SIXTEEN CANDLES Screen Comparisons — Arrow 4K Restoration vs Universal’s 2012 Blu-ray

This article contains several comparisons contrasting Universal’s 2012 Blu-ray transfer with the Arrow’s newer version from a 4K scan. The frames aren’t necessarily exact matches, but should give a solid indication of the visual differences.

I’ll cut to the chase — this one’s an easy analysis. Sixteen Candles’ older transfer, previously released on Blu-ray by Universal in 2012 and repackaged many times over since then, was a pretty poor one, plagued with smeary noise reduction. Arrow’s new edition brings back all that beautiful grain and it’s a hands-down winner.

Otherwise, there’s not much to say. The transfers are very close in terms of color and contrast; the big difference is clarity.

For comparative matching purposes, the theatrical cut of the film was used to pull frames from both Blu-ray editions.

Top: Old Universal // Bottom: New Arrow

Above: Something really kooky was going on with the opening titles on the older Blu-ray, note the jaggies inside the text. Thankfully Arrow put a stop to that nonsense.

Below: Most of the film is aligned identically between the transfers, but this frame shows a notable horizontal difference. Note the positions of the steering wheel and Molly Ringwald’s bracelet. No judgment on which is “better” (especially from a single frame without context), just pointing it out as a peculiarity.

Top: Old Universal // Bottom: New Arrow

A few close-ups which demonstrate something that’s true of the entire transfer: instead of smeary, clumpy digital noise, Arrow delivers beautiful, intact film grain.

Top: Old Universal // Bottom: New Arrow
Top: Old Universal // Bottom: New Arrow
Top: Old Universal // Bottom: New Arrow

Eight more direct comparisons from throughout the film:

Top: Old Universal // Bottom: New Arrow
Top: Old Universal // Bottom: New Arrow
Top: Old Universal // Bottom: New Arrow
Top: Old Universal // Bottom: New Arrow
Top: Old Universal // Bottom: New Arrow
Top: Old Universal // Bottom: New Arrow
Top: Old Universal // Bottom: New Arrow
Top: Old Universal // Bottom: New Arrow

The Package

  • New restoration by Arrow Films from a 4K scan of the original negative
  • High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray™ presentation of the Theatrical Version of the film (92 mins), plus Blu-ray™ world premiere Extended Version (94 mins), featuring the additional “cafeteria” scene newly remastered in high definition
  • Original lossless mono audio, plus 5.1 DTS-HD MA surround option
  • Original English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Alternate “home video” soundtrack prepared for VHS and laserdisc releases
  • Option to watch additional scene from the Extended Version separately
  • Casting ‘Sixteen Candles’, an all-new audio interview with casting director Jackie Burch
  • When Gedde Met Deborah, a newly filmed conversation between actors Gedde Watanabe and Deborah Pollack
  • Rudy the Bohunk, a newly filmed interview with supporting actor John Kapelos
  • The In-Between, a newly filmed interview with camera operator Gary Kibbe
  • The New Wave Nerd, a newly filmed interview with filmmaker Adam Rifkin, who shadowed John Hughes while working as an extra on set
  • Music for Geeks, a newly filmed interview with composer Ira Newborn
  • A Very Eighties Fairytale, an all-new video essay written and narrated by writer Soraya Roberts, looking at the film from a contemporary feminist perspective
  • Celebrating Sixteen Candles, an archive documentary featuring interviews with cast, crew and admirers, including stars Anthony Michael Hall, Paul Dooley, Justin Henry, Haviland Morris and Gedde Watanabe
  • Theatrical trailers, TV spots and radio spots
  • Image galleries
  • BD-ROM: PDF of the original shooting script
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing on the film by Nikki Baughan and Bryan Reesman

A/V Out.

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Except where noted, all 16:9 screen images in this review are direct captures from the disc(s) in question with no editing applied, but may have compression or resizing inherent to file formats and Medium’s image system. All package photography was taken by the reviewer.

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