Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Anthology > Horror > Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983/HD-DVD + DVD-Video)

Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983/HD-DVD + DVD-Video)


Picture: B/C+     Sound: B/B-     Extras: D     Film: C



Any and every revival of Rod Serling’s TV classic The Twilight Zone (1959 – 1964) has been an absolute disaster.  Several TV sequel series (three so far) have all bombed, no matter what the talent involved.  In 1983, Steven Spielberg co-produced a feature film revival he hoped would lead to an anthology series, but Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) was very uneven, tried to do an ideological revision of the series that backfired and the death of three persons during the shooting of one of the four segments (including Vic Morrow) turned most against it.


The film arrives on HD-DVD and DVD-Video in an upgraded, basic edition that features the most famous of the failed revivals.  They had the biggest names and most money, but was quickly forgotten by all but a few fans and those who catch it occasionally on TV.  The opening and closing pieces with Dan Aykroyd are silly, but unfortunately foreshadow the condescending would-be comic humor that mocks the legacy of the series more than celebrating and continuing it.  Then there are the four segments of this anthology.  All are remakes.



A Quality Of Mercy is the Morrow segment directed by John Landis, which is more serious than Landis is used to being.  Morrow is a racist who must face his prejudices, but his loss is obvious as the segment is not as conclusive as it should be.  Many blamed Landis for the death and failure of the segment, but with Morrow gone, it never felt finished and it is more obvious than ever.


It’s A Good Life is Joe Dante’s unnecessarily remake of the classic episode where a young pre-teen male is able to bring to life and wish (and horror) his heart desires.  The problem here is Dante tries too hard, tries to make this too expressionistic, too colorful and it backfires as a mockery (intended and not) of the brilliant original.


Kick The Can is Spielberg’s mindless, problematic, revisionist remake of the classic original in which citizens at an old folks home are at the end of their lives, questioning existence, life spent, life wasted and life lived.  The original was existential, dealt with mortality and joy, as kicking a can suddenly becomes metaphor for life lived for one’s self.  In one of Spielberg’s weakest works ever, he makes it into a parable about childishness, white guilt and the benefits of being an airhead.  Simply put, Scatman Crothers goes around to old people with a can, gets them to kick it, makes everyone happy (which has some racism issues in itself when most to all of them are white) and odes nothing more with his life but this.  He essentially becomes an anti-Grim Reaper Santa Claus and we are supposed to be happy about this?  What a condescending wreck.


Nightmare At 20,000 Ft. is known as the one segment that worked, at least until the end, with John Lithgow in George Miller’s remake of the enduring classic (the original has one of William Shatner’s best performances ever) as an airplane passenger who sees a demon on the wing of the airplane trying to kill all inside.  Is he nut, or is he just seeing what the rest of the passengers and operators are not.  If only the other directors were half as ambitious as Miller, this would have been a respectable film series and not a disappointing curio.



The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image is better than the anamorphically enhanced DVD-Video version of the film, but not by that much.  The four segments vary in picture quality and try to look distinctive, but none have a distinct, memorable look.  The Dolby True HD 5.1 and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mixes on the HD and standard Dolby 5.1 on the DVD are about the same, trying to do their best to upgrade the Dolby A-type analog sound found on the 35mm prints, but all show their age.  The combination is better than the copies before on home video and TV, but oddly cannot compete with the new HD transfers Image issued on DVD of the original series.  The only extra in both cases are an old low-def copy of the theatrical trailer, which is not much.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com