Baby Driver Ultra HD Review

Ralph Potts reviews this fast-paced and stylish thriller from writer director Edgar Wright that stars Ansel Elgort as a young getaway driver who steers to the beat of his own playlist.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

92

Details:

Studio and Year: Sony Pictures – 2017
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 112 minutes
Genre: Thriller/Action

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC @ 4000 NITS
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), English, French, German Portuguese DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio (Blu-ray), Hungarian, Spanish, Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, French, Czech, Romanian, Dutch, Arabic, German, Greek Portuguese
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Lily James, Elza Gonzalez
Written & Directed by: Edgar Wright
Music by: Steven Price
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: October 10, 2017

“All You Need is One Killer Track”



My Take:

Baby – a talented, young getaway driver – relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. When he meets the girl of his dreams, Deborah, Baby sees a chance to ditch his criminal life, and make a clean getaway. But after being coerced into working for a crime boss, he must face the music when a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom.

I didn’t get the chance to see Baby Driver in the theater, despite hearing nothing but praise from that did. I opted to wait for it to come to home video, hoping the wait would be worth it, and it was. Writer/Director Edgard Wright gets right to the heart of the matter, thrills. Reinforced by a terrific selection of songs, Baby Driver is an adrenaline-fueled film that doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but harnesses its energy with well-shaped archetypes that revolve around the primary character, Baby, played to near perfection by Ansel Elgort, who seizes each moment in his steely portrayal. The supporting players in Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Elza Gonzalez handle their respective duties with aplomb. Lily James is turning up in more and more films which I am pleased about. Not only is she easy on the eyes, but she can act. I thought that she and Elgort had excellent onscreen chemistry here.

The production elements, stunts, and stunt driving are simply top notch, proving to be as necessary an element as the members of the cast. Baby Driver isn’t a deep film, and doesn’t proport to be. It makes no excuses, reaches out to the audience on a visceral level, and provides full throttle entertainment. I watched it with my wife and we had a blast.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence and language throughout.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 84
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
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Dolby Atmos Rating: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
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Ultra HD Blu-ray has finally been released and eager enthusiasts are ready and willing to see what it has to offer. For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Baby Driver comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 52 Mbps and lossless Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) sound that has an average bitrate of 4.3 Mbps.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Baby Driver (shot on film) was finished at a 2K Digital Intermediate. From a cinematic perspective, this film was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind and that comes through in this presentation. The Ultra HD presentation bests the 1080p version in every respect. Baby Driver is an especially colorful film. Other than several well-chosen moments where sepia tones and softer chromatic variants are used, the film makes for especially eye-catching levels of color. The sequence where Deborah and Baby are at the laundromat is a great example as the depth of the colorful clothing items tumbling around in the dryers is appreciably vivid. This was essentially the case throughout as the presentations variety of earth toned and primary colors benefited from UHD’s wider color gamut. Resolution gets a minor boost as well, although I didn’t find the video to be razor sharp. Close-ups tend to offer improved refinement and deeper resolvable texture, while wide-angle shots revealed enough detail and dimension to be gratifying.

There is intermittent use of visual elements that utilize high dynamic range. I wasn’t especially impressed with its application. There were instances where bright elements looked vibrant, but not as lifelike as I have seen. Low level sequences had excellent depth of field and emboldened contrast, while slightly obscuring the finest detail in backgrounds. All in all, I think that Baby Driver benefitted from the Ultra HD treatment. It doesn’t compare to the best presentations that I have seen from the format however, it easily trumps the Blu-ray rendering.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that makes steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics, discrete effects and music accompaniment. This is done to excellent effect, creating a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen in an involving and sometime visceral fashion. The opening segment features a robbery/chase that sets the stage for what is to come, as the plethora of head turning effects bring the entire system platform to life. It only gets better later the various sequences featuring fast vehicles, and encounters with the police contain a host of swirling effects, near field pans, pulsating music and ambient extension that rotate around the soundstage, shifting overhead, passing by at ear level and coming directly at the listening position.

It’s not just the action that sounds great either. There instances where characters on camera walk into or out of the frame, seemingly moving through the room. I love how the film’s music track is presented via the sound object based platform. On several occasions while watching, I found myself saying aloud (with a smile on my face) this mix sounds great. This is among those entertaining Dolby Atmos presentations that brings everything together in a resplendent blend of room traversing, and well-balanced sound that shows what this format is capable of.

I enjoyed the 5.1 channel track on the Blu-ray, however this Dolby Atmos immersive experience took it to the next level. Period.

