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post #1 of 105 Old 02-12-2020, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Midway Ultra HD Blu-ray Review



Blockbuster filmmaker Roland Emmerich directs an all-star ensemble cast in Midway, an intimate portrayal of historic actual events of one of the most important and decisive battles of World War II. Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.



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

Film:

Extras:

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

93



Details:

Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2019
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 138 minutes
Genre: Drama

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

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Woody Harrelson, Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore, Aaron Eckhart, Etsushi Toyokawa, Tadnobu Asano, Nick Jonas, Luke Kleintank, Jun Kunimura, Darren Criss, Keean Johnson
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Music by: Thomas Wander, Harald Kloser
Written by: Wes Tooke
Region Code: A


Release Date: February 18, 2020


"Based on Real Events"


Synopsis:

“The story of the WWII Battle of Midway, as seen from the perspectives of the leaders and the sailors who fought it.” – Lionsgate Home Entertainment

My Take:

On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese forces launch a devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. naval base in Hawaii. Six months later, the Battle of Midway commences on June 4, 1942, as the Japanese navy once again plans a strike against American naval forces on the small island in the Pacific. For the next three days, the U.S. Navy and a squad of brave fighter pilots engage the enemy in one of the most important and decisive battles of World War II.

Midway centers on the Battle of Midway, a clash between the American fleet and the Imperial Japanese Navy which marked a pivotal turning point in the Pacific Theater during WWII. The film, based on the real-life events of this heroic feat, tells the story of the leaders and soldiers who used their instincts, fortitude, and bravery to overcome the odds. As someone that is generally drawn to films that depict historical events, especially significant ones, I looked forward to seeing Midway. Middling early reviews made me less inclined to make the trip to the cineplex for it so, I opted to wait for its release on home video.

There have been plenty of Hollywood productions devoted to the World War II, some that dealt with its beginnings and others that depicted specific/significant events. The battle at Midway was most definitely one of the most important of WWII and, has been done before. Midway takes aim at giving us an inside look at the people responsible for its success while providing an overview of the battle itself. The film opens with a brief backstory and segue into the attack at Pearl Harbor before moving on to laying out the story/people/events that led up to Midway.

I was okay with the development of the plot and the film’s pacing. I also appreciated the depiction of the integral roles played by the various members in command, on both sides of the conflict. The narrative, as a whole, didn’t bring anything fresh to the table, instead settling for clichés, pointed melodrama and stabs at epic moments that rarely live up to the subject matter.

Part of what makes Midway less compelling was the choice to cast British actor Ed Skrein in the lead. I have seen him in a number of films and generally like him. The problem here is that he portrays Richard “Dick” Best from New Jersey and his attempts at an accent leave much to be desired. I found it distracting at nearly every turn. Not to mention that he doesn’t have the acting chops to carry a film like this. Mandy Moore was cast as his wife and, frankly, she isn’t any better in the acting department. I think Nick Jonas, with his small role, did a better job. I did enjoy the performances by the rest of the cast though.

The production elements are a bit of a mixed bag. The amount of CGI used the in the film sometimes detracts from its dramatic impact but, I suppose that’s a byproduct of making a picture like this. When the credits rolled, I didn’t necessarily find myself disappointed in Midway. It just felt more ordinary than I’d hoped and ultimately like a missed opportunity. I do plan on revisiting it to see what a second viewing brings.



Replay Value: 3.5 Stars


Parental Guide:

The rating is for sequences of war violence and related images, language and smoking.




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): 90
(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): 92
(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:



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

For its presentation in Ultra HD, Midway was rendered from an 8K source and finished on a 2K DI. Midway is a period war drama that adheres to relatively cooler chromatic schemes, with the exception of sequences that call for richer color to provide thematic emphasis, which doesn't make for especially eye- catching levels of color, but this Ultra HD rendering makes the most of its elements. Resolution gets a boost with the differences between the UHD and 1080p renderings being appreciable but, not staggering.
The plethora of close up camera shots reveal plenty of subtle refinement and textures within the image. Primary colors like blue and red are pleasingly rich while whites appear bright, punchy and occasionally a bit lacking in the finest gradations.

The added dimension in the grays, blacks, and shadows gives the image ample depth. The exterior sequences with their overcast skies, moody visual aesthetic and sharp lines looked excellent. The film has several sequences that take advantage of high dynamic range. The contrast between the shadow details, bright flashes and, glistening metal objects was appreciable, imparting an overall stylized visual aesthetic that mated well with the film’s thematic tone.

Given its chosen elements, Midway isn’t the type of film that is going to dazzle with its use of visual dynamism or vivid color. I believe that its Ultra HD presentation appears faithful. Those hoping for a night and day difference between it and its 1080p counterpart may be disappointed but, there’s no question that it benefitted from the Ultra HD treatment.


