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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Tobe Hooper
USA 1982

Credited to Hooper, but every inch a Spielberg film, this is a barnstorming ghost story, set in one of the small suburban houses Spielberg knows and loves, where the family canary is called Tweety, and the kids read Captain America comics and eat at the Pizza Hut. Gradually this impossibly safe world is (in a truly ingenious plot development) invaded by something inside the family television. Soon the plot takes off into a delirious fight with demonic forces suggestive of nothing so much as a Walt Disney horror movie; and although the sub-religious gobbledegook (including a tiresome midget medium) is hard to take, it is consistently redeemed by its creator's dazzling sense of craft. For this one, Spielberg has even contrived a structural surprise which leaves the audience spinning like one of his house's haunted rooms, and arguably matches the opening of Psycho in its impudent virtuosity.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Poster

 

Theatrical Release: June 4th, 1982

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison: 

Warner - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner (25th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC vs. Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Warner (25th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray RIGHT

DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Warner

Region 1 - NTSC

Warner (25th Anniversary Edition)

Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

Warner

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:54:20 1:54:16 1:54:28

Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.82 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.55 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

VC-1 , 1080P, Blu-ray

Feature: 19.4 Gig, Single-layered

2:35:1 aspect ratio

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

Bitrate :

Warner original

Bitrate:

 Warner (Anniversary Edition)

Bitrate:

 Warner (Blu-ray)

NO BITRATE GRAPH FOR BLU-RAY YET!

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUBs: French (Dolby Digital 2.0),  Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0) English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0) English True HD 5.1, English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0), German (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0), Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, None English, French, Spanish, French, Chinese, Danish, Finnish, German, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese and Swedish, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (2:31 / 4:3)

DVD Release Date: April 8th, 1997
Snapper case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Warner (Anniversary Edition)
 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Featurette: Part 1 - Science of the Spirits (15:30)
• 
Featurette: Part 1 - Communicating With the Dead (15:32)
 

DVD Release Date: October 9th, 2007
Keep Case inside cardboard box

Chapters 30

Release Information:
Studio: Warner (Blu-ray)

Aspect Ratio:  2.35:1

VC-1 , 1080P, Blu-ray

Feature: 19.4 Gig, Single-layered

 

Edition Details:
• 2-part Documentary: They Are Here: the Real World of Poltergeist Revealed:

• Featurette: Part 1 - Science of the Spirits (15:31)
• 
Featurette: Part 2 - Communicating With the Dead (15:33)
 

DVD Release Date: October 14th, 2008
Book style Blu-ray case

Chapters 30

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Warner Blu-ray - October 08': This is advertised on the insert attached to the book-style case as 'New digital transfer from regenerated picture elements' . I'd say the image is far superior to the previous SD editions, but keep in mind the film is over 25 years old now. In short - everything looks a little truer - a little more 3-dimensional - colors are brighter - and, at times, detail is much sharper. Hopefully the screen captures below will give you an idea of the degree of those improvements. If you are a big fan of the film then the upgrade would seem beneficial but for those with only a passing interest in Poltergeist - and will not re-watch the film - then the Blu-ray may seem unnecessary.

Audio also improves to a TrueHD track that again is superior to varying degrees. I noted at least four instances where it heavily kicked in for some head-turning to the back of the room. We have another excellent score by Jerry Goldsmith (Oscar nominated for best score of 1982). But beyond that the subtle moments seen to mesh well with the dynamic sounds. This is a real strongly supportive soundtrack and a decent mix bumped to HD. Subtitles are offered in an array of options - signifying this is a region free release.

Extras are the same two 'occult' documentary featurettes as in the Anniversary Edition (also in SD). They run about 30 minutes in total. I didn't note anything new. The package comes in a 'book style' case with a couple of short essays, film and production notes, details on the cast etc. with some very nice colors photos.

Well, the film still holds up and my Blu-ray viewing definitely gives a more intense experience. Probably my best since seeing it in the theater with Liz Gardner 25 years ago. This is a competent upgrade from Warner - better, to different amounts, on all fronts. As far as the film itself goes - it has kept well over time. The idyllic family neighborhood life turned upside-down was never caught better by Hollywood than in Poltergeist

***

 

ON THE SD-DVDs: I always thought this was quite a good little film. I recall taking a date to it at the theatre 25 years ago. I'm surprised it taken this long to surface as a superior DVD from the single-layered bare-bones jobbie that came out way back in 97'. I still think it's worthy of reaching hi-def status at some point. Very memorable.

This is one of those comparisons where you have to look quite deeply to verify that the newer version is superior. It doesn't usurp in terms of detail (or rather the perception of detail) seen in the original release but this new dual-layered, anamorphic and progressive transfer has far less digital artifacts and helps to identify the boosting that occurs in the original edition. Black levels have been upped to create some faint edge enhancement. The Anniversary DVD is far smoother and, we'll make a fair assumption, that colors are more accurate in accordance with the theatrical release (no I don't remember, but the date's name was Liz).  The image on both is fairly clean but those artifacts are abundant once you identify them. The Anniversary release is also coded for regions 2, 3 and 4 (as well as 1) and is set to sell in alt-NTSC geography with some additional subtitles and DUBs.

NOTE: The Anniversary release shows more information the all sides of the frame.

The new release offers  a 5.1 bump that sounded okay - not intense separation levels but competent for sure - sometimes the subtler sounds better actually. The old was original stereo which is offered as an option on the Anniversary. DUBs are available on both.

In the supplements department the Anniversary improves upon, just a, trailer (on the old) by giving us two documentary featurettes on the paranormal. Lightweight stuff really and only 30 minutes in total but I was interested enough to want more (longer). Keeners might be fairly enthralled. That's it - no commentary or talk with Hooper or Spielberg... which would have been a nice touch. Shame.

Anyway, as far as the film goes - I liked the darn thing even 25 years later - and this new DVD transfer may not appear a gigantic leap over the old but with the removal of the artifacts, dual layering, 5.1 bump, plus the featurettes and get rid of another snapper case! - I think its a good deal at less than $15.    

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus/ Extras

Blu-ray

 



(Warner - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Warner (25th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC RIGHT)

 
 
 

 


Screen Captures

 

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

 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner (25th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Subtitle Sample: Not exact frame

 

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner (25th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner (25th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner (25th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner (25th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner (25th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


More from the Blu-ray

 

DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Warner

Region 1 - NTSC

Warner (25th Anniversary Edition)

Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

Warner

Region FREE - Blu-ray


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray (included book)
Menu: -

 


 



 

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Gary Tooze

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