HTF BluRay Review: The Thing

TravisR

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Sam, do you know if anyone from Universal ever checks out your review threads to see the feedback on their titles? I can't imagine that there's that many people out there who like U Control.

I'd guess that Universal looks at U Control as a different and fun way to deliver special features to people (and it's admirable that they're trying something new) but if they would just make the segments available on a separate menu or, in this case, the doc as one feature, I think everyone would be happy then.
 

David Deeb

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The saddest part about U Control is "you" really can't control it.
 

Dave Mack

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Yes, but still, detail has been needlessly lost. They shouldn't have altered the transfer at all.
 

Stephen_J_H

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Agreed. This seems to be another victim of the Uni policy of rushing titles out to market on BD-25s with DTS-HD MA, consequences be damned.
 

Martin Henry

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I will wait and see if the UK disc is a different encoding,(it's happened before), before I part with my HD DVD. Sad to see a classic treated this way.
 

cineMANIAC

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I don't know what to make of this review - this is one of my fav horror flicks and I'm dying to upgrade to Blu but a 3.5 score on PQ? This was supposed to be one of the better BDs, at least according to other reviews I've read. So the quality ISN'T much better than the DVD? I don't care about the extras (I found the doc a bit dull, a bunch of talking heads) getting a thumbs down because I've already seen everything relevant to this film on previous releases but picture quality improvements will remain the deciding factor anytime I decide to upgrade a title to Blu-ray.
 

TravisR

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^ I always disregard the score and just read the review. 3.5 sounds like a low score to me as well but to Sam, I assume that that number is perfectly acceptable. He does say that the disc is "truly great looking" and that it's an "excellent transfer".

I don't have (or want) the eye that some people have when looking for flaws but I think the Blu-ray is easily better than the DVD.
 

burntbyfire

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The blu-ray transfer's picture quality is fantastic as the reviewer states. Don't pay any attention to the number score, just look at his words. I own this film on blu-ray and am perfectly happy with it, though I wish Carpenter would go back and enhance the sound effects with a new mix to bring it up to date.
 

Neil Middlemiss

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This blu-ray was my Halloween night movie choice (I watch it every year, but last year I watched the HD-DVD) - and it looks great!
 

JohnRice

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I just watched this disc and I have a few things to say.


First, I'll just point out to those who don't know, that I have an extensive history working with film. I don't mean film making, but using film as a commercial photographer. Understanding what it looks like, how it behaves and so on. Harpies on forums like AVS, in my very humble opinion, do far more damage to home video than good.


So, as I watched The Thing, I had the distinct impression it had been digitally "improved", which it clearly has, but never (with one exception I will explain later) did I actually see any clearly undesirable results. It just looked cleaner than a 30 year old movie shot under somewhat adverse circumstances should. No doubt, the grain has been reduced. The real issue to me is, this film, with all its amorphous white scenes in the first half, always had a tendency to be downright distracting at times. This is because grain is naturally hidden in details, but when you have an entire screen with almost nothing but white or grey, it can scream for attention. The Thing always had moments of that. Yes, that is how the film medium looks, but that doesn't mean it is desirable. What I noticed during those scenes on the BR is, the grain was still there and quite natural looking, it just appeared as though a slower film stock had been used. To me, that was an entirely positive change.


Having said this, I think I do wish it had been slightly less cleaned up. And I do mean slightly. The fact is, though, that public demand is often overwhelming for unreasonably clean images, and all things considered, this disc simply looks far better than I ever dreamt it would.


My only complaint is not with grain and noise reduction, but with saturation. The image has clearly been digitally saturated. At least, it clearly seems to me to have been saturated. Not a lot, but colors seem a bit more primary than they should be. Fortunately, the overall color correction seems to have been spot on, because the saturation did not skew skin tones as it so often does when the overall color is even slightly off. This is a minor quibble, and I suspect turning down the saturation a couple notches on your display would more or less nullify it. I will take this disc any stinking day of the week. It smokes anything previously released, extras not withstanding. Of course, I have never seen it on HD-DVD.


If I were to rate the image on this disc, all things considered, I would easily give it 4.5/5.


FWIW, I'm watching on a 42" 1080 Panasonic Plasma.
 

Kevin EK

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I picked up the Blu-ray available in England, and it appears to me to have the same picture and sound as the US Blu. It also has the same Carpenter/Russell commentary and the same PIP functionality. But it also has all the other extras from the SD release, including "Terror Takes Shape" in its original form, and the other materials.

