IT Chapter Two Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Defeated by members of the Losers’ Club, the evil clown Pennywise returns 27 years later to terrorize the town of Derry, Maine, once again. Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of IT Chapter Two from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.

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

Film:

Extras:

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

95

Details:

Studio and Year: Warner – 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 169 minutes
Genre: Horror/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, Jams Ransone, Andy Bean, Jaeden Martell, Bill Skarsgard, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff,
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Music by: Benjamin Wallfisch
Written by: Gary Dauberman
Region Code: A

Release Date: December 10. 2019

“Losers Stick Together”

Synopsis:

“Defeated by members of the Losers’ Club, the evil clown Pennywise returns 27 years later to terrorize the town of Derry, Maine, once again.” – Warner Brothers Home Entertainment

My Take:

Twenty-seven years after the Losers Club defeated Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), he has returned to terrorize the town of Derry once more. Now adults, the Losers have long since gone their separate ways. However, people are disappearing again, so Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), the only one of them to remain in their hometown, calls the others home. Damaged by the experiences of their past, they must each conquer their deepest fears to destroy Pennywise once and for all…putting them directly in the path of the shape-shifting clown that has become deadlier than ever.

I read Stephen King’s novel about twenty years ago now. I can still feel the rippling effect its creepy story had on me at the time. The 1990 TV miniseries based on the book, which starred Tim Curry in the pivotal role of “Pennywise” simply didn’t cut it, proving to lack the palpable elements of horror conveyed by King’s words brought to life within one’s imagination as you read. Fast forward to 2017 and the release of IT’s big screen adaptation. My impression walking away from the film was very positive. I thought that it brought the characters to life extremely well, including Pennywise, played to sheer perfection by Bill Skarsgard. I liked the idea of bringing the time period forward, starting in the mid 1980’s, which will provide a contemporary foothold for the next film’s jump to the next 27 years.

As with its predecessor I took in IT Chapter Two at the theater. Much like the first film I enjoyed its faithful essence, finding its shifting narrative to capture the story’s various elements, character building and incorporation of the details that seemed thematically pertinent. Given the length of the book, there needed to be some trimming, especially when it came to the portrayal of the separate lives of the Losers Club as adults. I was okay with that. The script is far from perfect, featuring a sometime scattershot series of events that are stitched together rather than flowing together. Much like the first film what makes the film tick are the performances by the cast and how well they slip into the skin of these characters. Bill Hader’s turn as Richie is simply fantastic.

As with IT I felt that the film felt more like a thriller with elements of horror, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there were few times where it was frightening enough to be hair raising. Some of this may have been owed to my being familiar with the story etc. A second viewing didn’t change my initial reaction to IT Chapter Two. I enjoyed it, finding it to be a fair adaptation that didn’t have quite the same depth of the first installment but, had no trouble keeping me entertained throughout.

Replay Value: 4 Stars

Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence/horror, bloody images, some crude sexual material, and language.

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): 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: 

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: 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: 

IT Chapter Two comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation on Ultra HD Blu-ray, IT Chapter Two was rendered from a 2.8K/3.4K sources and finished on a 2K Digital Intermediate.

From a cinematic perspective, this film was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind, and that comes through in the presentation, which bests the 1080p version, which is no slouch. As with the first film I wouldn’t describe this film as overtly colorful, however, there are elements, such as the wide-angle shots of Derry’s streets, the Chinese Restaurant, the hotel lobby, the forest and the carnival, where the palate of autumn based hues, sepia tones and variants of blue/red/green benefited from UHD’s wider color gamut, appearing slightly warmer and pleasing to the eye. Resolution gets a noticeable boost as well. Close-ups and mid-level shots offer improved refinement and deeper resolvable texture on interior surfaces, clothing, and physical features.

There is intermittent use of visual elements that utilize high dynamic range. There were instances where bright elements looked appreciably vibrant, such as Bill’s trippy experience after being given the hallucinogenic herb drink, or the deadly encounters Pennywise in the funhouse and later in the lair beneath the house on Nieboldt, in the film’s finale. IT Chapter Two contains a host of sun splashed, daytime segments, which appeared more vibrant and tonally gradational compared to the Blu-ray. Low level sequences, such as the one where the Losers Club stand outside of the house on Neiboldt Street and, what follows through to their final encounter with Pennywise had excellent depth of field and emboldened contrast.

Based upon the excellent quality of the original source the difference between viewing IT Chapter Two in high definition and Ultra HD isn’t night and day, but there is no question that its UHD presentation benefitted from the increase in resolution, and high dynamic range treatment. This is solid rendering that complimented the source material and essentially mimicked the theatrical presentation.

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 HDR-10 presentations for IT Chapter Two, I found the HDR rendering to essentially be identical. As I alluded to earlier, this film’s elements aren’t consistently lent to bright color and vibrant highlights. When I switched back and forth between the DV and HDR-10 renderings, any minute differences were negligible and not enough to warrant a rating difference. Both looked terrific, leaving me similarly satisfied with what I saw.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos soundtrack, I couldn’t help but think of how much I enjoyed the Atmos mix on IT. From the film’s beginning through until the meeting at the Chinese restaurant there is minimal real use of overhead sounds, which was concerning. Once the Losers Club begin to encounter the evil, first separately, then together, the track comes to life. I was very pleased with the mix in general. The use of overhead sound objects elevates proportional correlation, adding a noticeable improvement by opening up the soundstage, elevating the perception of low-level detail and seemingly offering broader dynamic range.

The film is loaded with atmospherics, off screen cues and discrete sound effects that when applied using the freedom of object-based placement adds an enriching layer to the soundtrack. I also felt that the Atmos mix, compared to the 7.1 channel track, added a layer to low frequency effects providing improved depth that sounded terrific. All in all, this one delivers a solid home theater experience, exactly of the type you’d expect.

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: 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: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

IT Chapter Two comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 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. I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. IT Chapter Two looks great on Blu-ray.

The 7.1 Dolby TrueHD (Atmos core) mix is excellent. This is a dynamically gratifying surround mix that features high level detail, superlative clarity, and rich, room filling surround sound. This is sophisticated sound design that incorporates a vast number of sound effects that are intricately mixed to engage the listening position. Spot on imaging and channel separation draw out both large and small sounds and allow their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable within the room’s acoustic boundaries. This is not an ostentatious audio presentation but, it produces smooth, palpably rich low frequencies that energize the room. Dialog is reproduced with lucid expression and exacting clarity. End to end this is an attention-grabbing home theater presentation that plays perfectly to this film’s thematic tone.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: IT Chapter Two Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: IT Chapter Two Blu-ray
    • Pennywise Lives Again!
    • This Meeting of the Losers Club Has Officially Begun
    • Finding the Deadlights
    • The Summers of IT: Chapter One, You’ll Float Too
    • The Summers of IT: Chapter Two, IT Ends
    • Commentary with Director Andy Muschietti
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

Adapted from Stephen King’s horror classic, IT Chapter Two is an engaging sequel that successfully brings the novel’s elements to life. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in this Ultra HD Combo Pack that delivers sparkling image quality, while invigorating the listening experience with a rousing Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix. Also included is a fair assortment of extras that are worth exploring. IT Chapter Two is an entertaining horror/thriller that closes out the story of Pennywise the clown and the Losers Club of Derry Maine. If you’re a fan it makes for a terrific, and highly recommended purchase on Blu-ray. Enjoy!

 

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