Time for Travel
There are two things wrong with The Grand Tour. One are costumes in the third act that look as if pulled from a schlocky 1950s space movie, even though Grand Tour released in 1991. And second is a soft ending for a movie with a concept that demands something more aggressive.
But that’s it. Grand Tour is otherwise a perfect sci-fi time travel movie, and one of the best executions of the concept ever made.
Grand Tour didn’t find an audience in 1991. The why is unknown, yet it’s on equal terms with Back to Future, minus the pop cinema humor. Maybe it’s better this way as Grand Tour is at its greatest when discovered blind, when back then a video store had it on the shelves and the starring duo of Jeff Daniels and Jurassic Park’s Ariana Richards. Now, it’s a random find on a streaming service, yet the effect is entirely the same – a stunning surprise, a captivating mystery, and genius core idea that deals in grief, remorse, and parenthood.
Daniels plays his part as a single dad to Richards genuinely, going all-in on the sci-fi trappings that, for the first act, remain hidden. Grand Tour plays like an odd family mystery with weird characters in a small no-name town dripping in vintage Americana style. It’s so simple, disrupted only by past tragedy, and then the travelers who appears without introduction.
Modern movies lack the patience to build like The Grand Tour does. There’s a persistent rush in narrative flow today that wasn’t evident in the preceding decades. Grand Tour becomes a beneficiary of this tactic, creating an air of unknown, even slight unease, until the story reaches a truly grand crescendo, then keeps going.
Subtle visual effects spectacle, engaging drama, stellar performances – on paper, Grand Tour deserves blockbuster (or even classic) status. Director David Twohy, just two years removed from Critters 2, just before The Arrival, and his breakout hit The Fugitive squeezed this masterwork out unnoticed. That’s a tragedy in the film-sphere. Thirty years on, Grand Tour needs recognition.
Unearthed, uh, “unearths” Grand Tour for this Blu-ray with pleasing results. The film stock shows reasonable, thick grain, which isn’t enough to dampen the sharpness or detail. This isn’t a revelatory transfer, but it’s a crisp, stable image, bringing only mild damage/dirt with it through the years (a clean-up pass wouldn’t hurt though). Hazier cinematography doesn’t help the digital process, so credit to the encode for holding out.
Densely saturated color shows excellent, natural reproduction. Flesh tones stick the landing, and environments pick up greens, reds, and other hues. It’s satisfying.
Black levels near their deepest levels, creating the dimension and depth expected. Shadows perform consistently alongside the hefty contrast. Grand Tour excels in this department, and in that regard, everywhere else too.
Wide stereo PCM stretches the soundstage constantly, whether it’s a voice off screen, a door closing, or anything else for that matter. Music fills the two available speakers to give things a dynamic, bold presentation.
It’s a little dated in fidelity terms, the dialog worn a little and the range pinched. That’s par to expectations and no better, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with this track.
Alternate credits and galleries are it, unfortunately.
Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.
The Grand Tour
An expertly conceived, lower budget time travel story, The Grand Tour ranks among the sub-genre’s best.
User Review( vote)
The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 40 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: