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4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 6 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Dragonslayer's 4K release by Paramount impresses with superb restoration, immersive experience, and rich extras.

    Dragonslayer 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Paramount's 4K UHD release of 'Dragonslayer' offers stunning clarity, depth, and rich colors in a meticulous restoration, making it look almost new and preserving its cinematic feel.

  • Audio
  • Dragonslayer's Dolby Atmos mix dazzles with its dynamic range, immersive soundstage, and powerful score, perfectly balancing dialogue, effects, and music for a thrilling audio experience.

  • Extra
  • Dragonslayer UHD release offers detailed insights through commentary by Robbins and Del Toro, a comprehensive making-of, screen tests, and a digital code, highlighting ILM's special effects craftsmanship.

  • Movie
  • In 'Dragonslayer,' a young apprentice faces a deadly dragon and his destiny in a dark, well-crafted fantasy tale of magic and heroism, celebrated for its groundbreaking effects.

    Video: 97

    Paramount's release of "Dragonslayer" on 4K UHD Blu-ray is a technical marvel, presenting the film with unprecedented clarity and vibrancy. Sourced from an immaculate 4K scan of the original camera negative and masterfully restored, the image is free of print damage, showcasing an exceptional level of detail. The textures, from the lush forests to the intricate designs of the fantasy sets, are rendered with precision, making every scene pop with life. Facial details, whether in close-ups or medium shots, are sharply defined, bringing characters to vivid life. The preservation of natural film grain enhances the visual integrity of the film, providing an organic texture that supports its cinematic quality.

    The high dynamic range offered by Dolby Vision and HDR10 enriches the visual experience further. Black levels are profound and inky, adding depth and contrast that elevate low-light scenes to dramatic effect. Colors are bold and natural, with flames and other primary elements displaying a newfound potency compared to previous releases. Skin tones are accurately tuned, avoiding any unnatural hues, while the nuanced color grading emphasizes healthier skin tones and more lifelike grays. These enhancements allow for a richer, more accurate depiction of Derek Vanlint’s moody and atmospheric cinematography. The special attention to grain management and the absence of digital scrubbing ensure that the film's original aesthetic is honored and preserved.

    The technical specifications of this release, including its HEVC / H.265 encoding and 2160p resolution on a BD-100 layer disc, highlight Paramount’s commitment to excellence. The aspect ratio of 2.35:1 maintains the director’s and cinematographer’s vision, providing viewers with an expansive visual field that captures every bit of the painstakingly restored image. Depth of field is impressively conveyed, offering a substantial sense of space within each frame. Colors, from the earthen tones to the vibrant greens and the fiery reds of dragon's breath, are presented with a boldness and naturalness that significantly enhances the viewing experience. This release not only makes "Dragonslayer" look almost new but also sets a high bar for future catalog UHD releases from Paramount and others.

    Audio: 97

    Dragonslayer's 4K UHD Blu-ray release boasts an extraordinary Dolby Atmos mix that significantly enhances the audio experience, showcasing a meticulous balance of Alex North's vibrant score, crisp dialogues, and immersive sound effects. The dynamic range is broad, with a low frequency support that brings a physical presence to every roar and environmental nuance, ensuring a level of audio detail and clarity that surpasses previous releases. The Atmos track effectively utilizes the overhead channels to broaden the soundstage, creating an enveloping atmosphere that places the viewer at the heart of the action, from the subtle ambient sounds in quieter scenes to the thunderous intensity of the dragon's lair.

    The audio presentation demonstrates a keen understanding of sound object placement, adding a rich layer of immersion that complements the visual spectacle. Environmental sounds and character movements are rendered with precision, enabling a seamless integration between the on-screen action and its auditory counterpart. Whether it's the rustling of leaves, the crackling fires, or the dragons' wings cutting through the air, each element contributes to a deeply engaging experience that invites the listener into Dragonslayer's fantastical world.

    Complementing this are the dialogue tracks which remain clear and centered throughout, ensuring every line is delivered with undisputed clarity. The low-end punch of the subwoofer brings scenes to life with impressive depth, from the subtlest footstep to the most devastating rockslide. Dragonslayer's Atmos mix stands as a testament to audio engineering done right, encapsulating both the grandeur of its score and the intricacy of its soundscapes, making it a reference-quality track that showcases what modern home theater systems are capable of.

