Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials in Dolby Vision HDR and Atmos Sound - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Movies, Concerts, and Music Discussion > Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials in Dolby Vision HDR and Atmos Sound
Scott Wilkinson's Avatar Scott Wilkinson 01:09 PM 09-23-2015
When the AMC Burbank 16 Dolby Cinema at Prime auditorium recently closed for the construction of a new video-wall entrance that is part of the Dolby Cinema experience, I was bummed. No one at the theater could give me a good estimate of when the auditorium would be reopened, and a new slate of movies graded in Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) had been announced around the same time—see my story about them here. I knew I would miss seeing some of the new titles in that format, since the Burbank 16 room is currently the only Dolby Cinema location in Los Angeles. (The El Capitan in Hollywood has Dolby Vision projectors and Atmos sound, but that theater is owned by Disney, and it usually shows Disney titles.)



I did miss seeing The Perfect Guy in HDR, but I was surprised that the theater was opened last weekend to show Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials in Dolby Vision HDR and Atmos sound, so I bought a ticket and headed over there. When I arrived, the construction was not complete—ah, the smell of sawdust!—but AMC had opened the theater anyway, at least for this movie, which is supposed to be a real blockbuster.

A blockbuster it might be, but this is definitely NOT my kind of movie—yet another zombie-apocalypse story with nothing but running, fighting, more running, and more fighting, with twin threats from the evil WCKD (as uninspired a name as unobtainium in Avatar) and those pesky zombies. Plus, you really need to have seen Maze Runner to understand all the references to the first installment—not that it mattered much to me, since I couldn't have cared less for the characters or plot.

I was there to study the HDR, and for the most part, it was spectacular. In fact, it seems this movie was made with HDR in mind from the get-go. In several scenes, the main characters are exploring an unlit interior with flashlights, and the areas beyond the light beams were super-dark, yet they still had some visible detail. The brightness of the flashlights and daylight scenes—including one with the sun directly in the shot—was certainly higher than it would be in standard dynamic range, and the black level was definitely lower, making the image really pop.

There are several moments when the image fades or cuts to a full-screen black field, which literally disappeared rather than being a dark gray. However, there was a problem here—during these full-black fields, I noticed a sharply defined, slightly lighter band along the top 10% of the active image area, which disappeared when there was almost anything else on the screen. I looked around to see if there was any light source impinging on the screen, but I couldn't find one. Even stranger, this lighter band did not appear in the final black interstitial before the end credits. I find it hard to believe the band is in the image itself, but its absence in that last moment before the credits makes me wonder.

As for the Atmos soundtrack, it was quite impressive, with lots of helicopters and other objects flying around the room. The music was effectively mixed into the entire immersive soundfield as well. Unfortunately, my SPL app did not seem to be working correctly—it reported an Leq (average sound level over the entire movie plus trailers) of only 83.4 dBC, and I'm sure it was higher than that. As I expected for such a movie, it was very loud.

The only problem with the soundtrack was dialog intelligibility, especially the male voices, which sounded bloated and muddy. I don't know if this was in the DCP (digital-cinema package, the file delivered to the theater from the studio) or a problem with the theater's sound system. I thought it might be a result of the construction—maybe a worker bumped into something, knocking it out of alignment. I had the same thought about the lighter band at the top of the full-black fields, but I don't really know.

If you're a fan of Maze Runner—or zombie-apocalypse stories in general—you'll probably enjoy The Scorch Trials, though I recommend watching the first installment before seeing this one. And if you happen to live near a Dolby Cinema location—of which there are now eight in the US and two in Europe; for a complete list, click here—I definitely recommend seeing it there. Hopefully, other locations don't have the problems I experienced in Burbank; if not, it's sure to be a stunning presentation.

Phrehdd's Avatar Phrehdd 02:03 PM 09-23-2015
Scott, thanks for the heads up. The first Maze Runner movie is about the youth and their struggles and not knowing the what and why of their present situation until one kid comes along and challenges it. I'll not say more so as no spoiler here.

I admit I am not a zombie movie fan either (other than enjoyed "Warm Bodies" as a rental). However, I did see Maze I, so Maze II is in order for me.

When this comes to disc, I eagerly await Ralph's review. In the meanwhile, thanks again as said - for the heads up on the movie and audio visual experience respectively.
psychdoc's Avatar psychdoc 02:54 PM 09-23-2015
As always, good work Scott.
Franin's Avatar Franin 03:25 PM 09-23-2015
I'm hoping to go and see this one soon
skoolpsyk's Avatar skoolpsyk 03:48 PM 09-23-2015
I've been checking here frequently for your latest review!

Keep up the great work Scott!
ZippZopp's Avatar ZippZopp 06:35 PM 09-23-2015
nice write up.
I saw the movie there last weekend as well and was impressed with HDR. it was my first experience with it.

There were certain shots that had great visual impact. the opening shot where the main character is riding an elevator up had great impact as the open elevator went past many bright light sources. there was a great sensation of my irises opening up to let light in and then quickly trying to contract as a bright light hit the screen. the lightning/storm sequence as well was great, as it felt like the lightning really had a higher level of brightness.

interestingly too, near the end of the film it cuts from a dark interior to a black screen and then the next shot is bright daylight. my wife actually turned her head away briefly and put her hand up in front of her face because of stark transition from dark to light....Very cool!

overall very cool experience and I'm itching to get an HDR tv now.

i did notice as well the odd light colored band at the top of the screen and I couldn't figure out what was causing that. it didn't detract from the experience but it was odd to see it there
LowellG's Avatar LowellG 06:45 PM 09-23-2015
My best theater offers it with the choice of Laser and Atmos or the Barco Escape Experience. Not sure what that is.
Shift's Avatar Shift 07:19 PM 09-23-2015
Daughter and I went to see this @ out local Theater and I enjoyed this film and patiently waiting for the bluray release. Hearing this track at the theater, I know I will be in for a treat when its arrives from Amazon on my doorstep.
Scott Wilkinson's Avatar Scott Wilkinson 07:42 PM 09-23-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by LowellG View Post
My best theater offers it with the choice of Laser and Atmos or the Barco Escape Experience. Not sure what that is.
I normally wouldn't go see this movie again, but if I could find a venue playing it in Barco Escape, I would. Are you in Los Angeles? If so, where is it playing in Barco Escape? I know it must be a Cinemark XD theater, of which there are several in LA, but an online search did not reveal exactly where the Barco Escape presentation is.

For those who are not familiar with it, Barco Escape adds screens on the sides of the auditorium, and the image extends onto them from the front screen, creating wrap-around visuals by using multiple projectors. Talk about immersion! As far as I know, it's not HDR, but it's an interesting idea that I'd love to experience for myself.

From what I've read, only about 20 minutes of the movie includes the side images, and I don't know if it's a contiguous 20 minutes or multiple shorter segments that add up to a total of 20 minutes. I would guess it's used during the sweeping panoramas of the dystopian landscape.
LowellG's Avatar LowellG 07:46 PM 09-23-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
I normally wouldn't go see this movie again, but if I could find a venue playing it in Barco Escape, I would. Are you in Los Angeles? If so, where is it playing in Barco Escape? I know it must be a Cinemark XD theater, of which there are several in LA, but an online search did not reveal exactly where the Barco Escape presentation is.

For those who are not familiar with it, Barco Escape adds screens on the sides of the auditorium, and the image extends onto them from the front screen, creating wrap-around visuals by using multiple projectors. Talk about immersion! As far as I know, it's not HDR, but it's an interesting idea that I'd love to experience for myself.

From what I've read, only about 20 minutes of the movie includes the side images, and I don't know if it's a contiguous 20 minutes or multiple shorter segments that add up to a total of 20 minutes. I would guess it's used during the sweeping panoramas of the dystopian landscape.
Sorry, I used to live in LA and it's not there. :-) It's called the Santikos Palladium Theater in San Antonio TX. I think I will watch Maze Runner in my HT and then watch the Scorch Trials in both versions over the next couple of weeks.

