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Details on Paramount’s Trek 50 BD plans, plus Hateful Eight, Bride of Re-Animator & Panasonic’s 4K DMP-UB900

March 18, 2016 - 1:46 pm   |   By 

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All right, we’ve got a couple things for you all today here at The Bits to close out the week...

First, we’ve learned that Panasonic’s forthcoming new Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the DMP-UB900, will feature Blu-ray 3D compatibility. That’s good news for those of you who are serious BD enthusiasts and have been waiting for this unit. It’s only available in Europe at the moment (for around £600, which is about $870) and we don’t have a US street date or SRP yet, but it is coming to our shores by mid-year. Meanwhile, click here to read What Hi-Fi?’s review of the European version of the player.  [Read on here…]

Now then... in another example of treats available to Blu-ray fans overseas but not yet here, it appears that Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is being released in a Vintage Luxury Edition on Blu-ray in France on 5/25. It includes DVD and Blu-ray versions of the film (there’s no runtime listed, so we believe this is still the theatrical cut), plus a double-vinyl Ennio Morricone soundtrack album, a piece of original 70mm film, the Quentin Tarantino: A Raging Cinema book, and a signed poster. It’s probably Region locked, but again we can’t yet say for sure. SRP is 89.99 Euros, which is about $102 USD for those looking to import. The Weinstein Company hasn’t yet indicated when it might release The Roadshow Version on Blu-ray, but the safest bet would be in time for the holidays later this year. If we hear anything official, we’ll be sure to let you know. [Editor’s Note: It looks like this IS actually the Roadshow version (it says Version Longue on the cover), but it will also certainly be region locked. We’re trying to determine when The Weinstein Company will release it here in the States. Thanks to Bits reader Tyler F. for spotting this.]

Meanwhile, are there any Re-Animator fans in the house? Arrow Video has already officially announced its forthcoming Bride of Re-Animator: Limited Edition Blu-ray release, due on 4/12 (limited to 5,000 copies in the US and 5,000 in the UK), but they’ve just revealed the details of its extras. Here’s the list, followed by a look at the open packaging image...

DIRECTOR-APPROVED 3-DISC LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS

  • Brand new 2K restorations of the Unrated and R-Rated versions of the film, approved by director Brian Yuzna
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original Stereo 2.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-rays)
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Digipak packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by festival programmer Michael Blyth
  • Re-Animator: Dawn of the Re-Animator – the official comic book prequel to the original Re-Animator

DISC 1 [BLU-RAY] & DISC 2 [DVD] – UNRATED VERSION

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the Unrated version
  • Brand new audio commentary with director Brian Yuzna
  • Audio commentary with Brian Yuzna, star Jeffrey Combs, special effects co-ordinator Thomas Rainone and the effects team including John Buechler, Mike Deak, Robert Kurtzman, Howard Berger and Screaming Mad George
  • Audio commentary with stars Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott
  • Brian Yuzna Remembers Bride of Re-Animator – brand new featurette in which the director looks back at the making of the first Re-Animator sequel
  • Splatter Masters: The Special Effects Artists of Bride of Re-Animator – brand new FX featurette with a wealth of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Robert Kurtzman of KNB, Screaming Mad George, Tony Doublin and John Buechler
  • Getting Ahead in Horror – archive making-of featurette
  • Meg is Re-Animated – deleted scene with behind-the-scenes footage
  • Carnival Sequence – the cast and crew discuss this excised sequence

DISC 3 [BLU-RAY] – R-RATED VERSION – LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the R-Rated version
  • Behind-the-Scenes Reel

’RE-ANIMATOR: DAWN OF THE RE-ANIMATOR’ – LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE

  • Perfect-bound booklet containing Re-Animator: Dawn of the Re-Animator, the 1992 comic prequel to Stuart Gordon’s original Re-Animator, reprinted in its entirety

If you’re interested in this, know that the US version is already almost sold out, so act fast and click on this image to pre-order it on Amazon.com while you still can...

Arrow's Bride of Re-Animator (Blu-ray Disc)

Moving on… a number of you have asked us whether Fox’s forthcoming Independence Day: 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray will include the special features available on previous DVD and Blu-ray editions in addition to any new content. We’ve asked Fox for confirmation and we’ll let you know as soon as they get back to us. We’ve also asked about the 4K version, which is coming (there have been various listings that appeared and disappeared on the various Amazons but are apparently not accurate) and we expect to have those details soon too. So be sure to check back for that.

