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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Scanners [Blu-ray]


(David Cronenberg, 1981)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Canadian Film Development Corporation (CFDC)

Video: Koch Media



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

Runtime: 1:42:51.539

Disc Size: 18,160,128,496 bytes

Feature Size: 18,069,301,248 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.99 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 10th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1719 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1719 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DUB: DTS-HD Master Audio German 1360 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1360 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: The title of this David Cronenberg sci-fi horror film refers to a group of people who have telekinetic powers that allow... them to read minds and give them the ability to make other people's heads explode. The children of a group of women who took an experimental tranquilizer during their pregnancies, the scanners are now adults and have become outcasts from society. But Darryl (Michael Ironside) decides to create an army of scanners to take over the world. The only person who can stop him is his brother Cameron (Stephen Lack), who wants to forget that he was ever a scanner. Winner of the International Fantasy Film Award at the 1983 Fantasporto Film Festival, Scanners was followed by a pair of sequels, neither of which involved Cronenberg.

~ Matthew Tobey, All Movie Guide.



The Film:

This looks less like Cronenberg's popular mid-'70s exploiters (Rabid, Shivers) than one of his early experimental films remade on a higher budget, with a small group of 'scanners' (warrior-telepaths) fighting off a sinister mind-war army that is backed, indirectly, by industry and the state. Part conspiracy thriller, part political tract, it is Cronenberg's most coherent movie to date, drawing a dark (but bland) world in which corporate executives engineer human conception to produce ever more powerful mental samurai. And he punctuates it with spectacular set piece confrontations which really do dramatise the abstract, ingenious premise. As always, there's a nagging feeling that the script is not quite perfectly realised on screen, but Patrick McGoohan's bizarre cameo performance, and the extraordinary moral and sexual ambiguity of the final scanning contest, more than make up for it.

Excerpt from TimeOut London located HERE

In a stalwart example of camp, early in Scanners, a man addresses a room of people — it is a conference, of sorts. He is a scanner, and intends to display his ability to the group. A man volunteers, sits beside the speaker, and is soon scanned (the process involves, in the scanner, tightening every muscle, clenching teeth, and glaring evilly). Unbeknownst to the speaker, the volunteer is a renegade scanner, and more powerful. The two become awkwardly tense, convulse a bit, and the speaker’s head explodes — it is a perfect culmination for the building action.

“Scanning” involves telepathy although, exampled here, the process causes harm in the scanned. In other hands this ability may have been depicted in a humorous or respected manner (What Women Want) — it would be a talent, whereas here it is a handicap as well as skill. The conflict arises between two groups of scanners: one set for world domination, the other set to stop them

Excerpt from Rumsey Taylor at NotComingToATheaterNearYou located HERE

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

The best I can say for Scanners on Blu-ray is that it looks better than SD. Some colors are bright - it is clean and there is some infrequent depth on the single-layered 1080P transfer. There is a green hue over much of the image and background grain can be downright blotchy. I may be hyper-critical as it did give me the best presentation of the film I've yet seen - but the Blu-ray leaves some room for improvement. Detail has impressive moments in Scanner's close-ups and contrast wavers from modest to strong - dependant on the scene. The effects aren't overly-transparent through the higher resolution and remain as gruesome as ever.  As a bare-bones quickie Blu-ray - it's visually 'okay' for a late night viewing.
















Audio :

Koch have provided lossless tracks in both original English and a German DUB via DTS-HD Master 5.1 at around 1600 kbps. The intense and suspenseful score is by Howard Shore who has an impressive resume of work behind him. There is some less-overwhelming depth and clean high end. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'.


Extras :

No extras at all. They intended some but the Blu-ray authoring team's heads all blew off.



There is a campy edge to Cronenberg's Scanners. From that angle - I like it. In fact there are plenty of positives - including a very deliberate build with enough unknowns to keep you attentive. The Blu-ray is second tier but probably won't be bested anytime soon. Fans may wish to pick it up. 

Gary Tooze

June 30th, 2011


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.

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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