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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Lifeforce [Blu-ray]

 

(Tobe Hooper, 1985)

 

   

Also available in a Limited Edition Steelbook from Arrow in the UK:

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Golan-Globus Productions

Video: Shout! Factory / Arrow Films (UK)

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' and Region 'B' (as verified by the Momitsu Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:56:13.007 / 1:56:13.549

Disc Size: 48,597,020,563 bytes  / 47,118,226,883 bytes

Feature Size: 28,833,945,600 bytes / 36,290,381,376 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.00 Mbps / 29.87 Mbps

Chapters: 12 / 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent or Steelbook

Release date: June 18th, 2013 / October 14th, 2013

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2394 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2394 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1854 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1854 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1679 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1679 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1731 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1731 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 4297 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4297 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles (both):

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Audio Commentary With Director Tobe Hooper

Audio Commentary With Special Effects Designer Nick Maley

Lifeforce Theatrical Release (1:41:17 in 1080i)

Dangerous Beauty with Mathilda May (15:16)

Space Vampires in London (9:58)

Carlsen's Curse with Steve Railsback (7:07)
Vintage 'Making Of Lifeforce' Featurette (21:18)
Theatrical Trailers (3:33)
TV Spot (:30)
Still Gallery (5:16)

DVD of the Feature included

 

• Audio commentary with director Tobe Hooper

Audio commentary with Academy Award-winning visual effects artist Douglas Smith, moderated by filmmaker and scholar Howard S. Berger
Audio commentary with make-up effects artist Nick Maley
Cannon Fodder: The Making of Lifeforce - An epic UK-exclusive look at the genesis, production and release of Lifeforce featuring interviews with Hooper, producer Michael J. Kagan, editor John Grover, actors Aubrey Morris and Nicholas Ball, makeup artist Sandra Exelby, screenwriter Michael Armstrong, sound designer Vernon Messenger, artistic designers Tom Adams and Douglas Smith and effects artist John Schoonraad (1:10:02)
• Tobe Hooper: Space Vampires in London (9:58)

Steve Railsback: Carlsen's Curse (7:07)

Mathilda May: Dangerous Beauty (15:16)
TriStar Theatrical Trailer (1:28)
Cannon trailer (2:02)
Collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film, a new interview with Oscar-winning visual effects artist John Dykstra by Calum Waddell, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

 

Bitrate:

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Description: A mission to investigate Halley's Comet discovers an alien spacecraft. After a deadly confrontation, the aliens travel to Earth, where their seductive leader begins a terrifying campaign to drain the life force of everyone she encounters. Her victims, in turn, continue the cycle, and soon the entire planet is in mortal danger.

 

 

The Film:

Vampires in this in this horror/sci-fi epic with a cult following. The story concerns a joint British-American space probe of Hailey's Comet. Inside the comet, the astronauts, headed by Carlsen (Steve Railsback), find a spaceship that contains the dead bodies of several aliens, along with the naked bodies of three human-like creatures in suspended animation. They bring the aliens aboard the ship for examination, but the specimens are sloppily guarded and soon the trio spread contagion among the population of the ship. Returning to earth, the beautiful space vampire (Mathilda May) escapes into London and begins to feed of the bodies of the unwary Britons, turning the city into a zombie-populated wasteland. It is now left for Carlsen to stop the vampire invaders.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Wows-a-routie! If you've never seen this mind-reeling schlocko sci-fi spectacular then hang on to your brains. Adapted by Dan O'Bannon from the Colin Wilson novel The Space Vampires, it starts with something strange happening to a trio of astronauts investigating the path of Halley's Comet, and proceeds with nude extra-terrestrial May turning half of London into sex-crazed zombies. Gasp as Chancery Lane tube goes up in smoke and St Paul's cathedral communicates with another galaxy! Wonder as Messrs Firth and Finlay get through reams of daft expository dialogue without cracking up! Utter nonsense, but great fun.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

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

Lifeforce is very cool and the Blu-ray release (both Shout! Factory and Arrow on the opposite side of the pond) is much anticipated.  Even with a middling bitrate on the dual-layered disc, the effects look super in 1080P. I thought there might be some transparency in the higher resolution but I found no instances of it.  Colors seem brighter and truer than SD could relate and there is some richness to the greens and blues. Skin tones have a bit of warm and contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. The visuals are very clean with no intrusive noise. This Blu-ray supplied me with a super presentation with some of the effects exploding from the screen. Thumbs up!

