A few thoughts about...Gremlins (Blu-ray)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/thumbs/0/08/1581_front.jpg/1000x500px-LL-1581_front.jpg">[/url]



    For those of us that were growing up as teens and
    twenty-somethings during the 80's, that period brings
    back distinct memories of Flashdance, Top Gun, Star
    Trek, Police Squad, John Hughes movies, and perhaps
    the most memorable film of them all, Joe Dante's GREMLINS.

    I was working as a General Cinema manager back in
    1984 when the film came to my theater. I can clearly
    remember the sensation of GREMLINS and how it sold
    out shows consistently for the first few weekends. What
    was not too surprising was how many people came back
    for a second viewing.

    GREMLINS had everything you could want in a Summer
    Blockbuster --- menacing creatures, horror, comedy, great
    special effects and Phoebe Cates! All brought to you through
    the imaginative minds of Steven Speilberg and Joe Dante.

    To discover this film was actually being released to Blu-ray
    came very unexpectedly. Originally announced solely for
    overseas release, mention of a mysterious TARGET ad
    began to circulate across the Internet over the past week
    advertising exclusive availability. Most of us thought it to be
    a misprint. However, sure enough, this morning TARGET
    was offering an EXCLUSIVE offering of GREMLINS on BD.

    I took the opportunity to view certain segments of the Blu-ray
    in hopes of offering you an opinion of how I thought the
    transfer looked and sounded. I have seen this film dozens of
    times and knew exactly which scenes would be the best to
    test drive.

    On a whole, GREMLINS looks very good on Blu-ray and
    quite representative of how I remember it looking back in
    1984. It appears no major remastering was done here.
    There's nothing eye-popping about this transfer. It still
    looks like something released from that period without
    any kind of degradation.

    For instance, the opening scene where Randall Peltzer
    is walking through Chinatown in hopes of finding his son
    a birthday gift, is filled with muddy red colors. It's originally
    the way I remember that scene looking. However, as we
    cut to the opening title sequence we move from from the
    darkness of a city street to the startling daylight shot of a
    Ricky Rialto Billboard, you begin to get an idea of just how
    much sharper this film looks in high definition.

    The print has its share of debris scattered throughout
    and film grain is ever evident (as it should be) as some
    of the darker indoor scenes take on a slightly muddy feel.
    However, as I noted above, this is exactly what I remember
    the transfer to be and I don't expect there to be any
    complaints from home viewers except that this BD is
    probably not a major improvement over the original DVD.

    What is most notable about this transfer is the crisp
    audio that does justice to Jerry Goldsmith's score with
    distinct separation across the front speakers. This has
    always been one of my favorite soundtracks and it's so
    good to hear it as clearly vibrant as it did on my vinyl
    recording. Just as notable here is the use of surrounds.
    Inside the china shop you can hear the jingling of wind
    chimes coming from different directions as the film's point
    of perspective changes. Switch over to Scene 12 to find
    yourself immediately immersed into the sounds of gremlins
    scattering across the rear and front speakers while a
    nervous Mother climbs the stairs with a knife ready to
    attack whatever she finds.

    Extras on this disc include 2 commentaries, a making
    of featurette, photo/storyboard gallery (with a few cute
    pictures of Phoebe Cates), deleted scenes that I imagine
    are the same ported over from the DVD release, two
    versions of the film's theatrical trailer along with one for
    GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH.

    I thought I might share with all of you two photos I
    took while on the Warner lot earlier this year that will
    immediately take you back to the opening scene of
    Gremlins.



    This is the very street used for ChinaTown. I imagine that
    it was covered with a tarp to simulate nighttime and that
    neon signs and decorations were added for ambience.
    However, these are the store fronts that Randall Peltzer
    walks by in the first few moments of the film.



    This is the curio shop where Randall Peltzer finds that special
    Christmas gift for his son. Notice the entrance to the stairs that
    lead down to the shop.
     
  2. willh51

    willh51 Agent

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    That's definitely good to hear, thanks for getting a review up so quickly. I was considering dropping by Target after class but was on the fence because of Warner's recent hit-and-miss track record. Ultimately, if the movie looks as intended, without digital tinkering, then I am usually satisfied.
     
  3. Xenia Stathakopoulou

    Xenia Stathakopoulou Cinematographer

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    So is the transfer a big enough upgrade from the special edition dvd from 2002 to buy, or should I just stick with watching the dvd upscaled on my blu ray player?? If its a big diffrence, Ill rebuy it.
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Tony,

    I will wait for others to chime in to answer that question. I
    didn't have time to compare the DVD and BD transfers but
    I am going to guess that this isn't a major upgrade from the
    standard DVD release. There's nothing extraordinary about
    this BD transfer other than the fact you do notice the subtle
    improvements in image quality due to being on high definition.
    Based on the amount of debris in the print I am guessing this
    is the same transfer. Even the extras look to be the exact
    same as the DVD.

    As I said, nothing special here over what the original DVD
    probably looked like.
     
  5. BillyFeldman

    BillyFeldman Supporting Actor

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    So, they've recreated the dirt and debris from the original theatrical showings? I don't recall any dirt and debris when I saw the film on its opening day, so I don't think it's exactly as it looked back then.
     
  6. Xenia Stathakopoulou

    Xenia Stathakopoulou Cinematographer

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    Ron ,you said, subtle improvements do to it being in high definition . That sounds good enough to me!Anyone know, if the upcoming canadian blu of gremlins will be region locked ??? Warners are usually region free, but with Canada, you never know.
     