Thanks,
Franin's Avatar Franin 07:48 PM 09-23-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shift View Post
Daughter and I went to see this @ out local Theater and I enjoyed this film and patiently waiting for the bluray release. Hearing this track at the theater, I know I will be in for a treat when its arrives from Amazon on my doorstep.
That's awesome Shift. I want too take my daughter as well. So hopefully everything goes right and I'll be there.
Shift's Avatar Shift 08:10 PM 09-23-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post
That's awesome Shift. I want too take my daughter as well. So hopefully everything goes right and I'll be there.
There is some scary moments which depends on how you take some violence. Example:
Spoiler!
.

My daughter is 12 so she can take that kinda hack . Movie does have some scares also. They upped the violence on this compared to part I. Just a heads up buddy.
Franin's Avatar Franin 09:22 PM 09-23-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shift View Post
There is some scary moments which depends on how you take some violence. Example:
Spoiler!
.



My daughter is 12 so she can take that kinda hack . Movie does have some scares also. They upped the violence on this compared to part I. Just a heads up buddy.

Thanks for that. My daughter is also 12 so I told her about the zombies but she's excited and insisting. Thanks for the heads up


Frank
Archaea's Avatar Archaea 05:59 AM 09-24-2015
First Maze Runner movie was pretty bad IMO. Concept was interesting, I thought it a bit poor implementation - much like the original Hunger Game movie (I loved the books), (second Hunger Games movie was better IMO). There are some things not worth watching just for great audio and video. Jupiter Ascending being a recent example. Some of the enthusiasts said watch it, if only for the great video and sound. The Jupiter Ascending movie was terrible and not worth a watch even for the admittedly absolutely excellent sound, IMO.
Jacob305's Avatar Jacob305 06:06 AM 09-24-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by LowellG View Post
My best theater offers it with the choice of Laser and Atmos or the Barco Escape Experience. Not sure what that is.
I saw the maze runner 2 in barco escape last week.. its a new format where it has 3 screens so you see more of the movie.
here is a link for it.
http://www.ready2escape.com/

here are my thoughts on the barco escape.

I enjoyed the experience over all.. your crew was on top of everything.. Nate was kind enough to give me a pass to check out the new barco escape at your theatre. I asked Katie about where to sit. she said somewhere in the middle. I sat in the middle and could still see all 3 screens at once.

I recently got a projector and I can do 2.4 on it. it was not much different then the projector. where the ads and trailers were in 1.85 or 2.4 etc etc. the intro and the music video were interesting. the video seem a bit too long. cut about half of it and they audience still gets it.

if there was ever a home version of barco. I would say that projector would be the best way to go. it would still be smaller then the theater. Its probably more possible with a projector then a regular tv.. you need a good 70+ screen size.

over all I think it has potential for greatness. I think the different angles work better for sports, documentaries and concerts. more so then regular film.. it makes it a bit too busy like on the level of a Michael bay movie. slow that part down.

the 20 minutes were okay. the day scenes were fine.. the dark night sand scenes were hard to see at times.

when talking with someone else after the show. he said it should be throughout the film. I agree with that statement. I know its only the second film.

do you remember the dance contest in the original 1978 grease movie.. a scene like that would be perfect for barco escape.

presentation wise for the barco was excellent. no lights on the side of the screen when it was blank.. sound was fine, except when the air conditioning was going on.. they turned that down enough to not freeze the room.
Jacob305's Avatar Jacob305 06:09 AM 09-24-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
I normally wouldn't go see this movie again, but if I could find a venue playing it in Barco Escape, I would. Are you in Los Angeles? If so, where is it playing in Barco Escape? I know it must be a Cinemark XD theater, of which there are several in LA, but an online search did not reveal exactly where the Barco Escape presentation is.

For those who are not familiar with it, Barco Escape adds screens on the sides of the auditorium, and the image extends onto them from the front screen, creating wrap-around visuals by using multiple projectors. Talk about immersion! As far as I know, it's not HDR, but it's an interesting idea that I'd love to experience for myself.

From what I've read, only about 20 minutes of the movie includes the side images, and I don't know if it's a contiguous 20 minutes or multiple shorter segments that add up to a total of 20 minutes. I would guess it's used during the sweeping panoramas of the dystopian landscape.
here is the link for the barco from cinemark theatres. there is one in LA.

http://www.cinemark.com/barco-escape...ze-runner.aspx
nickbuol's Avatar nickbuol 06:14 AM 09-24-2015
As usual, nice write up Scott.

