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post #1 of 12 Old 01-25-2019, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Ultra HD Blu-ray Review



Ralph Potts reviews Disney Home Entertainment’s Ultra HD Blu-ray release of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale and the beloved ballet “The Nutcracker”.



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

Film:

Extras:

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

92



Details:

Studio and Year: Disney - 2018
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 99 minutes
Genre: Family

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Mackenzie Foy, Kiera Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Matthew MacFayden, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Misty Copeland, Helen Mirren
Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom, Joe Johnston
Music by: James Newton Howard
Written by: Ashleigh Powell
Region Code: A,B,C


Release Date: January 29, 2019


"A Magical Adventure Awaits!"


Synopsis:

“From the studio that brought you Beauty and the Beast comes the reimagined tale of “The Nutcracker”. When Clara’s mother leaves her a mysterious gift, she embarks on a journey to four secret realms – where she discovers her greatest strength could change the world.” – Disney Home Entertainment


My Take:

In The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Clara travels along a golden thread, presented at Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual party, eagerly searching for a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a music box that holds a priceless gift. When she enters a mysterious parallel world, Clara encounters a Nutcracker soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and three Realm regents, including the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley). Ultimately, she must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve the key and return harmony to the unstable world.

Inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale and the beloved ballet “The Nutcracker” The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is an over ambitious fantasy film that feels just a bit too much like a children’s book. The overuse of imaginary/visuals, positive reinforcement and underlying themes water down the story, which is, at its center, about a young girl’s quest to discover herself. Man, I could have done without the three Realm Agents, in particular Kiera Knightley’s Sugar Plum Fairy, who she put way too much zest into.

The bombardment of CGI didn’t help matters and felt like a necessary addition in order to propel the elementary story along. There were things I liked about The Nutcracker and the Four realms but, they were few and far between. I enjoyed the performances by the young actors, and wished that they had been given a stronger script to work with. Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and Eugenio Derbez simply didn’t have enough screen time to matter. I do think that this film will find wider appeal with young audiences but, the best parts of its story will be wasted on them.

When all was said and done The Nutcracker and the Four Realms failed to capitalize on its subject matter and talented cast. It would unfair to say that I disliked it completely but, ultimately, it left me wanting.


Replay Value:


Parental Guide:

The rating is for some mild peril.


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:
  • Resolution:
  • Visual Impact:



Dolby Atmos Rating: 90
(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:



The Nutcracker and the Four Realms comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Disney featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD The Nutcracker and the Four Realms was rendered from film-based sources and finished on a 2K DI. This is a fantasy-based film that is essentially boldly colorful throughout, and this Ultra HD rendering makes the most of its elements. With a discernible increase in detail and emboldened chromatic highlights the image appears sharper and vibrant when compared to the 1080p version. Primary colors are pleasingly rich while whites appear gradational and punchy. The opening sequences provides a glimpse of what it to come, but it’s the arrival in the Four Realms that offers the bonus that the presentation’s wide color gamut has to offer. The combination of rich color, sepia, and gradational gray tones look stunning.

I also enjoyed the implementation of HDR. The added dimension in blacks, and shadows during the low-level scenes is immediately noticeable. Where called for the cinematography makes use of shadows, streaming light and a mix of light/dark elements. It’s application here is used very well, drawing upon HDR’s ability to create stark contrast between the two. The blend of shadow detail/depth of field offset by the presence of light at varying levels, looked very natural.

The film has a variety of sequences that make use of close up camera angles that show off the superb rendering of detail. The interior sets and CGI featured in the film have appreciable depth which has an enriching, and eye-catching aesthetic. The difference between viewing The Nutcracker and the Four Realms in high definition and Ultra HD isn't night and day but, there is no question that it benefitted from the increase in resolution, emboldened color and high dynamic range treatment.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that makes steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics and discrete sound effects. This is done very well and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. The mix effectively places effects/sounds within the soundstage which place you within the scene, in turn, adding an enriching element that heightens the intended feeling like something is falling from above, moving through the room, or emanating from a specific location. While this is not what I would regard as an aggressive Atmos mix, it is an active one, that complimented the source material and made for an entertaining listening experience.


