Power Rangers Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews this reimagined movie, based on the original TV series, that features a modern generation of Rangers as they attempt to stop the evil, and unpredictable Rita Repulsa, from destroying their city…and ultimately the world.

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

Film:

Extras:

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

95

Details:

Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 124 minutes
Genre: Action/Sci-fi

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.30:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks, Bill Hader, Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin
Directed by: Dean Israelite
Music by: Brian Tyler
Written by: John Gatins
Region Code: A

Release Date: June 27, 2017

“It’s Morphin Time”



My Take:

Saban’s Power Rangers follows five ordinary high school kids who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove – and the world – is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, the unlikely group of teenage heroes are the only ones who can save the planet, but first, they have to band together in order to harness their super powers and become Power Rangers.

Back when my kids were little they were big fans of the Power Rangers TV series. I hate to say that I probably saw more of it than I should have, so sitting down with Power Rangers I had some level of familiarity with the characters and concept. The TV series had a campiness that made it perfect for kids and sort of tolerable for parents. The film ties to capture some of that but misses the mark. First off, at over two hours, it’s simply too long. I can see where there was a desire to set up the five main characters, but those plot points drag on a bit longer than necessary. Honestly, I found those early parts of the story to be mildly entertaining.

The trouble is that there is a shift in tone, and the story segues into a series of campy moments, cheesy dialog, and a villain that is kind of laughable. I snickered every time Elizabeth Banks’ Rita let out one of her sinister, villainous cackles. Bryan Cranston as Zordon was another wasted effort that seemed phoned in. Regardless, I have to admit to finding Power Rangers somewhat entertaining, even if from a nostalgic point of view, harkening back to a time when I watched these characters on a regular basis with my kids when they were young. At the end of the day it musters enough fun to make for a decent introduction to a new generation.

Note From the Press Release: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release also feature Dolby Vision™ high-dynamic range (HDR), making it the first title from Lionsgate to feature both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos®. Dolby Vision transforms the TV experience in the home by delivering greater brightness and contrast, as well as a fuller palette of rich colors. Together with the captivating sound of Dolby Atmos, consumers will experience both cutting-edge imaging and state-of-the-art sound technology for a fully immersive entertainment experience.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for sequences of violence, action, and destruction, language, and for some crude humor.

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

 

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

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion:
  • Soundstage integration:
  • Audio object placement:
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform:
  • 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

Power Rangers comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) sound that has an average bitrate of 5 Mbps.

For its presentation in Ultra HD, Power Rangers was rendered from a mix of 4K, 5K, and 6K sources and finished on a 4K DI. With the limited exposure to Ultra HD either sourced from 2K or 4K Digital Intermediates we are left to judge based upon what we have seen thus far.

The film was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind and that comes through in both its 1080p and Ultra HD presentations. This isn’t an overtly colorful film however its palate of sepia tones and variants of blue/red/green, as seen in the Rangers armor, benefited from UHD’s wider color gamut, appearing noticeably warmer and pleasing to the eye. Resolution gets a boost as well, although the differences between the UHD and 1080p renderings are closer than I would have liked. Close-ups tend to be better refined with resolvable texture on surfaces and physical features being easier to detect. The wide-angle shots of Angel Grove (especially during the final battle), the exterior locations in and around the mountains and crevice, where the teens discover/obtain their powers, look terrific.

The use of high dynamic range is intermittent, but appropriately applied. Exterior sequences offer a hint of added punch, especially those that take place in the light of day, where the sun reflects off of objects etc. During the large engagement with Rita and Goldar in the finale, things pop quite nicely, as the fiery explosions, flashes of light from weaponry, and Goldar’s golden essence light up the screen. The dark highlights in the low-lit environs, like the interior or Zordon’s ship (including “The Pit” training arena), the mountains at twilight, the town’s streets at night, of the boatyard, where the Rangers face off against Rita for the first time, have appreciable dimension and resolvable detail. Fleshtones are reproduced beautifully, with a natural and pleasing tonality. Viewing Power Rangers in Ultra HD wasn’t an eye-opening experience however, I think it makes the most of the film’s elements, making it the go to for UHD fans considering a purchase.

