The War Of The Worlds – Paramount Presents (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Paramount Presents continues to wow and surprise every month with some eclectic picks to add to their catalog. They never are one that you can just assume or predict and the eras which they choose from, thankfully, run the gamut of their studios’ history. For September, the original The War of the Worlds will be making its way to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray. Previously done by Criterion, this new release will put it on the format that restoration was meant for. All the fun extras are back and they are also tossing in the never before on Blu-ray When Worlds Collide. Its another science fiction from from the director George Pal. This will release on September 27th. You can order yourself a copy of it to have around then by using the lovely paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review at the bottom of the page.



Scientist Clayton Forrester (Gene Barry) and Sylvia Van Buren (Ann Robinson) are the first to arrive at the site of a meteorite crash. Soon after, an alien war machine emerges and begins killing at random. The Marines are called in, but they’re no match for the aliens’ force field. Forrester and Van Buren, however, are able to wound one of the creatures and procure a sample of its blood. They take it to Los Angeles where they hope, through testing, to be able to discover the aliens’ weakness.

The War Of The Worlds has made its impact on pop culture in so many ways in its existence. From popular novel, to legendary radio broadcast, the film here in this 4K set and even seeing one our greatest filmmakers of all time tackle the story to introduce it in a more modern parable. If you don’t know exactly what it may be about, you at least knew the title. And many generations knew of it freaking out the nation think the radio drama broadcast was an actual news bulletin. That certain tid bit was actual part of school books when I was growing up.

Once rated the 27th greatest film of all time, the original The War of the Worlds has plenty of charm to it and iconic production design that helps keep it interesting and fascinating to revisit over half a century later. The beautiful film stock (and care to it over the years) is incredibly colorful and rich and makes this one just a candy for your eyes as you take in the mayhem and carnage of the invaders as well as just regular outdoor or indoor sequences in the film.

Part of why the film still works is it feels like it came up with some good sequences first and then decided to figure out a couple of characters to put in them and a way to wrap it all together in one story. There’s a few “time jumps” but those are a way to get from one piece of drama/suspense to another in a natural way. In the mix of this is a pretty all timer sequence with our protagonist trapped in a house and being sought out by the aliens. Its a bit of a master craft in visual effects, camera work, editing and even the acting. Its staged well, with a great set and lighting that just keeps you on edge with the aforementioned qualities and sound design. This is a sequence Spielberg would salivate at doing his own version of in his film. There’s good reason, its pretty awesome.

While The War Of The Worlds delivers vintage thrills, they are still pretty good thrills with impressive visual effects. Its the type of stuff to both be impressed by and to see what would inspire a lot of films and entertainments that would follow in its wake. Even if you’re not familiar with the film and haven’t seen it, you’ve probably seen something or have found yourself inspired by its majesty in some way, shape or form and just didn’t know that was the source of it. Its always a treat to revisit the film version of The War of the Worlds, a true, blue classic.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review from The War of the Worlds are from the Criterion Blu-ray, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail The War of the Worlds makes it debut on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray and it is a beauty. Its definitely a nice improvement from the stellar Criterion disc. I’d call it a little more than an incremental upgrade. It really improves in the natural blacks and color saturation. The image is a bit more sharp, crisper and cleaner with more information available.

Depth: Depth of field is pretty strong with a great sense of scale and good pushback and spacing in both character and model scenes. Motion is filmic, smooth and has no issues with motion distortions.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and deep, promoting great contrast to really help the colors pop here. Its especially groovy in the nighttime scenes with the alien presence. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are the star here as they shine and have great saturation and pop. HDR really livens up things like laser blasts, alien lights, fire and more.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures come through clear as day with dried dirt, blood, sweat, moles, freckles and more coming through clear as day.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, German 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital, French 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, German, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), French, Italian, Japanese, Dutch

Dynamics: The War of the Worlds only carries the 5.1 track and does not contain the LPCM Mono track found on the Criterion release (purists will want to hold onto that disc, then). This 5.1 is pretty well balances and is an impacting mix that really heightens your engagement and is an impressive blast from this 1950s film. There is great layering and depth that really help make the room come alive and pit you amidst the action of a quiet room.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Explosions, blasts, crashing and good bass and drum in the music really get a good kick from the subwoofer and potentially more than you’d be expecting from a film of this age.

Surround Sound Presentation: As mentioned, this is a rather fun mix here that utilizes the rear channels very effectively through unique sounds or ambiance building. Sound travel has some good power and oompf to it as well.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


The War of the Worlds – Paramount Presents is a 2-disc set; a 4K UHD Blu-ray with The War of the Worlds and a standard Blu-ray with When Worlds Collide. It also comes with a redeemable digital code and in first pressing, comes with a slip cover that folds open to reveal the original poster art for the film. It also comes with a redeemable digital copy.


Audio Commentary

  • by actors Ann Robinson and Gene Barry
  • by film director Joe Dante, film historian Bob Burns, and Bill Warren, author of Keep Watching The Skies!

The Sky Is Falling: Making The War Of The Worlds (4K, 29:59)

H.G. Wells: The Father Of Science Fiction (4K, 10:29) –

The Mercury Theatre On The Air Presents The War Of The Worlds Radio Broadcast (4K, 59:30)

Original Theatrical Trailer (4K, 2:20)


When Worlds Collide (HD, 1:22:18)

  • Video: MPEG-4 AVC, 1.37:1, 108op, BD-50
  • Audio: English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA, German 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin Amereican) 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital, French 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, German, Spanish (Latin American), French, Japanese

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:00)


The War Of The Worlds even with a lot of vintage thrills, is still a gorgeous spectacle to watch today. Paramount has brought it to 4K Ultra-HD with transfer that really shows off that gorgeous look. The 5.1 mix on it is also pretty impacting and stellar. Hauling in tow the previous quality special features and another disc with another entire science fiction thriller (never before on Blu-ray) from the same director is a pretty awesome touch. A definite pick up and one of the top tier Paramount Presents releases.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

3 Responses to “The War Of The Worlds – Paramount Presents (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Mark King

    I have always enjoyed your site…but what is gong on? WOW has a really tragic color error that is just impossible to forgive. And WWC is a brown color mess? Not one mention of either issue?

  2. Brandon Peters

    Thanks for the comment, Mark.

    I have been made aware of the color timing error, which is unfortunate.

    Admittedly, I had never seen WWC before this so I honestly had no comparison. And I provided screen shots from that disc, not a full review on it.

    Like my colleagues (Blu-ray.com or Just The Discs), my grading and review is on the transfer and presentation of the movie as is on the disc. I can make a footnote of the timing difference, but that doesn’t effect the specs of the image as is presented on screen with what was put on there which looks pretty terrific even if it has a blue Mars lol.

  3. Mark King

    Thanks for an honest answer..and again, your reviews are appreciated. I am doing a slow burn because we finally have the technology to present these films at their best….yet the ball is being dropped due to lack of care or oversight. Silence of the Lambs 4K is a prime example of just poor workmanship in color reproduction.

    Will a blue Mars keep me away? Absolutely. But others might find value anyway. Keep up the good work!