I'm both amazed and appalled at what 20th Century Fox has done with this blu ray, providing one of the most schizophrenic video transfers I've ever seen, which despite its faults still impresses me.
Because eighty percent of the time, it's beautiful.
They must have used a different source print than they had previously. Many scenes that were dull and dark before now show wonderfully vivid colours and much greater contrast. Also, it seems Fox has done a heavy amount of grain reduction, which I know will be an instant deal breaker for some cinephiles, but I do think that Predator benefitted from the treatment. I was astounded at the clarity some scenes have, every piece of foliage is razor sharp, and the Predator himself is so detailed in closeup it's scary. And it doesn't stop there.. From being able to see each bead of sweat on Carl Weathers' face, to the intricate patterns of the lightning effects as Predator decloaks, the new video transfer often presents scenes that look light years ahead of older versions of the film.
But then there's the other twenty percent...
The infamous scene at the start, when Dillon and Dutch lock arms, is one of the most egregious examples of video tampering. Carl Weathers' moustache looks like it's a blurry smudge on his face in this scene, whilst R.G. Armstrong now appears to be made of rubber. Arnold's closeups here are just plain ugly. Certainly not a great start to the movie, and it sets a trend of blurred shots and smudged faces that continues off and on through the film. A scene will be playing out, looking detailed and film-like, then suddenly it cuts to a closeup and we're examining a wax figure from Madame Tussauds acting in a Predator movie. Luckily this doesn't happen too often.
Whilst the Ultimate Hunter Edition is very obviously a cash-in on the new Predators movie coming out, it's honestly a better deal than the last Predator release Predator [Blu-ray] [1987
]. Unlike the last bare bones version, this new edition includes every extra from the 2 disc DVD, even the still entertaining text commentary and easter eggs, as well as a brief but nice retrospective with producer John Davis and a quick look at the upcoming sequel.
If you already bought the last blu ray edition, or are unsure as to which looks better, I recommend renting them to judge the quality for yourself. There are a few moments that could have looked A LOT better here, but the film on the whole makes up for it by being much more vibrant and bold than before, and having stunning picture clarity when it counts. Not to mention the always epic DTS HD sound. Overall, I'd say this is definitely the version to pick up if you somehow don't already own this seminal action movie.