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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Omega Man [Blu-ray]

 

(Boris Sagal,1971)

Review by Gary W. Tooze

Production:

Theatrical: Warner

Video: Warner Home Video

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:38:00.916

Disc Size: 18,202,507,160 bytes

Feature Size: 16,716,244,992 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.97 Mbps

Chapters: 30

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 18th, 2007

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

 

Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Italian, Korean, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian and none


Extras:

Introduction by Screenwriter Joyce H. Carrington, Paul Koslo ("Dutch"), and Eric Laneuville ("Richie"), "The Last Man Alive: The Omega Man" Featurette, Theatrical trailer

 

 

Description: Welcome to the future. Biological war has decimated life on Earth. Los Angeles is a windswept ghost town where Robert Neville tools his convertible through sunlit streets foraging for supplies. And makes damn sure he gets undercover before sundown, when other "inhabitants" emerge. The Omega Man adapts Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend into a high-impact, high-tension saga of a fate not far removed from reality. Charlton Heston is Neville, fending off attacks by The Family, sinister neopeople spawned by the plague. He also becomes a man with a mission after meeting Lisa (Rosalind Cash), another unifected survivor - and guardian of some healthy children representing our species' hope.

 

 

The Film: There is something very appealing about the apocalyptic doomsday concept also used in films like The Last Man on Earth (Like Omega Man this was also adapted from, sci-fi icon, Richard Matheson's classic novel), Panic in Year Zero! (1962) and most recently in 28 Days Later and I am Legend. But none match the pure cheesy 70's feel of The Omega Man. Here we have some nasty ghoulish albino mutants struck with this current version of the unknown plague of mankind. Heston, a far cry from Ben-Hur, is Neville - seen car-hopping around a vacant L.A. - so perfect for the role that you could never imagine anyone else in his place. Supporting him are the ghouls Matthias (Anthony Zerbe) and his henchman Zachary (Lincoln Kilpatrick) plus pure but street-wise Lisa (Rosalind Cash) who is the unfortunate victim of the living dead curse. It comes across as a weak production outlay but that seems to add to its clandestine charm. Gotta love this on a late Friday night after you wait long enough to forget what happened the last time you saw it. It's classic, kinda hokey, and wonderful.

Gary Tooze

 

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

 

Okay, it's time to take another look at this very early Blu-ray (late 2007!). While a vast improvement over the SD snapper case version from 2000 - it's a fairly wimpy HD transfer at about only a shade over double that of a dual-layered DVD. Still the 1080p VC-1 encoded rendering looks quite fetching in certain scenes supporting Russell Metty's cinematography of vacant cityscapes. Contrast may not be as deftly piercing as we have seen from other films put to this new medium and noise exists but the source was in pristine shape and the visuals are consistent with clumpy low-level grain. I didn't see any boosting and I was pleasantly surprised that it looks as 'fresh' as it does. There is even some depth... and detail is acceptable if not stellar. I don't doubt this is as good a digital transfer for The Omega Man as we are ever likely to see.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio: No lossless upgrade here - the original mono track is in Dolby mono and is clean and clear as a bell. There are few effect sounds and dialogue is fairly limited. There are not too many instances of explosive audio elements required so the track keeps the frugal production nature of the film fairly basic. Ron Grainer's original score sometimes reminds me of the theme from The Prisoner. The dialogue is fully supported by English (SDH), French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Italian, or Korean optional subtitles. This Blu-ray isn't encumbered by region coding.  So the bountiful sub and DUB options will make it accessible across the globe.  

 

 
 

Extras:

The same as the old SD - an introduction by screenwriter Joyce H. Carrington, Paul Koslo ("Dutch"), and Eric Laneuville ("Richie"), plus "The Last Man Alive: The Omega Man" featurette and a theatrical trailer.

Menus

 

 

BOTTOM LINE: What's not to love about this? Those pasty-faced ghouls resemble riotous glam-rockers and Chuck Heston is at his 1970's Arnold-esque best bedding down the only legal-age female in the film. I re-watch this more than I'd like to admit- the isolation premise is a nice escape from... everything. The Omega Man is reasonable enough priced (less than $10!) and the video improvement is enough reason to indulge... and throw out your old snapper case!  

Gary Tooze

September 30th, 2010

 

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About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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