Finally today, the part you’ve all been waiting for: I’m here to tell you something about Paramount Home Entertainment’s plans for celebrating Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary this year. A little bit of background before I continue… many of you will no doubt recall that, back when Star Trek Into Darkness was first released on Blu-ray, I was critical of the way all of the special features content was split up and given away as exclusives to different retail partners (see my column here), making it nearly impossible for fans to get all of the extras. A few weeks after our posts (in September 2013), I was invited up to Paramount to meet with the studio’s home video team to talk about the issue. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. They were honest, acknowledged that they’d made mistakes with the title (with the best of intentions, believe it or not – new people were in charge and they really didn’t expect the fan backlash) and they wanted my opinion on how they could make it up to Trek fans. So I told them: First I explained how to fix the Star Trek Into Darkness release, which they ultimately did with the Star Trek: The Compendium Blu-ray release (reviewed here).

I also told them what they could do to really make Star Trek fans happy with new Blu-ray releases. I gave them a list of things that included properly remastering ALL of the theatrical films (since only Star Trek II had gotten properly remastered for the previous Blu-ray release, and all the other films looked terrible on disc). I suggested that they finally include not just the theatrical cuts, but the various Director’s and Extended Cuts of the films and listed them. I suggested that an easy TV Blu-ray release (via CBS, which Paramount distributes) would be The Animated Series, since those episodes had already been scanned in HD. And I also suggested that not only was it time to finally give Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition a proper VFX remastering in full HD, there was an easy and obvious way to do so. The VFX team at CBS Digital (at the time) was just wrapping up work on Star Trek: The Next Generation and they needed something to do. Paramount could bring the guys who supervised the original effort on The Director’s Edition in (who I said I could point them to if need be) to work with the experienced CBS Digital team and the work could be done quickly and much more affordably than if they had to build a team and facility from scratch. And if that project worked, you could even keep them busy by creating a new Director’s Edition of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (which had cut-rate visual effects) with all-new CG VFX. Paramount listened to all this and seemed to give my input serious consideration.

Fast forward a year: It’s October 2015. I’m contacted again by Paramount Home Entertainment to advise more new people at the studio about what Trek fans want from Blu-ray and what fans would consider a great way to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary. And I told them all the same things again. So far so good.

Now we’re here and I’ve got a few details for you on what Paramount is actually doing with their Trek Blu-rays this year. I don’t have all the details, but I have the important ones for you. As is so often the case, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the studio did actually take my advice. The bad news is... they only took some of it.

Here’s what’s great: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is getting remastered again in full 4K. That remaster will be released on Blu-ray this year and it will include both the Theatrical Cut and the Extended Cut of the film. Director Nicholas Meyer has been involved, as you know from his recent press statements, and there may also be a 4K Ultra HD release this year, though that plan is not yet set in stone. Star Trek: The Animated Series is also coming to Blu-ray in time for the holidays (from CBS, which again Paramount distributes). As you’ve also probably heard, both Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness are getting released this Summer on 4K Ultra HD format, and likely Star Trek Beyond will too later this year. There will also be a variety of Trek Blu-ray and DVD combo packs and box sets, in various configurations, all branded to the Star Trek: 50th Anniversary. Some may have new bonus content and might include new swag.

Here’s what’s not happening: None of the other Trek films have been (or are being) remastered. To the extent that those other films are getting re-released on Blu-ray and DVD, it will be the existing discs/transfers repackaged. No work has been done to Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition and, on the TV front, there are no plans currently at CBS to move on with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine or Voyager Remastered. HOWEVER... my hope is that if the remastered Blu-ray and 4K release of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is successful, that might provide the business incentive for Paramount to at least continue on with future remastering projects on all the other films.

So again, good news and bad news. I know some of you will be thrilled by the good and incensed by the bad. For my own part, I find it a bit frustrating, but I’m willing to take the good for now and hope for more later. Paramount’s Star Trek 50th Anniversary Blu-ray plans are certainly not what I would have hoped, nor what I advised them to do, but there’s still some good things in there to appreciate.

I know there will probably be a lot of questions, and I’ll try to answer what I can (via this link) on The Bits Facebook page later this evening (I’ll be out of the office until then), allowing that there are still a number of things I can’t talk about yet. So that’s where things stand at the moment.

Star Trek: 50th Anniversary

All right, I’ve got to run. To the extent that there are any errors in the text above, it’s simply because I’m rushing to get this post up and I’ll fix them tonight. Meanwhile, as I said, I’ll check in on Facebook tonight to try and answer some questions. And beyond that, I’ll see you back here on Monday with more news and reviews.

Stay tuned until then…

- Bill Hunt (@BillHuntBits)

 

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