A few words about…™ The Natural — in 4k UHD Blu-ray

The Natural is one of the finest 4k releases thus far to hit the format, making use of the HDR technology 4 Stars

The Natural, has Robert Redford as famed baseball player Roy Hobbs (1904-1983).

Probably my favorite baseball film, and right up there with Field of Dreams, with its magisterial, heroic, etherial view of history and the sport, partially based upon the novel by Bernard Malamud, with more than a bit of Arthurian legend and the Knights of the Round Table.

The Natural, directed by Barry Levinson, photographed by Caleb Deschanel, and with a score by Randy Newman, is on my short list of perfect films.

Also perfect is the new 4k master, created by Grover Crisp’s group at Columbia. While the film isn’t large format, and doesn’t have a myriad of high frequency information, outside of the original film grain, that grain is magnificent, and forms the basis for a gorgeously velvety image, that veritably drips off the screen.

The Natural is one of the finest 4k releases thus far to hit the format, making use of the HDR technology, and allowing the image to fulfill the wishes of it’s creative team, who back in 1984, probably could only dream of seeing something this ravishing on any home video format.

The track has been upgraded to Dolby Atmos, which widens our field of listening, and adds to power of the film.

For those lucky few who may be able to see this film for the first time in Columbia’s new 4k format, know that you’re in for a treat of the first magnitude.

There are few films I can recommend more.

Image – 5 (HDR10)

Audio – 5 (Dolby Atmos)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from Blu-ray – Absolutely!

Very Highly Recommended

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

37 Comments

  1. Robert Harris

    The Natural, has Robert Redford as famed baseball player Roy Hobbs (1904-1983).

    Probably my favorite baseball film, and right up there with Field of Dreams, with its magisterial, heroic, etherial view of history and the sport, partially based upon the novel by Bernard Malamud, with more than a bit of Arthurian legend and the Knights of the Round Table.

    The Natural, directed by Barry Levinson, photographed by Caleb Deschanel, and with a score by Randy Newman, is on my short list of perfect films.

    Also perfect is the new 4k master, created by Grover Crisp's group at Columbia. While the film isn't large format, and doesn't have a myriad of high frequency information, outside of the original film grain, that grain is magnificent, and forms the basis for a gorgeously velvety image, that veritably drips off the screen.

    The Natural is one of the finest 4k releases thus far to hit the format, making use of the HDR technology, and allowing the image to fulfill the wishes of it's creative team, who back in 1984, probably could only dream of seeing something this ravishing on any home video format.

    The track has been upgraded to Dolby Atmos, which widens our field of listening, and adds to power of the film.

    For those lucky few who may be able to see this film for the first time in Columbia's new 4k format, know that you're in for a treat of the first magnitude.

    There are few films I can recommend more.

    Image – 5 (HDR10)

    Audio – 5 (Dolby Atmos)

    Pass / Fail – Pass

    Upgrade from Blu-ray – Absolutely!

    Very Highly Recommended

    RAH

    RAH, thanks for your review. Are both film versions in 4K/HDR?

  2. Being a Brit & not much into sport, I can't quite understand the mythos about Baseball (but I did enjoy playing rounders at my primary school)…but I love this film, it's the fight between good & evil, light & dark, & when Glen Close stands up from the crowd, I get a lump in my throat, & what a great score from Randy Newman (I have the CD). A great looking film, with a new 4K transfer by Sony, I didn't really need to read this review to know it would look the biz.

  3. Thanks for this great review. I'll probably pick it up at some point, since I haven't seen it since 1984. From what I remember from 35 years ago, it's a rather subtle and almost dreamy film, with Robert Redford's sometimes almost opaque acting style working to enhance the mystery of the title character, and even the almost mystery of the game of baseball itself.

  4. Robert Harris

    Yes.

    Robert Crawford

    No, I thought it was suppose to be both versions in 4K.

    I was incorrect. Both versions are in 4K. The Blu-ray is only the theatrical. I too enjoy the theatrical more than the Directors Cut

  5. Paul Rossen

    I was incorrect. Both versions are in 4K. The Blu-ray is only the theatrical. I too enjoy the theatrical more than the Directors Cut

    I've never seen the Director's Cut so this will be my first time doing so.

  6. Robert Crawford

    I've never seen the Director's Cut so this will be my first time doing so.

    Same here. They only released it on dvd which was insulting.

    I had a rental vhs tape of this film that I wore out!
    Can’t wait to add this one in UHd. It’s a fantastic film.

