in bitrate. I also found the overall bitrate to be quite low for a 4K release. I measured 25 mbps average for the video with bursts up to 50-55 from time to time which is barely better than the bitrate you would find on a standard 2K bluray. Pity cause it's a very pleasant picture otherwise and a decent restoration.
 
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Racquel Darrian

Distinguished Member
Mine is still sealed .....must watch it :)
I watch mine.
My HD DVD of American Werewolf in London is still sealed and I have a few I haven't watched.
I watched some of the Bourne ones last week.
 

featherhall

Distinguished Member
Yes just watched my copy of the UK disc tonight in HDR10 and there are indeed a few instances of macroblocking (the first obvious one being on the carolco logo itself at the beginning of the movie) and even posterization (martian sky in the opening sequence along the cliff) due to a drop in bitrate. I also found the overall bitrate to be quite low for a 4K release. I measured 25 mbps average for the video with bursts up to 50-55 from time to time which is barely better than the bitrate you would find on a standard 2K bluray. Pity cause it's a very pleasant picture otherwise and a decent restoration.
Thanks. That’s very disappointing.
 

cezarL

Member
@Casimir Harlow thanks for another great review. Apparently the DV on this is much better than the HDR10 in terms of macroblocking in certain scenes (eg the shuttle landing on Mars), so I wondered if you had checked it in HDR as well, or was the viewing all DV?

By the way I got the steelbook of this, such a lovely effort and IMO really shows up the near endless parade of flat steelbook releases with a full matte finish.

Cheers!
There definitely seems to be something up with this disc in a couple of places at least as regards the HDR version, as previously reported on other sites. I’m watching in HDR rather than DV (on a JVC N5) and I wouldn’t normally pause a film to comment like this but I know people may be interested in the HDR/DV differences. At 43.10 when the shuttle lands on Mars, the video bitrate drops to an unbelievable 1.2Mbps at one point! Even the audio is 2.5Mbps at the same moment. For a good few seconds it’s well under 2Mbps and the macroblocking is really obvious so I don’t know how that got through QC to be honest. When we get to the wide shot of the planet with the workers in the foreground it jumps up to 22Mbps again. It’s probably 20 seconds so far in total that looks very poor. There’s a similar drop to about 3.5Mbps briefly, although it’s nowhere near as bad at around 48 minutes in when Quaid looks out of the train window and there’s a swooping aerial shot of Mars.

Overall, so far aside from such annoying moments it’s actually a nice presentation with some absolutely terrific detail on close-ups, but given its age the usual understandable caveats re. softness in shots mixing live action and special effects (eg people walking in the frame with views of Mars outside windows). However it’s definitely not one for the grain haters (I’ve never really understood why people are bothered by grain, to remove it robs texture) although in HDR some of the grain seems to exacerbate a slightly strange colour mix of green and red to it, especially with skin tones if that makes sense - not sure if that’s a chroma issue, but someone more technically minded will no doubt be able to explain and so far I’ve only really noticed it in the early scenes in Quaid’s apartment and when he arrives at the Rekall building. But that may be something most people wouldn’t notice or be bothered by. In terms of audio the Atmos remix is fine albeit very bass-light so far.

Edit - I got to the end and it’s really annoying that the bit rate plunges again right in the second or two before - and then during - the final white-out shot. So it’s down again here to under 2.0Mbps which ruins this final few seconds for me as it becomes really obviously blocky and soft (literally sub-DVD soft). So frustrating, as the rest of the film is generally really nice, but I don’t understand how such errors get in. The final shot is the most annoying for me out of all of them, as it visually spoils a great last scene, and obviously so. Instead of thinking “what a great ending” as I always have before, I thought “what a terrible quality image” at that point. I imagine this is another shot that is rescued by the Dolby Vision layer, but certainly not the HDR from my viewpoint.

Cheers
As far as I know (I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong), the DV layer only carries metadata for tonemapping. These dips in bitrate would occur even on a DV-capable system, since the video content comes from the base HDR10 layer.

As to macro-blocking:
I don't have TR to check with and without DV, but I would expect these issues depend more on the TV's/projector's handling of content: HDR overall processing and/or rendering of near-black.
 

gadget man

Active Member
I borrowed total recall of a friend and watched this last night, i notice zero problems involving macro blocking or any other picture problems with low bit rate. The picture was perfect. Watched in Dolby Vision on a Panasonic GZ950
 

Graham

Well-known Member
I borrowed total recall of a friend and watched this last night, i notice zero problems involving macro blocking or any other picture problems with low bit rate. The picture was perfect. Watched in Dolby Vision on a Panasonic GZ950
Yep that’s the issue I’m talking about - the DV layer is apparently free of the issues that the HDR layer has for some reason.
 

cezarL

Member
I borrowed total recall of a friend and watched this last night, i notice zero problems involving macro blocking or any other picture problems with low bit rate. The picture was perfect. Watched in Dolby Vision on a Panasonic GZ950
You can disable DV on the GZ.
Perhaps check out the scenes mentioned earlier to see how it behaves without DV?
I'd recommend testing with and without dynamic tonemapping enabled for standard HDR10.
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
Ok so I'm going to try and watch the whole thing today. But in terms of picture quality it is very similar to Starship Troopers. I remember ST being a bit more colourful but I'm guessing that's more to do with film choices rather than picture quality.
 

gagaga

Active Member
Thank you Cas,

I have been waiting AGES for this! US iTunes have had a 4K offering for quite some time, Not sure what the master came from though?

