Saturday Night Fever 4K review

Nov 03, 2022- Permalink

Saturday Night Fever is an iconic film that truly transitioned John Travolta from TV sitcom star to big screen leading man. It’s an iconic film that captures the disco era and since its release so many shows and movies have paid tribute to or parodied its iconic scenes. The Bee Gees-led soundtrack was a giant hit but the movie isn’t all white suits and throbbing lights, with a darker side to the story. It’s not every day that you get a gritty dance film with amazing dramatic performances. Paramount has finally released the film on 4K for its 45th anniversary and I had a chance to take a look.

The 2160p HEVC / H.265 encoded native 4K digital transfer with Dolby Vision and HDR10 is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The video presentation reminds me of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem where he wrote “And when she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid.” The movie does have some soft focus and diffused shots and with an excellent transfer it might have made the transition. The movie is razor sharp in some scenes and in others it looks like they took the digital equivalent of sandpaper and smoothed out all the grain. Your head spins as scenes and even individual shots move from crystal clear to waxy. On the bright side, the dance scenes seems to have avoided the ugly stick and the HDR makes the colours look amazing. Black levels are deep and there’s detail in the numerous darker scenes.

On the audio side of things, you have the choice of an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack as well as French, German, Japanese and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks.. Subtitles are available for English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Norwegian, and Swedish. Oddly, the 4K has an issue with audio as well. While the 4K disc and the included Blu-ray from 2017 have the same audio track, the 4K’s is more subdued at reference sound levels.

The Saturday Night Fever 4K comes with a digital code and a copy of the 2017 Blu-ray disc which includes both the theatrical and director’s cut. The only bonus content on the 4K disc is an audio commentary by director John Badham. The Blu-ray contains the audio commentary, some featurettes looking at the production, a dance lesson and a deleted scene.

Saturday Night Fever is a classic movie with an amazing performance by John Travolta that should have received a classic 4K transfer. It’s frustrating that the video presentation swings from excellent to bad and back while the audio can sound thin. I can probably recommend it if you don’t have the 2017 Blu-ray already, but if you own that, this does not present a major upgrade. Travolta’s dancing is amazing but this 4K trips over its own feet.