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H D - S E N S E I
A view on Hi-def discs by Gary W. Tooze
The Day the Earth Stood Still [Blu-ray]
(Robert Wise, 1951)
Review by Gary Tooze
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Video: 20th Century Fox
Feature Runtime: 1:32:11.192
Disc Size: 43,927,409,925 bytes
One dual-layered Blu-ray
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: December 2nd, 2008
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
• Commentary by Director Robert Wise and Nicolas Meyer
Blu-ray exclusives - Interactive Theremin - Create Your Own Score, Gort Command! Interactive Game
Product Description: The Day The Earth Stood Still depicts the arrival of an alien dignitary, Klaatu (Michael Rennie), who has come to earth with his deadly robot, Gort (Lock Martin), to deliver the message that earthlings must stop warring among themselves--or else. After being shot at by military guards, Klaatu is brought to a Washington, D.C. hospital, where he begs a sympathetic but frank Major White (Robert Osterloh) to gather all the world's leaders so he can tell them more specifically what he has come to warn them about. Losing patience, Klaatu slips into the human world, adapting a false identity and living at a boarding house where he meets a smart woman with a conscience and her inquisitive son. Both mother and son soon find themselves embroiled in the complex mystery of Klaatu, his message and the government's witch hunt for the alien....
Robert Wise (The original Haunting, West Side Story, The Sound of Music and Star Trek: The Motion Picture are among his credits) knew how to make a film. Devoid of the multitude of CGI and special effects that seem necessary for today's fans, The Day the Earth Stood Still is quite a landmark in sci-fi films, especially for the 1950's. It bases its interest in suspense and the personality of the 'invading alien' as Michael Rennie's timeless character of Klaatu.
Poignant dialogue is reflected in a positive absolute of our civilization and growth as a species as well as purporting our realization of not being alone in vastness of space. A marvelous and intelligent film that deserves its large fan base and place in cinema history....
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were obtained directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, I would have compared this to the DVD editions in this review but I had some real difficulty in matching captures (my set-up - not the Blu-rays fault). This is one of the oldest films to reach 1080P Blu-ray and it doesn't match the yet even older, and extensively restored, Casablanca, but I think this still looks strong enough while towering over the latest SD edition. It has both grain and noise - a little less of the former and a smattering too much of the latter, but I can easily live with it. Contrast and greyscale may not be totally pristine but they blow away anything we've seen previously from this film. Detail has some excellent moments (look at Rennie below!). While this isn't the most highly-lauded Blu-ray disc we've covered - if you take into account the age of the film, its classic status and any weaknesses, as compared to more modern transfers, are easily forgotten. There is still minor damage mostly in the form of speckles and the feature helps fill a dual-layered Blu-ray (which takes up a whopping 43 Gig!) and this definitely replicates the theatrical better than anything else currently available on digital. It has a consistent quality and the 1080P can occasionally bring up a crispness that is sure to impress. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by the visual quality as my expectations were fairly low. The Blu-ray image transfer shouldn't deter anyone from indulging and you may view the full-resolution screen captures by clicking the images below.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio & Music:
Aside from the duplicated supplements there are two Blu-ray exclusives - Interactive Theremin - Create Your Own Score and a Gort Command! Interactive Game if you are so inclined.
December 3rd, 2008