I saw this while traveling last week for work. I was at a Cinemark in Aurora, CO that had Barco's Auro and honestly was fairly disappointed with the sound. Not that it sounded bad, but it just didn't have much height effect or immersive feel to it compared to Atmos movies that I have experienced.
ray0414's Avatar ray0414 10:13 AM 09-24-2015
When the hdr 4k disc comes out you can also do a quick comparison to how the hdr home theater version compares to the dolby theater version as well. Curious how dolby will compare to the standard hdr version. Is it a matter of different highlights or does it have completely different colors?
Scott Wilkinson's Avatar Scott Wilkinson 02:29 PM 09-24-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob305 View Post
here is the link for the barco from cinemark theatres. there is one in LA.

http://www.cinemark.com/barco-escape...ze-runner.aspx
So there is; thanks for the link!
Scott Wilkinson's Avatar Scott Wilkinson 04:01 PM 09-24-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by ray0414 View Post
When the hdr 4k disc comes out you can also do a quick comparison to how the hdr home theater version compares to the dolby theater version as well. Curious how dolby will compare to the standard hdr version. Is it a matter of different highlights or does it have completely different colors?
Unfortunately, it will be extremely difficult to do such a comparison, since the Ultra HD Blu-ray will probably be released some time next year, long after its theatrical run, and as we know, relying on memory for such things is not very reliable. It will be somewhat different, I'm sure, but I don't know exactly how. I suspect the colors will be much the same using the same P3 color gamut, and the peak brightness will be greater on Blu-ray than in the commercial cinema.
Jacob305's Avatar Jacob305 04:30 PM 09-24-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by LowellG View Post
My best theater offers it with the choice of Laser and Atmos or the Barco Escape Experience. Not sure what that is.
I saw at the Folsom theater in Sacramento.. this is exclusive to the Sacramento area. Barco escape is also playing in Fremont and Santa Rosa. there are no theaters yet for back east like new York.

http://www.cinemawest.com/location?house_id=22405

Jacob
GaryArthur's Avatar GaryArthur 06:37 AM 09-25-2015
I saw it last night in the Burbank AMC 16 theater 14. Awesome theater. Love their business class seats. I have been going there since it was built in the mid 90's. Yes they are always upgrading. That keeps me coming back. The speaker arrays are very impressive and for my money this is the best Dolby Atmos that I have heard. I am currently building an Atmos/Auro 3D/DTS:X theater in my Las Vegas home and I am putting a mini version of this speaker arrangement.


The thunder and lightning scene was worth the price of admission. The sparks in HDR were simply fantastic. I saw Maze Runner I and would not have gone to Maze Runner II without the push from Scatt's review. Too bad the movie was dreadful because I would like see this level of HDR again.
oink's Avatar oink 08:32 AM 09-25-2015
I was surprised I enjoyed the first movie as much as I did.
Not sure if I would go to the cinemaplex to see the sequel, unless I could see an HDR and Atmos presentation.
AFAIK, there isn't a theater nearby that qualifies.
Scott Wilkinson's Avatar Scott Wilkinson 11:19 AM 09-25-2015
Last night, I braved Los Angeles rush hour traffic to go see The Scorch Trials in Barco Escape at the Cinemark near LAX...and the system wasn't working! Grrrr! At least I realized there was a problem right away; before the movie started, there was a Barco Escape demo reel that did not utilize the side screens, so I knew something was amiss, and I didn't waste more time watching the movie again without the Escape effect. I'll try again next week, but I'll call the theater first to make sure the problem is fixed before driving all the way down there!
Dutchie# 12:22 PM 09-25-2015
Nice review Did you watch it in 2D or 3D? I read that most Dolby Cinema's probably can't do 3D and HDR at the same time.
I'm in the Netherlands, so I'm lucky enough to have 2 Dolby Cinema equipped theaters in my country. But both only show the 3D version, incl all smaller auditoriums. Usually 3D blockbusters are all shown in 3D in the largest auditoriums of all the cinema's, and then they usually have a 2D screening in one of the smallest.
Scott Wilkinson's Avatar Scott Wilkinson 11:00 AM 09-27-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchie# View Post
Nice review Did you watch it in 2D or 3D? I read that most Dolby Cinema's probably can't do 3D and HDR at the same time.
I'm in the Netherlands, so I'm lucky enough to have 2 Dolby Cinema equipped theaters in my country. But both only show the 3D version, incl all smaller auditoriums. Usually 3D blockbusters are all shown in 3D in the largest auditoriums of all the cinema's, and then they usually have a 2D screening in one of the smallest.
I saw it in 2D. Interestingly, Dolby Cinemas have the capability of doing 3D using 6P (6-primary) technology—that is, two slightly offset sets of red, green, and blue along with spectrum-separation glasses that let one set of RGB reach the left eye and the other set of RGB reach the right eye. But for some reason I don't yet understand, the Dolby Cinema presentations I've attended have all been in 2D. Not that I mind; I don't like this type of 3D, because of the internal reflections between the inner surface of the 3D glasses and the outer surface of my prescription glasses, which cause distracting halos at the periphery of my vision. On the other hand, I'm interested in seeing HDR and 3D used together.

