The Lost City of Z Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews this true-life drama, centering on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.

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

Film:

Extras:

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

86

Details:

Studio and Year: BroadGreen Pictures – 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 140 minutes
Genre: Drama/Biopic

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Angus Macfadyen
Written & Directed by: James Gray
Music by: Christopher Spellman
Based on the Book by: David Grann
Region Code: A

Release Date: July 11, 2017

“Based on the True Story”



My Take:

The Lost City of Z tells the incredible true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization. Supported by his devoted wife (Sienna Miller), son (Tom Holland) and aide-de-camp (Robert Pattinson) — Fawcett returns time and again to his beloved jungle in search of the lost city. What he discovered became legendary.

In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle, in search of a fabled civilization. What followed became one of the greatest exploration mysteries in history. I tend to like films that tell true life stories, especially those that carry with it some historical significance. I had heard of Percy Fawcett and his search for the lost city in the Amazon, but was familiar with the details behind it.

Based on the book by David Grann, this is a story of passion, obsession, and a quest of reclaim the family honor. I have to tell you that men like Fawcett had incredible grit. Venturing deep into remote jungles inhabited by tribes of Indians that had perhaps never seen white men took courage. Not to mention facing all of the dangers, pitfalls, and potential diseases that laid in wait. At 140 minutes, the film runs a little long, but successfully portrays Fawcett, and the relationships in his life that were integral in developing and supporting what would become his life’s passion.

The first act moves slowly, but things pick up in the second, proving to be quite interesting, and ultimately compelling. I thought that Charlie Hunnam carried the ball very well in his portrayal of Percy Fawcett. Solid supporting turns by Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, and Angus Macfadyen added to the appeal of the story. The cinematography and shooting locations also lent an air of genuineness to the proceedings. The Lost City of Z is a stirring tribute to the passion and courage of the fabled explorer who refused to kowtow to the establishment who ridiculed him for his belief and adventurous spirit.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide: 

The rating is for violence, disturbing images, brief strong language and some nudity.

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: 86
(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): NA

 

Video: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

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

 

The Lost City of Z comes to Blu-ray Disc from BroadGreen Pictures featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 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 colors appear satisfying while the film maintains a sepia toned palette that works well against the drab settings featured in the story. Complexions are texturally descriptive with lifelike tonality that varies only slightly 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. This wasn’t really a problem as there were few scenes that utilized low level material where this was consistently apparent. I saw no overt signs of video anomalies or compression related artifacts and thought this appeared to be a pristine quality encoding.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack had no trouble rendering clear and well articulated dialogue. Sound effects had notable dynamic energy so that they sounded full bodied and aurally satisfying. This is not a film that requires heavy use of surround sound to deliver its message but it does rely on the entire soundstage for proper atmosphere and low frequency detail from time to time. The mix does a decent job of creating the right sounds at the right levels and placing them appropriately in the sound field’s acoustic environment. Low frequency effects are used to add solidity to sound effects and the film’s music score. I thought the presentation served the source material well and sounded fine.

Bonus Features:

  • Feature Film Commentary by Writer/Director James Gray
  • Adventure in the Jungle Featurette
  • From Novel to Screen Featurette
  • Expedition Journal

Final Thoughts:

Based on the true story of the complex and unabashedly driven adventurer Percy Fawcett, The Lost City if Z is an interesting and primarily well executed biopic/drama that pays homage to his life. It comes to Blu-ray from BroadGreen Pictures featuring solid technical merits and a fair supplemental package. The Lost City of Z is a bit of a commitment, but genre fans should find it worthwhile. Feel free to drop it in your Blu-ray rental queue.

 

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
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