Hey, horror heads!
As I've mentioned before, somewhere, Full Moon has just released a newly remastered DVD (And Blu-Ray) of the 20 year old, original Puppet Master film. Actually, you can currently only get it with the limited edition Puppet Master trunk that has the NEW PM movie, Axis of Evil. The single release isn't until the end of July, so the limited editions get them a month earlier. You can check out my pictures of the trunk at my Flickr Page.
I knew when this announcement came out, it would be my eventual goal to redo the screencaps in the Puppet Master 1 review, with newer, better, wider screened images. That took me all of a day to get around to doing. In fact, those images have been uploaded to the review for a whole day now, as I write this. I'm going to do a supplemental review of the movie in a little bit, to give my thoughts on the remastered edition, but I thought it would be fun to look at the original screencaps I made with the new versions, and pick over them with way too much detail than they probably deserve.
So, follow me into the rest of the entry and let's see what there is to see...
First thing to note that's important, all of these images have been tweaked slightly by me, mostly just to increase the brightness and make them more asthetically pleasing to my eye, so they look what I would consider their best. In each case, they're not very tweaked, only tiny little tweaks to the levels to make things a little clearer. As well as the obvious compression and shrinkage to not have giant sized images through the reviews. But aside from that, they're still the same images straight from the DVD, just brightened up. And even then, the differences between the two versions is quite striking.
Oh, and I am very far from being an image expert. But as the saying goes, I know what I like. And I can look at two images and give some comments on them, even if I can't sit here and go in depth.
Ooohh dear. This first image caused me some concern. If you take a close look at the image, you can see that the remastered edition on the bottom is not any wider. In fact, it's a cropped image, removing the top and bottom of the original cut. I was quite afraid that this would be what they thought a widescreen remastering would be done as from the original. As for the colour, I like the new version having a subtler shade, making for a more natural colour to the puppet's face.
Another cropped image. My concern grows. But again, the colours are a lot richer, a lot less oversaturated. And that wasn't all my fault, the colours were quite vivid. That is a nicely blue sky, with variations, and not all washed out and grey like in the original. The green is more natural. In fact, more natural is a good way to describe a lot of these colours.
Oh whew. That's much better! You can clearly see the difference between the 4:3 and 16:9 versions. In fact, they line up pretty damned well. Again, the colours look a lot more like film, aren't as washed out, and you can really make out the background. Added detail, added depth. This is a well worth the wait remaster. If I had to guess what happened, there may have been limits to what they could do with the stock footage they used for the Bodega Bay's exteriors, as well as the credits. Possibly the credits being burned into the image left them with only a 4:3 image to work with. I've seen this before.
Hello, Blade! Again, note the richness of the colours. The shadows are clearer, as well as what's in them, there's more detail visible to Blade's coat, and again, he just looks more natural. The shine isn't quite as hot, and everything just looks a lot more normal.
Alex looks a lot less cramped in his wider office. He's not bathed in a halo of white from the window and his shirt. Again, the richness of detail is very notciable, even in these small images. And he even has some colour in his face!
Oh wow, this one almost ruins my Knight Rider caption. It's much clear that it's a console, albeit nonsensical, and not more like a dashboard. It's a subtle difference, but I find it harder to go with the joke in the new image! The blacks are so much nicer in the remastered image. There's more shades to them, it feels less flat and plain, and the lights pop more, and bleed less. They still look pretty cheesy though.
Hey look at that, someone turned off the sun! That is easily the biggest change. The colours are more balanced, and the whites don't flare up and blow out the image. I also like the widescreen version over the original, since you get a more wide scope to the scene, and it just feels less cramped in the coffin.
I love how great these images line up in the comparrisons. You could literally overlay them by just sliding them over each other. Probably my biggest complaint is that the Last Supper painting pretentiously placed in the coffin lid looks a little grey and dim in the new version. That actually got some better colour the first time around. But the rest of the image is a drastic improvement. The corpse's face isn't almost shining like a beacon, and there's more detail visible in Pinhead, as he's glowing less as well.
This image probably has the less difference between the 20 years difference. They're very similiar in many respects, although the greater colour depth and less bright whites do still allow some slight extra detail to sneak through here and there. Especially in Carissa's face, which isn't almost obscured in shadow, as well as her hair being more detailed.
The most notable differences here are the increased view at the clutter underneath Frank and Carissa's bed that Tunneler has around him. The colour depth also gives a little more detail, although that gets a little lost in the compressed version I've posted. You can see it if you squint though.
It's mostly black, so not a big difference here, but Blade does get some nice, subtle colours to his face. Again, they're just richer and deeper shades. They also help make Blade look realer than before. More filmic really is a good way to phrase it.
Oh, now we're talking. This is a scene that is much improved in widescreen. You really get the full horror of the severed heads. We're not cramped, and all the heads fit in the image, not being cut off by the limitations of the 4:3 format. And wow, look at that blood pop. That is some nice, bright red there. Very, very nice. And again, the whites not being as hot make things a lot more visible and horrific since they're not bathed in virtual sunlight.
Whoa, lookit that! The widescreen reveals a whole other dead body. This almost changes the entire composition of the scene. Before, it was just two dead bodies at the table, and not looking very damaged at all. But once you make Carissa clearly in the scene and her mouth mangled, the tone is instantly changed. The richer colours again make the blood pop a lot more, and darken things up, again adding to the more serious tone of the scene. Well, as serious as it gets with two puppets sitting there.
Nothing huge here, but you can really make out the costume detail on Jester's clothing, and the subtler palette once again adds depth to the colour, and the scene in general. When things aren't blown out and bright, the scenes look so much richer, so much more depth to them.
In short, yeah, this is a well-done remastering of the original movie. If you don't own the movie yet, clearly you want this version. If you already own it, this is absolutely worth hunting down, since the movie does look THAT much better, which I hope is clear from these very direct comparrisons. At the very least, rent it and see Puppet Master the way it was meant to be seen. This no longer looks like a cheap direct-to-DVD movie like it always has. It now looks like a well made, if cheesy, motion picture. I am very, very pleased with the new transfer.
Charles Band has promised that if this does well, we'll see more remastered Full Moon movies, and if they all look this good? I am ALL for that. Bring it on. My wallet awaits.
So yeah, that's a quick look at the old with the new. Keep an eye out for my review redux in a few days when I get a chance to really sit down and enjoy the movie in its entirety.
Back to the dungeon with me!