Predator—20th Century Fox (Blu-ray)
Fox has delivered a pair of Arnold catalog classics to Blu-ray this month. First up is one of my personal faves, Predator. Honestly, this may be one of the best sci-fi action films of the 80's and has become a classic for the genre. The underrated sequel fizzled though and aside from the lackluster AVP series, we haven't seen anything from this franchise since. I'm happy to see Fox bring this classic to Blu-ray though.
This film has never been that good looking. Even the DVD's quality was inconsistent due to the use of different film stocks for different shots. The same holds true with the Blu-ray release. The opening sequences are probably the worst though, so don't get too unsettled early on. Once the film moves on to the jungle locales the image quality improves quite a bit, but there are still consistency issues. Film grain is always there, but its impact on the image changes drastically throughout with some scenes appearing overly noisy. Detail wavers as well. Close-ups show a decent amount of detail, but longer shots vary considerably from scene to scene. There are times when this Blu-ray release is a clear step up from the DVD presentation but there are also moments where you'd be hard pressed to even know this was an HD release.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is a bit of a disappointment, but only because you just want this movie to sound REALLY good. Let's be honest, this is an older film. The fidelity of the main track pales in comparison to the newer action soundtracks out there. The Foley work and sound effects definitely sound dated and dynamic range isn't near what you would hope. The balance of the sound design is also weak. The score can be intrusive at times and dialogue volume wavers. Most of the action has a thin sound and most of the bass impact sounds forced. The soundtrack is front heavy through most of the film but the surround soundstage does open up a bit in the more intense action scenes. This soundtrack could have taken advantage of the surrounds for ambience in the jungle, but unfortunately most of the environmental cues are locked into the wide front soundstage.
Extras are limited to the film's theatrical trailer and D-Box support.
This release is hampered by the production design and age of the film. I would love to see some restoration done, but I just don't think it will ever happen. The presentation here is a step up from the DVD release, but not a very big one.