Media

Movie Renter's Guide Number 154 - January, 2008 - Part III

ARTICLE INDEX

"The Omega Man" (Blu-ray/HD DVD

movie-omega-man-bd.jpgSynopsis

 

Welcome to the future. Biological war has decimated life on Earth. Los Angeles is a windswept ghost town where Robert Neville tools his convertible through sunlit streets foraging for supplies. And makes damn sure he gets undercover before sundown, when other "inhabitants" emerge. Charlton Heston is Neville, fending off attacks by “The Family”, sinister neo-people spawned by the plague. He also becomes a man with a mission after meeting Lisa, another uninfected survivor - and guardian of some healthy children representing our species' hope.

Specifications

  • Warner Bros.
    1971, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 38 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • 1080p
  • English/French/Spanish/German/Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (Blu-ray)
  • English/French/Spanish/German/Italian Dolby Digital Plus 1.0 (HD DVD)
  • Directed by Boris Sagal
  • Starring Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Nudity
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

With Will Smith’s recent blockbuster adaptation of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend hitting screens it is no coincidence that Warner has decided to release this earlier adaptation of the famed horror novel to HD. I read the original novel quite some time ago and frankly I’ve been a bit disappointed with both adaptations though I felt the more recent one was a far more entertaining film. The Omega Man is more faithful to the book at times in the small details but goes a completely different direction with the protagonists in the film. The 70’s production value is almost laughable at times and hurts the film ultimately by robbing the production of any tension or true sense of horror given the events. Even the music is horrendous. Fans of the book should probably stick with the newer, but still flawed, release and skip this one.

Technical

This HD transfer is one of the better catalog titles I’ve seen in quite some time. The picture quality is spectacular in tighter close ups and daytime shots. Detail is outstanding and color definition is gorgeous. Some of the longer shots don’t fare as well though with heavy grain and obvious loss of resolution. Depth of image is exceptional most of the time and dimension is as good as most of the newest titles we’ve been seeing in HD lately. At times this clarity hurts the production though revealing how bad it can be at times in terms of props, makeup and locales. Still, it is always great to see just how good these older films can look in HD.

The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital mono but applying the right DSP methods can result in a decent front soundstage. I was surprised how bad the noise floor could be at times. You hear it kick in quite a bit with dialogue only to cut right out again when they stop talking. ADR is also horrible with bad synching and obvious dubbing through most of the film. The 70’s soundtrack does nothing for the atmosphere of the movie and instead comes off like something you’d hear from an older adult film or even a daytime TV show. Didn’t these people know that upbeat funk music isn’t going to lend to what amounts to a horror theme?

Extras

Warner has included an introduction to the film, a production feature and the trailer. There is also a ticket for one to the new adaptations of I Am Legend that is still in theaters now.