Ralph Potts reviews this Academy Award winning drama about a frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s that fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
20th Century Fox - 2015
Feature running time:
English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, Spanish, French
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter
Alejandro G. Inarritu
Alejandro G. Inarritu & Mark L. Smith based on the novel by Michael Punke
Blu-ray Disc release Date:
April 19, 2016
"Revenge is in God's hands"
follows the story of legendary explorer Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) on his quest for survival and justice. After a brutal bear attack, Glass is left for dead by a treacherous member of his hunting team. Against extraordinary odds, and enduring unimaginable grief, Glass battles a relentless winter in uncharted terrain.
I took in The Revenant
during its theatrical run earlier this year. The film is based on the novel by Michael Punke and is based on a true story. From what I gather although primarily based on Glass the character and some of the events depicted in the film are a composite of more than one. Co-written by the film's director Alejandro G. Inarritu and Mark L. Smith The Revenant
is epic in scope, drawing upon a dark narrative that encapsulates the early 1800's period depicted in the story, as it tells of a father's love, loss, struggle for survival and the indomitable power of the human spirit when motivated by the desire of revenge.
As I watched the film a second time my reaction to it was nearly identical to when I frist saw it. In terms of story I found The Revenant
to be good but not wholly gratifying. In context it's character driven which serves it well while the mix of frontier elements (adventure, peril, battling nature) is engaging to say the least. The subplots involving the French and the Indian Chief searching for his daughter didn't seem a cohesive fit, being seemingly interjected to add thematic tension and melodrama. True story or not I couldn’t help but find myself raising an eyebrow every time Glass managed to extricate himself from yet another impossible bid for survival.
Having said that I wouldn't want to give the impression that I found The Revenant
lacking as a film experience. It's truly an amazing film to watch. From start to finish it's visually effecting, drawing you in with the vastness of its scope, high production elements, Emmanuel Lubezki's breathtaking cinematography, Alejandro G. Inarritu's masterful direction and compelling performances, highlighted by Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar winning turn in the title role.
Taking home three Oscars including Best Actor, Best Director and Best Cinematography, The Revenant
a memorable and effecting film that for me rises to the top due to the total sum of its parts. In addition to the honors at the Academy Awards, it also garnered, three Golden Globes, five BAFTA Awards, a DGA Award for Best Director (Iñárritu) and SAG Award for Best Actor (DiCaprio). The Revenant
is justly deserving of the accolades it has received and is among the most talked about films of the year.
The rating is for strong frontier combat and violence including gory images, a sexual assault, language and brief nudity.
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.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
UHD Presentation: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialog Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
- DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element):
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
- HDR: Dark Highlights:
- HDR: Bright Highlights:
- HDR: Expanded Color:
- Visual Impact:
For those not willing to refer to the article linked above, I have included some comments here. The implementation of High Dynamic Range or HDR (HDR10 is the system currently being utilized for Ultra HD home video releases, and in conjunction with that, display manufacturers) as it stands currently, doesn't appear to have exacting standards and no calibration tools to allow for a foundational threshold for setting up a visual system. This leaves us to do the best we can to determine what appears to be accurate, at least for the time being. With that in mind, my approach to reviewing Ultra HD Blu-ray will be to assess the elements observed which I find to generate the most significant visual impact when compared to standard high definition Blu-ray.
For me, HDR, with its broader spectrum of colors and emboldened highlights in the areas of contrast and brightness, is where the potential lies in the format. The increase in resolution, while an important component, isn't going to be definitive in every case, especially given that currently many of the Ultra HD Blu-ray releases are derived from 2K Digital Intermediates that are up-converted to 4K. This shouldn't be strictly construed to mean that such up-converted images won't look noticeably better than their 1080p counterparts. Conversely, a release finished on a 4K Digital Intermediate isn't a guarantee that it will be heads and shoulders above the rest. So, what can you expect to hear from me when discussing what I observed from Ultra HD Blu-ray? I will hit upon the things that struck me, the impact, or lack of impact, of HDR and the improvement, if any, in resolution when compared to 1080p Blu-ray. The outcome will be a rating as seen above.
