Can it really be 30 years since Highlander first came to our cinema screens?
Well yes, it is, Highlander has become a cult classic over the years since it was first released and those of us that were there for the first time round in 1986 are in for a treat. This new, director-approved and digitally restored version of the movie has made its way to Blu-ray.
Starring Christopher Lambert (Mortal Combat, Fortress), Sean Connery (Dr No, The Hunt for Red October), Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption, Starship Troopers) Roxanne Hart, Jon Polito, Sheila Gish and Celia Imrie. The film was directed by Russell Mulcahy (Swimming Upstream, The Real McCoy).
Highlander – “There Can Be Only One”
I remember back in 1986 when the film was released, it was fresh and the story of Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) and his journey from the time he was killed in the Scottish highlands in 1536 to the present day (1986) was one which fascinated me.
The immortal Highlander was on a journey for a fight for his life, the only way his immortality could be ended would be for his head to be removed, gruesome sounds I know, but nothing gory in this 80s movie.
In the end, “There can be only one”, a battle through time for the ultimate goal, “the prize”!
Highlander may have had four sequels, firstly the awful 2nd movie with its storyline that the “immortals” came from another planet, thankfully the “Renegade Version” was released some years later on DVD that was a much better cut of the film.
We even had the TV series in the 90s featuring Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod, again I loved the TV series and this ran for 6 seasons, with Adrian Paul even joining the movie franchise. Plus let’s not forget about the rather short-lived animated series that ran for 2 seasons and had 40 episodes.
Highlander 30 Years Later
So, 30 years on from its original release, we are treated to the 30th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray, boasting a “stunningly restored” version of the film, not only for fans that saw the movie the first time round but also for those that have sadly never seen Highlander on the big screen.
The version that has been restored is the 10th Anniversary Edition, which many of you may know is the director’s cut that has now become the edit that has been seen on subsequent releases since. Featuring the WWII scene along with the flashback to the Highlands of Scotland during the opening wrestling match. Fazil doing a backwards cartwheel in the underground carpark and some other scenes that weren’t in the theatrical release in 1986.
Highlander has had the 4K remaster treatment, although the Blu-ray doesn’t have the 4K version but has a 1080p version of the film and it looks good, yes there are those few scenes that have a little grain, but hey it’s a 30-year-old film at the day. But scenes do look colourful, such as the highlands of Scotland with vibrant blue skies and the various colours on the kilts also look really good.
The 1080p certainly shows up a lot of the details nicely as well, the costumes look really good as you can see the smaller details on them and yes folks, this also means that those rather famous wires holding Connor in the air and the tether keeping Brenda (Roxanne Hart) are even more visible in HD!
The audio comes with a 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 DTS tracks, the 2.0 is a little clearer on the higher pitched sounds, whereas the 5.1 has a more beefy base feel, although the rears aren’t used that much, they occasionally add to the atmosphere. Let’s also not forget the brilliant tracks by Queen, who interestingly were only meant to have one track in the film, also the music from Michael Kamen to build the atmosphere for the movie.
With this 30th Anniversary Edition of Highlander, we get two new interviews with the director, Russel Mulcahy, and the Highlander himself, Christopher Lambert. Plus a four-part making-of documentary which sheds some light on the ups, downs and behind the scenes of the film’s production.
There are also a five deleted scenes that were found during the HD restoration of the movie, sadly there is no sound for the scenes, it’s mentioned before they start that the sound was lost. This is such a shame, but there is some rather nice music played during the scenes so that there is something. I dare say those of you that can lip read will be able to know what the actors are saying.
Of course, there is also the obligatory “audio commentary with the director” and the original 1986 trailer for the film.
Highlander (30th Anniversary Edition) is out on Blu-ray and DVD.
Originally posted 10 Jul 2016.