One of the all-time fan favorites in the superhero genre, coming from an earlier, far more innocent era, arrives on 4k, and it’s a winner.
While I’d have loved to be able to compare the new 4k to a modern Blu-ray of recent parentage, that can’t be done, as the previous Blu, which is also represented as the Blu along with the new 4k is showing its bottle age. Actually, it’s well past its prime.
The film was always soft. It was shot that way by cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth. His lush grainy textures are the overriding appearance of the project. And it works beautifully.
I had to initial thoughts upon hearing that the film was coming to 4k was “why.” Other than a handful of shots, there isn’t any 4k to to be had.
And then I viewed the Blu-ray, and came to the realization that there is no comparison, simply because there is no high quality Blu-ray available. Presumably a telecine from an IP, the extant Blu-ray looks fine for what it is, but today, one will notice the lack of black, shadow detail, overall resolution.
And then there’s the constantly moving image, and total lack of stability.
So the 4k wins, possibly not because a modern Blu-ray might not appear all that different, but rather, because the extant version doesn’t hold up to today’s parameters.
More detail can be seen in the highly reflective costumes in the opening sequence. HDR has also made blacks and colors pop. It’s all good.
The addition of Dolby Atmos also raises the bar.
My other concern me when I heard about the release was the possibility of the film being shorn of its grain – and a grainy little devil, it is. But the grain has been retained, yielding a lovely velvety appearance.
Fans who do not yet own a 4k setup, and want to run the Blu-ray until they have that capability need not apply, as the included Blu is archaic.
Probably no need to include.
Image – 5
Audio – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass
Upgrade from Blu-ray – Absolutely
Very Highly Recommended
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- Jun 3, 2001
I am curious about the sound, specifically the effects. Are they true to the 1978 version or are they from the 2000 version? I never cared for the new "whoosh" effect in the opening titles from the 2000 version.
...yeah that sounds about right.
- Aug 25, 1999
I suspect EVERYTHING is the original theatrical version.
Oh, question #2... On the 4K, what is the song that is playing on the kid's car radio when they are driving from Smallville high school past the Kent farm? It had better be Bill Haley's 'Rock Around the Clock'!
Who do we think I am?
- Dec 1, 1999
- Gulf Coast
- Real Name
- Tony D.
- Aug 25, 1999
So, apparently, we get the choice of both.
This original mix could have been included in 2011 as a DTS-HD Master Audio track on the Blu-ray of the theatrical cut. Instead we got a conformed version of the Thau mix, with just a stereo 2.0 mix of the 1978 audio.
I'm glad we'll all finally get to experience the original discrete mix, but lossy Dolby Digital only in 2018 on a 4k disc? Could it be a size limitation? Maybe, but Ready Player One has a similar running time to Superman and has an Atmos track and a lossless 5.1 track as well.
- Jun 3, 2001