By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
The Hunt for Red October
Paramount put out all four Tom Clancy movies on Blu Ray. These span 13 years of film, and all of them look good, but they look good differently.
Tom Clancy Goes HD
The Hunt for Red October is the oldest so it has the most grain. Pretty much every shot in the Russian sub is grainy and hazy, though the elements within it are still sharp (like stray strands in Connery’s beard.) The U.S. sub is totally clear and shiny, so perhaps that was the artistic intent. All the sweaty faces and silver shine brightly, and action scenes like the rainy helicopter drop are awesome with all the details interacting.
Patriot Games was shot in my hometown of Annapolis so this Blu Ray is like homecoming. I get to see aerial perspectives of Annapolis that I’d never get to see otherwise, all bright and clear. There are some soft shots of suburban areas or farmland, but it is a great view of Annapolis. Other countries like palacial Ireland and the desert of North Africa full of stomped on sand provide a nice counterpoint to.
I’m guessing Clear and Present Danger looks the same since it was the same director. I didn’t get a copy of that but it’s okay, that was my least favorite of the series anyway. More importantly, I got a sampling of each incarnation of Jack Ryan.
Being the most recent, The Sum of All Fears looks the most like a Blu Ray. Everything is sharp and clear with interesting lighting patterns. Governmental corridors are crisp. Foreign countries are dynamic and colorful. The visual effects of the bomb blast are stunning.