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Walkabout

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    70
    from 1 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • The 4K Walkabout lacks Criterion's charm but many will prefer its visuals. Old Blu-ray wins for me. RECOMMENDED.

    Walkabout 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    70
  • Criterion's Walkabout 4K release enhances visuals but changes colors, sparking mixed feelings.

  • Audio
  • This release features a singular English LPCM 1.0 audio track, elevated in clarity, possibly remastered, alongside optional English SDH subtitles. Its quality surpasses the already excellent previous version, derived from a remastered 35mm optical soundtrack.

  • Extra
    80
  • The Criterion Collection's release of Walkabout features insightful commentaries, interviews, and a documentary, showcasing the film's production intricacies, thematic depth, and the remarkable contributions of its cast and crew.

  • Movie
    80
  • Criterion's 4K Blu-ray release of 'Walkabout' includes rich extras and explores cultural contrasts through a poignant journey, reflecting on human connection beyond words and the impact of environment on identity.

    Video: 70

    Criterion's latest offering of "Walkabout" on 4K UHD Blu-ray serves as a testament to the advantages of modern restoration techniques, derived directly from the 35mm original camera negative scanned at 4K resolution. This meticulous process, coupled with color correction efforts that respect the director Nicolas Roeg's originally approved timing, sets a new benchmark. The release boasts a Region-Free 4K Blu-ray disc and is complemented by a standard Blu-ray disc, which together present a comprehensive viewing experience. The transformation leveraged by these high-resolution scans not only enhances the texture and color depth but also preserves the film's inherent visual poetry without succumbing to overt digital manipulation.

    This edition introduces viewers to an improved visual narrative via HDR and Dolby Vision grades, providing a richer and more dynamic viewing experience. The visuals are marked by an increased clarity and density, accentuating the film's expansive panoramas and intricate details which were somewhat restrained in previous releases. This progression translates into a more engaging and immersive experience, where the organic texture of film is maintained, ensuring that the authenticity of the original footage is not lost amidst technological enhancement. While the restoration enriches the overall color palette with more vibrant and stable colors, it does provoke certain disparities, particularly in the depiction of primary blues which may sway purists. These variances, however, are largely subject-specific and may not detract from the overall improvement in visual fidelity.

    Notwithstanding minor color deviations, the 4K restoration work here is commendable, striking a fine balance between revitalizing the film for contemporary audiences and preserving its artistic essence. The excellence in image stability and film cleanliness throughout underscores Criterion's dedication to delivering a superior version of "Walkabout." These advancements hold particular importance for aficionados and new viewers alike, offering a refreshed lens through which to appreciate Roeg's cinematic craftsmanship.

    Audio:

    The audio presentation of the 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Walkabout" is underpinned by a solitary English LPCM 1.0 audio track, ensuring viewers receive a purely mono experience. Accompanying this, optional English SDH subtitles are available for the main feature, catering to a wider audience and enhancing accessibility. This setup suggests a deliberate choice to maintain the film's original audio integrity while ensuring it meets modern standards of clarity and immersion.

    The quality of the audio track on this release is notably impressive, hinting at a possible remastering effort, although not explicitly confirmed. Various sections of the film exhibit an audio clarity that seems enhanced, particularly when played through sophisticated sound systems. This perceived improvement in audio clarity could be attributed to meticulous restoration efforts or even just the inherent advantages of the LPCM 1.0 format when paired with high-definition visual content. Despite this, it is important to acknowledge the excellence of the previous release’s audio that had been remastered from a 35mm optical soundtrack, highlighting a consistent commitment to preserving and presenting the film's auditory elements at a high standard.

    This release reaffirms the notion that classic films can benefit immensely from modern audio restoration and presentation technologies, without sacrificing their original essence. The choice of LPCM 1.0 for "Walkabout" respects the film’s mono origins, while ensuring that the sound is as clear, crisp, and engaging as possible for contemporary audiences. The presence and handling of audio in this edition underscore its role not just as a backdrop but as an integral part of the storytelling, enhancing the overall viewing experience without overshadowing the film's visual beauty and narrative depth.

