Abominable appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though occasionally impressive, the image came with a mix of anomalies.
Sharpness became one of the up and down elements, as that side of the presentation lacked consistency. While some shots offered nice clarity and accuracy, others took on an oddly soft feel.
I got the impression some of the lack of definition stemmed from digital noise reduction. Shot on 35mm film, the image lacked much grain and came with an unappealing “smoothed out” look too much of the time, especially in terms of faces. These failed to present much detail and came across as strangely unnatural.
That said, I also wondered if some of the softness came from the original photography. I got the impression the production leaned soft at times simply due to poor focus in the first place. Whatever the case, too much of the movie suffered from odd bouts of iffy delineation.
No obvious signs of jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. As for print flaws, the movie showed a handful of small specks but nothing major.
In terms of palette, Abominable opted for warm ambers or chilly blues much of the time. The hues tended to be a bit on the flat side, though they didn’t seem bad.
Blacks were somewhat inky, while shadows tended to appear a bit dense and bland. Enough of the movie looked good to make this a watchable image, but it fell short of Blu-ray standards.
Though not great, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack fared better than the visuals. The soundscape used music in a broad, involving manner, while environmental material added impact to the proceedings.
This mostly emphasized the monster-related elements, and those cropped up around the room in a reasonable manner. That said, the track could be a little too “speaker-specific” and didn’t always blend in a wholly satisfying manner, so don’t expect the smoothest soundscape. Still, the material connected in a fairly positive way.
Audio quality seemed generally good. Though dialogue occasionally betrayed a little edginess, lines usually appeared natural and concise.
Effects also could be a bit rough at times, but they largely seemed clear and broad. Music worked best, as the score seemed full and dynamic. Though never a great soundtrack, this one merited a “B-“.
As we shift to extras, we start with an audio commentary from writer/director Ryan Schifrin, editor Chris Conlee and actors Matt McCoy and Jeffrey Combs. Schifrin and McCoy sit for a running, screen-specific chat and Conlee and Combs only pop up briefly on a few occasions.
The track looks at story/characters, origins and development, cast and performances, sets and locations, budgetary concerns, influences, music and editing, effects, camerawork and related topics. Led by Schifrin, this becomes a largely informative overview of the production.
We can view the film with or without an Introduction from Schifrin. In this eight-minute, 35-second chat, he discusses the newly mastered version and changes from the original release. Schifrin provides some good details about the updated film.
The Blu-ray also includes the 2005 version of Abominable. As Ryan Schifrin explains in his introduction, he originally finished the film on video, a factor that limited its visual quality.
For the Blu-ray, Schifrin went back and reworked a lot of the movie for hi-def, including new effects and a mix of changes. Because of these, the “2018 version” runs 1:31:53, whereas the “2005 version” goes for 1:33:55.
I suspect fans will prefer the 2018 edition because it offers superior quality, as the 2005 version comes with standard-def visuals and seems uglier. Still, it’s cool that the set presents the original film, warts and all.
Next comes a featurette called Back to Genre. It goes for 37 minutes, 15 seconds and includes comments from Schifrin, McCoy, Combs, creature designer/actor Christien Tinsley, composer Lalo Schifrin, and actors Haley Joel, Rex Linn, Tiffany Shepis, and Dee Wallace Stone.
“Genre” discusses the project’s origins and development, influences, story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, stunts, creature design/execution, editing, music and sound, and marketing. Though “Genre” repeats a fair amount of info from the commentary, it still becomes a reasonable overview of the production.
Six Deleted and Extended Scenes fill a total of six minutes, 14 seconds. These offer insubstantial tidbits that don’t add anything of real note.
A collection of Outtakes and Bloopers takes up four minutes, nine seconds. It covers the usual goofs and silliness.
Two of Ryan Schifrin’s earlier works appear as well. We get his USC student film Shadows (8:08) along with his 2011 short film Basil & Moebius: No Rest For the Wicked (16:16).
Shadows presents an essentially silent Hitchcockian tale, while Rest brings an action thriller about a robbery. The former seems as amateurish as one might expect, but Rest shows some promise. It does nothing to elevate its genre, but it seems more professional and self-assured than Abominable.
A Poster and Still Gallery (3:42) gives us 54 shots, while a Storyboard Gallery (2:43) delivers 40 frames of material. Both offer some decent elements, though they’re presented at DVD quality and don’t look as good as they should.
We also find two trailers for Abominable as well as promos for Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Black Eagle, Savannah Smiles and The Return of Swamp Thing.
A second disc offers a DVD copy of Abominable. It includes most of the Blu-ray’s extras, though it lacks the 2005 version of the film.
Cheap, cheesy and wholly devoid of entertainment value, Abominable lacks any merit. It gives “B”-movies a bad name. The Blu-ray brings erratic visuals along with decent audio and a good collection of supplements. I’ve seen worse monster movies, but this one still flops.