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Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
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Release Date: June 20th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 2001

Vanilla Sky - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

Twenty years later, Cameron Crowe's sci-fi drama Vanilla Sky is a sadly underrated feature in the director's filmography, but the film is a lovely motion picture deserving the same critical attention and appreciation as Crowe's four prior efforts. Paramount Home Entertainment brings the cult favorite to 4K Ultra HD with a gorgeous Dolby Vision HDR video while featuring the same DTS-HD MA track and the same strong collection of supplements. Overall, the UHD package is Highly Recommended for fans looking to upgrade.

A mind-bending roller coaster ride of romance, suspicion, sex and dreams, VANILLA SKY was produced by Crowe, Cruise and Paula Wagner and features visually stunning cinematography by Academy Award winner* John Toll (Braveheart, Legends of the Fall), including an unforgettable sequence in New York City's Times Square. The film was originally released on December 14, 2001 and follows a self-indulgent and vain publishing magnate (Cruise) who finds his privileged life upended after a vehicular accident.

Special Features:

  • NEW Filmmaker Focus: Cameron Crowe on Vanilla Sky (HD)
  • Audio Commentary by Cameron Crowe & Nancy Wilson
  • Alternate Ending with Optional Commentary by Cameron Crowe (HD)
  • Prelude to a Dream (SD)
  • Hitting It Hard (SD)
  • An Interview with Paul McCartney (SD)
  • Gag Reel (SD)
  • Music Video "Afrika Shox" by leftfield/afrika bambaataa (SD)
  • Photo Gallery with Audio Introduction by photographer Neal Preston (HD)
  • Mask Test with Optional Commentary by Cameron Crowe (HD)
  • Kurt Russell single take with Optional Commentary by Cameron Crowe (HD)
  • Trailers (SD)
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Cameron Crowe (HD)
  • Credits (HD)

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Region Free
Video Resolution/Codec:
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
English SDH, French, Spanish
Special Features:
Release Date:
June 20th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Over twenty years later, Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky continues to exist like some sort of lucid dream that's rarely discussed in the director's small filmography. In fact, this reimagining of Alejandro Amenábar's Open Your Eyes could arguably be considered as his most underrated feature, overshadowed by his four excellent previous efforts and largely forgotten among his three lesser follow-ups. Admittedly, I am also guilty of overlooking this film when talking about Crowe, yet memories and fragments of it linger in the back of my mind, reminding me not only that it exists but that it clearly has left an impression. With every occasional revisit, I am quickly reminded of just how good it is, instantly drawn to the emotional, self-discovery story of the central protagonist — the wealthy, self-centered and vain David Aames (Tom Cruise) — while mesmerized by John Toll's subtly gorgeous photography. And on this last rewatch, I've come to really grow and love Vanilla Sky. The story is ultimately less about the surprise twist in the third act and more about the poignantly intimate journey of a person who has everything discovering the consequences of his egotistical behavior and appreciating what was lacking in his life when it is sadly too late. 

For a more in-depth take on the film, check out our review of the 2015 Blu-ray HERE.

Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray

Paramount Home Entertainment brings Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack. The dual-layered UHD66 disc sits comfortably opposite a Region Free, BD50 copy, and both are housed inside a black case with a glossy slipcover. At startup, the disc goes straight to a static, silent menu screen with the usual options along the bottom.

Video Review


The sci-fi drama opens its eyes to the world of Ultra HD with a remarkably beautiful HEVC H.265 encode that delivers a notable upgrade over the already terrific 2021 Blu-ray, which boasted a new restoration and remaster that was supervised by Cameron Crowe. Using that same digital intermediate, the native 4K transfer now flaunts sharper, cleaner lines with improved clarity of the background information. We can better appreciate the small objects decorating David's home and the fine details of the woodwork while clearly making out the stitching in the costumes and every strand of the cast's free-flowing hair. The picture is continuously awash in a very fine layer of natural grain, giving it a lovely film-like quality.

The Dolby Vision HDR presentation provides the most significant gain with a bolder, more vibrant color palette, especially the reds and blues showing more variance and fullness within the various shades. Meanwhile, the secondary pastel hues, particularly starting from the moment when David enters his lucid dream state, are equally more vivid and dynamic than their HD SDR counterpart. Facial complexions appear healthier with a natural peachy-rose tone in the entire cast. A crisper, more brilliant contrast balance supplies squeaky-clean, spot-on whites throughout while also furnishing the dreamlike visuals with tight, radiant specular highlights. Brightness levels are equally impressive, bathing the 1.78:1 image in rich, inky blacks and excellent shadow detailing, giving it that beautiful cinematic appeal. (Dolby Vision HDR Video Rating: 92/100)

Audio Review


Far as I could tell, Paramount has seen fit to recycle the same DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack heard on the two previous Blu-ray editions. Thankfully, this is not a bad thing since the sound design is littered with plenty of background activity nicely balanced across the entire soundstage, exhibiting a clean and extensive mid-range. The various frequencies maintain amazing detail and clarity with precise, well-prioritized vocals from start to finish while the low-end provides a notable sense of presence and a weighty impact. The design also does splendidly well when applying the receivers' Dolby Surround or DTS: Neural:X up-mixing functionality, effortlessly spreading many of those atmospherics into the overheads with ease and generating an excellent, engaging soundfield. 

For a more in-depth take on the audio quality, you can read our review of the standard Blu-ray HERE. (Audio Rating: 82/100)

Special Features


The same set of supplements as the previous 2021 Blu-ray have been ported over for this UHD edition, and they are all available on the accompanying BD disc. 

  • Audio Commentary with director Cameron Crowe and composer Nancy Wilson
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 36 min) with optional director's commentary
  • Alternate Ending (HD, 30 min) with optional director's commentary
  • Photo Gallery with Audio Intro (HD, 21 min)
  • Hitting it Hard (SD, 10 min)
  • Filmmaker Focus: Cameron Crowe on Vanilla Sky  (HD, 9 min)
  • Prelude to a Dream (SD, 6 min)
  • Gag Reel (HD, 6 min)
  • Kurt Russell Single Take (HD, 6 min) with optional director's commentary
  • Music Video (SD, 4 min) features Leftfield & Afrika Bambaataa performing "Afrika Shox"
  • Mask Test (HD, 3 min) with optional director's commentary
  • An Interview with Paul McCartney (SD, 2 min)
  • Trailers (SD, 5 min)

Over the years since its initial release, Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky has really grown on me, and I have come to actually love the film. Funny enough, in that same span of time, the science-fiction drama seems to have largely been forgotten, making it a grossly underrated feature in Crowe's filmography but honestly, deserving the same critical attention and appreciation as his four prior efforts. Paramount Home Entertainment brings the cult favorite to 4K Ultra HD with a gorgeous Dolby Vision HDR presentation that offers a terrific step up over its 2021 Blu-ray counterpart. Featuring the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack and the same strong collection of supplements, the UHD package is highly recommended for those who never purchased the previous BD and for fans looking to upgrade. 

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about the gear used for this review.