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US 4K UHD with Director's Cut & Theatrical Version



Scream 6






The Covenant






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Natural Born Killers

Comparison:

  • 4K Director's Cut
  • Director's Cut DVD/Blu-ray
Release: Oct 19, 2023 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Muck47 - external link: IMDB

Comparison between the 4K remastered Blu-ray (US set with 4K UHD by Shout! Factory) and the German DVD of the Director's Cut (Laser Paradise)

Additionally, the German Blu-ray of the Director's Cut from Marketing (= Director's Cut, identical to the US Blu-ray of the Director's Cut from Warner), the US Laserdisc of the Director's Cut from Pioneer,  the Warner DVD with the theatrical version (= English audio track with a revised song in the end credits, foreign audio tracks with the original song in the end credits), and various German-language TV broadcasts of the theatrical version (Pro 7 Maxx, Tele 5, SF1 -> all with the original song in the end credits) were used.

The censorship history of Oliver Stone's explosive media satire Natural Born Killers is likely known and is documented accordingly here: The film was censored at over 100 scenes for its theatrical release with the American R-rating. Interestingly, already on the American VHS and Laserdisc, you could also find Stone's uncensored Director's Cut. On DVD and Blu-ray, both versions were released internationally.

Over the years, there were some curious differences in detail between the various media releases though. In the English original version, the song "Burn" by Nine Inch Nails, which briefly plays just before the end credits sequence (fitting for a wild montage), was replaced with a more generic instrumental piece back in the late 90s. It was already changed in the laserdisc of the Director's Cut which we also had at hand for this comparison. And right from the first digital release of the theatrical version in 2000, the changed song could be heard on the English track and remained so through several subsequent releases. The other audio tracks in international releases, such as German and Spanish, were not affected by this though. Even in the DVD with the Director's Cut, the song heard in the original version was replaced. A new German dub was commissioned for this version, which then also used the replaced song - possibly it was the same in other languages. 

Additonally, also image-wise the German DVD of the Director's Cut from Laser Paradise did not correspond 1:1 to the US counterpart, as a few scenes were in black and white (as in the theatrical version) instead of color (as in the US DVD of the Director's Cut). This is where the 4K premiere with Director's Cut and theatrical version available in the USA since the end of September 2023 comes into play, which we took as an opportunity to take a closer look. Interestingly, the black and white vs. color scenes are essentially a hybrid here: a few moments are colored, and a few moments are in black and white. However, this aspect is, for the most part, quite inconsequential.

Oliver Stone himself has given the release his seal of approval (see "Director approved transfer") and praised it on his social media channels accordingly. In fact, the release excels in terms of quality on all fronts and is highly recommended for fans. Furthermore, the specs from Shout! already emphasized some great news for anyone watching the film with original audio: The song "Burn" is once again heard in the film in both versions, as was apparently Stone's intention.

Runtime information is arranged according to the following format:
German DVD in 25fps / 4K remastered Blu-ray in 24fps

Alternative production logo at the beginning.

4K-Blu-ray 3.5 seconds longer

German DVD (Laser Paradise)US 4K-remastered Blu-ray (Shout!)



Alternative
07:42-07:45 / 08:04-08:08

In the correct Director's Cut (Shout-Blu-ray and 4K UHD / German Blu-ray / old US VHS), the drive through the tunnel is longer. The perspective changes, and you see them much earlier approaching a "Road closed" sign. This is also the case in the theatrical version on the new Shout release.

The old German Laser Paradise DVD master corresponds to the 2000 DVD of the theatrical version and instead recycles a few shots that were already shown 17 seconds earlier: skyscrapers, railroad bridges, and the dragon. Mickey and Mallory are briefly seen in the car again just before switching to the rest of the shot with the "Road closed" sign. The credits shown in these seconds match correctly with those from the DC, while of course different overlays were seen 17 seconds earlier.

Note: Apparently this is actually a little error on the old 2000 DVD by Warner which was ported over on the DC DVD by Laser Paradise. German HDTV broadcasts of the theatrical version also show the longer shot of the tunnel and road signs.

No time difference

German DVD (Laser Paradise)American Remastered Blu-ray (Shout!)



Color Filters
18:11-18:12 / 19:00-19:01

When Mickey hits Mallory's father (just before pushing him underwater), there is a short black-and-white shot on the DVD. The correct DC shows it in color.

Note: The subsequent shot is black and white in both versions, and the whole scene differs from the theatrical version.

No time difference

German DVD (Laser Paradise)American Remastered Blu-ray (Shout!)



Things are getting more complicated and this is the first shot taken of the laserdisc for comparison: At 45:14 / 47:10-47:11 there's a zoom on a rapidly rising snake, right before Mickey takes off his shirt. This was in color on older US releases. However, the 4K-Blu-ray of the Director's Cut is in black and white, just like the LP-DVD and even the previous Blu-ray of the Director's Cut and the theatrical version.

American Laserdisc (Pioneer)American Remastered Blu-ray (Shout!)



Same issue at 45:33 / 47:30 with another shot of the snake, just after the bite.

American Laserdisc (Pioneer)American Remastered Blu-ray (Shout!)



In the new 4K version, when the prostitute approaches Scagnetti, the shot in black and white at 46:41-46:46 / 48:40-48:46. This is just like it was in the theatrical version. This scene was actually in color on the correct Director's Cut.

American Laserdisc (Pioneer)American Remastered Blu-ray (Shout!)



Color Filters
62:00-62:01 / 64:38-64:39

When you see Mallory banging her head against the cell door from her perspective, a blue filter is noticeable on previous releases of the Director's Cut, which is not present in the 4K version. The DVD with the theatrical version also has this blue filter, actually making this one a "new" difference in the 4K version.

No time difference

German DVD (Laser Paradise)American Remastered Blu-ray (Shout!)



When zooming in on the observers behind the glass at 63:49-64:00 / 66:32-66:44, the Director's Cut on DVD was in color. The 4K version is now black and white, just like the theatrical version and the previous Blu-ray.

American Laserdisc (Pioneer)American Remastered Blu-ray (Shout!)



Curiously, there is a reverse situation at 109:04 / 113:40. The old Director's Cut was in black and white, while the theatrical version, the Laser Paradise DVD, and the Blu-rays/4K-UHD of the Director's Cut all briefly show colored camera traces.

American Laserdisc (Pioneer)American Remastered Blu-ray / German DVD



Altered Soundtrack
110:13-110:29 / 114:52-115:09

During the concluding montage of TV reports after the Rodney King clip, the theatrical version plays the song Burn by Nine Inch Nails. Interestingly, there's a brief moment at 110:25 / 115:05 where a "Yeah!" from the song coincides with Mickey opening his mouth. This can be seen in the penultimate image. In all releases of the Director's Cut on DVD and the previous Blu-rays (in Germany from Marketing, in the USA from Warner), this was replaced by a different instrumental track with tribal drum sounds. At the "Yeah!" moment, a similar exclamation was briefly mixed in. This then transitions into the song "The Future" by Leonard Cohen, which is heard identically in both versions. In the new 4K version, "Burn" is finally reintegrated in all versions and audio options.

Images for reference



Original soundtrack with "Burn" by Nine Inch Nails


Revised soundtrack