Ultra HD: Recommended
4 Stars out of 5
Sale Price 27.99
List Price 34.98
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Release Date: November 22nd, 2022
Movie Release Year: 1975
MPAA Rating: Restricted
Release Country: United States
COLLAPSE INFO -

Rollerball - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Review Date November 23rd, 2022 by
Overview -

Strap on the skates and pads, the game of the future is here in Norman Jewison’s 1975 epic Rollerball. This sci-fi sports classic starring James Caan and John Houseman rolls and scores on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from scream factory sporting a dark, but lovely Dolby Vision transfer, clean audio, with some new and archival bonus features. Recommended

OVERALL
Recommended
  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p HEVC/H.265
    Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
    Length:125
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.85:1
    Audio Formats:
    English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
    English: DTS-HD MA 2.0
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English SDH
    Movie Studio: Shout! Factory
    Release Date: November 22nd, 2022

Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

4 Stars out of 5

We’ve covered Rollerball a couple of times now between myself and a former colleague, so I’ll forgo writing too much new here. That said, even though this film is nearing its 50th Anniversary, it becomes more and more prescient every day. With the politicization of sports and the commercialization of star athletes, the themes and ideas that Norman Jewison and his writer William Harrison explore are just as powerful today as they were in 1975. All you have to do is look at the recent downfall of certain high-profile personalities in sports and entertainment to draw the parallels between modern times and the near future this film portrays. It’s one part dystopian science fiction, one part sports film, and one part social commentary all wrapped up into one neat and exciting little game called Rollerball

Here are past reviews of Rollerball

2022 Scream Factory 4K

2020 Capelight 4K

 

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Rollerball
skates onto 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the first time in the U.S. in a new single-disc release from Scream Factory. There is no 1080p Blu-ray included. The 4K is pressed on a BD-100 disc and housed in a standard black case. My review copy didn’t include a slipcover and there isn’t any new alternate artwork. The disc loads to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options.

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p HEVC/H.265
    Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
    Length:125
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.85:1
    Audio Formats:
    English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
    English: DTS-HD MA 2.0
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English SDH
    Movie Studio: Shout! Factory
    Release Date: November 22nd, 2022

Video Review

4 Stars out of 5

2022 Scream Factory 4K

2020 Capelight 4K

Earlier this year, Scorpion Releasing dropped their own 1080p Blu-ray of Rollerball, before this review I wasn’t able to secure a copy to preview, my understanding was it was sourced from the same new 2022 restoration master MGM provided Scream Factory with so in terms of source elements and overall color timing. While this is certainly a darker presentation than what Twilight Time offered in 2014 and 2015, this new Dolby Vision transfer is a real piece of work.

With strong clear details and a natural film grain presence, this is an awesome-looking transfer. I was surprised it was a few shades darker than I was expecting but, I love the mood and atmosphere the dark shadows have to offer during the Rollerball matches and the dark creepy corners of John Houseman’s little corporate world. In contrast, when James Caan goes back to his ranch, it’s bright, colorful, and natural with very appealing primaries. Whites are crisp and bold without blooming or washing out finer details. The orange jerseys for Huston are a bit more of a Golden Gate Bridge shade versus the brighter navel orange shade, but skin tones are healthy throughout without appearing too sickly or over-red. 

2022 Scream Factory 4K

2020 Capelight 4K

While I can’t compare this disc to the Scorpion Blu-ray, I can compare it to Capelight Pictures 2020 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and there is a notable difference in color timing and restoration that gives this Scream Factory disc the edge. While there are nice facial details with a natural cinematic grain presence, The Capelight disc is far too bright. It’s so bright there’s very little shadow to give the image much depth and finer textural details are often washed out.

Blacks appear a muddled green/gray shade and the orange jerseys have way more yellow in them to the point that the color red is almost non-existent. On top of that, skin tones are a sickly jaundiced yellow color. While a new-ish restoration, the Capelight disc also has more speckling, slight scratches, and other little age-related issues. The framing is also a little different between the two with the Capelight coming in at a narrower and taller 1.78:1 with Scream Factory’s disc a wider and slimmer 1.85:1, for a negligible difference in image loss and gains.

2022 Scream Factory 4K

2020 Capelight 4K

2022 Scream Factory 4K

2020 Capelight 4K

2022 Scream Factory 4K

2020 Capelight 4K

2022 Scream Factory 4K

2020 Capelight 4K

2022 Scream Factory 4K

2020 Capelight 4K

Audio Review

4 Stars out of 5

2022 Scream Factory 4K

2020 Capelight 4K

This release of Rollerball also comes with a pair of audio tracks that sound to me like the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 tracks that Twilight Time had used for their discs. Dialog is usually very good on both tracks, but as Jonathan E is unsure of himself outside of the Rollerball arena, his lines are often softly spoken and mumbled which makes things a tad difficult to discern. The 2.0 works a little better in that regard over the 5.1, but not by much. The advantage of the 5.1 track are those incredible action sequences and if your receiver can roll DTS Neural:X, the track really opens up beautifully to give you a nice feeling of immersion. Both tracks are clean without age-related issues.

Special Features

3.5 Stars out of 5

2022 Scream Factory 4K

2020 Capelight 4K

This set also carries over most of the Twilight Time goodies as well as a few new little extras. The audio commentaries are the main highlight with both Jewison and writer William Harrison both getting their own solo tracks to discuss the film and how it all came to be. The 2014 interview with the late great James Caan is also a nice pickup here. 

  • Audio Commentary featuring Norman Jewison
  • Audio Commentary featuring William Harrison
  • From Rome to Rollerball: The Full Circle (SD 7:54)
  • Return to the Arena The Making of Rollerball (SD 25:07)
  • Blood Sports - Interview with James Caan (HD 10:59)
  • The Bike Work (HD 17:33)
  • The Fourth City (HD 18:55)
  • Trailers
  • TV Spots

Final Thoughts

2022 Scream Factory 4K

2020 Capelight 4K

Rollerball may be one of those 70s high-concept science fiction films that are easily overlooked, but it deserves to be seen and reappraised by generations of film fans. Nearly fifty years after its release, Norman Jewison’s energetic opus still holds up and has become even more important as the years go by. With excellent performances from James Caan and John Houseman with incredible action-packed stunt scenes, there’s only one true Rollerball. Scream Factory gives fans a genuinely impressive Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release to throw on their home theaters. The new restoration and color timing is a clear improvement over the previous German release from Capelight. With two excellent audio mixes and a fine collection of bonus features, this is a great addition for your growing collection of sci-fi classics on 4K. Recommended

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p HEVC/H.265
    Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
    Length:125
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.85:1
    Audio Formats:
    English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
    English: DTS-HD MA 2.0
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English SDH
    Movie Studio: Shout! Factory
    Release Date: November 22nd, 2022