Picture Quality - 8.5
Sound Quality - 8
Presentation Quality - 7
Film Quality - 7
Summary : Although there are no special features, the PQ is excellent enough to warrant a purchase of this cult classic.
Back in the 80’s, there were a lot of great sci-fi and fantasy films being released. The genres were both so popular that a lot of studios started coming up with whatever they could to cash in on the craze. Thanks to movies like Star Wars lighting up the box office, it was possible for a movie like Krull to be produced. This film had almost everything going for it, with a budget of over $45 million (a high price tag for the time) and some fairly creative minds behind it. With Peter Yates (of Bullitt fame) directing and a score composed by James Horner (of Star Trek fame), the movie also provided early roles for Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter) and Liam Neeson (Taken) and was produced at the world famous Pinewood Studios.
Needless to say, when you’ve got that much going for you, it’s expected that the resulting product is going to net the studios big profits – which is probably why it was such a huge let down that the film only earned back $16.5 million at the box office, roughly 1/3rd of its budget. Of course, since Krull was such a huge flop, it eventually became a sci-fi/fantasy fan favorite on home video. In the years that followed its theatrical release, the movie became a cult classic which was appreciated by many fans of the genre, and it’s easy to see why. After all, Krull isn’t necessarily a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination, and it’s a bit of an oddity from the early 80’s which represents a movement that was taking place at that time in film history.
That all being said, we more than likely still have the film’s abysmal sales to thank for the fact that Mill Creek recently acquired the rights and has released the movie on blu-ray. I was recently given the opportunity to check out the latest release of Krull for myself, and I have to say that it is quite excellent. Maybe it’s not a Criterion level release, but fans of the film will more than likely be pleased with the results. Not only is the picture quality impressive, but it may just reveal more of the image than ever before.
Mill Creek’s release of Krull on blu-ray comes devoid of any special features, but they claim it is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Being that the movie was originally shot with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (according to IMDb, that is), this would mean that you were technically seeing a bit more of the image than anyone has seen of the film before. That being said, this might have been a misprint, as I didn’t really notice any difference in AR between the DVD and Blu-ray, and the DVD features the movie presented in its original aspect ratio. Ultimately, this is one of those technical determinations that a much smarter and more savvy individual than myself will have to figure out (if they care to), as I must admit that I simply don’t know enough to be able to say for sure whether this release is unique or not.
Regardless, even without any special features, and assuming that the AR isn’t wider than usual, the transfer provided here is absolutely excellent. In early scenes featuring mountain vistas, the picture quality is so fine and detailed that it serves as an excellent example for just how impressive 1080p HD images can look. With that in mind, it’s important to note that some of the special effects on display in the film simply don’t hold up to the test of time. At times, the green screen effects and other aspects of the film just look like garbage, although it’s rarely the fault of the transfer itself that this tends to be the case.
One scene in particular finds our heroes on horseback set against a green screen. In high definition, this old school movie magic looks like a blurry mess that wouldn’t impress even the least discerning blu-ray aficionado. Although it may be true that some of these special effects don’t hold up, I must note that other effects look absolutely stunning in HD. Most notably, the gigantic spider from the Widow of the Web scene looks absolutely fantastic, proving once again that practical effects such as stop motion animation will always look good on film.Even though there aren’t any special features and some of the scenes look quite blurry, for the most part Krull benefits from an upgrade to blu-ray. If you still have the Special Edition DVD, you might want to hold onto it for the features included (such as cast and crew commentary), but I would still recommend picking this blu-ray up when you get the chance. Considering that you can obtain it for $10 or less, it’s not like it will burn a hole in your wallet to upgrade your visual experience of a cult classic such as this. Do yourself a favor and enjoy Krull (as few apparently did) by seeing the product as it might have been shown in theaters.
Oh, and hey, it doesn’t hurt that the cover art for this release features the original poster for the film. That’s always nice, right?