The ‘Burbs appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a watchable but lackluster presentation.
Sharpness was adequate but inconsistent. Most shots offered fairly positive delineation, but bouts of mild softness occurred as well.
I saw no jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws were a minor concern, but I did see a handful of small specks.
The palette of ’Burbs leaned a bit blue – and a little pale. The colors occasionally showed reasonably good vivacity, but they often came across as a little thin.
Blacks were mostly dark and firm, and low-light shots offered reasonable clarity. This felt like a pretty average image.
Similar feelings greeted the decent DTS-HD MA stereo soundtrack of ’Burbs, as its audio quality seemed dated but fine. Music showed positive stereo presence, while effects offered decent breadth and movement to the sides, but the mix often felt fairly monaural.
Speech appeared reasonably natural and concise, with minimal edginess. Some iffy looping appeared but that wasn’t a substantial issue.
Music presented more than adequate range and depth, and effects showed good clarity and accuracy. Nothing here excelled, but the soundtrack held up well enough.
This “Collector’s Edition” comes with a reasonable selection of supplements, and we open with an audio commentary from screenwriter Dana Olsen. Paired with moderator Calum Waddell, we find a running, screen-specific look at story and characters, cast and performances, sets and connected domains.
Though technically “screen-specific”, this track often acts more as a long interview. While Olsen and Waddell sporadically discuss the on-screen material, they usually simply chat about the movie and aspects of Olsen’s work.
That works fine for the most part, as we learn a fair amount about ’Burbs - albeit in a less than concise manner, as the chat tends to meander somewhat. Still, it gives us a pretty good view of the film and should work for fans.
A documentary called There Goes the Neighborhood runs one hour, six minutes, 32 seconds. The program provides notes from director Joe Dante, director of photography Robert M. Stevens, production designer James H. Spencer, and actors Corey Feldman, Courtney Gains and Wendy Schaal.
We learn how the various parties came onto the project, photography and color design, sets and shooting on the Universal lot, cast and performances, music, story/character areas, and the movie’s release/reception. “Goes” suffers from a disjointed nature, as it leaps from one topic to another without much clarity. Still, it throws out a good number of movie-related insights, so it works well despite the messy structure.
A few more video features arrive, and we locate an Interview with Director Joe Dante. In this 18-minute, 36-second chat, Dante covers how he came onto the project, cast and performances, music, reviews and legacy.
This piece uses the same session featured in “Goes”, and some of the same comments appear. Despite that repetition, Dante gives us enough new info to make this a useful program.
Next comes an Interview with Photographer John Hora. This reel runs 10 minutes, 57 seconds and provides Hora’s thoughts about his relationship with Dante and his cinematographic work on ’Burbs. Hora delivers a good array of memories.
During a nine-minute, 53-second Interview with Film Editor Marshall Harvey. He talks about his connection to Dante and editing topics to do with ’Burbs. We find another informative chat here.
Of particular interest to fans, we get an Original Workprint of The ‘Burbs. It lasts 1:45:57 – opposed to the released film’s 1:41:41 – so it comes with a variety of changes. Taken from a videotape, picture and sound quality seem rough to say the least, but this still acts as a cool addition to the package.
An Alternate Ending takes up seven minutes, 21 seconds. This wraps up the film in a much less wacky and action-oriented way than the theatrical release. Note that this is the same ending found on the “Workprint”.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we finish with two Galleries. These cover “Behind-the-Scenes” (63 images) and “Stills/Posters” (83). Both offer decent collections of shots.
Apparently The ‘Burbs gained a cult following over the last few decades, but I can’t figure out why. Slow, unfunny and witless, the movie lacks anything to make it enjoyable. The Blu-ray brings us acceptable picture and audio along with a nice array of bonus materials. While the film leaves me cold, fans will feel happy with this release.