I wouldn't say there was a massive difference between the US and UK Blu-ray video - the UK is more robust and may be slight shade darker with warmer skin tones. A great image - I don't think many would be adamant about choosing one over the other.

 

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

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Director's Cut Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Theatrical Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  SECOND

3) Director's Cut  Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray  THIRD

4) Theatrical Cut  Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Audio :

We have the option of a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track at 2394 kbps 5.1or a similarly uncompressed 2.0 channel stereo track. The surround (my choice) sounds quite good with the many effects broadly reaching the rear speakers with chilling intent. Depth is very abundant and the separations, although not always crisp, are head-turning. The score is by none other than the great Henry Mancini and has some Herrmann-esque intensity that also sounds great in lossless. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

Not dissimilar again but Arrow use LPCM for the 2.0 channel and although my ears couldn't detect much difference _ my guess is that it might be superior with a better high-end. There are also optional English subtitles on the region 'B' Blu-ray.

 

Extras :

Massive amount of extras from Shout! Factory on their Blu-ray package. We get two commentaries - one with Director Tobe Hooper and a second with Special Effects Designer/Make-up Artist Nick Maley (81's Clash of the Titans) moderated by Michael Felsher. Also included, in 1080i, is the 1-hour 41-minute Theatrical Release of the film (sample comparison). There are some differences but they aren't extravagant - the longer version (main version on the Blu-ray) is superior image-wise. There are some new featurettes made by Shout! Factory and Red Shirt Productions. We get 15-minutes with Mathilda May in Dangerous Beauty as she talks about doing the nude scenes and her work as a dancer - she still looks great. Space Vampires in London runs 10-minutes, Carlsen's Curse with Steve Railsback spends 7-minutes with the gregarious actor. We also get the vintage, 20-minute 'Making Of Lifeforce' piece (in SD), 3-minutes worth of two theatrical trailers, a TV Spot and Stills Gallery. The package has a DVD of the Feature included.

Arrow win quite handily here with a third commentary (additional from the two also available on the Shout! Factory) - with Academy Award-winning visual effects artist Douglas Smith, moderated by filmmaker and scholar Howard S. Berger. We get the same Cast & Crew Retrospective with star Steve Railsback, Hooper, Mathilda May BUT Arrow have included the 1-hour 10-minute Cannon Fodder: The Making of Lifeforce look at the genesis, production and release of Lifeforce featuring interviews with Hooper, producer Michael J. Kagan, editor John Grover, actors Aubrey Morris and Nicholas Ball, makeup artist Sandra Exelby, screenwriter Michael Armstrong, sound designer Vernon Messenger, artistic designers Tom Adams and Douglas Smith and effects artist John Schoonraad. ALSO Arrow add a second Blu-ray of the Theatrical version but in 1080P (where the US was 1080i). Arrow also add a collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film, a new interview with Oscar-winning visual effects artist John Dykstra by Calum Waddell, illustrated with original archive stills and posters. 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Arrow Films - Region 'B' Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
There is something so... enticing about Lifeforce. The appeal is beyond Mathilda May's nakedness (although that is a plus all it's own.) Hooper touches on grandiose effect schlockiness with hints of homage and pulls together a strong science-fiction vampire popcorn'er - heavy on the effects. The Shout! Factory Blu-ray is super and has great extras as well - we absolutely recommend! The price offered gives good value!

Arrow does it again creating the definitive package of another fan favorite - this creepy science-fiction genre classic is done to the 9's. If you act soon enough you can still get it in the desirable Steelbook case. 

Gary Tooze

June 13th, 2013

November 7th, 2013

   

Also available in a Limited Edition Steelbook from Arrow in the UK:

 

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 5000 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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