Dolby Atmos:

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: 100
(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


The Nutcracker and the Four Realms comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

Colors are effectively used in this film to help set the tone based upon the mood of the scene. The chroma range is broad and hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are beautifully rendered with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen are exquisitely detailed and sharp with superb depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast is spot on and blacks are deep with revealing delineation that provides excellent perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video has a pristine quality that is free of video related artifacts.

The 7.1 Dolby TrueHD (Atmos core – UHD version) and the DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio soundtrack (on the Blu-ray) makes effective use of the surround platform and offers detail rich sonic clarity, and crystalline dialog reproduction. This mix doesn’t bombard you with aggressive surround sound. It applies it when appropriate and combines discretely placed directional cues with supporting ambience that fills the listening area nicely. The front and rear sound field never collide but work in unison to render the soundtrack’s elements. Dynamic range and bass response is appropriate, adding thematic emphasis and resonating punch (take note of the flapping of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s wings!) when called upon. This is a solid audio presentation that mates well with the source material. Unlike some of the recent lossless soundtracks from Disney I didn’t have issues with dynamic range or the overall volume of the mix.

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1 The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2:The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Blu-ray
    • On Pointe: A Conversation with Misty Copeland - Copeland shares the thrill of portraying one of her favorite characters in a whole new way.
    • Unwrapping “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” - Dive into the production design, sets, costumes and more that helped transform a beloved ballet into an adventurous movie.
    • Deleted Scenes –
    o The Stahlbaums Arrive- As the Stahlbaums enter the Christmas Eve ball, the butler attempts to announce them to the assembled guests.
    o Follow Your Ribbon- Drosselmeyer encourages a reluctant Clara to go find her gift.
    o Deleted Scene: Clara Asks About Her Mother- Sugar Plum gives Clara a tour of her mother’s bedroom.
    o Left, Left, Left, Left, Left- Wandering lost in the forest, palace guards Cavalier and Harlequin quarrel about which way to go.
    o Out with the Old- Sugar Plum makes sweeping changes to the palace decor.
    • Music Videos - “
    o “Fall on Me” Performed by Andrea Bocelli Featuring Matteo Bocelli- Experience superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli and his son Matteo Bocelli performing their first duet together in this uplifting song.
    o “The Nutcracker Suite” Performed by Lang Lang- Get swept up in a series of images from the movie, set to Tchaikovsky’s music and featuring world-renowned pianist Lang Lang.
  • Digital



Final Thoughts:

Inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale and the beloved ballet “The Nutcracker” The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a middling reimagining that reaches for the stars but, ultimately comes up short. It comes to Blu-ray in the Ultra HD Combo Pack from Disney featuring top notch Ultra HD video, engaging lossless surround sound, including a solid Dolby Atmos immersive listening experience and a fair supplemental package. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms only qualifies as a purchase for fans. Otherwise, I would strongly recommend a rental first.














Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


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post #2 of 12 Old 01-25-2019, 04:47 PM
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Nice review Ralph. I was hoping this would be as good as possible but I figured it might fall short. Everyone ive talked too basically had your same conclusion Ralph, didn't quite hit the mark. Im going to give it a rent to experience the audio and video.
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-25-2019, 09:29 PM
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Ralph

Another great review

I generally follow your thoughts: rent, buy, don't bother

I have a neighbor that buys all Disney. It's his hobby. He told me a Blu-ray was going to cost him $25 after tax at Best Buy and could I get it cheaper for him.

I found the 4K+2K for $25.00. I'll sell the 2K to him for $15 and for $10 I'll get the 4K.

A 4K for $10 plus the fun of getting it cheaper will make the movie at least fun even if it is a crummy film.


