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Dragonslayer (UHD Blu-ray) review

Dragonslayer (UHD Blu-ray) review
« on: March 23, 2023, 06:26:31 PM »

Studio: Paramount
Release Date: March 21, 2023
Rating: PG
Film:  4/5

Set in sixth-century England, an ill-tempered, fire-breathing creature—ominously known as Vermithrax Pejorative—terrorizes its citizens until a young sorcerer’s apprentice named Galen (Peter MacNicol) is reluctantly tasked with confronting the beast. For Galen to succeed, it will take more than magic to defeat the dragon. 

My Thoughts
I think the last time I saw this film was during its theatrical run back in 1981 when I was twelve years old. I remembered the overall general story, but not any specifics so watching it in 4K was like seeing it again for the first time. The origins of the story come from Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and the studio co-produced the film along with Paramount. The special effects from ILM are simply fantastic even over forty years later. The detail in the dragon and the climatic battle at the end look like something from Game of Thrones versus something made over four decades ago.

My wife had never seen the film and was surprised how much she liked it. The dialog is a bit cheesy at times and the music definitely doesn’t have a modern vibe to it, but the story itself is magical. It takes itself seriously from beginning to end and while it certainly could have fallen into campy territory with ease, it plays it straight throughout the film and is a fun ride.

The last time the film was on a home video format was back in the days of DVD—a long time ago! It never found its way onto Blu-ray and has jumped straight to 4K and with about as perfect of presentation as one could get. The video quality on this release is astoundingly good. It does a great job at retaining the natural film grain and isn’t DNR’d to death like a lot of films that get remastered from this era of Hollywood. Colors are natural and vibrant and it was great to see the detail in both the on-set locations and the practical visual effects.

Other studios should also take note on how to take an old soundtrack and upgrade it to a modern Atmos mix. In fact, this is one of the better Atmos tracks you’ll hear regardless of when it was made. It’s extremely active in every speaker and the LFE response is to die for. My only minor gripe is the score can sound a tad harsh, but I think it was more of the musical flavor than the actual mix itself.

Video 10/10 (AVC)
Audio 9.5/10 (Dolby Atmos)

Special Features:
  ·        Commentary with Director Matthew Robbins and Guillermo Del Toro *New
  ·        Screen Tests *New
  ·        The Slayer of the Dragons *New
    o  Welcome to Cragganmore
    o  A Long Way to Urland
    o  Vermithrax Pejorative
    o  Into the Lake of Fire
    o  The Final Battle
  ·        Theatrical Trailer
  ·        Digital Copy

Sitting down to watch this after all of these years was a simple joy. While I expected it not to age well given the genre, it actually blew me away and my wife loved it. It’s a fun story and seeing how well the visual effects have held up after all this time was a visual treat. Throw in the outstanding Steelbook packaging and this one is easy to recommend for everyone. Be sure to check it out. 

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS3100 4K Ultra High-Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Portrait Displays CalMAN color calibration software & C6-HDR Meter from Portrait Displays)
Stewart Filmscreen - Firehawk 110” 2.35:1 Screen
Trinnov Altitude 16 Audio/Video Processor
ATI AT527NC Powering Bed Channels
ATI AT524NC Powering Atmos Speakers
Kaleidescape Strato + Server
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: URC MX-990
M&K S-150 THX Ultra (R-C-L Speakers)
M&K SS-150 x4 (Surround Speakers)
Atlantic Technology IC6-OBA x 4 Overhead Speakers
SVS PC-Ultra Cylinder Subwoofer
SVS SB3000
HSU VTF-15H MK2 Subwoofer
M&K Sound X15+ Subwoofer
Mini DSP HD controlling all subwoofers
Audioquest and Monoprice - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
PureAV PF60 Power Conditioner
« Last Edit: March 24, 2023, 11:27:25 AM by David Vaughn »
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

Re: Dragonslayer (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2023, 07:17:07 PM »
Seeing a title like this get a good 4K upgrade along with a remixed Atmos soundtrack.

While I had bought the comic book adaptation of this movie back when it first came out but didn't get around to watching it until a few years ago (I don't think it ever made it to my local theater back then).  Neither my wife nor I could get into it, though.

Thanks for the review, but I think I'll be skipping this one.  Gives me hope for more of these older movies seeing a 4K disc release, though.

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Re: Dragonslayer (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2023, 11:05:15 PM »
Thanks for the review. Will check it out. By the way, the trailer is for "plane" not dragonslayer. :)
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Re: Dragonslayer (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2023, 06:51:52 AM »
I’ve never seen this. Wasn’t a dragon fantasy fan growing up. I’ll have to check it out 
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Re: Dragonslayer (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2023, 11:28:18 AM »
Thanks for the review. Will check it out. By the way, the trailer is for "plane" not dragonslayer. :)
Fixed it...the trailer I linked for some reason wouldn't overwrite the last trailer in my template. I've never seen that before!
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

Re: Dragonslayer (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2023, 12:40:16 PM »
That is a great older movie with Peter MacNicol, later of Ally McBeal fame.

But perhaps his all time greatest scene is in another fantasy film several years later...

Re: Dragonslayer (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2023, 11:16:26 AM »

Totally agree Dave. Just a pleasure to revisit in 4K with Atmos sound. Nice review buddy...


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