The Doors – 4K UHD Review

The Doors is a 1991 American biographical film that is about the 1960’s and 1970’s rock band of the same name which emphasizes the life of its lead singer, Jim Morrison. It was directed by Oliver Stone and stars Val Kilmer as Morrison and Meg Ryan as Pamela Courson (Morrison’s companion). The film features Kyle MacLachlan as Ray Manzarek, Frank Whaley as Robby Kreiger, Kevin Dillon as John Densmore, and Kathleen Quinlan as Patricia Kennealy.

The film opens during the recording of Jim’s An American Prayer and quickly moves into a childhood memory of his family driving along a desert highway in 1949, where a young Jim sees an elderly Native American dying by the roadside. In 1965, Morrison arrives to California and he is assimilated into the Venice Beach culture. During his tenure studying at UCLA, he meets his future gilrfriend, Pamela Courson, and meets Ray Manzarek for the very first time, as well as Robby Kreiger and John Densmore; who would eventually found The Doors.

The film portrays Morrison as the larger-than-life icon of 1960’s rock and roll, counterculture, and the drug-using free love hippie lifestyle. But the depiction goes far beyond the iconic, including his alcoholism, his interest in hallucinogenic drugs as entheogens, and, particularly, his growing obsession with death are threads that weave in and out of the film. The film was not well received by his bandmates, close friends, and family, due to its depiction of Morrison.

In April 2019., a restored version of the film was selected to be shown in the Cannes Classics section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

The Film Itself (3.5/5):

The Doors is a film that isn’t going to be appealing to everybody. While it takes more of an artistic approach in delivering the stories and experiences of Morrison in his earlier days, the pacing of the storyline does feel as if it’s dragging on at times, and ultimately had me welcoming the occasional distraction so I could get up and re-gather myself before resuming onward. The story as a whole is interesting, and pretty detailed. The musical performances were on par with what I personally expected (but I will admit that I’m not much of a fan of The Doors’ music).

Picture Quality (5/5):

Made available in a 2.35:1 visual presentation courtesy of Lionsgate Films, The Doors gives its viewers a considerably soft and visually pleasing experience as you follow along the life of Jim Morrison. Giving a variety of relaxation feelings to some even being slightly “hazy” per-se when he was under the influence of some illicit substance, the entire experience as a whole was really well executed with this release. The utilization of HDR throughout made the presentation feel very similar to what it was like when I’d previously seen this movie, except with much more definition to those scenic shots and a crisper presentation of his life and making a few things that had previously gone unnoticed be much more noticeable in this release.

Audio Quality (5/5):

The new 4K UHD release of The Doors packs one heck of an impeccable presentation that actually features the attention to detail from those that were the original sound editors of the film. The presentation is incredibly dynamic, and the transitions in between the channels were extremely effortless, and most noticeable during the musical performances. The dialogue is spoken clearly, and the characters are able to be heard and understood without any issues whatsoever during the variety of ranges that were used in the movie.

The Packaging (3.5/5):

The 4K UHD release of The Doors comes packaged in the standard two-disc UHD amaray case.  In that case, the UHD and Blu-ray copies of the movie, both discs featuring a piece of artwork that matches that of the case, while the Blu-ray has a variation of that artwork.  There is a digital copy redemption pamphlet that’s been included, as well as a slipcover that’s been made available during the initial pressing of the release that features the same artwork as the case.

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Special Features (4/5):

The 4K UHD release of The Doors is unlike most standard 4K releases as it actually includes some special features on the included UHD disc. The content that’s been made available across both of the discs features a continued look at the band’s story, the work and promotional material that accommodated the original release of this film, and overall was a pretty fun exploration to sit down to last night. Included with this release is:

  • 4K UHD
    • New Interview with Director Oliver Stone
    • New Interview with Lon Bender, Mixer for the new Dolby Atmos track
    • Optional Feature Audio Commentary with Director Oliver Stone (Theatrical Cut)
  • Blu-ray
    • Optional Feature Audio Commentary with Director Oliver Stone
    • The Doors in L.A.
    • Jim Morrison: A Poet in Paris
    • The Road to Excess
    • Original Featurette
    • Deleted Scenes
    • Original Theatrical Trailer & Television Spots

Technical Specs:

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

English: Dolby Atmos

English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Subtitles

English, English SDH, Spanish

Runtime

1 Movie, 2 Cuts — 141 Minutes

Final Thoughts:

Generally speaking, The Doors is a movie that I personally wouldn’t rank at the top of any of my personal lists. That doesn’t negate the general interest factor or the phenomenal performances from those involved. The audio and video presentation of the 4K UHD release was pretty jaw dropping, and the special features were a really nice touch with this release. If you’re considering picking this movie up for your collection, I would without a doubt recommend grabbing the 4K UHD release.

Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.