Anna Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Beneath a woman’s striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of the most feared assassins on the planet. From writer/director Luc Besson comes Anna from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Check out Ralph Potts’ Ultra HD Blu-ray Review.

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

Film:

Extras:

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

92

Details:

Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 119 minutes
Genre: Action

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Sasha Luss, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, Helen Mirren
Written & Directed by: Luc Besson
Music by: Eric Serra
Region Code: A

Release Date: September 24, 2019

“Revenge has a New Name”

Synopsis:

“An all-star cast leads the way in this stylized action-thriller about one of the world’s most feared government assassins, Anna Poliatova.” – Lionsgate Home Entertainment

My Take:

Beneath a woman’s striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of the most feared assassins on the planet.

Written and directed by Luc Besson this is an action thriller built around a strong female character, territory not unfamiliar to Besson. As with most of Besson’s films there are engaging visual elements blended within the narrative framework. As I watched the set-up of the plot it felt very familiar, reminiscent of Le Femme Nakita. The storyline is simple in tone while incorporating a series of somewhat clever timeline shifts that reveal essential elements that explain the unfolding events. The characters including the primary one, aren’t very complex and, the importance of their relationships within the story’s arc flounders especially given the outcome.

Besson’s flair for subtlety, in a wink and nod fashion, is aptly applied but, the action sequences quickly become repetitive and the lack of a truly interesting play on the elements of espionage don’t pass muster. While I didn’t dislike Anna isn’t up to the level of Luc Besson’s best efforts, despite his signature style and flair for exuberance. I did enjoy the charismatic and complimentary performance by Sasha Luss (with an honorable mention nod going to the always reliable Helen Mirren). I think that Anna will generally be hit or miss with genre fans that typically favor Luc Besson’s films. My advice for those that are curious would be to keep expectations in check and see where that takes you.

Replay Value: 3 Stars

Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong violence, language, and some sexual content.

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(HDR-10): 90
(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: 

 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 94
(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: 
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  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

Anna comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

I wasn’t able to determine the processes used for its presentation in Ultra HD however, Anna appears to have been derived digital sources and could have been finished on a 4K DI but, that’s not a given. From a cinematic perspective, this film was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind and that comes through in this presentation. At times the image is nearly devoid of color, while at others, has a pleasingly diverse palette, that sets the mood of a scene. The image has a clean aesthetic, with ample delineation that draws out plenty of detail, in both close-up and wide-angle camera shots. Blacks are deep without compromise to fidelity, as the layers of detail seen with them is readily apparent. Contrast abounds as the richness of the depth seen in grays, whites and mid-tones pops in the film’s variety of low-level sequences. Fleshtones are wonderfully lifelike, and consistent throughout the presentation.

As I alluded to earlier Anna isn’t a colorful film however its cooler chromatic hues, sepia tones and variants of blue/red benefited from UHD’s wider color gamut, appearing warmer and pleasing to the eye. There is intermittent use of visual elements that utilize high dynamic range. I wasn’t especially impressed with its application although some of that may be owed to the nature of the photography. There were instances where bright elements looked appreciably vibrant (such as the nighttime car chase in the opening act) but, none really stood out.

This Ultra HD rendering makes the most of the film’s 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.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Forum Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR10 presentations for Anna, I found the HDR renderings to be very close. As I alluded to earlier, this film’s elements aren’t consistently lent to use of overtly bright color, but I did take a close look at the rendering of contrast, chromatic depth and delineation during scenes containing dark and bright highlights. When I switched back and forth between the DV and HDR10 renderings, I felt that the DV presentation revealed better definition in the darkest portions of the image, and slightly deeper primary color reproduction. These differences aren’t especially noteworthy, but in the grand scheme, made for a more pleasing image. At the end of the day both looked excellent, leaving me satisfied with what I saw.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that made engaging use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a blend of atmospherics and discrete effects. When applied it creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. Where this mix excels is in its use of the platform at ear level. There are a multitude of set pieces that show off the track’s blend of music, weapon fire and smaller object sounds that create a wonderfully involving listening experience, that broadens the soundstage. I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere as well as the integration of discrete object placement. I think that it complimented the source material and drew me into the film when it mattered most.

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

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: 94
(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

 

Anna comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TureHD 7.1 channel sound.

This is an excellent high definition rendering that sports plenty of fine detail and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective. Colors range from warm and vivid to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. Framed at 2.39:1 the images onscreen have excellent depth, and a stimulating visual aura. I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. Anna looks great on Blu-ray.

The 7.1 soundtrack doesn’t disappoint. This is an active audio presentation that utilizes the entire system to create an involving listening experience. Sound staging is quite good as both the front and rear channels are seamlessly integrated. Sound effects traverse the room during the action sequences. Dynamics are energy filled and impact felt with discerning articulation and clarity. This is an active mix that makes regular use of the low frequency effects to accentuate its dynamic presence. The result is that where appropriate, points of contact resonate with tactility. Dialog has refining presence with clear vocal character and excellent room penetration. This is an entertaining audio presentation that compliments the film while making for a solid home theater experience.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Anna Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Anna Blu-ray
    • “Dressing a Doll: Costumes of Anna” Featurette
    • “Anatomy of a Scene: Restaurant Fight” Featurette
    • “Unnesting a Russian Doll: Making Anna” Featurette
    • “Constructing the Car Chase” Featurette
  • Digital

Final Thoughts:

Written and directed by Luc Besson Anna is overly formulaic while including the filmmaker’s signature style which makes for a mildly entertaining action thriller. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack featuring excellent overall video quality, solid lossless sound that includes a Dolby Atmos mix and, a lackluster supplemental package made up of bland production featurettes. Anna isn’t up to the level of Luc Besson’s best efforts but, there’s some fun to be found in it. Give it a rent on Blu-ray and see what you think.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra 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 AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray 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)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems