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Color Out of Space (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Color Out of Space 4K UHD Blu-rayAfter a meteorite lands in the front yard of their farm, Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage) and his family find themselves battling a mutant extraterrestrial organism as it infects their minds and bodies, transforming their quiet rural life into a living nightmare. Based on the classic H.P. Lovecraft short story, Color Out of Space is “gorgeous, vibrant and terrifying” (Jonathan Barkan, Dread Central).

 

Color Out of Space 4K UHD Blu-ray

 

Film

The Gardners are your typical American family who have left the big city for a more secluded patch of quiet farmland out in New England. Nathan (Nicolas Cage) and  Theresa (Joely Richardson) Gardner and their three children spend their time like normal families do. They explore the outdoors, tend to their livestock, and when their daughter Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur) is not reading from the Necronomicon, they are eating a nice hearty stew made by their father.

With that being said, reading from the book of the dead and eating some of dad’s stew – that’s about as normal is gets, because going forward, The Color Out of Space escalates into madness when a meteorite crashes on their property. The colorful mass comes along with a putrid stench that sinks into the ground. The molten rock eventually cools down enough to where it begins to assimilate into the roots of the trees and its other surroundings. It seems to prefer organic life. Since the Gardners really do live out in the middle of nowhere, the small town and their law enforcement agency are really ill-equipped to handle falling meteorites from the sky — any and all queries from the outside will be delayed.

The meteorite not only starts to absorb its surroundings but it starts to “infect” the neighborhood with audible noise. Things don’t fare well with the livestock and pets. This force that has come form the rock seeks replenishment. It also has influence over people, as those that have come into contact with it start to lose their minds. This is where the madness hits the fan. People start to self-mutilate and mutilate each other, while animals are turned into vessels of carnage. I can’t help to be reminded of John Carpenter’s The Thing and Creepshow’s segment: Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill.

Having been on a recent Richard Stanley fix of watching his masterpiece Hardware, again, and importing the 5-disc German Blu-ray of Dust Devil, it was time to finally watch The Color Out of Space. Yes, it was great! The budget is scaled back a bit but the story and the mix of practical and digital effects work really well together on this short story H.P. Lovecraft adaptation. Nicolas Cage brings that small town sensibility to the role before eventually going insane the only way Nic Cage knows how to do. The supporting cast are also troopers in this bleak tale. I should point out that as colorful as the film is, the subject matter and depictions of death and destruction are rather bleak. This is not a “happy” film, regardless of the psychedelic color palette.

The Color Out of Space is a real treat for H.P. Lovecraft and genre fans alike. It pulls no punches in telling a compelling story filled with carnage and despair, all while looking quite beautiful.

“It’s just a color, but it burns.”

 

Color Out of Space 4K UHD Blu-ray

 

Video

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 2160p

Dolby Vision: No

HDR: No

WCG: No

Size: BD-66

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (make note of a misprint on the back of the case stating that the UHD disc is presented in 1.85:1. The film is in fact 2.35:1)

Clarity/Detail: Contrast levels are steady, but some scenes may look like they’re blown out or even washed out, but that’s due to some of the characters in the film setting up spotlights throughout the neighborhood during the power outage after the meteor hit their property. There’s a clear distinction.

Depth: The level of depth on this 4K UHD varies throughout its presentation. There are some lovely scenes of misty trees, forests, and lakes. You can really sink your teeth into them. Softness does creep in here and there but it’s nothing that would tank the video score — it lends itself to the story, especially with the various nature-centric surroundings of the environment.

Black Levels: Black levels are stable and I did not detect any instances of crush. There are many scenes featuring darkly-lit interiors and exteriors – all looking great.

Color Reproduction: The color palette takes front and center here, with some very eye-popping visuals. Even though the 4K UHD disc does not have Dolby Vision or HDR. I’d say the only times the color palette ever looked less than stellar was during a scene of a large color swath, where the color waves had a soft, almost creamy, texture. Take note when the comet first hits – that’s when you can clearly see it at its peak. I also did not detect issues with banding, aliasing, or pixilation. The secondary colors on this 4K UHD release still looked gorgeous!

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones look natural until they don’t, if you get my meaning. Pore texture is clearly visible, especially during close-ups.

Noise/Artifacts: It was quite difficult to spot any noise or artifacts – they are non-existent on this 4K UHD disc.

 

Color Out of Space 4K UHD Blu-ray

 

Audio

Audio Format(s): English DTS HD-MA 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: The Color Out of Space features a lossless standalone DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. I would have loved a Dolby Atmos or DTS: X mix, but it is what it is. With that being said, the lossless soundtrack is no slouch. Since the film starts out quiet before diving into madness, the soundtrack handles just about everything that is thrown at it without a problem. All of 5.1 discrete channels are used to their maximum effect.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The low-end subwoofer (LFE) channel amps it up during some of the more chaotic scenes featured throughout. The subwoofer channel also kicks in during some of the more ominous musical cues. Overall, Color Out of Space has quite an aggressive low-end bass response.

Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound channels carry a lot of ambience and a lot of the multi-directional action. From falling comets, to various creatures and creepy-crawlies, they’re all over the place and the rear channels carry them about in the back when they are not buzzing around in the front sound field.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are clean and crisp. Being a Lovecraft adaptation, outside of the terror, it is dialogue driven. No problems in hearing folks scream in horror!

Color Out of Space 4K UHD Blu-ray

Extras

The special features included on this 4K UHD disc are slim. There’s a 20-minute making-of featurette, deleted scenes, and a photo gallery. It looks like all editions of the 4K UHD editions are combo-packs, which include the Blu-ray. You can also purchase a copy of the standalone Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD versions, as well.

  • The Making of Color Out of Space (HD)
  • Deleted Scenes (HD)
  • Photo Gallery
  • Blu-ray (1080p)

Color Out of Space 4K UHD Blu-ray

Summary

The Color Out of Space is a terrific little film filled to brim with some quiet character beats before escalating into body horror madness. The 4K UHD disc is adequate even though it lacks Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and HDR. The 4K presentation that we do get is no pushover, but I would have loved an audio commentary or even more supplements than what we got. All in all, I do believe that Richard Stanley has made his triumphant return to feature films and hope he keeps the momentum going into his next project. H.P. Lovecraft’s The Color Out of Space is a winner!

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified Ultra HD Premium television set found here and player here.  Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.  The images used above within the review are not actual 4K screenshots. They are for illustrative purposes only.  

 

 

Color Out of Space is released

on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

February 25, 2020!

 

ORDER NOW!

 

 

 

Color Out of Space 4K UHD Blu-ray

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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