** It should be noted that this release contains both Dolby Vision and HDR-10 High Dynamic Range. My display isn’t Dolby Vision capable so I was only able to evaluate the HDR-10 version.**

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that makes effective use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics, discrete effects and music accompaniment. This is done to excellent effect, creating a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events in an involving, and sometimes visceral fashion. Right at the onset, with the film’s opening segment, and subsequence four chapters, it’s obvious that this is a top notch Atmos mix. There is a great moment during a car chase in chapter one when the visual perspective is seen from within the vehicle looking out, as it runs through a series of environments. The sound rotates as the view changes, providing a 360 degree effect, that is quite cool. Later, during an escape from a secure quarry facility, there is an instant when someone unexpectedly lands on the roof of the vehicle, occupied by the group, as they attempt to make their escape. The timing and realism of the effect as felt through the rear top channels is jarringly excellent.

Everything comes together in the large set piece in the finale, where the Power Rangers square off against Rita and Goldar. There are a host of explosions, nearfield pans, and weapon fire that rotate around the soundstage, shifting overhead, passing by at ear level and coming directly at the listening position. It all makes for a resplendent blend of room traversing, and well-balanced sound that shows what this format is capable of. I had a great time with this superb audio mix.

Blu-ray Video:

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

 

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

 

Audio: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialog Reproduction:

 

Power Rangers comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainmeent featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 Mbps and lossless Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) sound that has an average bitrate of 5 Mbps.

This is a high-quality video presentation where fidelity appears intact as colors are vividly reproduced via lustrous primaries, and rich secondary hues that look beautiful in high definition. The Rangers armor has excellent tonal variation with descriptively intricate chromatic detail that pops nicely. Fleshtone reproduction can be dependent, however, in natural lighting they appear warm, and lifelike. Blacks are dynamic, gradationally satisfying, and deep, which is accentuated by contrast that is spot on and predominantly stable over the course of the presentation. The blend during sequences containing mixed light/dark elements looks superlative. Resolution is excellent especially during close-ups which reveal crisp definition and fine textural nuance. Wide angle shots exhibit strong dimension with appreciable object detail. Softening is apparent from time to time but appears innate to the photography. Power Rangers looks terrific on Blu-ray.

The 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD (Atmos core) surround mix is demonstration quality, and is sure to please those who like to play their systems near reference. This recording has wide dynamic range and boasts superlative clarity and high-level detail. Dialog is appreciably lucid through the center channel as it penetrates well into the room. Channel separation and 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 mix makes effective and often aggressive use of the surround channels to reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds contained in this soundtrack. Where called upon the listening position is submerged in sound that bombards the senses with a combination of discretely placed, nearfield, and panning sound effects. Low frequency effects are applied with authority and occasionally provide room shuddering bass. This is an involving and noteworthy audio presentation that is guaranteed to give your home theater a workout.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Power Rangers Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Disc 2: Power Rangers Blu-ray
    Audio Commentary with Director Dean Israelite and Writer John Gatins
  • “The Power of the Present” Making of Documentary
    1. “Rangers Then to Now”
    2. “Building the Team”
    3. “Beyond the Rangers”
    4. “Suiting Up”
    5. “Rangers, Welcome to Training”
    6. “Rangers in the Wild”
    7. “It’s Morphin Time”
    8. “Power Ballad: Music and Sound”
    9. “This is Your Destiny”
  • Deleted/Alternate/Extended Scenes
  • Outtakes
  • Theatrical Trailer with Audio Commentary by Director Dean Israelite
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Based on Saban’s Power Rangers TV series Power Rangers is a reimagined big screen adaptation that captures some of the show’s essence but ultimately comes up short as a big-ticket superhero movie experience. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Combo Pack from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring complimentary Ultra HD video, reference quality lossless surround sound, including an engaging Dolby Atmos immersive mix, and top notch high definition video quality. Rounding out the package is a fan friendly assortment of extras that provide a peek behind the curtain at the production. Power Rangers won’t satisfy the appetite of true genre fans, but it’s an easy way to engage the kids while enjoying its terrific presentation on Ultra HD/Blu-ray. I would say rent it first if possible.

 

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