Passengers Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

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

95

Details:

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

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

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), French, Portuguese, Thai, English, French 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 Ultra HD version. The 2D/3D release 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.**

UHD Presentation: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution:
  • Visual Impact:

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

  • Level of immersion:
  • Soundstage integration:
  • Audio object placement:
  • Effectiveness:
  • Entertainment factor:

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

Passengers comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible) sound that has an average bitrate of 2.7 Mbps.

For its presentation in Ultra HD, Passengers was derived from a 6.5K source, and rendered from a 4K DI. With the limited exposure to Ultra HD sourced from 4K Digital Intermediates we are left to judge based upon what we have seen thus far.

This is an excellent Ultra HD presentation that looks great on my large screen. This is a sci-fi story, set in the future, that features elements that make use of rich color, boldly applied contrast, and a distinctive visual aesthetic. With a discernible increase in detail and emboldened chromatic highlights the UHD image appears noticeably sharper and vivid when compared to the 1080p version. Primary colors such red, and blue, are pleasingly rich, while whites and grays appear gradational and vibrant. Fleshtones are wonderfully lifelike and consistent throughout the presentation. Looking at the shots of outer space and the exterior hull of the Avalon, the added dimension in blacks and shadows is immediately noticeable. The rendering of detail is noteworthy as the finest minutia in physical features, clothing, or the variety of textures seen on the ships interiors are reproduced with stark realism. The benefits of high dynamic range and wide color gamut are on display as well, as primary colors have an added dimension that makes them eye catching.

Shot digitally, this rendering makes the most of its original elements, which are excellent. Looking at the 1080p version, which is solid in its own right, the difference is noticeable, but not what I would describe as night and day. That being said, there is no question about which of the two makes for the most engaging viewing experience.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos mix I found it to be of the active variety that made steady use of the platform. Its use of sounds placed above is a mix of atmospherics and discrete effects. This is done well and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. Over the course of the film there are various sequences (such as the loss of gravity malfunction) where environmental sounds, music cues and discrete objects are mixed to differing locations in the sound field, adding a head turning element to the viewing experience.

The large set piece in the finale, involving the reactor meltdown, is lots of fun as flying debris, atmospherics, and near field objects rotate, and revolve around the soundstage from both above and at ear level. As an aside, I noticed that low frequency affects had a bit more weight to them, when compared to the DTS-HD 5.1 mix on the Blu-ray. Overall, I enjoyed this immersive sound mix, and think that it complimented the source material.

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 Ultra HD Blu-ray in this Combo Pack from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment that features excellent Ultra HD video, engaging lossless surround sound, including a solid Dolby Atmos immersive mix, and a middling but worthwhile supplemental set. Passengers is easily worth the price of a rental, especially on Ultra HD Blu-ray. Give it a spin!

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