My Two Cents
Monday, 02 August 2021 18:42

Almost Famous & True Romance reviewed in 4K, plus new Ultra HD titles, and a peek at the new Star Trek: The Motion Picture theatrical remaster on iTunes

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Today’s post here at The Bits is a quick one, as we have family visiting this week. However, we do have a little bit of release news and a couple more new reviews for you as well...

First up, I’ve given Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical love letter to rock music, Almost Famous, a look in a fantastic new 2-disc 4K Ultra HD Steelbook edition from Paramount. The remaster is gorgeous, the set includes two UHD discs—one each for the different versions of the film—it carries over all of the legacy extras, and it adds some new ones too. It’s a great set, so do give it a look if you’re a fan of the film.

Also, Stephen has reviewed Tony Scott’s True Romance as newly-released on 4K Ultra HD by Arrow Video, a UK import title that’s also apparently a pretty great remaster and worth considering.

And if you check back tomorrow, I’ll have a review of another 4K import title: Rian Johnson’s Looper from Entertainment One. [Read on here...]

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In the meantime today, a couple new Blu-ray TV titles have become available on Amazon, including Resident Alien: Season One and The Blacklist: The Complete Eighth Season. You can see those here (click on the cover art to visit the Amazon pre-order pages)...

Resident Alien: Season One (Blu-ray Disc) The Blacklist: Season 8 (Blu-ray Disc) Castle Rock: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Disc)

We also have word from retail and industry sources that Sony’s The Guns of Navarone and Paramount’s The Wolf of Wall Street are coming to 4K Ultra HD later this year. The Downton Abbey movie is also coming to 4K in the UK in November. We’ve added those titles to our 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits.

And finally today, our friend Drew Stewart—who created the great Star Wars 4K comparison galleries we have posted here at The Bits—has just created a new gallery comparing the 2021 HD master of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (the theatrical edition) with the previous 2009 Blu-ray edition. It seems that iTunes just updated their streaming version with the new HD master, which is sourced from the new 4K scan of the film that’s coming to Ultra HD in September.

The gallery shows you a glimpse of the new color grading. One thing that’s not clear from these images is that the new 4K scan (and HD presentation) offers a dramatic improvement in terms of image detail, texturing, and film grain. No longer is the image scrubbed with DNR like the Blu-ray. It’s a vast improvement—TMP actually looks like a proper film now. We can’t wait to see the full 4K image with HDR. One note about the gallery: All images labeled as 79TE are actually 09TE, as the 2009 Blu-ray is what’s being used for comparison (and it has changes from the original 79TE presentation).

Other than updated color grading (and keep in mind that TMP never really got a proper grade using state of the art tools), there seem to be two changes in the new master. The first is that the shot of the Enterprise leaving drydock is softer than it appears on the previous Blu-ray, and the model mount is how hidden in slightly sloppy matte. The reason this shot is softer is almost certainly because that’s how it actually appeared in the film in 1979. Remember, The Motion Picture was rushed into theaters at the time, essentially unfinished and unpolished. That shot was later fixed for home video releases, but the softer shot is likely what’s actually on film in the master interpositive. (Rest assured it will be properly fixed for the 4K Director’s Edition restoration next year.) Also, the shot of the asteroid explosion in the wormhole has been altered slightly so that you can no longer see the faint image of the warehouse the explosion element was filmed in. I actually watched the new iTunes HD master over the weekend and I must say, the film looks better than I’ve ever seen it. If this is the basis for it, the 4K Director’s Edition should be off the hook.

Speaking of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, I’d like to take a moment to recommend our friend Jeff Bond’s recent book on the making of the film with Gene Kozicki. It’s a treasure trove of behind the scenes information, rare photos, and artwork. You can order it here from Amazon (or by clicking on the cover art below)...

Star Trek: The Motion Picture: The Art and Visual Effects (Book)

That’s all for today! Stay tuned...

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)


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