  7. Xenia Stathakopoulou

    Xenia Stathakopoulou Cinematographer

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    Ron ,you said, subtle improvements do to it being in high definition . That sounds good enough to me!Anyone know, if the upcoming canadian blu of gremlins will be region locked ??? Warners are usually region free, but with Canada, you never know.
     
  8. Xenia Stathakopoulou

    Xenia Stathakopoulou Cinematographer

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    Oops, double post.
     
  9. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Screenwriter

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    Didn't I read somewhere not too long ago that Joe Dante wasn't too happy with the exising HD transfer of GREMLINS so it was being redone for eventual Blu-ray release? I can't imagine this Target exclusive being this new transfer.

    Vincent
     
  10. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Vincent, been reading the same stories.

    This can't be a new transfer. It just doesn't look like
    something that a lot of effort was put into. I have
    been reading that a few people are unhappy with the
    grain, but far better to have it there than see Warner
    doing any DNR.

    For me, the transfer looks good enough. Certainly
    better color saturation and more detail brought out
    by the high definition format. However, some may opt
    to keep their existing DVD copy which would not be
    a mistake given the fact that it appears this isn't
    a new transfer nor are there any extra added features.
     
  11. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    Originally Posted by BillyFeldman

    Well if you saw it on a second run screen there might have been plenty of that including dirt and scratches
    right up there on the movie screen in the theater..
     
  12. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Let me clarify because I don't know if you guys are pulling
    my leg or not.

    I watched that film over and over when I managed a movie
    theater. Knew that movie inside and out. Have seen it on
    VHS, LASERDISC and DVD ever since. I know how this
    film is supposed to look. It was never (for lack of a better
    word) a "pretty" looking film. It always had the same muddy
    look that most of the indoor scenes exhibit. The film had a
    grainy look to it so the amount of grain present in this transfer
    is not surprising. Glad Warner didn't even dare to remove it.

    The debris is another matter. That's not included in my
    personal memories of the film. However the fact that it is
    obvious in this transfer tells me that it wasn't painstakingly
    remastered. Look at many of the early WB DVD transfers
    (as well as those from other studios) and you will see lots
    of debris in their prints. The early years of DVD were plagued
    with studios throwing any transfer they could on a disc and
    selling it to the consumer. Of course, these days, the studios
    are taking more care into cleaning these prints up.
     
  13. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    I think billy was pulling your leg, I was just goofing on Billy.

    The original showings probably didn't have any dirt, but there was surely print damage, scratches and other things on some of the reels eventually, somewhere in movie land were it was playing.

    I watched a good portion of the movies I saw as a kid in the late 70's early 80's on screens that weren't so nice.
    So I saw plenty of stuff on many movies that was actually just on the white screen of the theater.

    added to the charm.

    I still remember when Me and my buddy stood in line on a friday night waiting to buy a ticket to get in and see gremlins.
    Lot's of good memories from that particular theater, tore it down last year.
    The chain was Budco and it was the Budco Orleans 4 in northeast Philly.
     
  14. Todd H

    Todd H Go Dawgs!

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    Ugh. Not a single Target anywhere near me. I hate this exclusivity crap!

    I saw this film quite a number of times as a teen. One of my favorites. Of course, having Phoebe Cates in it doesn't hurt.
     
  15. Xenia Stathakopoulou

    Xenia Stathakopoulou Cinematographer

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    Amazon canada is getting this on october 13. A full week before the european countries .Does anyone know if Warner in Canada, release their blu ray titles region free, like the USA ??????? I know its only a week diffrence , but I want this title as soon as possible.
     
  16. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    Do you live in the U.S., Tony? I don't know whether Warner's Canadian releases are region-free, but Canada and the U.S. are in the same Blu-ray region, so it shouldn't make a difference to U.S. viewers.
     
  17. Xenia Stathakopoulou

    Xenia Stathakopoulou Cinematographer

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    I live in Greece, but I have bought blu ray warner discs from amazon USA, and so far they work. I dont know about Warner in Canada, thats why im asking.
     
  18. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    Even if there were there's no guarantee it'll be in stock. I went out twice this week to two different locations and found it out of stock at both. There are other locations I could try but I value my time too much to trek all over my metropolitan area and since it's not even available on Targets website I'm done with it.

    So another brilliant marketing move from Warner, congrats on loosing an easy sale.
     
  19. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Hmmm.... In that case, I think I may just wait for a proper BD w/ new transfer -- and maybe I'll see about finally picking put the DVD at some $3 bargain bin instead (and/or simply renting it again this time on BD at some point). I've waited long enough for a good, problem-free transfer of it -- and actually passed on the DVD a long while back -- so I guess I can wait some more to see a good solid effort on BD (to own) some day instead, especially since the Target exclusive price ain't exactly enticing (even if I have no trouble finding a copy in stock).

    Bummers though as I've wanted to own a quality version of this old favorite for a long time now -- well, at least I do finally own a quality-if-moderately-flawed copy of Poltergeist also from that era (on BD) now.

    Thanks for the heads-up review and "few thoughts" on this one, Ron...

    _Man_
     
  20. joeyan

    joeyan Auditioning

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    hi all, i'm Joe from hong kong.

    could you tell me that is there any chinese subtitle for the Gremlins Blu-ray ? thanks.
     

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