Front projection for home theater is just stepping through the door with respect to the reproduction of HDR. My goal is to present readers with a reasonable expectation of what they can expect when viewing the same content that I have. There may be variables that differ slightly however I believe that in general the outcome will be close. As we are exposed to more and more content and calibration tools come onboard we will have better perspectives from which to gauge. Thanks for reading!
The Revenant comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.5 Mbps.
For its presentation in Ultra HD The Revenant (derived from a 6.5K and 3.4 K source) was 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. In this case the results are marvelous.
The 1080p transfer looks superb and this Ultra HD rendering takes it to the next level with a discernible increase in detail, emboldened highlights, both light and dark, and a noticeably sharper and vibrant image. This is readily apparent in the opening sequence as Glass and Hawk make their way through the flooded forest sneaking up on their intended prey. The shimmering/flowing water, the scaly bark on the trees and contrast of the seemingly black water against the overlooking gray sky look amazing. Close ups reveal oodles of fine detail and abounding textures. Wide angle shots of the gorgeous shooting locations and breath taking cinematography are pure eye candy. The scene in chapter 14 features a long range shot of Glass floating along the river on a log as seen from above. The waning sunlight illuminates the landscapes while the seemingly small ripples in the water's current are visible.
One of the best examples of the presentation's combination of HDR and detail comes at the beginning of chapter 18 as Glass awakens and emerges from the shelter made by his Pawnee companion. The shot is taken from near ground level looking toward the shelter which is surrounded by trees with the sun/sky in the background. The shadows of the trees set against the snow covered ground as the sunlight beams off of the glistening flakes of ice/snow looks stunningly beautiful and lifelike. The variety of scenes shot at night or in the low light of dawn or dusk, some set to firelight or natural light are equally rewarding. I could go on and on. At times the level of minutia is amazing as even the finest nuance in the physical features, clothing and the rough textures in the rustic landscapes or manmade shelters is visually resolvable. The film utilizes sepia, autumn schemed color and an overall cooler chromatic aesthetic that appears faithfully reproduced in Ultra HD.
The difference between viewing The Revenant in high definition and Ultra HD isn't quite night and day but at times I found myself marveling at the image quality. It literally looked THAT good.
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
The Revenant comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps.
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
This film utilizes a stylized visual design that has a limited color scheme that works aesthetically well for the subject matter. The color range is limited to shades of dark blue, gray and black with splashes of crimson red and forest green hues. Warm golden accents are used throughout to break up the film’s monochromatic essence. This comes in the form of glowing firelight or alternating flesh tones that have lifelike complexional color as opposed to the ashen/blue that is predominant the majority of the time. What enhances the effect is its presence amidst the other dark blue/gray/black elements within the same shot. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. Resolution is excellent as images are crisp, delineated and dimensionally strong. The visual design isn’t such that it offers high gloss, razor sharp quality but that doesn’t keep this presentation from looking great.
- The Revenant Ultra HD Blu-ray
- The Revenant Blu-ray Disc (with Bonus Features)
- (HD) "A World Unseen": A Documentary of The Revenant – 44 minutes
- (HD) Gallery
- Digital HD Copy
Based on the novel of the same name by Michael Punke The Revenant
is an epic, award winning frontier adventure that rewards on multiple levels, including Alejandro G. Inarritu's masterful direction, Emmanuel Lubezki's superb cinematography, and Leonardo DiCaprio's compellingly committed performance. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring excellent Ultra High Definition video, engaging lossless surround sound, and a minimal but worthwhile documentary that offers an inside look at the making of the film. The Revenant
is one of the most talked about films of the year and deserves serious consideration for inclusion in the video collections of film enthusiasts.
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” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade 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 BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player
Samsung UBD-K8500 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 In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package