Universal keeps the faith in 3D with this great HD platter for an eye-popping 1953 sci-fi classic
At a time when some TV manufacturers are dropping 3D functionality from their newfangled 4K flatscreens, it's a pleasure to find that some Hollywood studios are still supporting the format. Case in point: Universal Pictures' Blu-ray outing for this 1953 science-fiction classic.
When a meteor crashes near the sleepy Arizona town of Sand Rock, local author and amateur astronomer John Putnam (Richard Carlson) heads out to investigate. What he finds is no mere space rock, but a crashed spaceship...
Directed by Jack 'Creature from the Black Lagoon' Arnold and based on a story treatment by sci-fi author Ray Bradbury, It Came from Outer Space is an absolute doozy of a film. But what really cements its place in history is its status as one of the first major Hollywood studio 3D projects (arriving in US cinemas less than a month behind Warner's groundbreaking House of Wax), as well as the way in which it set the template for many of the sci-fi films that followed in its footsteps.
Picture: Produced under the auspices of Bob Furmanek and Greg Kintz of the 3-D Film Archive, with additional restoration and clean-up work by Thad Komorowski (who worked on the likes of McCabe & Mrs Miller and Cat People for Criterion), it's safe to say that It Came From Outer Space looks better than ever on this Blu-ray.
The 1.33:1-framed 3D presentation is particularly striking, demonstrating an excellent sense of depth and volumetric space, with no trace of any alignment issues. And although the native film grain looks a little coarse (especially in the 2D presentation) fine detail is retained at all times.
Picture rating: 4.5/5
Audio: It Came from Outer Space was originally released with a three-track stereophonic soundtrack, which has been given fresh life here as an excellent (not to mention, loud) DTS-HD MA 3.0 L/C/R affair. The new mix does an fine job handling the tricky source material with no loss of dynamic range, while also offering clear separation across the three channels. And, of course, the iconic Theremin score that accompanies the aliens' activities has never sounded better or creepier.
Audio rating: 4.5/5
Extras: Anybody expecting another barebones effort like Universal's previous Jaws 3 3D Blu-ray is in for a pleasant surprise. As well as the trailer (in both 2D and 3D), this budget disc finds space for a 32 minute doc about the studio's sci-fi vault with a major focus on It Came From Outer Space, and a breathless chat-track by film historian Tom Weaver.
Extras rating: 2.5/5
We say: Sensational stereoscopic visuals and retooled audio make this Blu-ray a real treat for fans of 1950s sci-fi films.
It Came from Outer Space, Universal Pictures, All-region BD, £10 approx
HCC VERDICT: 4/5
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