Director: Sam Raimi
Cast: Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert
Release Date: Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray Now Available
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 9.5/10
Back to do battle with the hideous “Deadites,” Bruce Campbell returns to the role of Ash, the handsome, shotgun-toting, chainsaw-armed department store clerk from S-Mart’s housewares division. Demonic forces time warp him – and his ’73 Oldsmobile – into England’s Dark Ages, where he romances a beauty (Embeth Davidtz, The Amazing Spider-Man) and faces legions of the undead. Can Ash save the living from the evil dead, rescue his girlfriend, and get back to his own time?
After a number of releases throughout the years, Scream Factory brings home what I feel many will agree is finally the true definitive Blu-ray release of Sam Raimi’s infamous third chapter in the ‘Evil Dead’ saga ‘Army of Darkness’ (or ‘Bruce Campbell Vs. Army of Darkness’ if you prefer) which follows our hero Ash (Campbell) as he is thrown into medieval times and forced to do battle in a world he’s completely unfamiliar with, but as we all know it will take far more than that to stop Ash. This latest Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of the cult classic from Scream Factory is a 3 Disc set containing 4 different versions of the film in total. The ‘Theatrical Version’, ‘Director’s Cut’ and ‘International Cut’ of the film are each included and presented in high definition and the ‘Television Version’ is also included on the release although presented in Standard Definition and 4×3 Full Screen, nonetheless it’s definitely a fun bonus.
Fans of ‘Army of Darkness’ as well as the ‘Evil Dead’ franchise and simply Sam Raimi’s work in general will all almost certainly want to make sure to pick up a copy of Scream Factory’s ‘Army of Darkness’ Collector’s Edition release on Blu-ray. This impressive new ultimate 3-Disc collection delivers three different versions of the cult classic film with gorgeous high definition video and audio presentations on each, in addition to tons of fantastic bonus content including all new Feature-Length Documentary with new interviews from numerous members of the cast and crew and a whole lot more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below) easily making this release a definite must own for any fan.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘Army of Darkness’ features full 1080p High Definition presentations utilizing a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on all three key versions of the film (Theatrical, Director’s Cut & International) and the International Cut is specifically mentioned as featuring a new transfer via a new 4K Scan from the Inter-Positive. All three versions of the film included in high definition look fantastic as a whole, while there are some slight differences in tone and color in addition to some other minor differences between the three, all three cuts look great and hold up impressively even during the darkly lit and fast moving sequences of which there are certainly no shortage of within the film, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, all three versions feature impressive high definition video presentations that should easily please most fans.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on all three key versions of the film. The lossless multichannel soundtracks included on all three main versions all sound wonderful, providing a clean, sharp and aggressive audio presentation from start to finish, utilizing all five available channels constantly throughout in order to immerse the viewer with the films perfectly fitting score in addition to numerous action oriented auditory effects including arrows, horses and a great deal more frequently zooming past the viewer in one direction or another, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, all three cuts feature impressive 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtracks that shouldn’t disappoint.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘Army of Darkness’ includes an impressive collection of bonus content spread out between the three discs. In order to simplify things and help folks know better where to find what they are looking for I’ve broken down the supplemental material by disc immediately below.
Disc 1 – Theatrical Version:
The first disc includes a brand new Feature-length Documentary chronicling the making of the film titled ‘Medieval Times: The Making of Army of Darkness’ (running approximately 1 hour and 37 minutes in length) featuring brand new interviews with numerous members of the cast and crew including Bruce Campbell, Ivan Raimi and a whole lot more as they reflect on the iconic film. Also included on the disc are the ‘Original Ending’ (running approximately 5 minutes), as well as an ‘Alternate Opening’ (approximately 3 minutes) and a number of ‘Deleted Scenes’ (running approximately 11 minutes altogether) both of which include optional Commentary by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. A ‘U.S. Video Promo’ in addition to ‘TV Spots’ and the ‘Theatrical Trailer’ for the film round out the extras on the first disc.
Disc 2 – Director’s Cut:
The second disc includes a Director’s Cut ‘Audio Commentary with Director Sam Raimi, Actor Bruce Campbell and Co-writer Ivan Raimi’. This disc also includes some fun behind the scenes Featurettes and videos including a ‘Creating the Deadites Featurette’ (running approximately 21 minutes), ‘On-Set Video Footage Compilation’ (approximately 5 minutes), A ‘Vintage Making of Featurette’ (5 minutes), ‘Extended Interview Clips’ (5 minutes) and last, but certainly not least ‘Behind-the-Scenes Footage’ from KNB effects (54 minutes).
Disc 3 – International Cut:
The third and final disc in the release includes a bonus fourth version of the film, the ‘Television Version’ (presented in 4×3 Full Screen and in Standard Definition), in addition to ‘The Men Behind the Army’ (running approximately 19 minutes). Also included on the disc are ‘Still Galleries with Rare Behind the Scenes Photos’, ‘Still Gallery of Props and Rare Photos’, ‘Storyboards’, the ‘International Theatrical Trailer’ and a ‘Special Thanks’.