Invaders From Mars (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Given how much I enjoy atomic-age media, 50s sci-fi flicks, and monster movies, it’s actually wild that I’ve never seen the original Invaders From Mars until now. That said, I’ve only recently caught up with When Worlds Collide, and I’m happy to see these older films being handled in a way that can preserve what made them special. Thanks to Ignite Films and restoration producer Scott MacQueen, Invaders From Mars now has a pretty splendid 4K restoration to truly show off the work that went into designing this film.


1953 was a busy year for aliens. Not only was there a war of the worlds, but the invaders from Mars came as well. David MacLean (Jimmy Hunt) is a young boy awakened one night by a loud thunderstorm. Looking out his bedroom window, he sees a flying saucer descend into a sandpit behind his home. Upon investigation by his father, he returns changed in a strange way. Soon enough, others begin acting the same. David eventually contacts proper authorities, who begin to believe this crazy story as a possible invading vanguard from Mars.

Rushed into production to arrive in theaters before the (superior) sci-fi flick War of the Worlds, there is plenty to admire about this alien invasion film from director William Cameron Menzies. For one, it looks great, thanks to the use of color. Known as the first film of its kind to provide aliens and their spacecraft in color, there is a lot of good work put in to emphasize the production and costume design, allowing the film to rise above being just a simple B-movie. Yes, this film is very pulpy, but one can see the effort put in to provide a classic look for a low-budget yet effective film.

As far as the story being told, sure, it’s not going to terrify too many now, but there is a reasonable effort put into delivering a plot reliant on its focus around young David and the inability to trust adults and authority figures. Given the Cold War tensions of the time, this is entirely fitting. As a film of this kind, even at 73 minutes, this does play out as more of a smaller-scale piece before really kicking into gear later in the movie. Having the paranoia in mind allows for ways to have Invaders From Mars stretch its ideas before getting into the alien goods.

With that in mind, while clearly highlighting the lack of a larger budget, it is neat to see 50s-style aliens in their green costumes and hunched-over strides. It’s cheesy but effective, reminding viewers what used to be accomplished when it came to setting up imposing figures from another world. More effective are the uses of flying saucers and designs surrounding the actual spacecraft and underground sets. It’s, frankly, just fantastic to see this kind of stuff brought to life.

While not what I can see as a signature sci-fi film compared to other classics, I had a greater response to; there’s certainly a lot to like about Invaders From Mars. It has a style that feels different from other films, and for all the silliness that may come from how the aliens look, it’s still delightfully old school in terms of taking in the choices made to render this story in live-action form. It’s also just a lot of fun. The writing is nothing audacious, but it does enough of a good job to allow this story to have a level of tension to go with its sense of wonder. Plus, these invaders look better than ever.


Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail:  Yes, looking at all that went into this restoration, it’s very impressive what was pulled off. As a film from 1953, working with the original negatives to produce something as detailed as what’s provided on this disc is enough to say Invaders From Mars is looking about the best it ever will for home media. Things particularly shine during indoor sequences and ones filmed on soundstages, as you can really see the work that went into the production design and enhanced by proper lighting.

Depth: Depth is strong. The character spacing registers as well as it needs to, which is helpful for a unique film such as this, especially once the scale begins to expand.

Black Levels: Black levels come through as well as they can. Crushing is certainly not a problem for the disc, but elements that feel soft arrive largely due to what’s possible for a film of this age.

Color Reproduction: Again, thanks to the restoration process, there’s so much greatness to behold in regards to all the work to have color properly informing this feature. Lots of bright work is done to emphasize greens, reds, and whites. Perhaps too bright at times when it comes to some daytime outdoor moments, but that comes with where this film is coming from.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are about as good as they can be, with static shots allowing enough detail to shine through as needed.

Noise/Artifacts: It’s a product of the feature, as opposed to the disc itself, but there’s plenty of grain to be found when the film shows on-location moments. Regardless, this presentation has been thoroughly cleaned.


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono, Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English SDH, Italian, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean

Dynamics: For a mono track, there’s much to enjoy in the mix presented here. Characters speak loud and clear, but it’s the sound effects work that clearly serves as a highlight. While War of the Worlds still wins the battle when it comes to aliens invading earth, there’s plenty to like in this smaller film, as far as flying saucers, the music, and more.

Low-Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone is heard well enough.


Ignite Films has not skimped on the supplements, as this 4K disc is packed with interviews, featurettes, and more. It would have been nice to have a commentary from a historian to go along with all these features, but there’s still plenty to enjoy here.

Features Include:

  • William Cameron Menzies: The Architect of Dreams (HD, 16:26 ) – Author James Curtis and director William Cameron Menzies’ granddaughter, Pamela Lauesen, discuss the film and its filmmaker.
  • Jimmy Hunt Saves the Planet (HD, 10:30) – Actor Jimmy Hunt talks about his experiences working on the film and back in this age of Hollywood.
  • Terror From Above (HD, 22:24) – Filmmakers Joe Dante, Mark Goldblatt, Robert Skotak, John Landis, and preservationist Scott MacQueen discuss the impact and importance of this film.
  • Restoring the Invasion (HD, 6:50) – Preservationist Scott MacQueen discusses the work involved in restoring the film for a physical release.
  • TCM Festival Intro (HD, 7:02) – Filmmaker John Sayles’ introduction of the film from the TCM Festival in Hollywood in April 2022.
  • European Observatory Sequence (HD, 8:51) – A restored alternate international version of the Planetarium scene.
  • European Ending (HD, 2:52) – A restored alternate international version of the film’s ending.
  • Theatrical Trailer (4K, 2:19) – The original 1953 theatrical trailer, restored and presented in 4K.
  • Re-Release Trailer (4K, 2:17) – A newly commissioned trailer from 2022, presented in 4K.
  • Image Gallery (HD)
  • 20-Page collector’s booklet featuring an extensive essay on the restoration process by Scott MacQueen



Invaders From Mars is the sort of old-school 50s sci-fi film that is well worth appreciating. Coming from the low-budget school of solid B-movie entertainment, there’s a lot to like about the details coming through in this production and the themes reflecting the times. The restoration is pretty incredible, as this film is really coming to life in an exciting way on 4K in both visuals and sound. Plus, plenty of extras satisfy those wanting to learn more. This makes for a nice addition to any sci-fi collector.

Order Your Copy HERE


Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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