Ultra HD: Highly Recommended
4 Stars out of 5
Release Date: February 7th, 2023
Movie Release Year: 1989
MPAA Rating:
Release Country: United States
COLLAPSE INFO -

The Return of Swamp Thing - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Review Date January 29th, 2023 by
Overview -

The Return of Swamp Thing brings romance and comedy to its sequel in a witty and fun way. The creators had a ball with this film and its characters which are infectious to its audience. It's a shame that no other sequels were made. Plus it's great to see Locklear in her early years here having a ball. The 4K with Dolby Vision image looks wonderful and the DTS-HD 5.1 audio track sounds great. The bonus features are worth the time. Highly Recommended!

 

OVERALL
Highly Recommended
  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p HEVC/H.265
    Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
    Length:88
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.85:1
    Audio Formats:
    Engish: DTS-HD MA 5.1
    Movie Studio: Lightyear Entertainment
    Release Date: February 7th, 2023

Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

4 Stars out of 5

The Return of Swamp Thing takes a different approach with its 1989 release, some seven years after its original film premiered with a more severe and violent tone. The DC Comics character is surely beloved by a ton of fans and with this sequel, its filmmakers had a ton more fun returning to the swamp that's filled with campy comedy, wild thrills laughs, and the beautiful Heather Locklear. Some thirty years later, The Return of Swamp Thing still brings the campiness but also delivers a load of fun and laughter to an otherwise serious character.

Director Jim Wynorski built a great relationship with Roger Corman which lead Wynorski to make the cult hit Chopping Mall. Right after that, he turned his sights on the sequel to the 1982 Swamp Thing and while Swamp Thing had some action and serious and terrifying moments in it, Wynorski and the producers thought that this character could be a major hit with the kids by bringing in comedy and romance. With Michael E. Aslan serving as producer again, who then went on to produce literally every Batman film still to date, Swamp Thing got funny and desirable, at least to Heather Locklear.

In the sequel, the diabolical Anton Arcane (Louis Jordan again) has somehow overcome his death from the first film and is back in his lair playing The Island of Dr. Moreau by cross-breeding humans and swamp creatures to make monsters that murder anyone who comes near the swamp. Luckily for most of these wandering people, Swamp Thing (Dick Durock again) saves the day with his incredible power and practical effects costume that still looks amazing to this day. Meanwhile, Abby (Locklear) who plays Arcane's stepdaughter has a hunch that Arcane was responsible for her mother's death and goes to investigate the lair by the swamp. Quickly, she becomes the princess to save in the high castle where she and Swamp Thing, along with a couple of nudie-magazine-loving kids set out to stop the evil Anton Arcane while at the same time, falling in love with one another.

At the time, critics and audiences didn't take to kindly to this sequel, but now that the years have passed, there is a great sweetness and fun charm about the whole movie. The way Swamp Thing interacts with Abby and those funny kids is wonderful as he tries to play it straight, but he also has a funny bone up his sleeve in a subtle way. Locklear won a Razzie award for her performance here, but there have been worse performances in bigger films than she turns in with Abby. Her performance as Abby is sincere and never really goes over the top.

Still seeing all those practical effects on the monsters and Swamp Thing himself is a modern-marvel. Most of it still looks better than most CGI today and brings an authentic side to this funny film. The Return of Swamp Thing is a gem that has been somehow forgotten, but this is one movie that should not be missed in this day and age of dark and brooding comic movies. Swamp Thing brings the fun three decades later with its sequel.

 

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
The Return of Swamp Thing swims to 4K + Blu-ray via Lightyear. There is no digital code here sadly. The two discs are housed inside a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. The artwork features a photo still of the film with Swamp Thing holding a laughing Heather Locklear.

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p HEVC/H.265
    Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
    Length:88
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.85:1
    Audio Formats:
    Engish: DTS-HD MA 5.1
    Movie Studio: Lightyear Entertainment
    Release Date: February 7th, 2023

Video Review

4 Stars out of 5

The Return of Swamp Thing comes with a great new 4K restoration from the original interpositive. The 2160p UHD image with Dolby Vision looks wonderful and is a good upgrade from the Blu-ray from a couple of years ago. The Dolby Vision enhancement is what stands out the most.

