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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate edition... but maybe not for some.., 2 July 2010
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This review is from: Predator (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray] [1987] (Blu-ray)
So yet another original bare bones blu ray release finally gets the decent treatment it so rightly deserves.
When Predator debuted on Blu-ray a couple of years back there were some mixed reviews. I actually rated it quite highly, although it could obviously have been better, (featuring a relatively low bit-rate MPEG-2 transfer), that it was certainly a marked improvement over the really shoddy looking DVD with it's noise and grain. The other gripe about the original release was of course, the fact that it completely lacked any extras. So now, Fox have recitifed the situation (or if you're feeling more cynical - decided to nick some more cash out the fans back pockets) by releasing an inevitabvle remastered special edition to blu ray.

And here it is, newly encoded, dual layer 50GB disc crammed with all the extras from the DVD including McTiernan's commentary and the 'If it bleeds we can kill it' making of documentary.

So how does it fare? Well, in fairness I think the remastered picture in this edition could well incite the same amount of criticism as the old one, but for the opposite reason. Personally I think it's great, bright, clear, immensely vived and colourful and whereas the previous edition only really looked "Hi-Def" in a number of places, this looks pretty immaculate throughout. Black levels are also greatly improved. However, all of this comes at a price, which some fans may not like, because seemingly to combat the gripes about grain and noise this remaster is pretty heavy on the digital noise reduction. So if you liked the rougher, grittier texture of the original print, you're probably going to be disappointed. Faces look particularly "smoothed over" and a little waxy in certain shots, but I should add that this is NOT the case all the time. In fact facial close ups for example look great, and incredibly detailed, (you can even see the texture of the camouflaged face paint) the jungle looks beautfully sharp and thoroughly alive and generally the print does a good job of masking the dirtier looking scenes. I felt that for the most part the picture looked much more naturally "hi-def" than obviously "tinkered with", but I must confess there were a few bits where I really felt they'd overdone it on the enhancements somewhat, and that's the only reason why i've dropped a star. At the end of the day tho, I think a blu ray where everything mostly looks like a DVD, is far worse than a blu ray where everything mostly looks hi definition. But this I'm sure will be up to what you prefer.

Not sure if the sound has been changed since the last release, but it is still a totally engaing and absorbing 5.1 DTS HD Master audio track. This was my favourite thing about the original release, and it is totally replicated in the ultimate hunter edition. It's a brilliantly balanced track, giving great clarity and detail in the quieter scenes, exploding into hefty machine gun fire and explosions later on that pound your speakers without ever sounding too overbearing.

So all in all, whether this release is for you will come down to the remastered picture quality. If you dont mind the film looking polished, vibrant and, in certain places noticeably artifically polished, you will love it; if you'd rather watch the film closer to it's original intended look, I would hang on to (or indeed go out and buy) the original release.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Jul 2010 21:57:09 BDT
Spearhead says:
Thank you for describing the differences between the blu-ray releases - and thank you most of all for letting everyone meke up their own mind!

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jul 2010 21:20:47 BDT
Deckard says:
Thanks a lot for your comment, I'm really glad the review was useful!

Posted on 15 Jul 2010 22:04:33 BDT
max222 says:
Thank you - very useful comparison between DVD, initial Blu Ray (I have both) and this new Blu Ray which I have been debating getting. I do believe I would prefer this new version.

Posted on 27 Jul 2010 01:21:18 BDT
Dave H. says:
The film was shot on grainy film stock, so a Blu-ray release should reflect this. After viewing screens of this I'd definitely opt for the original MPEG-2 transfer. The DNR on this new release has seemingly been turned up to 11.

This kind of film should not be made to look like a Pixar film. When you use such heavy DNR its not only the grain thats ditched, the detail is smudged out too.

I'd recommend that everyone compare screens of the original to the new release, ideally on your TV screen, you will see the amount of detail lost.

Posted on 14 Aug 2012 01:10:13 BDT
lil richy says:
That's a great review and is really helpful when deciding whether to buy this ultimate edition or the older blu ray release. Thanks.

Posted on 14 Aug 2012 22:26:45 BDT
zackman says:
great review - i just got the remastered blu-ray and it looks so much better to my eyes - this is how true hd should look imo
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