.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-26-2019, 04:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimShaw View Post
Ralph

Another great review

I generally follow your thoughts: rent, buy, don't bother

I have a neighbor that buys all Disney. It's his hobby. He told me a Blu-ray was going to cost him $25 after tax at Best Buy and could I get it cheaper for him.

I found the 4K+2K for $25.00. I'll sell the 2K to him for $15 and for $10 I'll get the 4K.

A 4K for $10 plus the fun of getting it cheaper will make the movie at least fun even if it is a crummy film.


.
Greetings,

Sounds like a good plan Jim. As for the film, I wouldn't call it "crummy" at all. Just doesn't live up to its potential..


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post #5 of 12 Old 01-26-2019, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post
Greetings,

Sounds like a good plan Jim. As for the film, I wouldn't call it "crummy" at all. Just doesn't live up to its potential..


Regards,
Ralph, understood. That makes a 4K The Nutcracker for $10 even better
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This is a blind buy for me Ralph, just based on the video score alone _ who cares about the story right, as long as it looks good …?

Can't get enough of Disney's eye candy, even if most find there is excessive use of CGI.

The trailer looks just like another version of "Alice In Wonder Land". Don't know if that's a good or a bad thing at this point, we'll see once I've watched it.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-26-2019, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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This is a blind buy for me Ralph, just based on the video score alone _ who cares abou the story right, as long as it looks good …?

Can't get enough of Disney's eye candy, even if most find there is excessive use of CGI.

The trailer looks just like another version of "Alice In Wonder Land". Don't know if that's a good or a bad thing at this point, we'll see once I've watched it.
Greetings,

Looking forward to your thoughts Jeff!


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post #8 of 12 Old 01-26-2019, 02:58 PM
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Dare I say it, Guys this is not your movie. You are not the demo. Your daughters, nieces, younger female relatives this is for them.
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"The Nutcracker and the Four Realms only qualifies as a purchase for fans. Otherwise, I would strongly recommend a rental first"

Ralph

Last night I placed a 4K disc of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms into the player and watched with my wife and Pam, our next door neighbor.

We all agree 100% with your conclusion except for one grade, the replay value was set at 2 1/2 stars. To me, the replay value would be set at "0" stars.

To save the evening, we watched Passengers in 4K.


.
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I purchased this on 4K Blu-Ray this morning as Netflix has a 28 day delay in renting this. I really enjoyed the movie immensely especially the video. It reminded me of "Alice In Wonderland". The colors really popped and I enjoyed the Atmos sound.
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Now I know what a toddler feels like after given too much apple juice in his sippy cup and exposed to too many bright colours !

And if that wasn't enough, the Ballet with it's costumes and choreography sent it over the top for me, even at the end credits, I dare say, I think Tchaikovsky would have approved, even if it was; well; quite improvised.

If I had too criticize something about this, is that it needed more time for the story to grow into something more complex, I believe in that respect it didn't develop past a simple children's story book. The heart of story was simply a bit too predictable...
For me, there just wasn't enough screen time and script for the cast to make use of.

But despite that, I do like my Disney CGI, it never gets old for me, and with that said, I'll put it to rest for a period of time and watch it again.
I am not disappointed that I spent 40 bucks on the 4K version.
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post #12 of 12 Old 02-03-2019, 04:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffR1 View Post
Now I know what a toddler feels like after given too much apple juice in his sippy cup and exposed to too many bright colours !

And if that wasn't enough, the Ballet with it's costumes and choreography sent it over the top for me, even at the end credits, I dare say, I think Tchaikovsky would have approved, even if it was; well; quite improvised.

If I had too criticize something about this, is that it needed more time for the story to grow into something more complex, I believe in that respect it didn't develop past a simple children's story book. The heart of story was simply a bit too predictable...
For me, there just wasn't enough screen time and script for the cast to make use of.

But despite that, I do like my Disney CGI, it never gets old for me, and with that said, I'll put it to rest for a period of time and watch it again.
I am not disappointed that I spent 40 bucks on the 4K version.

Greetings,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jeff!


Regards,
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