Matt Reeves’ terrifying found footage sci-fi flick Cloverfield gets another shot at 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with new SteelBook packaging from Paramount. The discs inside are identical so if you’re happy with what you’ve got, you’re all set. But if you’re a SteelBook collector, this is a pretty slick package. Recommended
As we’ve already covered Matt Reeves’ Cloverfield on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, I’ll be deferring to those reviews momentarily. Now for myself, I am not a big fan of the found footage horror/sci-fi sub-genre. Rec is pretty sold and of course, The Blair Witch Project is a classic, but most entries felt cheap and exploitative as a lazy way to clog up video store shelves. But then here comes Cloverfield to shake things up and legitimately scare the crap out of you while delivering one hell of a Kaiju flick. While T.J. Miller’s voice may get a little irritating after a while, the film is a tight tense, and outright scary way to burn 84 minutes.
Take a look at our past reviews:
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray SteelBook
Cloverfield returns to destroy 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray once again this time with new SteelBook packaging. The discs inside are the same 4K UHD and Blu-ray combo from 2018, the artwork is the same - even the copyright date is identical so there’s nothing new there. The SteelBook follows recent Paramount and Lionsgate SteelBook releases with the base artwork being accented by a slick plastic slipcover to complete the image.
From our 2018 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review:
A gargantuan subterranean monster runs amok through the streets of New York with an excellent HEVC H.265 encode in Dolby Vision HDR. Granted, given the particular style and photography for achieving a specific effect, the 4K transfer won't provide the sort of wow factor we've come to expect of the format, but it is nonetheless faithful to the filmmaker's intentions and the results overall offer several appreciable improvements to make this a worthy purchase.
Originally shot on digital cameras that max at 1080p resolution, definition and clarity remain relatively similar to its Blu-ray counterpart. There are many scenes that look a tad sharper and in better focus, to be sure, but the difference is not terribly significant. Fine lines in the clothing or in the city streets are more distinct, and various random objects, such as debris on the ground and the furniture decorating the interior of buildings, are more perceptible. Nevertheless, given the limitations of the source material itself, a good chunk of the movie falls on the softer side of things, with many scenes looking blurrier than others.
Where the movie really benefits from the jump to Ultra HD is the higher dynamic range. Whereas the previous release displayed a good deal of blooming and clipping in the brightest areas, this 4K presentation shows significantly better contrast with more intense and luminous whites. Specular highlights also appear tighter and crisper, allowing more detailing within the hottest spots, mainly the light sources shining directly into the camera. Again, although the source doesn't allow for brightness levels to truly shine, blacks are nonetheless richer and darker throughout without sacrifices the finer details, even during the most well-lit moments, such as when the military is bombarding the monster with gunfire. The movie was never particularly colorful to begin with and likely never will be, but once more, the move to Dolby Vision proves to be a splendid benefit, making primaries noticeably more vibrant and full-bodied while warmer, stronger secondary hues provide the orange-teal palette with more life, a homelier yellow sheen and natural flesh tones in the entire cast.
The 4K image may not be particularly impressive, but the overall presentation is nonetheless a nice step up.
From our 2018 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review:
Paramount has opted to port over the same Dolby TrueHD soundtrack heard on the Blu-ray, and while an object-based audio option would have been a much-welcomed upgrade, the lossless mix remains pure reference-quality. A wide, incredibly spacious soundstage showers the screen with a variety of background and off-screen activity that's continuously sharp and detailed, even during the loudest, ear-piercing moments. Dialogue is crisp and precise, except where it deliberately is not. The design is also incredibly busy with sound effects discretely panning from one channel to the next and truly come alive when applying the receivers' Dolby Surround or DTS: Neural:X up-mixing functionality. But on a final note, Cloverfield also remains the go-to disc for testing a subwoofer's capabilities because there are many moments, such as the bridge collapse, that dig down to 10Hz at high decibels, energizing the room with terrifying waves of bass. Other than warning neighbors before watching, be careful not to blow out your subwoofer (bass chart).
Cloverfield was an excellent addition to the found footage sub-genre. At under 90 minutes, the film kicks off fast introducing the characters and rushes right into the Kaiju survival horror mayhem. The film makes for an interesting 4K experience with Dolby Vision HDR given the style but the audio is still a top-tier audio track. If you already have the film on 4K and are happy, there’s no reason to pick this up. But if you’re a SteelBook collector or need this in your 4K collection, this set is a great way to roll. Recommended