Passengers 3D Blu-ray Review

passengers

Ralph Potts reviews this sci-fi adventure, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, that tells the story about two space passengers aboard a colonization vessel, that are awakened when their spaceship malfunctions.

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

Film:

Extras:

Audio/3D Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

91

Details:

Studio and Year: Sony Pictures – 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 116 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Thriller/Romance

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

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese, French, Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai
Starring: Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne
Directed by: Morten Tyldum
Music by: Thomas Newman
Written by: Jon Spaihts
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: March 14, 2017

“Every Moment Counts”



My Take:

Passengers is a sci-fi adventure, set in the future, that tells the story of Jim and Aurora, two very different people, that are among the 5,000 passengers, who decided to board the Avalon spaceship for a 120-year journey that offers them the opportunity to wake up in a new century, on a new planet. The trip takes a deadly turn when their sleep hibernation pods mysteriously wake them 90 years before they reach their destination. As they try to unravel the mystery behind the malfunction, they discover that the ship itself is in grave danger. With the lives of sleeping passengers and crew, at stake, only Jim and Aurora can save them all.

The teaser trailers that I saw for Passengers piqued my interest, but only from a sci-fi/Chris Pratt/Jennifer Lawrence perspective. I checked out a few reviews and opted to wait for it to come to home video. It wasn’t received very well, so I went into viewing it with low expectations. Honestly, I didn’t mind it at all. Conceptually speaking, it’s not very imaginative, and the development of the narrative is rather poor, in that, it has ample room to raise interesting questions from which to build, but never really goes there. Instead it opts for a weak sci-fi story built around a romantic subplot. Be that as it may, I liked the two characters, especially Chris Pratt’s “Jim Preston”, and found the film’s production design and visuals effects to be marvelous.

No, it’s not going to be at the top of anyone’s list as a cinematic work, but there’s enough chemistry, levity, cheesy romance, and well placed tension, to make for a decent popcorn movie that spared no expense on its production elements, and doesn’t strive to be more than it is. I watched Passengers with my wife and daughter, and we all found it fairly entertaining.

This Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the Ultra HD, 3D, and 2D Blu-ray versions of the film. This review will cover the 3D/2D versions. The Ultra HD version will be covered in a separate review.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for sexuality, nudity, and action/peril.

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: 96
(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 Rating * (non-rated element):

 

3D Presentation: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Depth (Onscreen):
  • Dimension (Beyond the screen):
  • Realism:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:

 

Passengers 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p MVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.2 Mbps.

This film wasn’t shot natively in 3D but was converted in post-production. The film was shot using a mix of live action and CG and the reproduction of the digital effects and wide angle background elements translates positively here. Depth is appreciable as evidenced by separation of objects and/or people layered in the foreground/background which creates a discerning sense of virtual space. High definition dimensionality and apparent resolution is rarely questionable in close ups and brightly lit exterior sequences. Comparing white/black levels, color and skin tone reproduction to the 2D presentation I found them to essentially be identical. There is effective and where called upon entertaining use of 3D effects that transcend the boundaries of the screen which makes for an involving experience especially during the large scale set pieces containing many moving parts. I will say that this added to my enjoyment of the overall presentation which like the 2D version looks terrific on Blu-ray. I didn’t notice any distracting instances of crosstalk or other video related anomalies. The end result is a satisfying and predominantly fun 3D video presentation.

The 3D and 2D version of Passengers contain a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, rather than a Dolby Atmos mix, which is found only on the UHD version. This is a strange choice as I would have liked to have experienced the 3D presentation with the immersive Dolby Atmos sound. Hopefully any future 3D titles incorporating Atmos sound from Sony will combine the two. Be that as it may I found much to enjoy with the soundtrack. This lossless soundtrack is excellent and features wide dynamic range, superlative clarity and high level detail. Dialog is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it is located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within the acoustic space it occupies in the soundstage. Front and rear channel imaging is excellent. This draws out both large and small sound elements and allows their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable.

The music score, coupled with the integration of discrete and atmospheric surround sound effects, plays an intricate role in this active surround mix. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is notable. The atmospheric effects associated with the various environments within the Avalon sound engagingly real. My favorite sequence occurs during the finale as the room becomes illuminated with sound effects that traverse the soundstage, panning right to left/left to right and forward/backward.

Low frequency effects are applied authoritatively and underscore the audio presentation with aplomb. Its palpable presence is never in question as it renders refined bass quality that kicks nicely and extends deep enough to engage the room.

2D Video Quality:

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

 

  • Resolution/Clarity:
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  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

 

Passengers comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps.

This is an excellent and high quality Blu-ray offering from Sony. The video is razor sharp with a pristine quality that is visually engaging. Detail perception is nearly flawless with lucid visual acuity and fine rendering throughout. Colors are pleasing, with warm, natural, rendering. Flesh tones are a bit pallid, with primarily fair delineation. Boldly applied contrast and consistent black levels provide excellent balance during bright and low level scenes containing mixed content. Shadow detail is excellent allowing the detection of plenty of visibility in low lighting and dark backgrounds. The CGI based and green screen photography softens some shots but its effects are innate and fidelity remained unaffected.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Passengers Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Disc 2: Passengers 3D Blu-ray
    Disc 3: Passengers Blu-ray
  • (HD) 6 Deleted Scenes
  • (HD) Space on Screen: The Visual Effects of Passengers – 7 minute featurette
  • (HD) Outtakes from the Set – 4 minutes
  • (HD) Casting the Passengers – 10 minute featurette
  • (HD) Creating the Avalon – 9 minute featurette
  • (HD) On Set with Chris Pratt – 4 minutes
  • (HD) Book Your Passage – Faux Ad for the Homestead Company
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Passengers is a formulaic sci-fi adventure drama that suffers from an underdeveloped story, but musters enough entertainment value, including solid performances and top notch production elements, to keep interest from waning. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD/3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray Combo Pack from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring solid technical merits that have a bit to offer from each format. Passengers is easily worth the price of a rental on Blu-ray. Give it a spin!

 

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