Digital Spotlight: Shazam!

Ralph Potts puts the Digital Spotlight on Shazam! The latest DCU adventure that tells the origin story of a streetwise fourteen-year-old named Billy Batson who proves that perhaps we all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out.

My Thoughts:

“We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).” – Warner Brothers Home Entertainment

I must admit to being a big kid at heart. It is something that doesn’t seem to change with age so I guess I am lucky. I have always enjoyed fantasy and when heroes from the pages of comic books began making their way to the big screen, I was all in. I was more of a Marvel Comic reader as a kid but, I certainly dabbled in my share of DC comics. I really wasn’t much of a Shazam/Captain Marvel fan but, I did watch the 1970s TV series and enjoyed it, warts an all. The trailer for Shazam! didn’t really appeal to me as it really looked like more of a comedy than a dyed in the wool big budget superhero action adventure. Based on that I opted to wait for it to come to home video, despite hearing positive things about it from people, including my son, that had seen it.

I had put in the request to the review the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release which streets July 16th and while awaiting its arrival the studio reached out and offered me the opportunity to view its Digital release which became available July 2nd. That week things were hectic so I didn’t get around to sitting down with it but, this week I gave it a go.

Shazam! is an entertaining blend of comedy, action and drama that creates just the right mix of those elements so as to not lean too far toward one or the other. The script does a solid job of character building, especially in the case of Billy Batson/Shazam and Freddie and seems to carefully focus on the relationship between the them which is truly when the film’s spirit is found. The film’s first two acts contain its best moments while act three spends just a bit too much time on overlong sequences that needed tighter editing. Regardless, I found the action and production elements to be lots of fun to watch and appreciated the casting choices, especially those of the three principle players in Zack Levi, Jack Dylan Grazer and, Asher Angel. Honorable mention goes out to young Faithe Herman whose adorability factor simply can’t be overlooked. Shazam turned out to be a pleasant surprise which goes to show that the DCU is finding its way to providing quality genre entries that fans can be proud to own.

Digital Release Date: July 2, 2019

I streamed Shazam! in Ultra HD via iTunes from my AppleTV 4K and found the picture quality to be excellent in every regard. It’s available in Dolby Vision with Dolby Atmos sound. I wasn’t able to get Atmos playback for some reason but, the 7.1 LPCM sound rocked. I look forward to revisiting the audio/video presentation during my review of the Ultra HD Blu-ray and will provide in-depth rating/comments at that time.

Beginning July 2, Shazam users in the US can unlock a collection of content celebrating Shazam! The Movie. By using the Shazam app during a specific portion of the director’s commentary available on the Apple TV app (https://apple.co/ShazamMovie), iPhone and iPad users can unlock an exclusive 3-minute behind-the-scenes clip on the Shazam app, as well as explore more DC content available for purchase, including a DC Movies collection and a Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hub on the Apple TV app and various comics on Apple Books, and enjoy the film’s soundtrack with an Apple Music subscription.* Android users can access the 3-minute behind-the-scenes clip on the Shazam app, and enjoy the film’s soundtrack with an Apple Music subscription and discover related games.

Like the film I found the bonus features to be entertaining and complimentary. The gag reel is a hoot. For those able to take advantage of it the interactive feature found in the exclusive Director’s Audio Commentary via the Shazam app is a nice touch and another fun way to integrate your streaming devices.

Bonus Features:

  • • Shazam Exclusive Motion Comic
    • The Magical World of Shazam
    • Super Fun Zac
    • Carnival Scene Study, Shazamily Values
    • Shazamily Values
    • Who is Shazam?
    • Deleted Scenes
    • Gag Reel
  • Digital EXCLUSIVE Director’s Audio Commentary
  • Digital EXCLUSIVE Behind-the-Scenes Clip (via the Shazam app)

Final Thoughts:

Shazam! brings another iconic DC superhero to the big screen. I liked the conceptual approach taken which allows the character to appeal to a broader fan base while bringing his origin story onscreen to life. Its Digital release looks and sounds great and includes interactive exclusive content. All in all I had a good time with Shazam! and look forward to revisiting it on Ultra HD Blu-ray.

 

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