This article contains several comparisons which contrast the older Universal Blu-ray transfer with the new Arrow restoration. The frames aren’t necessarily exact matches, but should give a solid indication of the visual differences.
New on 4K UHD and returning to Blu-ray from Arrow Video, Tremors 2 makes its return to home video in a terrific new release that features a new 4K restoration from the original negative, approved by director S.S. Wilson.
The first three Tremors sequels originally hit Blu-ray as part of the “Tremors Attack Pack” 4-movie collection in 2013, which was an attractively priced set for what was then the entire series, but featured rather lousy PQ (likely from the existing DVD masters of the time) and paired the movies on discs.
You may recall the huge boost in resolution and grain clarity when Arrow released the first Tremors movie, which we covered at the time. It’s a very similar situation here (unsurprising since they shared a disc), and I’m once again sharing comparisons of the new and old editions. Please note that all images herein are 1080p Blu-ray screen captures (not 4K).
My observations of the new release:
- A huge boost in clarity and fineness of grain (very typical for Arrow releases).
- Much brighter, especially in external shots
- Warmer color timing
The “slider” images below allow for a quick comparison of the stills from both discs by color, cleanliness, framing, but are downscaled and not representative of the full 1080p resolution. These are only illustrative of differences, and not definitive, especially in terms of resolution and clarity.
For a truer direct comparison, it’s recommended to download the image files and view them at full size on a large monitor with 1080p or higher resolution. You can download all images at full resolution in a single file zipfile below:
Right off the bat, the opening titles present an immediate indicator of the improved definition. The text, which previously had some unsightly edge enhancement and spotchiness, is now crisp and solid.
Arrow’s new edition absolutely throttles the old Blu-ray in terms of clarity and fine grain. This is especially noticeable on fabric and hair.
The older transfer had poor presentation of grain, rendering it with chunky, ring-like artifacts. This is noticeable in solid expanses such as skies and walls.
As some of this shots above already demonstrate, the new restoration is brighter in appearance, with more relaxed contast. This is especially evident on outdoor daytime scenes with natural sunlight.
This feels like an intentional choice, given the film’s desert sun-drenched settings, but sometimes it seems a little too bright, and blue skies more prone than before to look closer to white.
Closely related, the color timing is a little warmer and there’s more rosy skintones and overall general pinkish tendencies.
The tonal differences are where opinion weighs more heavily, and these transfers do look quite different, so I’m focusing a little more on this area. I think viewing this as stills, especially at a smaller size, may give the impression that the older transfer has the edge, especially since the higher contrast gives the illusion of more definition. However in motion, and at full size (offered as a zip file at the beginning of this article), the new look is stunning and befitting of the desert environs.
I will also note that these are direct Blu-to-Blu comparisons, and I don’t have the 4K disc to see how it stacks up, but I can imagine it makes even more impressive display of the fine resolution, and the option of the HDR component is likely to give it an additional edge in terms of color representation.