My Two Cents
Wednesday, 21 September 2022 15:11

Lionsgate sets Clerks III for Blu-ray, plus new Warner Archive titles & an issue with Paramount’s War of the Worlds in 4K [UPDATED 9/26]

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We have a few quick items of you today...

First, Lionsgate has just announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of Kevin Smith’s Clerks III on 12/6, with the 4K Digital release expected on 10/14.

Special features will include audio commentary (with writer/director Kevin Smith, and actors Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Trevor Fehrman, and Austin Zajur), 2 documentaries (The Clerks III Documentary and We’re Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today: 3 Decades of Clerks), deleted and alternate scenes, and the theatrical trailer.

We’re still awaiting the final Blu-ray cover artwork for this release, but you can see the film’s promotional art at left.

Lionsgate has also set Fall for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/18, with the Digital version expected on 9/27.

1901 Pictures has set the psychological horror film Nix for Digital release on 9/27. [Read on here...]

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The Warner Archive Collection has just brought the original King Kong (1933) back into print on Blu-ray. They’ve also just released Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) on Blu-ray for the first time mastered from a new 4K scan of the best surviving nitrate film elements. And they’ve released Rachel, Rachel (1968) on Blu-ray too, also mastered from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative.

Now for the bad news...

We’ve gotten our hands on Paramount’s new 4K Ultra HD release of War of the Worlds (1953) and unfortunately there’s a problem with the color grade. As it happens, it’s exactly the same problem apparent in their current 4K Digital version, and it also appeared on the Imprint Blu-ray release in early 2020 (see our review here): The opening shots of Mars are the wrong color. Specifically, the whole planet is blue. Here’s a projection screen photo of the 4K...

Mars as seen in Paramount's 4K UHD of War of the Worlds

But Mars, as many of you fellow science nerds will know, is famously know as “The Red Planet.” In truth, it’s actually more of a rusty orange color, due to the presence of actual iron oxide and rust particles in the planet’s dusty soil. This was certainly well known in the early 1950s when director Byron Haskin made the film, and in fact Chesley Bonestell—the world-renowned astronomical artist commissioned by the filmmaker to paint the planet and its landscape for the opening of the film—not only knew this, having worked with NASA and painted the planet many times by that point, in fact he did paint it correctly for the film. There’s a great documentary on the artist, Chesley Bonestell: A Brush the Future, and you can see the same shot from the film in the doc below, with Mars rendered in the correct orange color...

Mars as seen in Chesley Bonestell: A Brush with the Future

Lifelong fans of the film will know, of course, that this is how the planet should look in the film. And indeed, Paramount’s 2005 DVD got the color right (albeit in 8-bit color, here’s another screen pic of the DVD)...

Mars as seen in Paramount's 2005 War of the Worlds DVD

What’s more, Criterion—knowing that the blue color was obviously an error resulting from photochemical drift in the original film elements—fixed the issue for their own excellent 2020 Blu-ray release (see our review here)...

Mars as seen in Criterion's 2020 War of the Worlds Blu-ray

Unfortunately, Paramount’s remastering team somehow missed it. However, I have informed the studio of the error and they’re now investigating.

I have every expectation that the studio will correct this issue and issue replacement discs (and they should correct the 4K Digital version too). When we hear back from Paramount officially on the matter, rest assured we’ll post an update here and on our social media.

[Editor’s Update 9/26/22: Here is Paramount Home Entertainment’s official statement RE: the Mars color grading error in War of the Worlds (1953) on 4K Ultra HD:

“We sincerely appreciate fans’ passion for War of the Worlds and their attention to detail. The scene that has been referenced as being more blue than red was taken from the original three-strip Technicolor negative. Paramount chose not to employ additional color correction, but instead consulted original IB Technicolor prints and matched the look from there.”

This is obviously nonsense; they simply don’t want to spend the money to correct the disc. Very, very disappointing. I’m told, however, that the studio is still looking into the problem with When Worlds Collide (1951) on Blu-ray (which is also in the package). Regardless, it’s becoming readily apparent that Paramount has a quality control (QC) issue that needs to be addressed going forward.]

[Editor’s Update 9/29/22: Interestingly, I found this comment on Facebook from former ILM animator, VFX supervisor and film producer Peter Kuran, responding to Paramount’s statement: “The reason it would be blue would be theatrical IB tech prints are balanced for a carbon arc light source which is very yellow. Better to use a 16mm IB Tech print which is balanced for 3200-3500 more normal.” That seems a reasonable conclusion to me. –BH]

All right, we’ll leave you this afternoon with a look at the cover artwork for a few upcoming 2-film 4K Ultra HD collections, for those who might be interested in getting a bargain...

48 Hrs: 2-Movie Collection (4K Ultra HD) Evil Dead: 2-Movie Collection (4K Ultra HD) Hitman's Bodyguard: 2-Movie Collection (4K Ultra HD)

Stay tuned...

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



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