The Eiger Sanction Special Edition Blu-ray arrives November 10 from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.
Kino Lorber’s Studio Classics is currently releasing a big wave of Clint Eastwood catalogue favorites. While most have had prior releases, they tended to be barebones affairs or simply older or unimpressive transfers originally intended for DVD. KL’s new releases are upgraded with additional features, handsome packaging, and in many cases new masters.
The Eiger Sanction was originally released onbarebones Blu-ray in 2015. KL’s new edition does indeed come with great new bonus features and a new 2K Master, but doesn’t manage to hit a home run — viewing the transfers side by side, I was surprised to find which one I liked better.
The new transfer fares best in subjective areas — changes to the color timing and contrast may be considered better or preferable. The ruddier skin tones present in the updated transfer are probably accurate. Color gradients also appear richer and more subtle.
It’s also “cleaner” in terms of digital noise, with more pleasing grain.
However in other areas the new transfer just doesn’t hold up as well, particularly in sharpness. The transfer looks decent enough in standard play, but a side by side comparison with the older version quickly proves unfavorable as it’s noticeably softer throughout, sometimes surprisingly so.
In part, it’s possible this may be due to artificial sharpening in the older transfer. It did notice some evidence of this in its digital noise (sticky and bubbly looking grain), which looks like edge enhancement was employed.
The crisper look of the older transfer is especially noticeable in the text of the opening titles.
Opinions may vary, but personally I’ve to come to the conclusion that the new 2K scan is a slight step down from the previous one.
Which is quite a shame because this is a superior release in every other way. Kino’s disc boasts a ton of new (and newly added) features including interview, commentary, and perhaps most interestingly a vintage promo reel, making it greatly preferable over the prior barebones release.
Additionally, it has superior shelf presence with a beautiful slipcover and reversible artwork, all of which looks better than the awful “pasted head” artwork in the older Blu-ray.
If you don’t own the movie and just want to grab the best , I do think this is the version to buy despite the lesser picture quality — but it’s much harder to recommend as an “upgrade” unless you want the cool new extras.
Get it at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Ioqawu
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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.