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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Russell Mulcahy
USA / UK 1986

 

Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery star in the epic tale of immortality that launched one of the most beloved action-adventure series in film and TV history. After Scottish clansman Connor MacLeod (Lambert) discovers his true identity as a member of a legion of immortals, he embarks on a legendary journey spanning continents and centuries, eventually landing in modern-day New York City. Connor faces his ultimate test when other immortals begin to appear in the city, leading to a titanic showdown where only one can claim victory. Directed by Russell Mulcahy and featuring a soundtrack by Queen, this is the modern classic that has attracted millions of warrior fans worldwide. This is HIGHLANDER!

***

The good versus evil theme must be the most overdone theme in movies besides maybe love conquers all. The best you can hope for in a movie that uses one of these themes is for the presentation to be original. Highlander's plot is one of the most original ever filmed.


It tells the story of a group of immortals battling to the death, until there is only one left alive. This one will win 'the prize'. The prize being the power of all the other immortals combined.

Excerpt from Three Movie Buffs located HERE

***

Narrative coherence is not a quality which director Mulcahy brings to this mondial of machismo, about a bizarre (and shrinking) band of immortals engaged in mortal combat down the ages. Highlander hops to and fro, from the Scottish highlands in the middle ages to contemporary America, allowing Lambert to don a variety of kits to match the perpetually pained expression in his eyes, and Connery, as his mentor, to make tosh dialogue sound like it was written by NoŽl Coward. It has lots of energy, a frenzied pace, and a villain who sings Tom Waits while mowing down innocent pedestrians. It's a lot of utterly preposterous fun, even if it doesn't quite hang together. Scotch missed.

 Excerpt from Time Out Film Guide located HERE

 

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 7th, 1986

Reviews       More Reviews        DVD Reviews

 Comparison: 

Anchor Bay - Region 1- NTSC vs. Kinowelt  (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL vs. LionsGate (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 1- NTSC LEFT
2) Kinowelt (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL MIDDLE
3) LionsGate (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay

Region 1 - NTSC

Kinowelt (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL

LionsGate (Director's Cut)

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:56:24 1:51:24 (4% PAL speedup) 1:56:39.041

Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.62 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.96 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 27,270,619,862 bytes

Feature Size: 24,673,431,552 bytes

Average Bitrate: 21.83 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray VC-1 1080P

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate : Anchor Bay

Bitrate: Kinowelt

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (5.1 EX), English (Dolby 2.0) DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUB German (Dolby Digital 5.1) DTS-HD Master Audio English 2842 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2842 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 986 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 986 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary: DTS Audio English 768 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles None German, Turkish, None English, Spanish, French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Director Russell Mulcahy, Producers Peter S. Davis and William N. Panzer

• Trailer Talent bios

DVD Release Date: April 16th, 2002
Keep case

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Kinowelt
 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Trailers for 9 other films

2nd disc
• Making of Featurettes - English with German subs
• Chris Lambert interview (in German with German subs only)

 

DVD Release Date: January 19th, 2007
Steel-lined Keep Case with dual overlapping spindles

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio:
LionsGate

 

Disc Size: 27,270,619,862 bytes

Feature Size: 24,673,431,552 bytes

Average Bitrate: 21.83 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray VC-1 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Director Russell Mulcahy, Producers Peter S. Davis and William N. Panzer

• Deleted Scenes (6:14 in HD!)

Blu-ray  Release Date: November 2nd, 2010
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 24

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: LionsGate (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - October 2010: This is a pretty healthy leap in video quality for the dual-layered Blu-ray of Highlander. The DVDs are both quite noisy by comparison and the 1080P VC-1 encoded transfer brings out detail to a higher degree. Colors certainly shift and while I can't state with any certainty that the brighter Blu-ray is more authentic to theatrical - the colors sure are tighter and generally much richer (reds notable). Speaking of which - contrast doesn't always exhibit pitch blacks - it can look fainter than I might have expected considering it being HD. It is not a perfect transfer but it is certainly a big improvement over SD - and seems to show more information in the frame as well.

Audio is given a reasonably potent lossless DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2842 kbps. Highlander. has plenty of effect noises beyond clashing, sparky, swords and there is some notable depth with a few subtitles making it to the rear speakers. There is a Spanish DUB and English/French/Spanish subtitle options and my Momitsu has verified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

Extras consist of 6 sound-less minutes of deleted scenes in HD - found when preparing the Blu-ray transfer and the commentary by Director Russell Mulcahy, Producers Peter S. Davis and William N. Panzer found on the 2002 Anchor Bay DVD.

