Twister (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Chances are that if you’re at whysoblu.com, you know we are likely similar. I bet you have some sort of home theater setup and no doubt, you, like me, have been waiting for a 4K UHD Blu-ray release of Twister.  That day has come and rejoice, because it’s a doozy. A real F5 if you will.  Join Jo, Bill, Melissa and the gang for this still wild ride which finally gets the treatment it deserves! Be sure to order yourself a copy by clicking the cover art at the end of the review! Gale force winds can’t stop you!


Don’t breathe! Don’t look back! Just run for your life when a destructive force of nature comes howling straight toward you, destroying everything in its path – when you’re running from a Twister. Academy Award winner Helen Hunt stars as Dr. Jo Thornton-Harding, who as a small girl watched her father sucked to his death from her family’s storm cellar by a massive tornado. Now a storm chaser, a scientist who risks her life to study the dark side of nature by taking her data-transmitting instruments directly into the path of a deadly storm, Jo chases the largest tornado ever to strike Oklahoma as her marriage implodes and rival scientists will stop at nothing to steal her breakthrough.

Now, a paragraph or two ago, I said most likely you, the reader is like me or my colleagues.  You collect your films, and you have a home theater setup of some sort.  You may have purchased Twister more than once.  Who can forget the original home video, which hit VHS with a THX certified logo and a funny Bug Bunny super short.  Or, maybe you were one of the early adopters who purchased Twister as the first commercially available DVD.  Fast forward to 2008 and you may have been buying it on Blu-ray and wondering what took so long for it to come out. You may have also been underwhelmed by the video quality of all of these releases.  But, we loved the audio.  The amazing thing about all these formats was how the film remained an audio demo for us home theater folks.  We played it for family and friends and more so for ourselves.  And now, the 4K UHD Blu-ray! What a time to be alive!!

Like many of the catalog titles I’ve been lucky enough to review lately, I have a connection to Twister. At age 10, I was taken by my big brother and sister to the movies, on our own, to see the film.  We sat back and expected to have fun, but from the first moments, our eyes were locked on the screen. We didn’t move. We didn’t breathe. Our mouths hung open. We barely touched our popcorn. The spectacle really sucked us in, pun fully intended. When the movie became available on VHS, we were the first ones on the block with a copy, and we used Twister along with Independence Dayas sound demos for my father’s at the time top-notch 5.1 surround setup.  We loved being in the middle of the action with a big rumble and lots of surround activity.  I remember these things so fondly because these moments are what have had me in a home theater chokehold for most of my life. I will always remember Twister as my home theater gateway film, along with Jurassic Park which played constantly in the demo room of my local Circuit City… Ah, take me back!

Now, this review would be incomplete without pointing out the exceptional cast in the film. Witnessing Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt, Jami Gertz, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Cary Elwes and their co-stars is wonderful.  This is not a film that relies on the performances that the film does have.  So, to see them all play and embody their characters with such verve really makes the film even more of a treat.  This also brings me to the storyline.  To have a film that can be partially implausible, yet remain with a strong plot line, and somehow still have an emotional core is something that doesn’t happen too often.  Maybe it’s the mad genius of director Jan De Bont, or perhaps it’s the overall comradery that happened while making the film. Either way, this is a disaster film that works!


Note: Stills are provided for promotional use only and are not from the 4K UHD Blu-ray

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66


Clarity/DetailTwister finally sweeps us away on 4K UHD Blu-ray with a very satisfying 4K transfer.  Clarity is better than ever with details from not just subtle things like clothing, but to car interiors, more refinement on effects shots and even a slight shift for some of the color grading for more accuracy.  The source-based softness is a non-issue as well. Grain is refined for the most part also. You may have read the look of the film was changed, but nothing was changed to make anything look bad, only to improve on what couldn’t be done in 1996.

Depth:  Spaciousness is given a lot of liberty here.  There is a breathable look to the film with sharp focus and deep understanding of the scale of the film.  There is an errant texture to some shots and things look beautiful!

Black Levels: When the intense weather hits, things get darker for the film and in the darkness, we are treated to inky blacks and zero crush!

Color Reproduction: Greenery and fire colors are the color highlights of the film, but by design.  The greys and blues are complimentary to the tone of the film, and there of course are many instances of brown from the landscapes in which the journalists travel. Yes, there have been some refinements made, most notably when Bill and Dusty see the “greenage” just before the first tornado touches down.

Flesh Tones: Skin tone looks as it should – natural and complimentary.  I didn’t witness anyone looking amiss or a mess in any moment of my viewing.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s):  English Dolby Atmos, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, Spanish SDH, French, French SDH

DynamicsThis is what everyone came to read about, and I can say that Twister’s brand-new Dolby Atmos mix is impressive! So much so, that I had to recalibrate my system to keep up! I held off for days in writing the review so I could make sure that I hadn’t made some mistake, or that my setup wasn’t messed up.  Tornadoes are ferocious and loud, with low end rumble and high end almost screamingly loud highs. Surrounds are busy in a fixed way and fidelity is still stellar. The only imperfection for me is that the sound design is now older, so some things have that “canned” sound at times. The music in the film is also missing a heftier low end, but I don’t recall the music in the film ever upstaging the sound effects.

Height: You are right in the twister with the gang of storm chasers, and from above you have many things coming down on you, be it a cow, strong winds or the sound of an exploding big rig, the height channels are always working.

Low Frequency Extension: The ground shaking tornado sound effects are of course the star of the show, and although the bass response to this new mix is not as hefty as a newer film might be, obviously, this is not a LFE presentation to scoff at.

Surround Sound Presentation: Surrounds continue the stormy chaos closer to your ears. Car engines, background voices, air ambience in calmer spaces and more come through these channels.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is for the most part totally intelligible.  In a few instances, voices are drowned out by deafening storm sounds, but I doubt that this is a mistake.


Extras for Twister are all legacy ones, save for a brand new 15 minute special feature with Jan De Bont going over the film and it’s new transfer. The 4K edition of Twister comes with just a 4K disc and digital code.  There are standard options as well as a limited edition steelbook also.

The Twister 4K UHD Disc includes the following new and previously released special features:

  • The Legacy of Twister– Taken by the Wind (NEW)
  • Chasing the Storm: Twister Revisited
  • Anatomy of a Twister
  • The Making of Twister
  • Van Halen Music Video – Humans Being
  • Commentary by director Jan de Bont and visual effects supervisor Stefen Fangmeier


Twister is special for many reasons, but for nostalgic people like me, the film is special for being a bonkers, crazy and implausible ride that most if not all audiences had a wild time going on.  For physical media collectors, this may have been our first DVD or even Blu-ray and there is no shortage of us who haven’t demoed our setup to a scene from this movie.  This is a definite upgrade to previous releases and no matter which option you choose a copy of Twister in 4K is a must own for collectors!




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