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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Strange Invaders [Blu-ray]

 

(Michael Laughlin, 1983)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Lone Wolf McQuade Associates

Video: Twilight Time

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:33:36.861 

Disc Size: 26,426,476,943 bytes

Feature Size: 25,684,279,296 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Chapters: 24

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: October, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1074 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1074 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1951 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1951 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1405 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1405 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
 

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), None

 

Extras:

Audio Commentary with Director Michael Laughlin and Writer William Condon
Isolated Score Track
Original Theatrical Trailer (1:26)

Liner notes by Julie Kirgo

Limited to 3,000 Copies!

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Michael Laughlin directs Strange Invaders (1983), an affectionate homage to science fiction/alien takeover films of the 1950s that stars Paul Le Mat as a university professor searching for his ex-wife (Diana Scarwid), who seems to have disappeared while visiting her hometown of Centerville, Illinois. In fact, the place turns out to be a hotbed of aliens, in place since the Fifties and weirdly unaware of how the outside world has changed. Also starring Nancy Allen as a helpful journalist, and a lively supporting cast including Michael Lerner, Louise Fletcher, Wallace Shawn, Fiona Lewis, and period icon June Lockhart.

 

 

The Film:

In this subtly humorous, alien-invasion film by Michael Laughlin, who co-wrote the screenplay with William Condon, the aliens infiltrate a small Midwestern town in 1958 and beam the "spirits" of several of the townspeople up to their spacecraft in little blue bubbles, while they settle into the bodies of their new farm personae. But Margaret (Diana Scarwid), one of their number, leaves for life and marriage in New York and has a daughter Elizabeth by her earthling husband Charles Bigelow (Paul LeMat), a professor. After two decades or so go by, the aliens opt for returning to their home planet, but they have to first go to the city dressed as farmers and round up Margaret and her daughter. Soon Charles figures out what is going on with the help of the tough, optimistic Betty Walker (Nancy Allen), a reporter for a tabloid paper, and the two head to the town where it all started. The light contrast between the bucolic '50s and the street-wise '80s gives way to a few shocking scenes of repugnant aliens in transformation with formidable special effects.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

'I've got you, under mah skeeen-ah!'. Loss of face gets a whole new twist in this unexpectedly well-developed pastiche: a welcome surprise, as it initially looks like a Disneyish soft-pedal over the familiar territory of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The twist is that when the aliens colonised a small town in the '50s - doing the usual trick of covering their own unsightly physogs with plastic replicas of several hundred decent Americans -it all happened with full governmental approval. Hassled hero LeMat has to confront opposition from both the official and the alien fronts before getting to the bottom of the mystery. The necessarily upbeat ending is all but made up for by some brilliant SFX and stabs of humour in the midnight vein of the great Gahan (National Lampoon, Playboy, etc) Wilson. Hugely entertaining and refreshingly gore-free.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

 

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

Strange Invaders comes to Twilight Time Blu-ray in a dual-layered, 1080P transfer with their usual high bitrate. The visuals are very strong maintaining the film's heavily textured look - as part of its 50's sc-fi homage. Contrast has some decent layering and colors have some boldness. It looks quite consistent in-motion with no damage or speckles.  I see no evidence of manipulation or noise. This Blu-ray gives a very pleasing presentation in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio - supporting the film's diffused style and theatrical appearance.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1074 kbps (24-bit) sounds clean with a few richer moments in pushing the film's science-fiction related requirements exporting the special effects with depth. The score is by John Addison (The Honey Pot, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, The Neanderthal Man) and subtly supports the film's subtle humor and alien-invasion-related' drama. There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

Twilight Time add another audio commentary - this one with director Michael Laughlin and Writer William Condon (recorded separately and originally found on the 2001 DVD). It is still quite entertaining filled with talk of sci-fi, aliens and such. There is also the usual Isolated Score Track, and an original theatrical trailer. The package has some liner notes by Julie Kirgo and is limited to 3,000 copies.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Strange Invaders is a fun 50's style 'alien invasion' clone. I found it very entertaining. I always enjoy Nancy Allen and there is solid support from Louise Fletcher, Wallace Shawn, Kenneth Tobey (remember him in 1951's The Thing from Another World), June Lockhart and Charles Lane.  The Twilight Time Blu-ray provides a strong a/v transfer for the film and augments that value with the, albeit older, commentary, another isolated score and liner notes. It's well worth indulging for those keen. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

October 29th, 2015

 

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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