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The War Of The Worlds 4K UHD and When Worlds Collide Blu-ray Reviews

A double dose of classic 50’s sci-fi films. 

A new Paramount Presents title has hit the home video market with a George Pal produced double feature of 1953’s ‘The War Of The Worlds’ and 1951’s ‘When Worlds Collide.’

Based on H.G. Wells novel, ‘The War Of The Worlds’ is a classic alien invasion story about an object crash landing on Earth (California to be exact). The object was initially presumed to be a meteor but it turns out to be a destructive Martian war machine. More war machines begin to appear all over Earth as a full on invasion begins to take place. Despite heavy resistance by humankind, the aliens are seemingly unstoppable, but might there be some hope in defeating them?

Directed by Byron Haskin and adapted for the screen by Barre Lyndon, ‘The War Of The Worlds’ has stood the test of time as one of the 50’s best sci-fi films. The sci-fi genre was still finding its footing in the 50’s with many of the features involving menacing aliens, scientists, military, small town USA locations, giant monsters and a whole lot of atomic era plotlines. While ‘War’ certainly contains some of that, it is based on a pre-existing classic novel after all (albeit certain details are changed). ‘War’ is a very simple yet effective alien invasion story. It wastes no time getting right down to business and accomplished a lot in such a short amount of time (85 minutes). It also features groundbreaking special effects for the time (particularly with the Martian war machines). It just looks and feels cinematic and its influence could be seen for decades after. Could the movie use some better characters? Sure. Dr. Clayton Forrester and Sylvia are a bit on the bland side, but everything else works so well it matters little.

‘When Worlds Collide’ (which is making its Blu-ray debut) is also based on a novel. This film version was directed by Rudolph Mate and penned by Sydney Boehm. The story concerns the revelation that a star (Bellus) and a planet (Zyra) are on a collision course with Earth. United Nations initially scoffs at the findings, but Earth’s days are numbered. An ark (a spaceship) is commissioned to be built in order to transport a select few humans to Zyra to start a new civilization there. 

‘When Worlds Collide’ isn’t often mentioned, but it’s an unsung end of the world sci-fi film (and an underrated 50’s sci-fi feature). The characterization is better than normal for a 50’s sci-fi film with notable performances by John Hoyt, Richard Derr, Larry Keating, and Barbara Rush. More than that, however, it works as a race against time sci-fi thriller. There’s an urgency to the entire proceedings and the film does a good job conveying catastrophes on Earth (especially given the level of special effects in 1951).

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 2160p for ‘War’ and 1.37:1 1080p for ‘Collide.’ How do they look? Aside from the small color grading error in the beginning, the Technicolor ‘The War Of The Worlds’ gets a mindblowing 4K release. The clarity of the image and the striking colors make the film look brand new. As for ‘When Worlds Collide,’ this fellow Technicolor movie also gets a beautiful new hi-def print.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA for ‘War’ and DTS-HD MA Mono for ‘Collide.’ How do they sound? ‘War’ gets a deeply effective track that really shines in the sound effects department. The ‘Collide’ track is a bit snowy in parts, but impresses overall.
Extras:
* Original theatrical trailers for ‘The War Of The Worlds’ and ‘When Worlds Collide.’
* 2 commentary tracks. One by Anne Robinson and Gene Barry and the other by filmmaker Joe Dante and film historians Bob Burns and Bill Warren
* ‘The Sky Is Falling: Making The War Of The Worlds’- An archival half-hour featurette.
* ‘H.G. Wells: The Father Of Science Fiction’- A featurette on the legendary author.
* ‘The Mercury Theatre On The Air Presents The War of The Worlds Radio Broadcast’- Extra features don’t get much better than this iconic Orson Welles radio drama.
* Digital copies for both films. 

September 21, 2022 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , , , ,

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