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.*

Comparing the DV and HDR-10 presentations for Midway, I found the HDR renderings to be very close. As I alluded to earlier, this film’s elements aren’t lent to use of overtly rich color, but I did take a close look at the rendering of contrast, chromatic depth and delineation during scenes containing dark and bright highlights. When I switched back and forth between the DV and HDR10 renderings, I felt that the DV presentation revealed better definition in the darkest portions of the image, and slightly improved white detail. These differences aren’t especially noteworthy, but in the grand scheme, made for a more pleasing image.


Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be an entertaining listening experience that made excellent use of the platform. The immersive mix compliments the already top-notch soundtrack and enhances the experience of watching the film. The attention to detail here is noticeably on display and I have to tip my cap to the sound mixer. The use of audio objects placed above and at ear level is a mix of atmospherics, discrete effects and music. This is done to excellent effect and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. The film’s active moments, swallow you up as the revolving, rotating and all-encompassing surround sound comes at you from all sides.

There is also much to enjoy in scenes that aren’t actively intense as smaller elements in the background are articulated and dimensionally full. In general, this Dolby Atmos mix made for an involving surround sound experience. I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere and discrete object placement.


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: 92
(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


Midway comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate 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. Midway looks great on Blu-ray.

The 7.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack doesn’t disappoint and sounds terrific. This is an active audio presentation that utilizes the entire system to create a theater like experience. Sound staging is quite good as both the front and rear channels are seamlessly integrated. Sound effects traverse the room during the extended battle sequences. Dynamics are energy filled and impact felt with discerning articulation and clarity. This is an aggressive mix that makes regular use of the subwoofer to accentuate its potent dynamics. The result is that all points of contact seem to resonate with tactile low bass impact. The quality of the bass is first rate as it is fills the room with clean, hard hitting low frequency energy. Dialog has refining presence with clear vocal character and excellent room penetration. This is an entertaining audio presentation that compliments the film while making for an excellent home theater experience.


Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Midway Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Midway Blu-ray
    • Audio Commentary by Roland Emmerich
    • “Getting It Right: The Making of Midway” Featurette
    • “The Men of Midway” Featurette
    • “Roland Emmerich: Man on a Mission” Featurette
    • “Turning Point: The Legacy of Midway” Featurette
    • “Joe Rochefort: Breaking the Japanese Code” Featurette
    • “We Met at Midway: Two Survivors Remember” Featurette
    • Theatrical Trailer
  • Digital Code



Final Thoughts:

Based on real events Midway is a mixed bag of a blockbuster that would have benefitted from a stronger script and a tweak or two to its casting choices. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack featuring excellent overall video quality, killer lossless surround sound (including a terrific Dolby Atmos mix) and a fan friendly assortment of extras. Midway will probably frustrate discerning cinephiles but, it has enough going for it to warrant the attention of those that typically enjoy the films by its director Roland Emmerich. Give it a spin on Blu-ray and see for yourself.











Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


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post #2 of 105 Old 02-12-2020, 08:27 AM
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I remember seeing the earlier movie version in the mid to late 70's. Looking forward to seeing this!
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post #3 of 105 Old 02-12-2020, 11:41 AM
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I had several friends over to watch the film. The men all loved it , the women not so much. One thing is sure this if a great demo for atmos and will give your sub s a great workout. AS usual Ralph a great spot on review.

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The movie was OK but the 1976 movie of the same name was far better. It was far more detailed and did a better job of presenting the battles from both the American and Japanese viewpoints. The current version has some real casting misfires (Woody Harrelson and Ed Skrein among them) especially compared to the older movie. It is good the release's PQ and AQ is excellent so that it might serve as a showcase for a home theater system but I have the 1976 Blu-ray and have watched it many times. I doubt that I'll be able to say the same about the 2019 release.
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Great review, Ralph. I always enjoy a good war movie. With a 100 sound rating, those propellers from the planes should sound omnipresent. You can count me in for a purchase.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal1981 View Post
The movie was OK but the 1976 movie of the same name was far better. It was far more detailed and did a better job of presenting the battles from both the American and Japanese viewpoints. The current version has some real casting misfires (Woody Harrelson and Ed Skrein among them) especially compared to the older movie. It is good the release's PQ and AQ is excellent so that it might serve as a showcase for a home theater system but I have the 1976 Blu-ray and have watched it many times. I doubt that I'll be able to say the same about the 2019 release.
+1. Now I need to dig up the old one and re-watch. The story line is more important than just CGI and PQ.
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I thought the movie was mediocre. The cast was just strange, the entire thing was just off. May be worth a 2nd try in the home theater but the original is far better as far as content and characters. I will say I was expecting it to be worse when I saw it at the theater I also remember seeing the original in the theater and have always been a fan of the original so I may not be a fair judge of the remake.
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post #8 of 105 Old 02-12-2020, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by dragonbud0 View Post
+1. Now I need to dig up the old one and re-watch. The story line is more important than just CGI and PQ.
If you do watch it again try not to cringe at Woody Harrelson's Admiral Nimitz compared to Henry Fonda's. As Ralph noted (as did I), Ed Skrein was simply not up to the job of playing Dick Best. Surely there must have been a good American actor who could have effectively played him and sounded more like a guy from Wisconsin or thereabouts.
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post #9 of 105 Old 02-12-2020, 06:42 PM
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Couldn't agree more Ralph. Ed Skrein was miscast (not his fault). Frankly, I think Jonas would have been better in the lead.