This is a must have for anyone around the age of 40 surely :D
Had to giggle at the age 40 comment - that would have made them about 10 years old when it came out. Guessing your local picture house was a bit more lax than mine was back then on age checking!
 

scrowe

Well-known Member
Forgive any ignorance, but I had always assumed releases like this are specially licensed by the likes of Arrow, without which we would possibly not see a standard disc release by the studio. And due to the fact it’s a back catalogue title with a niche audience to sell to on disc, they spend the time and effort on the special features and packaging to cater for that audience and produce more profitable release formats, that the audience are prepared to pay a premium for, because they don’t have the economies of scale of the studios they are licensing from?

If my take on this is correct, people bemoaning the price will unfortunately be destined to purchase via streaming services, as disc buying of standard releases dwindle. But at least the 4K mastering is being done for streaming anyway, so the licensing for special disc editions like this is still possible for boutique studios. Long may it continue.
 

Jim Di Griz

Distinguished Member
Forgive any ignorance, but I had always assumed releases like this are specially licensed by the likes of Arrow, without which we would possibly not see a standard disc release by the studio. And due to the fact it’s a back catalogue title with a niche audience to sell to on disc, they spend the time and effort on the special features and packaging to cater for that audience and produce more profitable release formats, that the audience are prepared to pay a premium for, because they don’t have the economies of scale of the studios they are licensing from?

If my take on this is correct, people bemoaning the price will unfortunately be destined to purchase via streaming services, as disc buying of standard releases dwindle. But at least the 4K mastering is being done for streaming anyway, so the licensing for special disc editions like this is still possible for boutique studios. Long may it continue.
Im not buying any films by download or streaming. No chance.
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
It's been a long time since I watched this film. This is not quite a Verhoeven film, to me Verhoeven's best films are tight and layered. I think Cas described this film perfectly.

Total Recall would be very much an Arnold Schwarzenegger film directed by Paul Verhoeven, as opposed to a Paul Verhoeven film starring Arnie.

As much as I enjoyed this film, as it got closer to the ending, it starts to creak at the seams. I can definitely see the final act issues the review mentioned causing cracks to be papered over a little.

The picture quality for the non DV version is almost identical to Starship Troopers, grainy but full of detail. The colours are muted compared to ST but that seems to be the film colour palette. The practical effects are amazing and really hold up well with the 4K upgrade. The matte painted backgrounds don't fair quite so well. Again the closer we got to the end, the more the painted backgrounds become obvious. Maybe because after reading the review I was expecting more SFX issues this particular issue although obvious didn't bother me quite as much as the Flash Gordon Hawkmen.

The Audio is pretty decent overall. The music is placed in the upper channels and sounds good. The effects sound much better than your typical early 90s film track in most respects, fuller and less hollow sounding. Except of course for the bass which typical for many 80s/90s movies is very light. It's like watching a TV with a built in subwoofer as opposed to a real one.

ST and Robocop edges for me with a tighter more layered story. ST also edges it for picture and audio quality. But overall if you are fan I can strongly recommend it.
 
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Coulson

Distinguished Member
Forgive any ignorance, but I had always assumed releases like this are specially licensed by the likes of Arrow, without which we would possibly not see a standard disc release by the studio. And due to the fact it’s a back catalogue title with a niche audience to sell to on disc, they spend the time and effort on the special features and packaging to cater for that audience and produce more profitable release formats, that the audience are prepared to pay a premium for, because they don’t have the economies of scale of the studios they are licensing from?

If my take on this is correct, people bemoaning the price will unfortunately be destined to purchase via streaming services, as disc buying of standard releases dwindle. But at least the 4K mastering is being done for streaming anyway, so the licensing for special disc editions like this is still possible for boutique studios. Long may it continue.
I had similar thoughts. As long as they do eventually release the standard disc, then give the fans what they want and let the studio etc make a profit. This hopefully keeps the format alive.
 

Graham

Well-known Member
@Coulson did you watch in non DV HDR or SDR 4K? What did you think of the scenes I mentioned?

Re. the sound, yes very bass light and I found it a very underwhelming Atmos track until the last 10 minutes when it was like it suddenly woke up!

Cheers
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
@Coulson did you watch in non DV HDR or SDR 4K? What did you think of the scenes I mentioned?i

Re. the sound, yes very bass light and I found it a very underwhelming Atmos track until the last 10 minutes when it was like it suddenly woke up!

Cheers
I see some light macro blocking at the timestamp you mention but I had to look for it. But Sony TVs in general are usually very good at dealing with these issues. The bit rate steadily drops from around 40Mbps down to 10 then into single figures. That's another one of those painted backdrops so I wonder if they deliberately lowered the bitrate ? Then as you said it jumps back once they go into the space port.

As for the audio, Predator 4k is basically LCR track until action scenes suddenly introduces the surrounds. I think this is better than that.
 

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