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 82
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
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  • Compression: 

Audio: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
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  • Surround Sound presentation: 
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  • Dialog Reproduction: 

Baby Driver comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.

This video presentation offers little in the way of high Gloss, razor sharp imagery, but it seems to represent the film’s elements well. Primary, and secondary colors appear satisfying working well against the settings featured in the story. Complexions are texturally descriptive with lifelike tonality that varies among the cast. Resolution is very good although the film’s inherently softer elements leave some wide-angle shots with smoother lines and average delineation. Close ups and mid-level shots are more revealing of the resolvable detail that draws out subtle textures in the people and objects within the frame. Contrast is on the money and blacks are stable but not overly dynamic in appearance. Other than a few instances where low level noise was visible against dark backgrounds, I saw no distracting signs of video anomalies or compression related artifacts.

Incorporating elements of suspense and action, a film like this relies heavily on its soundtrack to elicit the intended effect upon the audience, and this DTS-HD Master Audio does just that. This is a fairly aggressive surround sound mix that features an array of well-placed sound effects that engage the listening position. The room is illuminated with an array of sounds that are both directional and ambient in nature. I appreciated the attention to detail that went into creating the surround mix as it effectively replicates the environments featured in the film. Bass reproduction is clean and hard hitting as it accentuates the audio’s excellent dynamic range with palpable impact. Dialog intelligibility is never a problem even during the film’s active moments. This is a great surround sound experience that made this film a bit more enjoyable.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Baby Driver Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Disc 2: Baby Driver Blu-ray
    •Extended/Deleted Scenes – 20 minutes of extended scenes and a few moments that were dropped from the final cut.
    •Mozart In A Go-Kart: Ansel Drives – Ride shotgun with star Ansel Elgort as he works with the talented stunt drivers to become the ultimate getaway driver.
    •I Need A Killer Track: The Music – Explore how the film’s phenomenal soundtrack dictated both the writing process and all aspects of production on Baby Driver.
    •That’s My Baby: Edgar Wright – Follow Edgar Wright’s vision of Baby Driver from its inception two decades ago, to its ultimate realization on the big screen.
    •Meet Your New Crew: Doc’s Gang – Led by powerhouse Kevin Spacey, the cast assembled to form Doc’s gang is perfectly constructed with stars like Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm as well as up and coming talent like Eiza González and Jon Bernthal. Go behind the scenes to see this talented group at work as they bring these characters to life.
    •Find Something Funky On There: The Choreography – With every frame of Baby Driver set to a specific beat it took precise choreography by the cast, crew and editors to create a cinematic dance like nothing that’s been done before. Hear from the choreographer and filmmakers on this groundbreaking process.
    •Devil Behind The Wheel: The Car Chases – From closing down Atlanta’s interstates to creating eyepopping maneuvers for a variety of vehicles, witness the amazing craftsmanship and sheer determination that made the film’s incredible car chases possible.
    •Animatics – Check out over 35 minutes of the numerous pre-vis animatics developed by Edgar Wright as part of his meticulous preparation.
    •Ansel Elgort Audition – See firsthand the audition that proved without a doubt that Ansel Elgort was the perfect choice for Baby.
    •Annotated Coffee Run Rehearsal – Day one of production involved one of the film’s most elaborately choreographed sequences where every movement is carefully crafted. Check out the preliminary rehearsal and see the behind the scenes movement in concert with Ansel Elgort’s on camera choreography.
    •Hair, Make Up & Costume Tests – In this stylized montage, witness the transformation of the actors through costume, hair and make-up tests.
    •Mint Royale – “Blue Song” Music Video – This music video directed by Edgar years ago for the band Mint Royale showcases some early inspiration for Baby Driver.
    •Complete Storyboard Gallery – See the elaborate storyboards developed for the film in this gallery featuring storyboards for the entire film.
    •Director Commentary
    •Filmmaker Commentary (Edgar Wright and Director of Photography Bill Pope)
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Written/Directed by Edgar Wright Baby Driver adheres to a formula that is blended with all the right ingredients, resulting in a highly entertaining action/thriller. It comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in this Ultra HD Combo Pack that enhances the image quality while invigorating the listening experience with a noteworthy Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix. Also included is a fan friendly assortment of extra that are worth exploring. Baby Driver is definitely worth considering as a blind purchase on Ultra HD Blu-ray/Blu-ray, despite any technical shortcomings. It’s lots of fun!

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems