Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness was his most troubled production of the trilogy with the studio re-cutting his version and him having to re-shoot a ” happy ending” set in a supermarket. This is the version most saw when it was first released to cinemas and home formats. The director’s cut was finally released on DVD so people could see his original and much superior version. The quality of those releases were not great, apart from a superior release in Korea which used different elements.
When it came to Blu ray releases both the UK and USA were treated to just the standard theatrical cut, with a lot of DNR making the picture look OK if a little waxy. The directors cut was on the UK release as an extra in SD (Not even mentioned on the cover!) but was poor quality. Now the directors cut has been given the Blu Ray treatment in both France and Germany and below is a review of the single disc German release by Koch Media.
I won’t go into details about the film’s plot, most fans who would buy this disc know the film very well so let’s start with the picture quality. Firstly the DNR has gone and it looks great with some natural film grain and no digital manipulation whatsoever. Dirt is apparent on screen on a few occasions but it’s not distracting. Colour is good, not as bright as the UK disc but still fine.
It is a proper HD transfer, not an upscale and overall I was very pleased with the image, some shots using back screen projection do look poorer but I think that is to do with the filming process, not the transfer. Audio is fine with a choice of English DTS MA 5.1 or 2.0 stereo. Both sound crisp and clear, obviously, the DTS track has a much more enveloping soundstage. Extra’s are a trailer and the audio commentary which is the same as the directors cut DVD. German subtitles are available but removable.
I am very happy to see this director cut on Blu ray finally, It’s not perfect some of the extra scenes slow the pace a bit, especially in the windmill, but to see that fantastic camera chase through the woods and the bleak apocalyptic ending is fabulous.
A great release from Koch Media and although the picture quality is not perfect its the best it has ever looked and comes recommended. Locked To Region B.
FILM: 8 OUT OF 10
PICTURE: 7 OUT OF 10
AUDIO: 7 OUT OF 10
EXTRAS: 4 OUT OF 10