The one thing I discovered late in the game was missing from all DVDs after the initial release in 98 was the isolated score track that went with "Terror Takes Shape." It was a nice hidden gem, and I believe they took that functionality off when they did the revised DVD with the anamorphic transfer.
 

Johnny Angell

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Originally Posted by Kevin EK

I picked up the Blu-ray available in England... it also has all the other extras from the SD release, including "Terror Takes Shape" in its original form, and the other materials.
That's why I bought the UK version, to get "Terror Takes Shape" as a separate doc.


Is the PIP nothing more than the TTS doc chopped up into segments?
 

Johnny Angell

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Ah yes. Nothing like adding value is there? And chopping up a good doc and putting it into PIP is nothing like value. BTW, I've yet to run across a PIP that didn't require that I go into my player audio setup to make a change before I could watch it.


Edit: Except for Pixar movies, but they don't do the PIP the same way as others.
 

cineMANIAC

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Terror Takes Shape is indeed an excellent doc but the way they filmed it, with talking heads against a black background and featuring very little behind-the-scenes just made it a bit dull and tedious to sit through. The DVD was an otherwise perfect package. A good example of a definitive AND entertaining doc was The Exorcist's Fear of God. I guess having a "host" narrating makes a big difference.
 

Kevin EK

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I liked "Terror Takes Shape" for all the production stories - especially Charles Hallahan and Rob Bottin talking about the HOURS he had to spend on the table for his big scene.


The other part of it that was interesting was the way the complete score to the film was used in the background. On the original DVD, there was an option to just listen to that track, thus giving you the full soundtrack.
 

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Ya' gotta think with the prequel coming out soon that this will be getting another blu-ray release, like Predator. Let's hope the results are better than that fiasco!
 

Kevin EK

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The one thing that could be done with a revised Blu-ray release of this movie would be to break out the previously-available special features again. But I don't know that this would be enough to really justify people double-dipping.


The prior DVD release was really thorough with the special features - I was well satisfied with the commentary, the documentary, the stills and clips and the whole package. I don't know of any missing first reels like Escape from New York, or other perspectives we haven't been given yet. I could be wrong, but this is a title that I feel has been given as good a series of releases as we could want.
 

Dr Griffin

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I'd like to see the "new" Universal revisit The Thing (1982) with a new transfer and reinstating the extras from the DVDs. Maybe even add a new retrospective with Carpenter et al. How about some shape-shifting packaging... too much?
 

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JohnRice said:
So, as I watched The Thing, I had the distinct impression it had been digitally "improved", which it clearly has, but never (with one exception I will explain later) did I actually see any clearly undesirable results. It just looked cleaner than a 30 year old movie shot under somewhat adverse circumstances should. No doubt, the grain has been reduced. The real issue to me is, this film, with all its amorphous white scenes in the first half, always had a tendency to be downright distracting at times. This is because grain is naturally hidden in details, but when you have an entire screen with almost nothing but white or grey, it can scream for attention. The Thing always had moments of that. Yes, that is how the film medium looks, but that doesn't mean it is desirable. What I noticed during those scenes on the BR is, the grain was still there and quite natural looking, it just appeared as though a slower film stock had been used. To me, that was an entirely positive change.

If I were to rate the image on this disc, all things considered, I would easily give it 4.5/5.
The problem is that things have been erased due to their automatic scratch removal and dustbusting tools, nothing has been done manually, also the removal of film grain has removed fine detail, HD is all about the fine detail, it's unacceptable, i have the HD-DVD edition and its not perfect either, indeed far from perfect but i'll take that over the overly clean and poor blu ray.


Some caps showing the issue below, i'd rate my HD-DVD edition no more than 3/5 and it's better than the blu ray, this film needs to get a new 4K scan from the negative and some love and attention, hopefully it'll happen one day.


It's got nothing to do with how it was shot, they had a controlled environment in L.A. and the cinematography is outstanding on The Thing, it's all about using an older master and not paying for a brand new film scan.


On smaller TV screens the problem isn't as evident, it's when you go projection you see it's poorer.


http://caps-a-holic.com/hd_vergleiche/multi_comparison.php?disc1=4146&disc2=4145&cap1=38571&cap2=38557&art=full&image=0&hd_multiID=1708&action=1&lossless=#vergleich
 

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