The Doors: The Final Cut Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

In 1991, Oliver Stone crafted a psychedelic and powerful musical portrait that brilliantly captured the furious energy of the ‘60s and the myth of The Doors’ iconic front man, Jim Morrison – the man whose music shaped an era. Check out Ralph Potts’ Ultra HD Blu-ray review of The Doors.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

90

Details:

Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 1991
MPAA Rating: R/Unrated
Feature running time: 141/138 minutes
Genre: Drama/Biopic

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio (Blu-ray)
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Kevin Dillon, Kyle MacLachlan, Frank Whaley, Michael Madsen, Kathleen Quinlan, Billy Idol
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Music by: The Doors
Written by: J. Randal Johnson, Oliver Stone
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: July 23, 2019

“The Ceremony is About to Begin”

Synopsis:

“In 1991, Oliver Stone crafted a psychedelic and powerful musical portrait that brilliantly captured the furious energy of the ‘60s and the myth of The Doors’ iconic front man, Jim Morrison – the man whose music shaped an era.” – Lionsgate Home Entertainment

My Take:

The Doors tells the story of the famous and influential 1960s rock band The Doors and its lead singer and composer, Jim Morrison, beginning from his days as a UCLA film student in Los Angeles. After a psychedelic experience in the California desert, Jim (Val Kilmer), lead singer of the newly formed group, and his bandmates begin performing in Los Angeles and quickly become a sensation. However, when Jim begins ditching his musical responsibilities and his girlfriend, Pamela (Meg Ryan), in favor of his dangerous addictions and the affections of the seductive, occult-obsessed Patricia (Kathleen Quinlan), the band starts to worry about their leader.

Oliver Stone’s films can be hit or miss with me but, in general I connect with them, at least on some level. The Doors is one of those “some level” films for me. Stone’s vision of the 1960’s era psychedelic, trippy experience as told through the band and their front man’s meteoric rise to stardom and the brick by brick deconstruction of their union tends to border on tedium thanks to overlong sequences that depict the darkness that overtakes Morrison.

I really enjoy Val Kilmer’s performance and the attention to detail that went into capturing the essence of the circus like world that surrounded them. I haven’t seen it in years but, my recollection of it didn’t change with this viewing. The Doors is a connotative and kinetic film that seeks to serve as an expose but, comes across as more of a brooding tribute that can be hard to watch. I do appreciate it for its grandeur and subject matter and thematic tone. I am glad to see it come to Ultra HD Blu-ray including both the Final Cut and Theatrical Cut.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The film contains heavy drug content, strong sexuality and language.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

[*]HDR: Dark Highlights:  [*]HDR: Bright Highlights: [*]HDR: Expanded Color: [*]Resolution: [*]Visual Impact: [/list][/b]

Dolby Atmos Rating: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

The Doors comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

The Doors was remastered from the original negative that was scanned in 4K 16-bit on ARRISCAN at FotoKem US. The restoration was managed by L’Immagine Ritrovata in Italy with the close support of Oliver Stone who oversaw the color grading.

It’s important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. A film like The Doors has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of cinematography that won’t result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of many newer films shot today. This isn’t a problem and shouldn’t be seen as such.

Looking at the film’s opening moments the improvement in depth and delineation was immediately noticeable. The increase in resolution isn’t always on display, especially in wide angle shots, although I believe that this is innate to the photography. In many respects, the image is emboldened with a discernible boost to definition. Grain is intact, occasionally rising to more obvious levels but, never to a distracting point.

Director Oliver Stone’s retooled color palette brings the imagery in line with his original vision, which appears faithfully reproduced in Ultra HD. At times the image is nearly devoid of primary colors, favoring orange, sepia and golden accents to set the mood of a scene. There are a handful of instances where primary colors are put to effective use and the wide color gamut allows them to pop quite nicely. The film contains several sun-splashed, daytime segments, which appear more vibrant and tonally gradational compared to the Blu-ray.

High dynamic range added a tangible visual element that enriched both natural and artificial light. Its application is appropriately applied here, keeping within the boundaries of the film’s cinematography and visual aesthetic. The various concert segments with their strobing lights, stage spots and camera flashes were eye popping. The film’s plethora of defining low level sequences had excellent depth of field and emboldened contrast. Blacks were deep without compromise to fidelity, as the layers of detail seen with them is readily apparent. Fleshtones adhere to the film’s visual aesthetic and appear consistent throughout the presentation.

Fans are sure to be pleased with this Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation as it lifts the vail, offering them the opportunity to see this film in a new light.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Forum Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR-10 presentations for The Doors, I found the HDR renderings to be very close. Each presented similarly in terms of color rendering, but I did take a close look at contrast, and delineation, during scenes containing dark and bright elements. When I switched back and forth between the DV and HDR-10 renderings, I felt that the DV presentation revealed slightly better interstitials in the darkest portions of the image, resulting in better definition. The differences aren’t especially noteworthy, but in the grand scheme, made for a more pleasing image. At the end of the day both looked terrific, leaving me satisfied with what I saw.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the less aggressive variety but, considering the source material that’s not a complete surprise. Its use of audio objects placed above is limited to atmospherics and occasional panning fills. Where the Atmos presentation excelled was in the use of object- based sounds during the film’s musical set pieces and various concert sequences. In many respects the track retained the feeling of being front focused, however when called upon its ability to render acoustics, point to point imaging and expanding the breadth of the soundstage never disappointed. While this Atmos mix doesn’t make constant use of discretely placed audio objects from above, I found myself completely involved when it mattered. I found this to be an enjoyable audio presentation that absolutely complimented the source material.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: The Doors Ultra HD Blu-ray (The Final Cut and Theatrical Cut)
    • Oliver Stone Audio Commentary (Theatrical Cut only)
    • NEW: Oliver Stone’s Interview
    • NEW: Sound Engineer Lon Bender’s Interview
  • Disc 2: The Doors Blu-ray
  • Legacy Bonus Features

Final Thoughts:

The Doors, director Oliver Stone’s psychedelic and powerful musical portrait that captured the furious energy of the ‘60s and the myth of The Doors’ iconic front man, Jim Morrison. It comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray in this Combo Pack from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring a beautiful restoration and Dolby Atmos immersive sound that brings the film to life with aplomb. This release also includes newly released and legacy bonus material that includes insights from the filmmakers. If you’re a fan that is set up to take advantage of its upgrades The Doors on Ultra HD Blu-ray is a must have for your collection.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems