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post #1 of 51 Old 03-07-2019, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Mortal Engines Ultra HD Blu-ray Review



Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Mortal Engines, an adventure set in a post-apocalyptic world where cities ride on wheels and consume each other to survive.



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

Film:

Extras:

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

95



Details:

Studio and Year: Universal - 2018
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 128 minutes
Genre: Adventure

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

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar, Stephen Lang, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Ronan Raftery
Directed by: Christian Rivers
Music by: Tom Holkenborg
Written by: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Region Code: A,B,C


Release Date: March 12, 2019


"Some Scars Never Heal"


Synopsis:

“Visionary filmmaker Peter Jackson presents a startling new adventure unlike any you’ve seen before. Hundreds of years after our civilization was destroyed, a new world has emerged. A mysterious young woman named Hester Shaw leads a band of outcasts in the fight to stop London – now a giant predator city on wheels – from devouring everything in its path.” – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

My Take:

Based on the award-winning book series by Philips Reeve Mortal Engines takes place hundreds of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event and, follows a mysterious young woman, Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), who is determined to right a wrong perpetrated upon her years ago by Thaddeus Valentine, an ambitious and volatile leader of the city of London — now a giant, predator city on wheels that in order to survive, must devour and absorb smaller cities.

Feral, and fiercely driven by the memory of her mother, Hester joins forces with Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), an outcast from London, along with Anna Fang (Jihae), a dangerous outlaw with a bounty on her head, in order to stop Valentine from carrying out his diabolical scheme to create a weapon of mass destruction capable of laying waste to everything in its path.

I am not familiar with the book series but, generally tend to like post-apocalyptic type films and stories with strong female characters. Mortal Engines as a concept in terms of its setting and lead character design had potential but, unfortunately, the weak tea of a plot just doesn’t pass muster. The idea of whole cities rolling around on wheels was kind of lame and the subplot involving the vengeance sought by Hester is poorly developed. She as a character had excellent potential but, the lack of focus on the various elements surrounding who she is and how she came to the point she is currently at is lacking.

I liked the idea of her relationship to the Shrike character but, found its handling within the narrative’s construct to be a letdown. There is a cache of secondary characters that seemed necessary initially but, never have any impact on the proceedings. I liked Tom and Hester together and felt that their relationship was the story’s highlight however, given the nature of the plot, that wasn’t enough to carry it. Hugo Weaving’s “Valentine” didn’t have enough skin in the game to make for a meaningful villain.

The film’s production elements were solid and when there was action, I enjoyed that aspect of the film. Mortal Engines certainly isn’t the worst film of its genre to come down the pike but, it felt like a misfire that due to various reasons, relegates it to the category of forgettable.


Replay Value: 2.5 Stars


Parental Guide:

The rating is for sequences of futuristic violence and action.


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): 96
(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): 96
(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:
  • Audio object placement:
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform:
  • Entertainment factor:



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

Mortal Engines was shot digitally, derived from an 8K source, and rendered from a 4K DI for its presentation in Ultra HD.

The 1080p transfer looks solid and this Ultra HD rendering takes it up a notch with a discernible increase in detail, and emboldened highlights, both light and dark. Mortal Engines is a visually dazzling film that benefits from the enhanced resolution and emboldened contrast. Primary colors are scant but are beautifully rendered when present.

Intimate details can be seen, both in wide-angle and close-up perspectives, imparting a discernible increase in depth/dimension. The extensive use of CGI imparts some innate softening. I didn’t find it compromising per se, but I wouldn’t describe the overall nature of the video to be razor sharp.

The use of HDR is spot on, driving the story’s use of moody visual cues offset by gleams of light that illuminate dark environs, like the hidden stairwell leading up to the church on London, or the crater like tracks where Tom and Hester seek shelter after being ejected from London. The beams of energy emitted by the massive weapon and the ensuing firefight during the finale stood out in stark contrast to the gradational blacks, grays and sepia, that make up the film’s dystopian world at night. The film’s plethora of shadow laden environs offer increased resolve in terms of interstitial details that promote depth of field. Blacks are inky without compromise to fidelity.

Stylistically speaking, Mortal Engines isn’t the type of film that is going to dazzle with its use of eye scorching dynamism or vivid color. There is no question that its Ultra HD presentation appears faithful and makes for a distinct improvement when compared to the 1080p Blu-ray rendering.





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 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.*

In comparing the DV and HDR-10 renderings I ran the same scenes using my reference Panasonic UHD player (in DV) and Oppo UHD player (HDR-10 only). The title looked terrific on both formats with respect to the reproduction of HDR. I found that the DV presentation offered slightly better delineation of color and that the rendering of the finest details in shadows was a toss-up. Inevitably you can’t go wrong with either but, if pushed, my preference was the Dolby Vision presentation.


Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that focused on thematic atmosphere. Its use of audio objects placed above is comprised of a mix of ambience, panning fills and discrete effects. This is done well when implemented and creates an enriching level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. The music score is subtly mixed over the platform so as to add natural depth to its orchestrated elements while underscoring the story’s various plot points. While this mix doesn’t make constant use of attention-grabbing audio object placement, I found myself completely involved when it mattered and found this to be an enjoyable audio presentation that absolutely complimented the source material.



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: 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


Mortal Engines comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

This film has an intentionally stylized visual design that works aesthetically well for the film’s theme and setting. The color range is limited to shades of gray, teal and black with splashes of crimson, blue, sepia, and a variety of secondary hues. Fleshtones hold up fairly well and don’t appear unnatural. Uneven light and shading are prevalent. Contrast is spot on which empowers whites and grays without washing away detail. Whites are punchy and grays are multi-staged and deep. I found the quality of the video to be high. It’s cleanly rendered with plenty of subtle refinement and delineation that enhances depth and reveals fine detail in objects, clothing, and physical features. Blacks are gradationally revealing which combines with excellent detail in low light and shadowy backgrounds to provide a strong sense of dimension. All in all, this is an excellent high definition rendering that looked great on my large screen.

The lossless 7.1 Dolby TrueHD (Atmos Core) soundtrack has solid dynamic range, detail rich clarity and makes excellent use of the entire surround platform to drive the film’s elements. The music score, coupled along with the integration of discrete and ambient sound effects, plays an intricate role in this active surround mix. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment makes for a notably enveloping surround experience. Low frequency effects can be room energizing as the subwoofer works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the low-level bass associated with the action-based sequences. Dialog is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. I thought this audio presentation made for an entertaining home theater experience.


Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Mortal Engines Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Mortal Engines Blu-ray
  • Welcome to London (Five-Part Making Of):
    1. Building the Beast
    2. Levels of London
    3. The Smallest Details
    4. London Museum
    5. Medusa and St. Paul’s
  • Feature Commentary with Director Christian Rivers
  • End of the Ancients
  • Character Series (5 Segments)
  • In the Air
  • Film New Zealand
  • Digital Copy



Final Thoughts:

Based on the award-winning book series by Philips Reeve Mortal Engines is a middling genre entry that suffers from a poorly conceived script and lackluster direction that while not unwatchable, ultimately left me wanting. It comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment in this Ultra HD Combo Pack featuring an excellent Ultra HD video rendering (which includes Dolby Vision HDR) that makes the most of the source material, solid high definition video, engaging lossless surround sound, including a complimentary Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix, and a worthwhile supplemental package. Mortal Engines isn’t a great film but, it may be worth checking out, if for no other reason than to experience it on Ultra HD Blu-ray/Blu-ray.














Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


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post #2 of 51 Old 03-07-2019, 12:53 PM
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That film rating I feel is a bit harsh, I would say for me its a strong 3.5/5, I found it refreshing to finally have a different kind of movie... this was so different to the normal cookie cutter movie that typically comes out. I thought the story was pretty decent and the cinematics were amazing. This movie did not get nearly the credit it deserved but I also understand it was targeting a niche crowd which is a shame.
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post #3 of 51 Old 03-07-2019, 01:04 PM
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Plot sounds like a grounded version of James Blish's novels "Cities In Flight" which I enjoyed. This could be an interesting one for me.
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post #4 of 51 Old 03-07-2019, 05:35 PM
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Totally agree with your assessment Ralph. Character development was sorely lacking and while the set pieces were marvelous to watch, I think this is one of those movies that's all style and very little substance. I've seen worse movies, but it's not something I'd ever sit through again.

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post #5 of 51 Old 03-07-2019, 10:12 PM
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This movie was going to be a VUDU rental for me, but we bit the bullet and used up one of our AMC A-List tickets on it. Sadly, the cinema we saw it in had the audio all wacky. Very little bass, felt like the music was really quiet throughout most of the movie - I assumed this was just the stadium we were in.

I would definitely give it another round at home, but will have to wait til it hits my <$15 requirement for buying 4K now. Thanks for another thoughtful review, Ralph!
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post #6 of 51 Old 03-08-2019, 04:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Chaves View Post
That film rating I feel is a bit harsh, I would say for me its a strong 3.5/5, I found it refreshing to finally have a different kind of movie... this was so different to the normal cookie cutter movie that typically comes out. I thought the story was pretty decent and the cinematics were amazing. This movie did not get nearly the credit it deserved but I also understand it was targeting a niche crowd which is a shame.
Thanks Daniel for offering your thoughts. I was on the fence as to whether to rate it at 2.5 or 3.0. I think it could go either way but, can see why some might feel otherwise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post
Totally agree with your assessment Ralph. Character development was sorely lacking and while the set pieces were marvelous to watch, I think this is one of those movies that's all style and very little substance. I've seen worse movies, but it's not something I'd ever sit through again.
Thanks buddy. This one would have been an interesting one for our future YouTube channel project.


Regards,
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post #7 of 51 Old 03-08-2019, 12:29 PM
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I have watched every second of all of PJ's and Weta Workshop's Extras. For me, they epitomize the Home Theater genre. So I will buy this Product blindly because I know the artists (say it again) have slaved, they have sacrificed, for this end result.
I missed it in the theaters (to my shame) I'll not make that same mistake a second time.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLDukes View Post
I have watched every second of all of PJ's and Weta Workshop's Extras. For me, they epitomize the Home Theater genre. So I will buy this Product blindly because I know the artists (say it again) have slaved, they have sacrificed, for this end result.
I missed it in the theaters (to my shame) I'll not make that same mistake a second time.
Thank you PJ et al
D
The extras are pretty good on this disc and you could tell there was passion for the project. I think they bit off more than they could chew in a 2-hour movie and it should have been a mini-series or a multi-film project.
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post #9 of 51 Old 03-08-2019, 04:26 PM
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I have a 3D version from the UK preordered. It doesn't release for another month and a half tho. I was thinking about picking up the UltraHD version too to watch now but I may just wait. Don't wanna double dip on a movie that isn't worth it.
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Thanks for the review Ralph. I've had a copy of this on pre-order for awhile. Really wanted to get to this in theater but it's amazing how much stuff pops up in December that demands your attention.
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I thought the rolling cities was a great idea, especially from the overly cliched post apocalyptic films/tv series that seem to populate the offerings these days. I do like strong female characters, but I do like equally strong male characters as well,the later which was sorely missing in this movie [it's funny what passes for "male" these days ]. I have no time and patience for bumbling fools regardless how they "identify" themselves. I agree if this was a mini series with a good budget a lot more could have been told, and told the right way, perhaps with a better cast, and better written characters. A wasted opportunity this was.

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These are the hardest movies for me. Exellcent audio/video, but a movie that I probably would not watch more than once. Hopefully it drops in price because I cannot justify the new release premium on this one. As always, thanks for the review Ralph. There is nothing better than visiting this site and seeing a new review.
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post #13 of 51 Old 03-09-2019, 05:26 PM
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Not sure what to make of this one. At first blush it looks long on eye and ear candy (and that is good!) but short on substance (not so good). Cannibalistic cities on wheels is just a really hard leap to make.

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post #14 of 51 Old 03-10-2019, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattopotamus View Post
These are the hardest movies for me. Exellcent audio/video, but a movie that I probably would not watch more than once. Hopefully it drops in price because I cannot justify the new release premium on this one. As always, thanks for the review Ralph. There is nothing better than visiting this site and seeing a new review.

Greetings,

Thanks Matt and you're quite welcome.


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post #15 of 51 Old 03-12-2019, 12:10 AM
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Movie wasn't too bad. Picture was excellent and the WCG really gave the image extra pop.
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post #16 of 51 Old 03-12-2019, 06:22 PM
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How was the audio part of the movie? I've read a few reviews and some say the audio was very disappointing.

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post #17 of 51 Old 03-13-2019, 04:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsil View Post
How was the audio part of the movie? I've read a few reviews and some say the audio was very disappointing.

Greetings,

Not sure which reviews you are referring to but, no such problems here.


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post #18 of 51 Old 03-13-2019, 05:34 AM
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One review gave it 7.5 out of 10 and wish it had more overhead and bass in the movie. Also, the same thing for Fantastic Beasts and that got 7 out of 10.

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post #19 of 51 Old 03-13-2019, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsil View Post
One review gave it 7.5 out of 10 and wish it had more overhead and bass in the movie. Also, the same thing for Fantastic Beasts and that got 7 out of 10.
Greetings,

I see. Well, I suppose you will have to make a decision based on which review (s) you trust. Good luck..


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post #20 of 51 Old 03-14-2019, 01:00 PM
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While I regret picking this one up, I was very surprised at the amount of bass and overheads in this movie. I think I saw some of the same reviews that said it was poor in both departments.

At the very opening of the film, my wife looked at me and said "who said there was no bass in this?? and laughed. I also thought it had plenty o rumble.
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post #21 of 51 Old 03-14-2019, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
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While I regret picking this one up, I was very surprised at the amount of bass and overheads in this movie. I think I saw some of the same reviews that said it was poor in both departments.

At the very opening of the film, my wife looked at me and said "who said there was no bass in this?? and laughed. I also thought it had plenty o rumble.

Greetings,

Soooo WHO was right?


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post #22 of 51 Old 03-14-2019, 01:44 PM
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Greetings,

Soooo WHO was right?


Regards,
YOU of course
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post #23 of 51 Old 03-15-2019, 04:55 PM
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Thanks for the review Ralph.
I enjoyed it and will definitely watch it again.
I liked the concept of cities rolling around and thought the video and sound were excellent!


Ray
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post #24 of 51 Old 03-16-2019, 06:39 PM
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Thanks for the review Ralph.
I enjoyed it and will definitely watch it again.
I liked the concept of cities rolling around and thought the video and sound were excellent!


Ray

I liked it too. Thought the storytelling was good enough, and really felt like I was watching a Peter Jackson production, which I like. Picture had a lot of eye candy (Bluray with Panasonic 820 upscaling to 4k on a Chadb calibrated JVC 540), and the sound was great in Dolby Atmos. I'll be picking up a 4k UHD when the price drops for another viewing.
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post #25 of 51 Old 03-17-2019, 01:54 PM
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Only watched the first 45 minutes or so of a redbox rental because I started it too late and was just flat out exhausted, but I liked it more than I expected so far. The set pieces and general aura/mood of the film created a type of substance for me that worked IMO. Audio and video were phenomenal.

I liked what I saw enough to pick up the 4k version later today.
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post #26 of 51 Old 03-17-2019, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Only watched the first 45 minutes or so of a redbox rental because I started it too late and was just flat out exhausted, but I liked it more than I expected so far. The set pieces and general aura/mood of the film created a type of substance for me that worked IMO. Audio and video were phenomenal.

I liked what I saw enough to pick up the 4k version later today.

Greetings,

Sweeeeet! Glad to hear this Todd. Post back after you've checked out the 4K version.



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post #27 of 51 Old 03-17-2019, 11:45 PM
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I'll take that thousand year old Twinkie over a moldy apple any day of the week !

What an absurd movie, kind of like watching Jules Vern and "Water World", but with out the water.

I found myself laughing out loud at scenes that were not meant to be funny, so I think "absurd" describes it pretty well for me.

I agree with your 2.5 marks Ralph, pretty much nails it.
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post #28 of 51 Old 03-18-2019, 03:18 PM
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I liked it too. Thought the storytelling was good enough, and really felt like I was watching a Peter Jackson production, which I like. Picture had a lot of eye candy (Bluray with Panasonic 820 upscaling to 4k on a Chadb calibrated JVC 540), and the sound was great in Dolby Atmos. I'll be picking up a 4k UHD when the price drops for another viewing.
The 4k UHD disc is incredible. This film was shot on 8K with a 4k DI. I am watching on a 2.40:1 screen (equivalent 135" 16x9) sitting 12.5 ft away and the color and detail were mesmerizing... especially actors faces. I enjoyed the story even though it was not perfect. It was a great escape to another world.

I am disappointed that Ralph did not delve into more detail regarding the fact that this movie was shot in 8K and down converted to 4K. Even watching on my fake 4k JVC projector this movie looks incredible. The source material makes a huge difference.
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post #29 of 51 Old 03-19-2019, 04:28 AM - Thread Starter
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The 4k UHD disc is incredible. This film was shot on 8K with a 4k DI. I am watching on a 2.40:1 screen (equivalent 135" 16x9) sitting 12.5 ft away and the color and detail were mesmerizing... especially actors faces. I enjoyed the story even though it was not perfect. It was a great escape to another world.

I am disappointed that Ralph did not delve into more detail regarding the fact that this movie was shot in 8K and down converted to 4K. Even watching on my fake 4k JVC projector this movie looks incredible. The source material makes a huge difference.
Greetings,

I am glad that enjoyed this presentation and overall film. I referenced the fact that the film was shot digitally/rendered from an 8K source and finished on a 4K DI in my review. Specifically, what detail were you looking for me to delve into regarding that information?


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post #30 of 51 Old 03-19-2019, 05:02 AM
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Hi Ralph,

In my opinion the video quality was perhaps the best I have ever seen from a perceived resolution standpoint. I didn’t see any excitement from you regarding this aspect of the video presentation Just thought you might have shared a few additional thoughts on it as I believe a lot of us are also happy to see Hollywood moving to better quality, higher resolution cameras and 4K DI. Thanks for the review!


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