Army of Darkness appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I liked much of the transfer, but more concerns cropped up than I’d like.
Sharpness was usually fine, as much of the flick showed good definition. However, edge haloes made things a bit loose at times, and a few scenes came with much greater – and very perplexing – softness. For instance, a scene shot from the perspective within “the pit” appeared really blurry. Still, most of the flick was reasonably concise, and the fact so much of it took place at night hid a lot of the haloes.
I noticed no issues with jaggies or shimmering, and artifacts weren’t an issue. No problems with source flaws appeared, though; I saw some spots due to dirt on the camera lens, but that was it.
Colors seemed acceptable. The movie tended toward a natural look, with a somewhat amber feel. The tones could be a little overblown – but they were decent. Blacks looked fairly dark, but shadows were erratic. Low-light shots – of which we got many – could appear a bit thick and dense, but they usually demonstrated decent definition. Overall, this was an inconsistent but decent presentation.
I felt pleased with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Army. It presented a very nice soundstage for the most part, with a great deal of activity that spread neatly across all three of the front channels. Sounds seemed well-placed within that realm and panned across the speakers smoothly. The surrounds kicked in quite a lot of information as well and seem very active; they added a strong dimension to the mix.
Quality also appeared positive, though somewhat limited. Dialogue sounded distinct and natural, and the lines seemed easily intelligible with no edginess or muffled qualities. Effects were crisp and clean, with some slightly-boomy but nonetheless strong bass at times, and the score seemed fairly clear; the music could’ve been a bit more dynamic, but I thought it seemed fine. Really, the track worked quite well.
How did the picture and sound of this Blu-Ray compare with those of the Screwhead Edition DVD? Both delivered similar audio. The lossless DTS track was a bit more dynamic and involving, but not to a tremendous degree.
Despite the problems with the Blu-ray’s visuals, it still seemed more attractive than the messy DVD. The Blu-ray delivered better definition and lacked the sloppy artifacts found on the DVD. Neither appeared strong, but the Blu-ray worked better.
Don’t expect a lot of extras here. A featurette called Creating the Deadites goes for 21 minutes, 21 seconds and provides notes from special makeup effects creators Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger. They discuss all the techniques used to bring the fantastic elements of Army to life. We also see a lot of archival footage in this tight, informative show.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find an Alternate Ending. It goes for four minutes, 41 seconds and shows a different method used to get Ash back to the present day – as well as a very different scene when he arrives. It’s an interesting variation.
Exclusive to the Blu-ray, we find the U-Control interactive feature. On other discs, this has provided elements like interviews and behind the scenes footage.
For Army, however, all we get are some production photos. These crop up with reasonable frequency and let us see various elements from the shoot. I like these shots but admit I’m not wild about the interface; I’d prefer stills in a separate archive, as they’d be easier to access.
Army of Darkness offered a wild ride that never let up and that kept me continually entertained. It’s campy action/horror, but it’s delightful nonetheless. The Blu-ray came with good audio but erratic visuals and only minor supplements. I think Army is a terrific movie, but the Blu-ray isn’t especially impressive. Still, it’s the most appealing presentation of the film to date; it’s too bad it doesn’t come with all the extras from the slew of prior home video releases.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of ARMY OF DARKNESS