John Carpenter’s slice of aliens-amongst-us brilliance They Live now lives on 4K Ultra HD. So, how is it? Should you welcome it with open eyes, or don the peril-sensitive sunnies?
The story: Wrestling stalwart Roddy Piper hits town looking for work, and discovers a whole lot more going on when he jams on a pair of sunglasses that he finds in a church. There are aliens, walking amongst us, and they’re trying to keep humanity down via TV and advertising! Roddy’s not going to take any of this, but spreading the word might involve some sacrifice – and possibly the longest and silliest (but wonderfully so) fight sequence ever committed to film.
“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.”
The 4K disc: A new 4K scan has been made of the original negative for this release, and it’s quite stunning. So, we have full native 4K, with Dolby Vision/HDR added to allow for additional colour range. All up, the results are superb. Colour is natural, but pops where it should. While grain is ever-present, it’s only really noticeable without hunting in the opening sequence, and even then it’s anything but a deal breaker.
While a full-on Atmos or DTS:X mix would have been desirable, we have to make do with the existing DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 affair – and only then after a trip into the audio menu to select it. Yes, like the other new John Carpenter remasters, this defaults to two channel audio. Once pumping out of six channels it doesn’t let us down, with the surrounds giving good ambience (and great Carpenter soundtrack), with the sub getting in on the musical action, while adding very subtly to effects where it should.
We have no extras on the 4K disc, but don’t despair, as the two standard Blu-rays included really bring the goodies. First up, there’s a commentary from Carpenter and Roddy Piper. Also included are a beefy selection of featurettes, interviews, TV spots, a gallery, “cast & cerw” (sic) profiles and more.
Release date: April 10, 2019
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster
Check out our other John Carpenter 4K remaster reviews:
Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.