Jordan Peele, the current maestro of scares, delved into the sci-fi horror genre with his latest film that now moves to the home theater 4K disc realm in Nope: Collector’s Edition (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, rated R, 1.78:1 and 2.20:1 aspect ratio, 130 minutes, $44.98).
The thriller follows a family of Hollywood horse trainers in Southwest California falling on hard times when patriarch Otis Haywood Sr. (Keith David) dies after a nickel falls from the skies and through his head.
His son Otis Jr. (Daniel Kaluuya) and daughter Emerald (Keke Palmer) look to close down the business and sell the land until an unusual phenomenon descends on the ranch in the form of a persistent UFO shaped like a sand dollar.
With dreams of a quick tabloid cash grab, they enlist the help of tech salesman Angel Torres (Brandon Perea) and savvy cinematographer Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott) to document the event.
However, after a small Western theme park’s audience disappears while viewing the phenomenon, the group ultimately realizes the carnivorous visitor must not only be chronicled but stopped.
Ultimately, viewers get a slightly scary story that explores the bond between a brother and sister with a subtext about humans’ fascination with not only extraterrestrials but the spectacle of suffering.
“Nope” never attains the horror of “Signs” or the enormity of “Independence Day,” but it offers enough twists to the genre to keep audiences entertained.
4K in action: As expected from the digital upgrade to ultra-high definition, panoramic views of the Southwest shine, led by plenty of sunsetting and dark sky moments that remain crisp enough to see the unidentified visitor streaming and dodging among the clouds from above.
The 4K enhancements really take hold when cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema goes full IMAX and offers a screen-bursting conclusion to the film as the heroes confront the alien presence in the sunlight and outdoors, while it morphs into a stunning floating jellyfish-like creature.
Equally impressive is the Dolby Atmos sound mix, capturing the subtlety of the various sounds made by the alien predator as it floats in a symphony of wind noises.
Best extras: I found nothing in the bonus content or packaging labeled “Collector’s Edition” to make it of any more substance than I would expect in a usual 4K disc release.
However, viewers will be thrilled by the almost hourlong immersive documentary that covers all aspects of the production, including narrative themes; cast reactions to the story; the blood rainstorm; working with IMAX cameras; and building the Jupiter’s Claim theme park (including a children’s train ride).
The documentary, reinforced with words from the cast and crew, also offers plenty of introspection from Mr. Peele.
Additionally, viewers get a 15-minute look at the extraterrestrial nicknamed Jean Jacket, which includes the director’s fascination with Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and Jaws”; and five minutes on the mythology of a film clip of a jockey on horseback created by the godfather of cinema, Eadweard Muybridge.
The extras round out with five deleted scenes and a perfunctory gag reel.
What might have given it a collector’s edition nod would have been the addition of an optional commentary track with Mr. Peele and his brilliant cinematographer, a trivia track or a deeper dive into humanity’s fascination with UFOs.