Old Faves Making Another Comeback

pris1Its a funny thing, as far as collecting films is concerned, how you keep on getting suckered in by the same old movies, it’s like the bastards are relentless. I’ve rebought films like Alien, CE3K and Superman: The Movie in 4K, and it seems it’s a pattern that will just endlessly continue. Which is funny, considering I was happy enough with them on VHS back in the day – the temptation of better quality seems impossible to resist but I sincerely hope that 4K is the last time; even to this old fool this is starting to get ridiculous. I suppose it’s harder to resist with old favourites simply because we have all those emotional connections and the element of nostalgia, indeed maybe it’s an attempt to recapture something from years ago that’s always out of reach, no matter how good the quality gets (but we keep on trying).

This week I’ve ordered two faves from America, simply because that’s the only way to get hold of them. Which makes them more expensive than I’d like, but, what you gonna do? How can I resist an upgrade from DVD to Blu-ray for one of my Jack Lemmon faves, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, a film that I have mentioned before here over the years and which just seems to get better the older it gets? Its a lesser known title that is hardly likely to ever get a blu-ray release over here (I’m not certain even a DVD release ever happened here in the UK). Likewise I’ve been waiting for a few months now for Universal to announce a UK release of its 4K UHD upgrade of Field of Dreams, another of those films from 1989 getting anniversary releases in 4K. Seems Universal can’t see the point of it getting released over here, no doubt another indication of the decline of the physical formats (mind, you watch, soon as they pop through the letter box the announcement will come of a 4K UHD Field… from Universal in the Autumn and Arrow Films licensing Prisoner of Second Avenue for a HD release).

pris2Prisoner of Second Avenue on DVD was a R1 import which I can’t play anymore (last time I watched the film was from my Tivo box, having recorded it off the telly- how retro is that?) so that’s certainly reason to upgrade to a region-free Warner Archive release.  As for Field of Dreams, well, although I had it VHS/DVD and later Blu-ray, it was always a problematic transfer across the formats, and apparently the 4K is a great upgrade with the best picture its ever had. I was listening to James Horner’s sublime soundtrack again the other week and it just had me falling into the mood to rewatch it again. God knows I’ve watched too many bad ‘new’ films of late so its about due that I returned to the comfort of old favourites. My wallet tells me there’s no fool like an old fool but my heart tells me its going to be great watching two of my favourite films looking better than ever. I shall post a report no doubt in a few weeks time.

7 thoughts on “Old Faves Making Another Comeback

  1. I’ve been trying not to blindly re-buy everything in 4K, but sometimes you see an image comparison and the new release looks so superior… How much that then comes across on my actual TV while actually watching the film, I don’t know. I feel like even great 4K often looks like a refined HD picture, rather than a seismic leap like VHS to DVD or DVD to HD were. And some of these new transfers arguably look worse, though it’s hard to tell if they’re now ‘right’ and the old stuff is ‘wrong’ but just familiar, or if they’ve ballsed something up with this new tech.

    VHS and pan & scan and all that may’ve been wrong and low quality, but at least it was simple!

    1. Thats certainly an issue with 4K- you can’t seem to be sure you are seeing the real deal because so much depends on so many settings and panel quality. I have a fairly high-end OLED (albeit a model from two years back now) and the image is exceptional most of the time, but some catalogue titles suffer from mosquito noise grain that can be distracting in some scenes. Does the panel need fine calibration, is it the film stock itself, is it the disc master, is it the player settings? Its all very complex now and you can’t tell if you’re seeing the same image everyone else does.

      The HDR on the other hand, can be both revelatory, really adding a genuine huge amount of depth, and very odd too (i.e. when over-used on catalogue titles that were shot without such brightness being intended). I think good use of HDR is what really makes a difference between Blu-ray and 4K releases.

      I think had HDR been added to the current blu-ray spec, which was technically feasible but ignored in favour of pushing customers to new 4K panels, anybody with panels less than a 65″ would likely rarely tell any difference between HD and UHD. Certainly to gain the best from 4K you have to be pretty bloody close to the screen- from ordinary living-room distances the difference is pretty negligible. I think it’s just how peoples eye work.

      1. I definitely think 4K is at the edge/beyond what most people can appreciate, especially on sensibly-sized TVs. I really can’t see how they expect to get anywhere with selling 8K to consumers…

    1. Consider it ordered and a review due immediately after it arrives! There’s no fool like an old fool, indeed- this will be the third time I’ve bought this on disc; I must be mad, but after wishing for a proper HD release it’d be rude not to reward HBO/Warner by putting my money where my mouth is. But I’ll certainly be moaning if it isn’t a ‘proper’ HD remaster…

      1. Matthew McKinnon

        From TheDigitalBits –

        ‘We finally have official word that HBO will release Tom Hanks’ fully-remastered From the Earth to the Moon miniseries on Blu-ray! Look for the release on 7/15, as expected, with all 12 episodes fully remastered in HD. What’s more, the “standard definition visual effects have been replaced with brand-new [HD] CG effects that are based on reference models from NASA” and the audio has been remixed in Dolby Atmos. The set will also include the Inside the Remastering featurette we mentioned a few weeks ago.’

        Looks legit!

  2. Ian Smith

    Wow, now I’m getting excited. This release looks like the best I could have hoped for. And it’s only two weeks away!

    Have you listened to any of the BBC podcasts about the moon landing, it’s called 13 Minutes to the Moon? Great writing and interviews- it follows a similar pattern to the HBO series. The episodes are 40 minutes each and are great on the commute. Each episode can be downloaded and I’ll be keeping the series for future listening in years to come.

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