Blu-ray News and Reviews | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Blu-Ray : Recommended
Ranking:
Sale Price: $28.3 Last Price: $36.99 Buy now! 3rd Party 26.16 In Stock
Release Date: November 4th, 2022 Movie Release Year: 1983

Testament (1983) – Imprint Films Limited Edition

Overview -

As folks were gearing up to absorb the horrors of nuclear war on television, another story of survival snuck into theaters - Lynne Littman’s Testament. Starring an Oscar-nominated Jane Alexander with Lukas Haas and Kevin Costner, the film is an arresting but bleak look at surviving armageddon. Now on Blu-ray from Imprint films, the film scores a solid A/V presentation with some nice extra features. Recommended

TESTAMENT… TO A NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST.

There are errands to run, laundry to sort, piano lessons to tackle. But an ordinary day like any other ends abruptly with a startling TV news bulletin, followed moments later by a blinding flash. With her husband away and her three frightened children gathered around her, Carol Wetherly (Jane Alexander) must face the unthinkable – the devastating aftermath of a nuclear attack.

Director Lynne Littman’s gripping, deeply moving film garnered Alexander an Oscar nomination among a stellar cast.

Special Features and Technical Specs:

  • 1080p High-definition presentation on Blu-ray
  • NEW Audio commentary by TV Movie expert Amanda Reyes
  • NEW Audio commentary by David J Moore author of World Gone Wild: A Survivors Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies
  • Testament at 20 – featurette
  • Testament: Nuclear Thoughts – featurette
  • Timeline of the Nuclear Age
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
  • Audio English LPCM 2.0 Mono
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Limited Edition slipcase on the first 1500 copies with unique artwork

 

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Limited Edition slipcase on the first 1500 copies with unique artwork
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/AVC MPEG-4
Length:
90
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.78:1
Audio Formats:
English LPCM 2.0 Mono
Subtitles/Captions:
English
Special Features:
Theatrical Trailer
Release Date:
November 4th, 2022

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

In the sleepy San Fransisco suburb of Hamelin, The Wetherly family lives the normal lives of average Americans. Carol (Jane Alexander) keeps the home together for their three children Brad (Rossie Harris), Mary (Roxana Zal), and little Scottie (Lucas Haas) while Tom (William Devane) works in the city. It was just like any other day for the Wetherly clan, but then the television cut out to the emergency broadcast system… and the bombs started to fall. No one knows who fired the first shot, but Carol and the kids must band together with the rest of Hamelin to survive the fallout of nuclear war. 

1983 was a banner year for nuclear devastation flicks. While ABC was promoting their broadcast of The Day After with additional news commentary coverage before and after the film, a sleepy family drama covering the same scenario snuck into theaters in early November 1983. Originally produced for PBS, the film turned out so well that Paramount decided to take it to movie theaters. A more intimate and narrowly focused film, I felt this is a more emotionally wrenching experience than The Day After. Where Meyer’s story was sprawling covering many characters spread over various locations, Lynne Littman’s tragedy holds to Jane Alexander’s Carol as she does everything she can to ensure the survival of her family. As we never leave Hamelin, the intimacy of the characters makes the horrors feel more real. This film is more focused on what is happening instead of the how and why.

The film doesn’t wallow in the suffering like The Day After. We don’t endure horrific transformation makeup, we just watch as people try to hold onto a sense of normalcy and their numbers steadily dwindle. Their world has changed and is never going back. All Carol can do is hope that her husband survived and that there’s a way forward for them as a family. 

At 90 minutes, Testament is mercifully short. I honestly don’t think I could handle a film that ran any longer. While The Day After was a tough watch, Testament is more emotionally intimate with its characters making their day-to-day horrors feel more real and terrible. As a dad with a toddler, there are several moments in the film that may not be visually graphic but they’re absolutely gut-wrenching to watch. At the center of the film is Jane Alexander’s Carol. She’s our witness for much of the tragedy that unfolds giving the audience little pieces of her mind as the days stretch into weeks and months. Deservedly, she scored an Oscar nomination but lost out to Shirley MacLaine for Terms of Endearment

Far from an easy film to actually sit down and “enjoy,” it is a hell of a production. In addition to Jane Alexander and William Devane, we have an early appearance from Kevin Costner, Lukas Haas, and Rebecca De Mornay with a nice turn from Mako as mike the gas station owner. Without flashy special effects or a massive makeup budget, it’s up to these players to sell us the sadness and horror they’re enduring and the whole cast does a marvelous job. Not an easy film, but a very good one. Now, if The Day After and Testament wasn’t enough for your, hunt down a copy of Threads for the English take on surviving the nuclear holocaust. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Testament
comes home to Blu-ray for the first time thanks to Imprint Films. Their 170th title on disc, the film is pressed on a Region Free BD-50 disc. The disc is housed in a clear case with slipcase cover. The disc loads to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options.

Video Review

Ranking:

Testament comes home to a decent 1080p 1.78:1 transfer. The image has the look and feel of an older master where fine details and film grain just aren’t as sharp or as refined as a title with a more recent scan. Grain can appear a bit clumpy or gauzy at times. Fine textures do come through well enough to appreciate facial features, clothing, or the film’s production design work. Black levels can be a bit murky brown instead of true black. Colors are relatively healthy with nice primary saturation. Overall a fine enough transfer for a deep catalog title.

Audio Review

Ranking:

Testament is presented with a solid LPCM 2.0 audio track. This is mostly a dialog-fronted film so there isn’t much call for an action-packed soundscape. Channel activity is on point with sounds of rain and weather adding most of the atmosphere to the film. A busy town meeting scene in a church is the biggest and most active stretch of the film. The score by the late great James Horner is somber material and hits the mix nicely for extra emotional impact. Levels are on point without issue. 

Special Features

Ranking:

For a deep catalog title, Imprint pulls together a nice assortment of bonus features. Headlining the pack are two new audio commentaries, one featuring television movie expert Amanda Reyes and the second with author David J. Moore. Each track has something to offer about the fim’s production, release, and it’s place in TV movie history. After that are some archival featurettes that were ported over from the film’s DVD release. 

  • Audio Commentary featuring Television Movie expert Amanda Reyes
  • Audio Commentary featuring World Gone Wild: A Survivors Guide to Post-Apocaluptic Movies author David J. Moore.
  • Testament at 20 (SD 26:41)
  • Testament: Nuclear Thoughts (SD 12:34)
  • Timeline of the Nuclear Age (SD 2:39)
  • Theatrical Trailer

In that golden age of 80s nuclear proliferation, Testament hit theaters depicting the devastating horrors of surviving the bomb. Focusing strictly on a single-family unit in small-town America, director Lynn Littman pulls a range of performances from a terrific cast. Now on Blu-ray from Imprint Films, Testament comes home to a satisfying A/V presentation and a nice collection of bonus features to pick through. Recommended