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The Return of Swamp Thing (1989) [4K UHD review]

The Return of Swamp Thing is set in a Louisiana swamp where Dr. Alec Holland (Dick Durock), the former human host of the Swamp Thing, has been living in isolation. Meanwhile, Anton Arcane (Louis Jourdan), a mad scientist obsessed with immortality, is on the hunt for a formula that will grant him eternal life. Arcane’s search leads him to the swamp, where he hopes to extract the secret formula from the Swamp Thing. However, Swamp Thing is not the only one protecting the swamp. The film follows the battle between Swamp Thing and Arcane, with the help of Abby Cable (Heather Locklear), a government agent sent to investigate Arcane’s activities.

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The Return of Swamp Thing was one of the first movies I rented by myself from the video store

The Return of Swamp Thing is a campy, fun, and entertaining movie that embraces its comic book roots. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and doesn’t try to be anything more than a silly superhero movie. The film is full of cheesy one-liners, over-the-top action sequences, and ridiculous plot twists, which all add to its charm.

One of the most significant contributions of The Return of Swamp Thing to early comic book movie adaptations is the way it approaches the superhero genre. The film does not shy away from its comic book origins and embraces them wholeheartedly. The bright colors, cartoonish action, and humorous tone all reflect the tone of the comics. This approach was relatively new at the time, as superhero movies tended to be darker and more serious.

The film also stands out for its portrayal of the titular character. Swamp Thing is not your typical superhero. He’s a monster who is more at home in the swamp than in the city. The film captures this aspect of the character perfectly, showing him as a creature of nature who is fiercely protective of his environment. The film also delves into Swamp Thing’s humanity, as he struggles with his feelings for Abby and his desire to regain his human form.

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Abby Cable comes off strong, but not period appropriate Alan Moore strong

Another significant contribution of The Return of Swamp Thing is its treatment of women in superhero movies. Abby Cable is a strong, independent female character who is not just there to be a love interest or a damsel in distress. She is a capable agent who holds her own against the film’s villains and is integral to the plot. Heather Locklear’s performance is fantastic, bringing a level of charm and wit to the character that elevates her beyond the typical female roles in superhero movies.

However, the film is not without its flaws. The special effects, while impressive for their time, do not hold up well today. The film’s use of practical effects is admirable, but the limitations of the technology are evident in some of the more ambitious scenes. The film also suffers from a lack of focus, with the plot meandering at times and not always clear on what it wants to accomplish.

Despite these shortcomings, The Return of Swamp Thing is a film that should be appreciated for what it is – a fun, campy superhero movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a film that embraces its comic book origins and brings to life a unique and complex character in Swamp Thing. The film’s treatment of women in superhero movies is also worth noting, as it presents a strong female character who is more than just a love interest or a plot device.

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Final thoughts on The Return of Swamp Thing

The Return of Swamp Thing is a film that deserves more recognition in the world of comic book movie adaptations. While it may not be the most technically impressive or well-structured film, it has a certain charm and nostalgia that make it enjoyable to watch. The film’s approach to the superhero genre and its portrayal of Swamp Thing as a monster of nature are significant contributions to the early comic book movie adaptations. The film’s treatment of women is also commendable, as it presents a strong and capable female character who is integral to the plot. Overall, The Return of Swamp Thing is a fun, entertaining, and unique superhero movie that should be celebrated for its contribution to the genre.

The Return of Swamp Thing (1989) [4K UHD review] 4

How does that Return of Swamp Thing 4K UHD look?

The Return of Swamp Thing has made the jump to 4K UHD with a rather loaded disc. You get an audio commentary from 2018 and 2003 presented on disc. You get new special features with produced Michael Uslan looking back on what had to be the most incredible summer for him. Plus, there’s the Rifftrax music video from the Rifftrax release.

There are more interviews, trailers, clips and even the Greenpeace PSAs that used to air on basic cable back when this movie hit theaters. It’s quite an incredible release that is rounded out by the original Promo Reel and a photo gallery set to the film’s score.

However, the A/V Quality is kinda what leaves me shaky about the film. We’re going to start seeing this more with lower budget films making their way to 4K. It’s kinda like how SOV started looking rough on Blu-ray and higher, 4K is starting to show how dark a lot of these low budget movies were shot. The DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track is strong, but it’s Blu-ray grade. As in, I think it’s the old track from the Blu-ray release.

Still, I’d recommend it to anyone that is interested.

The Return of Swamp Thing is now available in 4K UHD

Our Summary

The Return of Swamp Thing (1989) [4K UHD review]

Troy reviews his favorite Swamp Thing entry freshly available on 4K UHD.
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About The Author

Troy Anderson is the Owner/Editor-in-Chief of AndersonVision. He uses a crack team of unknown heroes to bring you the latest and greatest in Entertainment News.

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