They Live 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 254, March/April 2021

WSR Score3
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Shout Factory
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SF 21415
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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(Full Screen Edition):
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Color With B/W Sequences
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(THX® Digitally Mastered):
John Carpenter
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(Disc Soundtrack):
Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
(Theatrical Sound):
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In "They Live," aliens are systematically gaining control of the Earth by masquerading as humans and lulling the public into submission. Based upon the short story by Ray Nelson. (Gary Reber)

Special features on the Collector's Edition include commentary with Writer/Director John Carpenter and Actor Roddy Piper; new Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio; four featurettes: "Independent Thoughts—An Interview With Carpenter" (HD 10:07), "Man Vs. Aliens—An Interview With Actor Keith David" (HD 11:12), "Woman Of Mystery—An Interview With Actress Meg Foster (HD 05:20), "Watch, Look, Listen: The Sights & Sounds Of They Live" (HD 11:14) and "Original EPK: The Making Of They Live" (SD 08:02); footage from commercials created for the film (SD 02:34); original theatrical trailers; TV spots; and a still gallery.

The 2.35:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed on Eastman film stock in anamorphic Panavision® using the Panavision Panaflex Gold camera system. Scream Factory's new Ultra HD release presents the film in the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio, sourced from the same 4K scan of the original camera negative as the 2018 Studio Canal UHD release. The cinematic picture exhibits a well-balanced color palette. Hues are nicely saturated, especially reds and blues. Meg Foster's piercing eyes are striking. Fleshtones appear very natural. When anyone looks through the special sunglasses, the imagery is black and white. Contrast appears naturally wide with realistic black levels and revealing shadow delineation. Resolution is quite good with deep facial features such as skin pores, lines, hair, beards and makeup as well as clothing particulars and objects. This is a fine visual experience with a satisfactory grain structure and realistic color spectrum. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is vibrant with good directionalization of atmospherics and sound effects to the surrounds. John Carpenter's and Alan Howarth's synthesizer score consumes and envelops the soundfield. Sonics are well articulated with satisfying fidelity. Dialogue is nicely integrated spatially. Bass extension is extended during music passages and explosions and gunfire.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised of the basic ear-level elements, scans dialogue, extended at a far lesser volume to the height layer, with weighting early on in the left rear/side but predominately in the front height channels. The elements themselves are the music score, atmospherics, and sound effects, such as police sirens. One particular strongly effective element a helicopter panned around the height layer. On occasion there is some brief dialogue. This is an overall effective height layer.

While this is a dated presentation, the sonics are satisfactory. (Gary Reber)