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A good little upgrade in DVD quality
on September 18, 2013
This is a technical quality review of the new disc, not a review of the film itself.
Stephen King's THE LANGOLIERS has been on DVD since the early days of the medium. Artisan Entertainment/Republic Pictures issued that old DVD back around 1999-2000. It's one I purchased way back when, but about a year ago, when I went to watch it, the disc suddenly would not play. It wouldn't read in any player or computer. It was simply dead. I rationalized that the Langoliers must have eaten the data off the disc.
Knowing that the disc wasn't ever very expensive, I thought I'd grab a working copy from the Internet, which is what I did. It seemed to be out of print last year, so I had to resort to finding it in the marketplace as a used copy. The new copy played fine, but I noticed a tiny hairline crack near the central hub of the disc, so I figured that even this new disc would someday possibly fail.
Recently, while shopping in a store, I saw THE LANGOLIERS on the shelf with new front artwork. At the time, I assumed it was simply a re-issue with new artwork as so often happens. Making note of it, I checked it out here in the Amazon.com listings and was unable to determine just what this new disc was. It said it was from Spelling Entertainment, whereas my old copy said Artisan/Republic.
Nevertheless, curiosity got a hold on me and I obtained the newer package of THE LANGOLIERS. Now that I had it in my hands, I could see that the new disc was issued by CBS/Paramount, giving me a pretty good clue that perhaps a remaster had taken place. Checking it out, I find that the picture quality is an improvement over the old Artisan disc. The blacks are blacker, and the color palette is warmer while the image is a bit brighter. At the very least, the fact that this was a CBS/Paramount issue told me that it probably would be a disc that wouldn't go bad over time. Their quality control is usually pretty good on the manufacturing side. I've placed a few screenshot samples over at the Home Theater Forum where you can see the difference in brightness and color palette.
There are also some additional audio languages included on this one - English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese. The original was English-only I believe.
Make no mistake, this is still a DVD of a '90s program that was finished in the video realm, meaning that it'll never be anything resembling high definition. The picture is still soft, and there's still a bit of grittiness in some scenes, particularly when any special effects processing took place.
So, if you're a fan of the film and want to spend a little to upgrade a little, this disc will do the job. It'll look a little better on today's bigger TVs. Just don't expect a miraculous improvement and you'll be satisfied.