It Came From Outer Space (Universal) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots


Universal is one of the last of the major studios still releasing 3D Blu-rays. Here is another winner from the studio/

Released by: Universal 

Release Date: May 25th, 1953 (Theatrical)
                        Oct. 4th, 2016 (Blu-ray)

Region Code: REGION FREE

Run Time: 1hr 20m

Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 3.0

Video: 1080p (1.33:1 Aspect Ratio)


Two Versions of the Film:

-2D

-3D

These can be selected right after pressing “play”

THE FEATURES [3.5 out of 4]




The Universe According to Universal (31m 36s, SD)

This is a making of featurette for the film that originally appeared on the dvd released more than 13 years ago. This does not make it a bad featurette by any means. This is actually really good and informative. The featurette is narrated by Rudy Behlmer and features Vincent Di Fate (historian), Bob Burns (Collector/Archivist), David Schecter (Producer, Monstrous Movie Music), Paul M. Jensen (Film Historian), and Bob Furmanek (Curator, 3-D Film Archives). These guys know their history when it comes to talk about, not only It Came From Outer Space, but also the sci-fi boom that happened in the 50’s.

I feared that this featurette would be flat and uninteresting, but I was wrong. Even though this runs just over half an hour, it is packed with information. I really had fun watching this and wish that more of the 50’s sci-fi would get more love.


Theatrical Trailer (2m 41s, HD)

You can watch the trailer either in 2-D or 3D. Either way it is the same trailer even if they are
presented as separate trailers on the menu.

The trailer is loaded with talk about the 3-D, which was something very new at the time. It also has the main character present the film to us. It is a very interesting trailer, even if it is more gimmicky than the film.

Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver

Weaver has appeared on a few other sci-fi movie commentary tracks and he is also lively and entertaining. He know his history and gives it to us without any stuffiness and arrogance found on other “historian” commentary tracks. I learned a lot about the making of the film as well as the reception it got upon release.

There is one thing that Weaver brings up that not many talk about. Weaver mentions that It Came From Outer Space was not only the first 3-D science fiction film, but also the first Widescreen 3-D film. I found this comment to be a little bit weird until I realized that widescreen was a new thing when this film was made. A lot the studios had films that were already filmed retrofitted for exhibition in widescreen. This meant taking a 1.33:1 image and adding masks to the top and bottom of the frame to give the feeling of widescreen. It Came From Outer Space was shown in theaters in 1.85:1 aspect ratio, but it’s true aspect ratio is 1.33:1.


THE PACKAGING [2 out of 4]



The blu-ray comes in a standard, non-eco blu-ray case. The cover art is not very attractive. The studio could have used something else.


The blu-ray is REGION FREE.



THE FILM [3.5 out of 4]



It Came From Outer Space is one of those films that if you caught it while channel surfing, you would stop and watch it. The film is a lot of fun and uses its sci-fi concept very well.

A space craft crash lands in middle of the desert. An amateur astronomer,  John Putman, (Richard Carlson) and his fiancĂ©e Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush) are stargazing when they see the craft crash into the earth. Just before a landslide buries the ship, a mysterious creature emerges and disappears in the desert. When Putman tells the sheriff (Charles Drake), Putman is labeled a crackpot, but before long, strange things to begin to happen and the tide of disbelief turns.

The creature starts making copies of townspeople, then kidnapping that person, and steeping into their shoes, so that repairs can be made to the ship. Putman finds this out and goes to where the ship is, so that he can save the townspeople.

I had a real blast watching this film. Director Jack Arnold creates a very vivid, lived in world for the characters to inhabit. I wasn’t around for the 50’s, but I would imagine this is how it was. Arnold is a really talented director. The year after the release of It Came From Outer Space, Arnold would go on to direct The Creature From the Black Lagoon.  He knows his characters and he isn’t afraid to show them at their weakest.

Arnold also employs the 3-D really well. There is a scene early on when Putman and Fields are standing next to a telescope. Putman turns the telescope around and the 3-D effect happens during the turn. It is really subtle, but for viewers watching the film in 3-D, it is a really cool effect. When watching the film in 2-D, the effect is gone, but no one notices. That is how 3-D should be done. In fact, the same year that It Came From Outer Space was released, another 3-D film, House of Wax, was released. If you watch House of Wax, you will see how 3-D should not be done. In that film, there is a sequence that happens where an actor starts throwing things at the camera and also uses one of those paddles with the ball attached to it. All of this stuff is flying towards the camera, and in 3-D it is sort of impressive, but in 2-D it looks really stupid.

I really had a fun time watching It Came From Outer Space. The story is pretty good and the direction is top notch. We never get to see the monster in full, which helps the film stand out. I would recommend this film to any sci-fi fan and to people who might want to see what the 50’s sci-fi boom was all about.


OVERALL [3.5 out of 4]



It Came From Outer Space is a really fun film and I was surprised that it made it to 3-D blu-ray, let alone blu-ray. The 3-D is the star of this show and it is done perfectly. The film can stand on its own as a 2-D film, but if you can watch it in 3-D, that is the way to see it. Universal has given us a great transfer and a few special features. I wish that they had created some new features, but the cost would have gone up and less people may have bought the blu-ray. I am happy with what we got and hope that Universal gives some of the other sci-fi films that they have like The Incredible Shrinking Man and Tarantula.


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