Posted Sat Nov 18, 2023 at 05:47 AM PST by Matthew Hartman
Terry Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray...
In the U.K. from Arrow and Germany from Turbine
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray has been a boon for physical media collectors. Beyond the razor-sharp picture and excellent audio the discs are Region Free (well 99.98% of the time anyway. That means when the U.S. gets a disc the rest of the world wants - it's importable and will play on virtually every home theater setup. Likewise, when Japan or Europe gets a slick disc release we don't have, we don't have to worry about needing a Region-Free player (even though you should probably have one just in case). A great example of how cool it is to be able to import movies on 4K with ease are the U.K. and German releases of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas from Arrow Video and Turbine Medien respectively.
Now we've already gone and done the hard part of reviewing both releases which you can read right now -
Now, the Arrow disc has been on the market for some time with Turnine's Mediabooks coming out only in the last couple of weeks. Now the good news is, between the two releases, there's very little difference. Since it was a mutual effort between the two companies, the Dolby Vision 2160p transfers are essentially identical. Little minute differences in bitrate due to disc encoding is the only thing that separates the two. Both have what sounds to be the same exact DTS-HD MA 5.1 and DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio tracks to complete the A/V experience.
But when we get into the bonus features we start to see the key differences between the two.
Lots of great stuff to dig into there. Arrow's set is a single-disc release so all of the extras are right there on the 4K disc. Arrow's is a three-disc Mediabook, so the 4K only has the audio commentary as an extra leaving the 1080p version of the film to hold all the rest. Which is pretty damn cool that there's no real difference there. However, Turbine's set also has a third disc featuring the two-hour documentary Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. So that is a huge plus in Turbine's favor.
Both sets have individual booklets - Arrow has a 44-page booklet with Turbine offering up a 55-page book. Now Turbine's book is in German so if you're an English-dominate individual, you will have to use Google Translate or some other app like it to read the book. It's a slightly cumbersome process but you get used to it. Both are great reads with your morning cup of coffee.
A lot of the important stuff is essentially all the same. Price + shipping (if you don't order from a domestic retailer like DiabolikDVD) is almost the same so there's not really a difference maker there.
Where I would personally give Turbine the edge over Arrow is the four different Mediabook cover options:
Each of those would make amazing posters. Whereas Arrow only has the one slipcover option, albeit with reversible insert art, that replicates the classic Ralph Steadman art. With that, I know not everyone likes Mediabooks. I happen to enjoy them a lot and think they make fun accent pieces on the shelf. About the size of an average DVD case, they're not so massive to take up too much room like the A24 Mediabooks, but depending on your shelves they do eat a bit of extra height space.
So which version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray do you choose?
Short answer - either one works! Since this is currently an import-only 4K release (watch Criterion announces theirs next month) all you have to decide is which one is more attractive, fits your shelf, and then works with your finances. Arrow and Turbine both did excellent work with their discs so buy with confidence whichever version you order!
Hope this helped - Happy Collecting!
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