It Came From Outer Space appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.33:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not bad, this became an inconsistent presentation.
Overall sharpness seemed good, but exceptions occurred, as some shots felt a bit soft. Even at its best, the movie never felt razor sharp, but it still appeared fairly well-defined most of the time, even with sporadic soft elements.
The image lacked jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. With a fine layer of grain, I suspected no digital noise reduction, but occasional print flaws appeared. Though minor, some thin lines and small specks caused distractions.
Blacks looked dark and deep, while shadows were smooth and clear despite the use of “day for night” photography. In general, the movie offered good visuals, but the inconsistencies made it a “C+”.
The DTS-HD MA 3.0 soundtrack of It Came From Outer Space succeeded more fully. The mix used only the front three speakers, so it differed from a standard stereo presentation due to the presence of a discrete center channel.
Much of the track remained bound to the middle, but the music displayed reasonably solid breadth and spread across the front. In addition, I heard some decent localization and movement of effects.
At times, their placement appeared moderately awkward, and they also moved a bit stiffly across the channels, but they usually seemed to work acceptably well in both regards. Localized speech also could feel a bit loose, but the lines usually appeared in their correct spots, with only occasional bleeding.
Audio quality showed its age but not badly so. Dialogue could seem a bit reedy, but the lines lacked edginess and remained easily intelligible.
Music showed positive fidelity and range for its age, while effects felt reasonably clean and distinct. No background noise marred the presentation. This became an above-average mix for its era.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio was clearer, more robust and better integrated, while visuals seemed tighter and smoother. Even with some drawbacks, the Blu-ray offered an upgrade.
Unlike the DVD, this package includes both 2D and 3D versions of Space. The picture comments above reflect the 2D edition – how did the 3D compare?
In terms of quality, both seemed very similar. Actually, the moments of softness became less of a distraction in the 3D version, as it blended elements better. Still, both looked a lot alike to me.
As for the visual impact, the 3D effects of Space worked extremely well. The movie offered a great sense of depth that allowed for an impressive sense of place.
In addition, the movie brought out subtle but effective “pop out” moments. These avoided a gimmicky feel and allowed for different elements to emerge from the screen in an impressive way.
For instance, a telescope made its way out of the screen in a totally convincing way, and other objects did the same. This offered one of the strongest 3D presentations I’ve seen.
Next we find an audio commentary from historian Tom Weaver. The provides a running, screen-specific look at the origins of the project, Ray Bradbury’s involvement, various production issues, notes about the cast, critical and audience reactions - including comments from screening cards - and plenty of other subjects.
Weaver does so with his usual sense of candor and wit, as he provides lots of funny and insightful remarks. Half the joy of a Weaver commentary comes from his lovingly snide complaints about the flick. Expect a very informative and fun commentary.
Called The Universe According to Universal, a documentary lasts 31 minutes, 36 seconds and offers narration from film historian Rudy Behlmer. We hear additional comments from science-fiction illustrator/historian Vincent Di Fate, collector/archivist Bob Burns, producer of Monstrous Movie Music David Schecter, film historian Paul Jensen, curator of the 3-D Archives Bob Furmanek, and composer Irving Gertz.
“Universe” starts with a brief overview of early science-fiction offerings - primarily those from Universal, natch - and then offers some details about Space itself. After that, we hear a little about director Jack Arnold’s subsequent films such as The Creature From the Black Lagoon.
The best aspects of this piece concentrate on the film’s music and its use of 3D photography, though the participants are so enthusiastic for the latter that they make the 2D version seem almost useless.
It’s also fun to get a look at alternate concepts for the xenomorph. Because Weaver’s commentary covers so much ground, “Universe” can feel redundant, but it still becomes a decent overview.
Two versions of the film’s trailer appear, as we can view it 2D or 3D. Note that both offer the same material, so other than dimensionality, they’re the same.
Back in 1953, It Came From Outer Space shocked and dazzled audiences, but in 2019, it seems silly and dull. The movie appears competent for its era, but it never does anything particularly noteworthy to merit continued attention. The Blu-ray brings erratic picture along with pretty good audio and some informative supplements. While not much of a movie, I admit the 3D version makes it more interesting.
To rate this film visit the DVD review of IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE