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UHD Review A few words about...™ Superman: The Movie -- in 4k UHD Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. Message #1 of 131 Nov 2, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2018
    Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    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

    RAH

     
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  2. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Thanks for the reassuring assessment Robert! I'll be picking this one up on release day.
     
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  3. Britton

    Britton Supporting Actor

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    Okay, so it looks like the included blu-ray is the same as the 2011 edition. Good to know.

    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.
     
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  4. Brian9229

    Brian9229 Rushman
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    Great news! I pre-ordered day one, and cannot wait.
     
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  5. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    So basically what I'm getting is the 4k is going to be a complete disappointment for many here but wins by default because the 2011 Blu-ray is too old a transfer to properly warrant a full comparison (even though said transfer is more recent than the one done for the Donner cut on S:TM).

    ...yeah that sounds about right.
     
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  6. Message #6 of 131 Nov 2, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
    PMF

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    DP Geoffrey Unsworth. Now there's another reason to get 4K ready.
    Just think, "Superman: The Movie" and "2001: A Space Odyssey"; all in one week.
    Great stuff.:thumbs-up-smiley:
     
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  7. Powell&Pressburger

    Powell&Pressburger Screenwriter

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    Great question! RAH ?
     
  8. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    I doubt its technically possible to build an Atmos mix out of the original 1978 4.1/Pseudo-5.1 mix.

    ...although allegedly that's being included on the 4k.
     
  9. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Screenwriter

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    Is it possible to confirm that the second 5.1 track on here really is just plain Dolby Digital and not a lossless encode? Also, can you let us know if it has different sound effects than the Atmos track? Does Krypton sound like a box of broken glass during the destruction?
     
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  10. Powell&Pressburger

    Powell&Pressburger Screenwriter

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    Just wish studios wouldnt treat original audio options on disc as an afterthought.

    No reason fans couldnt have the original audio in PCM or HD audio format.
     
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  11. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Cinematographer
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    I know the 4K is the original theatrical version. That's fine. My question is whether the Williams score for the opening credits is the boosted bass version that came along with extended home video version later. I actually prefer the score/effects of the more recent soundtrack (but am perfectly happy with the original theatrical visuals).

    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'!

    Mark
     
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  12. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    Has it ever been anything else?
     
  13. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    John Williams actually wrote original music for all the car radios in Superman The Movie (presumably to cover these scenes if the rights to the selected diegetic tracks didn't pan out). Eventually those cues made it into the TV version.
     
  14. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    So my question to what Mark said still stands. He asked that as if there are versions on home video that have a different song playing.
     
  15. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    Well then the answer is yes. The TV cut that came out last year has the alternate tracks.
     
  16. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Screenwriter

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    How's the sound on Superman?
     
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  17. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Cinematographer
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    A guy on another forum (that received his copy) says the Dolby Digital 5.1 track is the original theatrical soundtrack and he says it sounds quite good (I interpreted his comment to mean that it *might* have slightly boosted LFE during the opening title sequence). He said the Dolby ATMOS track is the remix soundtrack from 2000 (or whenever the first special edition was released). He said the ATMOS track, if anything, has even more LFE than it had in 2000 for those opening titles.

    So, apparently, we get the choice of both.

    Mark
     
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  18. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Screenwriter

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    This is bittersweet news. I've wanted the original six-track audio released since the earliest days of the DVD format. Maybe even as far back as the Laser Disc era (when we called Dolby Digital "AC-3"). Over the years the only 5.1 track was the Thau mix, which is revisionist and doesn't sound like "Superman: The Movie".

    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.
     
  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I've moved some posts about elevated black levels and HDR/Dolby Vision calibration issues to this thread.
     
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  20. Britton

    Britton Supporting Actor

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    Well, it would have been great if the original soundtrack was lossless. That being said, I’ll take the 5.1 upgrade (whenever I get a 4K display) and pass on seeing the re-release in theaters since it’ll most likely have the redone sound effects.
     
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