    Extra: 88

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray extra features for "Dragonslayer" boast a comprehensive and fascinating insight into the film's production, led by the engaging commentary track where director Matthew Robbins and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro delve into various thematic and technical aspects of the movie. The highlight, "The Slayer of All Dragons", is a meticulously crafted five-part documentary that offers an in-depth exploration from ILM's groundbreaking special effects to the film's gritty medieval authenticity achieved through its production design, cinematography, and costumes. Each segment, from "Welcome to Cragganmore" to "The Final Battle," is packed with firsthand recollections from the film’s creators, including insights from dragon supervisor Phil Tippett and ILM visual effects master Dennis Muren. Additionally, the inclusion of screen tests adds a unique behind-the-scenes look at the casting process, further enriched by a digital code for the movie. While other extras like trailers are standard, the overall package is an essential collection for fans interested in the intricate details of filmmaking craft and the legacy of visual effects wizardry.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary by Director Matthew Robbins & Guillermo del Toro: A detailed commentary that explores the film’s thematic depth and technical achievements.
    • The Slayer of All Dragons: A multi-part documentary featuring insights from the filmmakers and special effects legends.
      • Welcome to Cragganmore
      • A Long Way to Urland
      • Vermithrax Pejorative
      • Into the Lake of Fire
      • The Final Battle
    • Screen Tests: Featuring actors Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, William Squire, and Maureen Teefy in costume tests and scene rehearsals.
    • Original Theatrical Trailer
    • Digital Code: A redeemable code for a digital copy of the movie.

    Movie: 90

    Dragonslayer" emerges as a distinctive fantasy epic that revels in the dark and grim aesthetic of a sixth-century kingdom of Urland, plagued by the awe-inspiring dragon Vermithrax Pejorative. With its narrative set against the backdrop of a post-Roman England, the movie dives into a world where magic still breathes, albeit faintly, just as the era of majestic creatures comes to an end. The plot cleverly intertwines the fates of a young sorcerer's apprentice, Galen, tasked with confronting this draconian terror, and the desperate inhabitants of Urland, showcasing a blend of courage, destiny, and the inevitable confrontation between man and myth.

    The cinematic prowess of "Dragonslayer" is undeniably showcased through its groundbreaking special effects, including pioneering techniques such as go-motion by Industrial Light & Magic, and an impressive blend of animatronics and puppetry that together breathe life into the terrifying Vermithrax. Even decades later, these visual feats hold up against modern CGI, instilling a sense of realism and immersion that is rarely matched. The film's careful balance between the fantastical elements and a more grounded, dark narrative allows it to stand out in the fantasy genre, displaying a gritty realism amidst the spectacle of magic and monstrous confrontations. The narrative's underpinning—the focus on human courage, growth, and the nuanced portrayal of characters—lends depth to what could have been a straightforward monster-slaying tale.

    What truly elevates "Dragonslayer" beyond its technical achievements is its commendable storytelling and character development, encapsulated in Galen's journey from an inexperienced apprentice to a hero in his own right. The film eschews typical fantasy clichés for a rich narrative woven with themes of sacrifice, societal superstition, and the corrupting allure of power. This depth, coupled with stellar performances and atmospheric cinematography that captures both the beauty and bleakness of its setting, crafts a movie that is as engaging in its human drama as it is in its fantastical battles. Hence, "Dragonslayer" remains a paragon of fantasy cinema; it's not only a visually stunning spectacle but also a thought-provoking tale of magic, heroism, and the drive to confront one's destiny head-on.

    Total: 91

    Paramount Home Entertainment's release of "Dragonslayer" on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is a momentous occasion for both the film’s fans and cinephiles looking to explore the depths of cinema's past in the highest fidelity possible. The film, a blend of magic, adventure, and groundbreaking special effects from the early '80s, has been given a new lease on life, boasting a meticulously restored video quality that shines in 4K resolution. Complementing this visual feast is the enveloping Dolby Atmos audio track, which elevates the viewing experience to new heights. The package is rounded off with an appealing mix of new and legacy supplementary materials, providing a comprehensive look at both the film and its place in cinematic history. Paramount's commitment to excellence is evident, as they've not only corrected a long-standing oversight by providing "Dragonslayer" with its first proper high-definition release but have also set a high benchmark for how beloved films should be preserved and presented for modern audiences.

    The film itself remains a testament to the imaginative power of cinema, a fully immersive fantasy experience that prioritizes storytelling and character development over mass appeal. This approach has ensured that "Dragonslayer" stands out as not only a product of its time but as a timeless adventure that resonates with audiences even decades after its initial release. The acting, storytelling, and technical achievements, particularly the epic finale—one of Industrial Light & Magic’s finest moments—highlight what makes this film special. The presentation on this release makes it clear: they really don’t make them like this anymore.

    In conclusion, the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of "Dragonslayer" is an exemplary showcase of how beloved classics should be treated and presented in the digital age. With its stunning video and audio restoration, alongside a well-curated selection of extras, this release is not only a must-own for fans of the film but also serves as an essential addition to any cinephile’s collection. The partnership between Disney and Paramount to bring this rare gem back to life in such spectacular fashion is commendable, and the result is a release that rightfully earns our highest recommendation. This edition of "Dragonslayer" stands as potentially the definitive version of the film, ensuring its magic endures for future generations to discover and cherish.