NOTE: Ronnie tells us in email: "A slight correction regarding the commentary track on the Lionsgate BD, it is not the same commentary by Mulcahy, Panzer and Davis as heard on the previous US DVD releases but a commentary done solely with Mulcahy for the StudioCanal/Universal DVD releases a few years back and subsequent StudioCanal/Universal BDs (Kinowelt mysteriously dropped that but retained an exclusive fourth part of the making of documentary instead)." - Thanks Ronnie!

Fans of the film will surely appreciate the bump in a/v and you can't argue with the price - very reasonable. Thumbs up!

****

ON THE DVDs: Firstly we realize that there is an 'Immortal Edition' in region 1 with a 2nd disc of extras and it is housed in a metal slipcase - it is also by Anchor Bay but we have no real plans for comparing it. We understand the transfer is the same on this NTSC edition. From Amazon - "Highlander was originally thrown onto the marketplace in a Republic DVD release that was one of the worst DVDs ever released. A restored director's cut version was later produced which added about ten minutes of footage to the film, and then came an improved re-mastered version. Previous (to 2002) Anchor Bay releases have been discontinued. This new edition features an Anamorphic widescreen presentation which is superior to former editions." There are some huge fans of this film and I won't pretend to be one of them - hence I hope our comparison doesn't miss any salient points.

There are pluses and minuses to both here in regards to image quality - the Kinowelt transfer is marginally better with less artifacts, slightly smoother, possibly a bit sharper and brighter with no visible manipulations. The Anchor Bay appears to have had some black boosting and although slightly darker I don't see a huge difference in colors between the two. The Anchor Bay has a shade more information in the frame - notably on both side edges. The Kinowelt might display a few more speckles and the PAL edition has a black border circumventing the frame slightly limiting horizontal resolution. Bottom line is you would have to be very keen on the film to be put off but in my opinion the Kinowelt looks a bit superior. Frankly, the film was not on a gigantic budget and although neither image is pristine - it may be as good as it can look.

Audio-wise the Anchor Bay sports a 5.1 EX track with options for 2.0 English or a French DUB. The Kinowelt has a solid 5.1 and a German DUB. The Anchor Bay has no subtitles but the Kinowelt offers German or Turkish. I can't say too much about the audio - they both sounded fairly good to my ear but possibly the Kinowelt was a bit more dynamic and consistent. I found it another 6 of one - half dozen of the other but admittedly audio reviewing is not my strong suit.

Where the Anchor Bay vaults ahead is with the supplemental commentary by Director Russell Mulcahy, Producers Peter S. Davis and William N. Panzer. It is certainly not the best commentary I have ever heard as it is fairly off the cuff but directly from the horses mouth - so to speak. I had the feeling that they could have related a lot more - had they the time or inclination. The Kinowelt has about 2 hours of 'Making Off...' that is very good - highly informative about the production process - hurdles and how obstacles were resolved. I did gain a modicum of respect for this film - that hadn't really occurred to me before. There is a Christopher Lambert interview on the PAL disc but it is only in French (with optional German subs).

Bottom line - unless the image quality becomes a huge concern - for instance if you are projecting on a large home theatre screen - I might say just to purchase the edition that is easiest for you to obtain. The metal case of the Kinowelt is very nice and if that is a selling point you may wish to lean in that direction. The PAL edition seems much more professionally and competently produced.   

Gary W. Tooze

 

 



DVD Menus

(Anchor Bay - Region 1- NTSC LEFT vs. Kinowelt  (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL RIGHT)

 

Disc 2 - Kinowelt  (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL

 

LionsGate (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

Blu-ray Subtitle Sample

 

 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 1- NTSC TOP
2) Kinowelt (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL MIDDLE
3) LionsGate (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 1- NTSC TOP
2) Kinowelt (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL MIDDLE
3) LionsGate (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 1- NTSC TOP
2) Kinowelt (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL MIDDLE
3) LionsGate (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 1- NTSC TOP
2) Kinowelt (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL MIDDLE
3) LionsGate (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 1- NTSC TOP
2) Kinowelt (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL MIDDLE
3) LionsGate (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 1- NTSC TOP
2) Kinowelt (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL MIDDLE
3) LionsGate (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 1- NTSC TOP
2) Kinowelt (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL MIDDLE
3) LionsGate (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 1- NTSC TOP
2) Kinowelt (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL MIDDLE
3) LionsGate (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Kinowelt (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL MIDDLE
3) LionsGate (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay

Region 1 - NTSC

Kinowelt (2 Disc 'Steelbook' Special Edition) - Region 2,8 - PAL

LionsGate (Director's Cut)

Region FREE - Blu-ray


 



 

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Gary Tooze

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