  7. All this love for The Natural has convinced me that I need to revisit the fillum. I never made it part of my collection because I wasn’t particularly impressed with it 30+ years ago. Once iTunes upgrades it to 4K I’ll have to pick it up digitally.

  8. Josh Steinberg

    Does the digital copy code include both versions or just the theatrical?

    Right now, the digital code only has HD on Vudu and iTunes for the director's cut with no bonus material. IMO, Sony has been slow upgrading their digital streams with the latest transfers and such.

  9. I love this movie and the music is one of my favorites of any music.
    I generally don’t pay much attention to the score of a movie but this one is brilliant.
    Every time I watch it feels like the first time I’ve watched it.

  10. My wife and I watched The Natural last night and wow, what a GREAT looking 4K UHD release! Black levels, grain structure, color pallette – amazing! And while the detail doesn't scream at you due to the properties of the original cinematography and the film stocks used, this is a really wonderful example of how 4K and HDR can be successfully used on an older movie to really make it shine. IMO The Natural is in many ways a reference 4K UHD release, and the Atmos audio is superbly done. A truly beautiful presentation of a wonderful film.

  11. dpippel

    My wife and I watched The Natural last night and wow, what a GREAT looking 4K UHD release! Black levels, grain structure, color pallette – amazing! And while the detail doesn't scream at you due to the properties of the original cinematography and the film stocks used, this is a really wonderful example of how 4K and HDR can be successfully used on an older movie to really make it shine. IMO The Natural is in many ways a reference 4K UHD release, and the Atmos audio is superbly done. A truly beautiful presentation of a wonderful film.

    I watched the Director's Cut on 4K/UHD disc this evening. A great looking and sounding disc by Sony. As a baseball enthusiast, I've always appreciated this great baseball fantasy of a movie.

    Spoiler
  12. Robert Crawford

    Right now, the digital code redeems only HD on Vudu with the theatrical cut and iTunes with the director's cut with no bonus material. IMO, Sony has been slow upgrading their digital streams with the latest transfers and such.

    Well there's some progress on the digital front with iTunes. The cut on iTunes has the director's cut run time, but if you play the movie, it's the 138 minute version (theatrical), but, it's at least in 4K/Dolby Vision/Dolby Atmos. I haven't tried Vudu yet.

  13. I just uploaded(?) the code on MA and it gave me the theatrical 4K with DV and DA on ITunes and 4K only on MA.
    Did not go over to Vudu for some reason.

    On difference I noticed in the first 15 minutes or so is an edit that changes a lot of what comes after.
    Now I’m only 15 minutes in so other things might be d Deferent due to this edit.
    In the theatrical Roy is on a train alone reminiscing this is at the very beginning after we see him waiting for the train.
    Then we get all the interactions with the Wammer and him meeting the lady in black.

    In director cut the credits are over a black screen and it goes right to Roy as a boy practicing baseball with his dad catching pop ups in the grass.
    Then it cuts to a seemingly older Roy going into his old house and reminiscing about his childhood while going into his old house.
    We see Roy on the porch looking over at the Tree remembering about his father dying.
    Then Roy goes in and finds Wonderboy.
    He takes wonderboy and this is we’re we see the beginning of the theatrical with him waiting for the train.
    Then he remembers his girlfriend. Finally he gets on the train but it’s young Roy again. Just on his way to The Cubs forma tryout.
    He meats the Wammer in a shortened scene.
    This is when we see another change in when this scene is happening as Max is reading a story about a football star being shot we see Roy alone again on a train with his hat reminiscing.
    This is the scene that is in the very beginning of the Theatrical.
    So in the dir cut he seems to be on a train remembering when he got shot and this scene is not in the same in theatrical cut.
    Again here in sir cut they cut to old Roy remembering and his train is now stopping in iola.
    This is when it cuts back to younger Roy about to have his little showdown with the Wammer.
    After Harriet calls Roy priceLess he is on the train as older Roy again.
    Remembering again.

    This is when he goes to Harriets room and she shoots him.
    In the theatrical this happens at the 20:25mark.
    In the dir cut it’s at the about the 16:45 mark.

    So the first part of the dir cut is tightened up but adds several shots of Roy on the train alone Rembering all the evemts that lead up to the moment he goes into the Knight’s stadium and tells Pops he’s the new right fielder.
    The theatrical there is one scene at the beginning showing him remembering the events.

  14. Sony is screwing around with these 4K digital streams and they're pissing me off about buying more of their titles. I heard "Stand by Me" doesn't even have a digital code to redeem so now we have that title and this one that is not giving people that purchase digitally some of their 4K titles.

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