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Geez another remake . No ideas left in Hollywood no wonder.
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I thought that Ed was way better choice here than Daniel Craig in "Knives out". But I'm no expert on "jersey" accent so what do I know?
I didn't expect much from this movie as far the drama goes after all it came from Emmerich, however the man has an affinity for American selfless bravery as he portrayed that in film after film. A concept that somehow became controversial among filmmakers and some segment of the population, yet this German born director just knocks it out like it's "mandatory" for him. Good for you Roland!
As for the sound this a technical tour de force, a reference all the way, while I won't say this is the best Atmos mix I ever heard it is damn good nonetheless, highly recommended!

Mandy Moore: Yeah not a great actress, but she looked fine here. There is something about tall women....

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post #12 of 105 Old 02-13-2020, 02:08 AM
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Well, this movie satisfied my appetite for action. (Much more enjoyable than a typical superhero movie, at least to me.) Yeah, it was somewhat artificial in general and also, cartoonish looking in places, however the pacing was excellent and the soundtrack exceptional.

But the cherry on top was the deepest notes. Bass has never sounded this good in my theater before!

Too many to list. ;)
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Preordered the steelbook a couple weeks ago. Saw this one in the theaters and enjoyed it.


Looking forward to the Atmos mix at home. Thanks for the review Ralph!

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**WARNING** for any Canadians wanting to pre-order Midway and are Expecting ATMOS audio.

The Distributor for Lionsgate in Canada (Elevation),
Does NOT include Dolby ATMOS audio on either the 4K or Bluray

... it's listed on the back cover as DTS-HD MA 5.1 (for both)

In the US, even the standard Bluray disc includes ATMOS audio, WTH

I first read about this blasphemy on bluray.com and just confirmed on amazon.ca:



Immediately ordered up a steelbook/import copy from Zavvi (in the UK) instead


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Quote:
Originally Posted by PioManiac View Post
**WARNING** for any Canadians wanting to pre-order Midway and are Expecting ATMOS audio.

The Distributor for Lionsgate in Canada (Elevation),
Does NOT include Dolby ATMOS audio on either the 4K or Bluray

... it's listed on the back cover as DTS-HD MA 5.1 (for both)

In the US, even the standard Bluray disc includes ATMOS audio, WTH

I first read about this blasphemy on bluray.com and just confirmed on amazon.ca:



Immediately ordered up a steelbook/import copy from Zavvi (in the UK) instead

I don't know anything about the business of home entertainment distribution, but it looks like it's made more complicated than it has to be...

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Years ago i was so hoping Spielberg would have done the remake of Midway, so it might have been done correctly as Private Ryan
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This Atmos track will be the reference that I will benchmark all future Atmos tracks against. I was blown away (pun intended) by the depth of all the ambient audio. There was a couple of spots I actually felt a bit of vertigo.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killroy View Post
This Atmos track will be the reference that I will benchmark all future Atmos tracks against. I was blown away (pun intended) by the depth of all the ambient audio. There was a couple of spots I actually felt a bit of vertigo.


Damn - now I can’t wait for my preorder 4K Blu-ray copy to arrive!


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post #19 of 105 Old 02-17-2020, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Michaeldef View Post
Years ago i was so hoping Spielberg would have done the remake of Midway, so it might have been done correctly as Private Ryan
If only...
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post #20 of 105 Old 02-17-2020, 06:43 PM
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Spielberg lost his touch a long time ago....
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post #21 of 105 Old 02-18-2020, 10:36 AM
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Spielberg lost his touch a long time ago....
I respectively beg to differ. His last few movies, Ready Player One, The Post, Bridge of Spies and Lincoln (although it could a bit plodding at times) were not exactly chopped liver. Now I'll admit that Spielberg's upcoming remake of West Side Story is more of an uncertainty since he's treading on completely new ground.
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Originally Posted by ian c 2 View Post
I don't know anything about the business of home entertainment distribution, but it looks like it's made more complicated than it has to be...

It's actually quite... strange. Because of declining disc sales, the studios are generally consolidating their print runs - why do a print run exclusively for Canada where the volume will be low. Better to do it as a combined run since the extra discs cost very little more to run off and you don't incur extra mastering costs. (Edit: Yes, I know Lionsgate is/was Canadian (until they got acquired) named after a local bridge here in Vancouver, but still to spend all that money making a special run?).


