Collateral Beauty Blu-ray Review


Ralph Potts reviews this contemporary fable about a man retreating from life after a tragedy, who questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death.

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



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



Studio and Year: Warner – 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 96 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Edward Norton, Keira Knightly, Michael Pena, Kate Winslet, Naomie Harris, Jacob Latimore
Directed by: David Frankel
Music by: Theodore Sharpiro
Written by: Alan Loeb
Region Code: A

Release Date: March 14, 2017

“Connect to the Beauty of Life”

My Take:

When a successful New York ad executive suffers a personal tragedy and retreats from life, his friends devise a drastic plan to reach him before he loses everything. Pushing him to the very edge, they force him to confront the truth in surprising and profoundly human ways.

From Oscar-winning director David Frankel and screenwriter Alan Loeb, Collateral Beauty is a contemporary fable aimed at exploring how even the deepest tragedy can reveal moments of beauty, and how the constants of love, time and loss interlock in a life fully lived. Better than I was expecting, this is an interesting take on the holiday themed, inspirational story, with a sort of magical spin. There is a fair bit of emotion that underscores the narrative as it speaks to the human condition, taking aim at some of our worst fears.

Far from a perfect film, it’s trite, fairly predictable, and the plots elements aren’t thoroughly fleshed out which hurts the establishment of a truly viable emotional connection to the proceedings. This is especially true in the case of Howard, however, as the story plays out there is a heartwarming twist (or twists), that are aided by the performances, in particular Will Smith, who in my opinion, is sorely underrated. Outside of Smith, the cast, which is filled with quality actors, don’t really get the opportunity to show off their chops, but it is fun to see them work nonetheless, especially Helen Mirren, who I could watch play any role.

Collateral Beauty isn’t destined to become a holiday classic, but I enjoyed its message and the spirit of its thematic tone. Viewing it from that perspective makes its shortcomings seem less egregious.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic elements and brief strong language.

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.**

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

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialog Reproduction:
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element):

Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

Collateral Beauty comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 36 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.

This is a gratifying high definition transfer that looks great on Blu-ray. Images are transparent with notable detail and a perceivable sense of depth. Close ups and mid-level shots are sharp and revealing of subtle nuance within facial features, clothing, and objects/backgrounds within the frame. Colors are rich as both primary and secondary hues are vivid and natural. Skin tones are vibrant and tonally divergent. Blacks are deep, gradational and quiet which enlivens them during sequences that contain both light and dark elements. Detail in uneven light and darkened environments reveals discerning shapes and structure in backgrounds. I found this to be an excellent high definition video presentation from Warner.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack yields crisp, well textured dialogue that renders even subtle variances in tonal character or vocal inflections clearly. The blend of music featured throughout the film exhibits high level detail, strident free treble and excellent soundstage presence. The audio presentation is delivered across the front soundstage with intermittent splashes of ambience through the rear channels that broaden the sound field. Surround use isn’t prevalent but atmospheric effects and occasional panning sequences create a believable listening environment that blends well with the front three channels. There isn’t a lot of bass associated with this soundtrack but the mix reproduces appropriate low frequency response in support of the recording’s elements.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) A Modern Fable: Discovering Collateral Beauty – 15 minute featurette
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Collateral Beauty is a well-meaning, contemporary fable that aims fairly high, but misses the mark. Be that as it may, I kept expectations low, and found myself enjoying it for what it was. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound and a lackluster supplemental package. Collateral Beauty isn’t destined to become a holiday classic, but still get a rental recommendation from me. Check it out on Blu-ray and see for yourself.


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
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package