So the Dolby Cinemas in the Netherlands show movies in 3D and HDR? Have you seen movies like this? If so, what are your impressions?
fookoo_2010's Avatar fookoo_2010 01:07 PM 09-27-2015
Scott,

Suggest that you get over to AMC Burbank 16 to see Everest which is in the Dolby Cinema theater and is in Dolby Atmos and Dolby HDR. The avalanche stuff with the overhead speakers sounds pretty good. Not that I think the movie is great, because it isn't, but you want to see all the Dolby Cinema stuff. The Martian is sure to replace it 10/2.
skoolpsyk's Avatar skoolpsyk 04:25 PM 09-27-2015
To anyone that's been to the Burbank Dolby Vision theater,

which row do you prefer? If I end up going I'll have to buy my tickets ahead of time, without ever having seen the theater.

just wondering if there were any opinions one way or the other. thanks!
fookoo_2010's Avatar fookoo_2010 07:28 PM 09-27-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by skoolpsyk View Post
To anyone that's been to the Burbank Dolby Vision theater,

which row do you prefer? If I end up going I'll have to buy my tickets ahead of time, without ever having seen the theater.

just wondering if there were any opinions one way or the other. thanks!
Row F or G. Dead center should be seat 14.
Dutchie# 11:33 AM 09-28-2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
I saw it in 2D. Interestingly, Dolby Cinemas have the capability of doing 3D using 6P (6-primary) technology—that is, two slightly offset sets of red, green, and blue along with spectrum-separation glasses that let one set of RGB reach the left eye and the other set of RGB reach the right eye. But for some reason I don't yet understand, the Dolby Cinema presentations I've attended have all been in 2D. Not that I mind; I don't like this type of 3D, because of the internal reflections between the inner surface of the 3D glasses and the outer surface of my prescription glasses, which cause distracting halos at the periphery of my vision. On the other hand, I'm interested in seeing HDR and 3D used together.

So the Dolby Cinemas in the Netherlands show movies in 3D and HDR? Have you seen movies like this? If so, what are your impressions?
I'm not sure if they can do it both, they're not open about it. Their first theater with a Dolby Cinema was a completely new theater that opened last December, it already had the Dolby Cinema auditorium from the start. It was already up to standards incl. seats, layout, Atmos sound, hallway with projection, however they didn't have the Dolby Vision capable laser projectors from Christie yet, they only got those about 3 months ago.
Their website just states "3D Dolby Cinema" or "2D Dolby Cinema" next to a title when it is being screened in the Dolby Cinema auditorium. This was already the case with the old projectors and now still includes titles without Dolby Vision.
Since they installed the Christie projectors, I have only seen one Dolby Vision title there; M:I Rogue Nation, which was 2D. I haven't seen the SDR version so it's hard to give an objective opinion, and the fact that M:I doesn't really use the potential of HDR makes it more difficult. It was a very nice image but I have to say I expected more from the HDR, if I didn't know it was a Dolby Vision title, I probably wouldn't have noticed it without seeing the SDR version as well.
Tags: atmos , dolby vision , hdr
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