It's why they disc studios are consolidating into two - one to handle Asia and such, and the other for Americas and Europe. Especially since Canada doesn't get some stuff on Blu-Ray anymore and I've had to import from Amazon.com. So a special print run for Canada? Odd


And the photos are what I found at Best Buy Canada, clearly showing it's DTS-HD. Looks like another trip to Amazon.com..
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post #23 of 105 Old 02-18-2020, 04:46 PM
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My son and I watched this last night and really enjoyed it. Picture and sound were terrific as well.


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post #24 of 105 Old 02-18-2020, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Cal1981 View Post
I respectively beg to differ. His last few movies, Ready Player One, The Post, Bridge of Spies and Lincoln (although it could a bit plodding at times) were not exactly chopped liver. Now I'll admit that Spielberg's upcoming remake of West Side Story is more of an uncertainty since he's treading on completely new ground.


I like all those - especially Ready Player One. He’s making great films still.


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post #25 of 105 Old 02-18-2020, 05:47 PM
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I like all those - especially Ready Player One. He’s making great films still.


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Harrison Ford said today on the Ellen Show that he's starting another Indiana Jones movie this Summer!
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post #26 of 105 Old 02-18-2020, 06:16 PM
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Harrison Ford said today on the Ellen Show that he's starting another Indiana Jones movie this Summer!


not sure i am looking forward to that one.

crystal skull wasn’t awesome.....and some things shouldn’t be kept going for nostalgia sake..

harrison ford is a GREAT actor....but nothing lasts forever.


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post #27 of 105 Old 02-18-2020, 06:57 PM
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Harrison Ford said today on the Ellen Show that he's starting another Indiana Jones movie this Summer!
"Indiana Jones and the Lost Treasure of the Sunny Day Senior Living Complex" The action takes place in Boca Raton Florida.
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post #28 of 105 Old 02-18-2020, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Worf View Post
It's actually quite... strange. Because of declining disc sales, the studios are generally consolidating their print runs - why do a print run exclusively for Canada where the volume will be low. Better to do it as a combined run since the extra discs cost very little more to run off and you don't incur extra mastering costs. (Edit: Yes, I know Lionsgate is/was Canadian (until they got acquired) named after a local bridge here in Vancouver, but still to spend all that money making a special run?).


It's why they disc studios are consolidating into two - one to handle Asia and such, and the other for Americas and Europe. Especially since Canada doesn't get some stuff on Blu-Ray anymore and I've had to import from Amazon.com. So a special print run for Canada? Odd


And the photos are what I found at Best Buy Canada, clearly showing it's DTS-HD. Looks like another trip to Amazon.com..

I'm only going by info I pull currently available off of blu-ray.com, and it seems the "neutered" English DTS-HDMA 5.1 track featured on the Canadian disc doesn't exist anywhere else. UK, Germany, Australia all feature the English Dolby Atmos on both the BR and UHD releases. I'm guessing that it will only be featured on the French discs (currently listed as "TBA" on BR.com). Like you said, they've literally worked extra hard and incurred additional expenses to offer consumers an inferior product (for the English audience at least), that might somehow factor into answering the question why consumers are buying less discs? hey, IDK.


the only reason that would make sense to me is if different region/market requires different cuts/special censorship, that will require additional work/cost no matter what, that can explain a lot in the spirit of "sure...why not...might as well...". But in Midway's case, I'm still scratching my head. I'm leaning stronger on the side of restraints regulated by pre-existing terms, treaties and contracts signed into documents some ten twenty years ago so things are the way that they are, and I'm sure are as convoluted (and quite possibly, outdated) to be of any useful knowledge to any of us.

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post #29 of 105 Old 02-18-2020, 08:26 PM
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So in spite of my reservations, since I had a $5 bonus, I picked up Midway today. There appears to be some kind of compatibility issue between the 4k disc and my Panasonic UB-820 player. The movie froze twice during the Marshall Islands attack on two tries. I took it back to BB and swapped it for another copy but the same thing happened in the same places. My Oppo-203, however, played the disc without any problems. If anyone has Midway and a Panny UB-820, can you post your experience with them. Maybe my BB got a bad batch but that seems unlikely,
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post #30 of 105 Old 02-18-2020, 08:35 PM
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Liked it but didn't love it, as Ralph said above, a mixed bag. Not a fan of CGI, felt like i was watching a video game. Makes me want to fire up The Battle of Britain where real aircraft were used throughout.
Interesting to see Jake Weber as Admiral Spruance though i'm puzzled, over in the Atlantic, he was Lt. Hirsch U-571.
Would have liked for him to have a bigger role in the film considering he commanded U.S. Naval Forces to victory at Midway, the turning point of the Pacific War.
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