Blu ray screencaps of Highlander.
Connor MacLeod is an immortal born in 1518 in the Scottish Highlands, he battles throughout time with other immortals for the prize, among the adversaries he must fight is the Kurgan, a vicious deadly opponent who will use the prize for evil.
At the time of the gathering the last remaining immortals will meet and fight for the prize.
The original script was to have fallen angels from heaven fighting each other for the prize, that script was ambitious and costly and so it was rewritten and Highlander was the end result.
It's a fun movie with a good premise, they made many poor sequels to Highlander and a tv series.
They even re-edited this film in America and removed some lines of dialogue to make the sequels work better, this edition is the original European version with all the lines of dialogue as well as some additional scenes fully intact.
As far as the image quality goes i felt some scenes suffered compression issues and i noticed some minor ringing on hilly backgrounds although some of this is likely due to optical effects shots, i also felt they applied dnr ( see glossary here ) to reduce grain during selective moments of the film. I also wondered if some of the film grain was natural.
I did wonder if this transfer was supervised by the director or cinemtaographer and if the selective grain reduction was intentional because it makes no sense to apply it to some scenes yet not others and i actually wondered if some of what i was watching was artificially added grain.
This disc has moments where i think the image quality looks superb but equally so there are moments which to me look sub par, its much better than the DVD edition of the movie but i feel it could be better than what we have here and i feel that it has an inconsistent look which is likely due to dnr and compression issues.
In some scenes – one example being the car park fight scene at the beginning of the film i felt that in some of those scenes the grain structure was at times a touch clumpy and had what i would describe as a digital fizz quality about it. I wouldn't rule out any this being intentional since in the fight scenes it went from grainy to scrubbed looking to grainy again.
You sometimes get that with films where they deliberately use different film stock to create a certain look and contrary to popular opinion not all films are supposed to have a consistent look to them. Whether this was intentional or not i felt it looked better with the heavier film grain and mushy and lacking detail with the lighter probably dnred grain structure.
Some theories about this transfer could be that the master print used had some damage to some scenes or a lot of speckles and they used dnr and aggressive scratch removal on those scenes, perhaps the print available was already scrubbed of grain and then using a computer they added artificial grain to selective scenes, although this is probably not the case, whatever has happened i do feel a number of scenes are not as good as they could possibly look, i also wonder about some of the grain in this film as it looks heavier and less natural than i expected, perhaps thats due to the film stock or perhaps part of the image has been sharpened or perhaps it's artificially added grain, no matter what it is i consider this a disappointing transfer and not only due to the inconsistency of the whole thing but the fact some scenes lack detail and have a fizzy quality about the grain structure. There is also gate weave during the opening titles.
Good news regarding sound quality, not only do they give you a 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 remix but you get the original 2.0 track in DTS HD, the remix sounds wrong to me with boomy bass, the 2.0 track is far more natural sounding and is the one i recommend listening to.
More good news is that despite the back of the case stating this is Region B i can happily confirm the disc will work in any region although some of the extras may not work.
As someone who has seen the VHS and DVD editions of this movie i would say this version is a huge upgrade and if you are a fan of the movie then this is the edition to own, i was disappointed by some aspects of this release and i wish it wasn't so inconsistent, you can see the image inconsistency in the 1080p screencaps of Highlander.
There is a remake of Highlander coming in 2014, they can use that as a reason to spend money on a restoration and we may see a better blu ray release in two years time.
View blu ray screencaps of Highlander below.