Those neon green colors on Swamp Thing look great against the darker green colors of his skin and the bog he swims. The brighter lair brings some other pastel neon lighting and grey wall interiors while the exteriors of the forest deliver browns and greens. The floral shop where Abby works showcases a ton of primary colors that looks wonderful. These images are richer and bolder than on any other release. The black levels are deep for the most part but have some crush here and there. The skin tones are natural as well.

The filmic quality is kept in check with the right amount of grain that never swarms. There is a certain softness in some parts, mainly during the fantasy love scene that looks great. Overall, the movie pops with. some vivid detail that reveals all those latex and rubbery, slimy features on each costume. Every branch and twig looks amazing with the right amount of moss and leaves. This is probably the best the film has ever looked at. There are no major impairments or problems in the picture.

Audio Review

4 Stars out of 5

This release comes with a good DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix that does its job well. There isn't a ton of heavy explosions with low-end rumbles of bass, but during the bigger action sequences, it can be heard. The gunshots are mostly robust but lack low-end definition. The fight scenes between the monster sound good enough, but it's the heavy hits and takedowns from Swamp Thing that do the most with the low end.

Sound effects are fluid and transition nicely from speaker to speaker. The ambient noises of people in the background, forest sounds, and even lab equipment sizzling all make their appropriate appearances in the rear speakers. The score always adds to the romantic and comedy tones and the dialogue is clean, crisp, and easy to follow. There are no major issues with this audio presentation.

Special Features

3.5 Stars out of 5

There are two new bonus features exclusive to this release located on the 4K Disc. One is a new interview that is worth the listen. The rest of the extras are located on the Blu-ray and could be found on the previous Blu-ray release. In all, there are about 90 minutes of bound features with two commentary tracks.

4K Disc

  • Reflections on Swamp Thing 35 Years Later (HD, 32 Mins.) - Producer Michael E. Aslan sits down and talks about the film, his career, and some fun stories from the other movies he's been a part of and some of the actors from Swamp Thing, including a woman fighting Heather Locklear.
  • Music Video (HD, 4 Mins.) - The music video by The RiffTones with Your Ever-Lovin' Swamp Thing. It's a parody of a music video and offers some good laughs.

Blu-ray Disc

  • Audio Commentary #1 - This is the 2003 commentary from director Jim Wynorski which is a fun and engaging chat about making the film, the visual effects, casting, the tone, and more.
  • Audio Commentary #2 - This is the 2018 commentary from the previous Blu-ray release with Wynorski, the editor of the film, the composer, and the head of the production of the movie. These are scene specific and cover various aspects of the film. Lethal Weapon comes into the mix here as well, which is a great story.
  • Wynorski Interview (HD, 18 Mins.) - Another interview from the Blu-ray that features the director going over his career, his origins, and the film itself.
  • Holland Interview (HD, 6 Mins.) - The head of the production Arnie Holland talks about the film with Wynorski.
  • Cirino Interview (HD, 7 Mins.) - The composer Chuck Cirino discusses his work on the score and music of the film.
  • Rosenthal Interview (HD, 10 Mins.) - The editor Leslie Rosenthal talks about her editing of the film and her career with Wynorski.
  • Slideshow (HD, 3 Mins.) - A slideshow of images from the making of the film.
  • Trailers (HD, 10 Mins.) - A mix of trailers, TV spots, announcements, and more of the film are found here.

Final Thoughts

The Return of Swamp Thing is somehow even better in 2023 than it was back in 1989. The amount of fun and comedy in this sequel is a far journey from its predecessor, but it works here. The new 4K image with Dolby Vision looks great and the DTS-HD 5.1 audio track sounds wonderful. The new and old extras are all worth watching. Highly Recommended!

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p HEVC/H.265
    Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
    Length:88
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.85:1
    Audio Formats:
    Engish: DTS-HD MA 5.1
    Movie Studio: Lightyear Entertainment
    Release Date: February 7th, 2023