    Extra: 80

    The extra presentation on the 4K UHD Blu-ray of "Walkabout" enriches the viewing experience, providing a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look into its making and legacy. The inclusion of both historical and newly recorded commentaries by director Nicholas Roeg and Jenny Agutter offers a deeply personal insight into the film's production and thematic complexities. Luc Roeg's interview adds a familial perspective, enhancing the narrative with anecdotes of the film's poetic beauty and his father's directorial approach. Jenny Agutter's reflections shed light on her experiences during filming, while the documentary on David Gulpilil illuminates his life and contributions to cinema. Supported by a substantial booklet, this collection of extras adds significant value, offering fans and newcomers alike a detailed exploration of "Walkabout's" cultural and artistic importance.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Commentary: Audio commentary with director Nicholas Roeg and Jenny Agutter, revealing the production process, thematic structure, and personal anecdotes from the filming of "Walkabout."
    • Luc Roeg: A video interview with Nicolas Roeg's son, Luc Roeg, discussing the film’s shooting process, his father's legacy, and the poetic beauty of "Walkabout."
    • Jenny Agutter: An interview with actress Jenny Agutter recalling her casting, experiences during filming, and initial impressions of the movie.
    • Gulpilil - One Red Blood: A documentary film about actor David Gulpilil, exploring his life and homeland.
    • Trailer: The original theatrical trailer for "Walkabout."
    • Booklet: Features Paul Ryan's essay "Landscapes of Memory," enhancing the contextual understanding of "Walkabout.

    Movie: 80

    Nicholas Roeg's "Walkabout," a Criterion Collection release on 4K Blu-ray, offers a visually stunning adaptation of James Vance Marshall's book, portraying an unanticipated journey into the Australian Outback. The narrative centers on a teenage girl (played by Jenny Agutter) and her younger brother (Luc Roeg), who find themselves stranded in the wilderness after their father's shocking act of self-destruction. Their survival quest soon intersects with a young Aboriginal boy (David Gulpilil), introducing a vivid exploration of cultural convergence and misunderstanding. This 1971 film, although visually captivating and enriched with Roeg’s cinematographic mastery, delves into themes that are as reflective as they are provocative, engaging audiences with its minimalistic dialogue and powerful imagery.

    Roeg, celebrated for his cinematographic brilliance prior to 1970, uses “Walkabout” to weave a narrative that is both simplistic and profoundly moving, showcasing his skill in transforming narrative cinema into visual poetry. The interactions between the main characters are driven by instinctual communication rather than verbal language, presenting a unique study on human connection beyond cultural boundaries. However, the film's non-linear structure and occasional flashbacks, drawing parallels between the contrasting lives in the urban and natural worlds, may not resonate with modern audiences as it once did. Despite this, “Walkabout” remains a testament to Roeg's ability to challenge cinematic norms and convey profound messages through his lens.

    The movie's critical reception has been a mixed bag since its release, receiving a nomination for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1971 but facing skepticism from Australian critics. Yet, it's undeniable that “Walkabout” stands as a significant piece of cinematic history, marrying the beauty of the Australian landscape with a poignant narrative on cultural isolation and the loss of innocence. This film not only showcases the challenges of survival outside one’s comfort zone but also reflects on the environmental and societal constructs that shape human experience and interaction. Through limited dialogue and compelling visual storytelling, Roeg invites the audience to ponder on the universal themes of connection, survival, and the inevitable clash of cultures.

    Total: 70

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Walkabout," while heralding significant improvements in visual clarity and detail, evokes a mixed response among enthusiasts and purists alike. The transition to 4K undeniably enhances the overall visual experience, offering viewers rich and vibrant images that frequently border on the spectacular. This uptick in visual fidelity amplifies the immersive quality of the film, making it more accessible and appealing to a contemporary audience. However, it's important to note that this visual enhancement comes at the cost of altering the original color timing approved by director Nic Roeg. This shift might not sit well with purists who hold the Criterion Collection's original Blu-ray release in high regard, which is deemed by some as the truest representation of Roeg's vision.

    The debate over which version— the original Blu-ray or the 4K UHD Blu-ray—offers the superior viewing experience is largely subjective. It hinges on what one values more: the authenticity of the film's original aesthetic as sanctioned by its director or the technological advancements that 4K UHD brings to the table. The former camp may view the alteration of the film's color timing as a detracting element, one that distances the work from its original conception. Conversely, those who prioritize the crispness, depth, and vibrancy of modern visuals are likely to embrace the 4K version with open arms, appreciating the enhanced clarity and detail it brings to Roeg's masterpiece.

    In conclusion, our assessment of the "Walkabout" 4K UHD Blu-ray release posits it as a double-edged sword. While it undoubtedly elevates the film's visual appeal for contemporary audiences, it strays from Nic Roeg's original vision by altering its color palette. Viewers must then make a choice, weighing their preference for fidelity to the director's original aesthetic against the allure of 4K UHD's vivid enhancements. Regardless of one's stance, it's clear that both versions have their merits, serving different segments of the film's audience. RECOMMENDED with considerations.