Jupiter Ascending Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of this sci-fi adventure about a young woman who discovers her destiny as an heiress of intergalactic nobility and must fight to protect the inhabitants of Earth from an ancient and destructive industry.

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

Film:

Extras:

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

89

Details:

Studio and Year: Warner – 2015
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 127 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Action/Adventure

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth
Written & Directed by: The Wachowski’s
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 4, 2016

“Expand Your Universe”

I Reviewed Jupiter Ascending when it was originally released on Blu-ray and have included my comments from that review here. The ratings for the 1080p audio/video and bonus content will be the same as they are identical to the original release. New comments and ratings for the new Ultra HD video are below.

Jupiter Jones (Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people’s houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along—her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

The first teaser trailer I saw from Jupiter Ascending intrigued me. It then seemed like an inordinate amount of time went by before I heard anything else about it. When it finally came to theaters I had intentions of seeing it but a lack of interest from anyone in the my family as well as poor reviews kept me at bay, so I was waited for it to come to Blu-ray. I don’t know, the Wachowski’s seem to have lost their ability to connect with the audience.

Jupiter Ascending is bereft of character development and features an incoherent narrative that dances in and out of context while blurring the lines of its thematic tone with ridiculous banter, unwarranted levity and awkward romanticism. At over two hours in duration watching it seemed like a chore as my family and I tried to piece together the plot. It isn’t until well over an hour in that the details surrounding exactly what is happening and why are revealed. Quite frankly by that point it really didn’t matter as that did nothing to elevate interest.

The spectacle over substance approach did little to support the poor script as the repetitive action and unimaginative characters (which included the chuckle inducing make-up design) only served to underscore the muddled story. The productions elements were excellent and provided plenty of eye candy though which may be of interest to genre fans. By the time the credits rolled everyone was pretty checked out and glad it was over. It’s a shame as I was hoping to find some redeeming elements to the story which when combined with the genre and effects might make for a somewhat enjoyable film experience. Alas it wasn’t to be…

Parental Guide:

The rating is for some violence, sequences of sci-fi action, some suggestive content and partial 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.**

UHD Presentation: 84
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color & WCG:
  • 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:
  • Entertainment factor:

 

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

For those not willing to refer to the article linked above, I have included some comments here. The implementation of high dynamic range 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, high dynamic range, 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!

* Let me begin by saying that last week I was away from home on vacation in Northern California. I was fortunate enough to spend time with my good friend David Vaughn, Contributing Technical Editor for Home Theater Magazine, and active AVS Forum member. Dave covers Blu-ray/Ultra HD Blu-ray among his duties and received the same batch of Warner Brothers Home Entertainment UHD Blu-ray releases as I did, so we sat down together and viewed them in his theater. We share some of the same equipment, specifically the projector and A/V processor. Upon viewing, our impressions/opinion were the same. When I returned home I went through and watched specific scenes on my system and found the results to be identical to what Dave and I saw in his viewing environment. Read on..*

Jupiter Ascending comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 5.3 Mbps.

Jupiter Ascending garnered a solid report from me on its video quality in 1080p. Its presentation in Ultra HD was rendered from a 2K DI and up-converted to 4K. Color reproduction is consistent, with primaries like blue and red appearing richer, even a bit more delineated. Secondary hues look great, although not appreciably better. The increase in resolution isn’t always on display, especially in wide angle shots, although I believe that this is innate to the photography. Close-ups tend to offer better refinement and deeper resolvable texture on surfaces and physical features compared to the Blu-ray. The improvements are subtle but present.

The same is true when comparing the video’s dynamic range. Exterior sequences offer the slightest hint of added punch where the sun reflects off of objects etc. Where the presentation really shines is during the special effects sequences as the contrast of the lighting from explosions/flashing weaponry etc. against the darkened/shadowy areas of space or dimly lit interiors looks terrific. Fleshtones were a bit warm but retained a natural and pleasing tonality. Viewing Jupiter Ascending in Ultra HD wasn’t an eye opening experience however I found it to be a complimentary improvement over the 1080p Blu-ray presentation.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that made steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix atmospherics and discrete effects. This is done to very good effect and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. The extended chase sequence during chapter three features a host of swirling effects that travel around the soundstage moving overheard, passing by and coming directly at the listening position. Following that are a series of set pieces that show off the immersive effect as the blend of music, falling debris, weapon fire and smaller object sounds rain down from above. Everything comes together during the third act’s violent encounter that places you inside the action as sounds rotate and revolve around the soundstage from both above and at ear level. This is what I would probably regard as a more aggressive Atmos mix. I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere and integration of discrete object placement. I think that it complimented the source material and made for an entertaining listening experience.

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

 

Audio: 98
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialog Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): [img] [/img]

 

Jupiter Ascending comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps.

This is an excellent video presentation that boasts plenty of high level detail, bold use of contrast, deeply saturated colors, and three dimensional acuity. Blacks have excellent dynamic range with velvety depth and visible gradational highlights. Visual perspective in low lighting and darkened areas is estimable. The combination gives dark scenes appreciable dimension. Images are punchy, boldly colorful, clearly drawn, eye catching and perfectly suited for the source material.

The lossless 7.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack has extended 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 involving and engagingly 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 and dynamic impact 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. While the film isn’t very good this audio presentation makes for an entertaining home theater experience.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Jupiter Ascending Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Disc 2: Jupiter Ascending 2D Blu-ray plus bonus features
  • (HD) Jupiter Jones: Destiny Is Within Us – 7 minute featurette
  • (HD) Jupiter Ascending: Genetically Spliced Caine Wise: Interplanetary Warrior – 5 minute featurette
  • (HD) The Wachowskis: Minds over matter – 7 minute featruette
  • (HD) Worlds Within Worlds Within Worlds – 9 minute featurette
  • (HD) Bullet Time Evolved – 9 minute featurette
  • (HD) From Earth to Jupiter (And Everywhere in Between) – 9 minute featurette
  • (HD) Jupiter Ascending: Genetically Spliced – 10 minute featurette
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Jupiter Ascending comes from the Wachowski’s who brought us The Matrix Trilogy, and features a poorly crafted script that fails to capitalize on a solid cast and promising concept. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo pack that features excellent high definition video, room shaking lossless surround sound, an excellent Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix and a fair supplemental package that looks behind the scenes at the production. Unless you’re a diehard fan equipped for Ultra HD Blu-ray, Jupiter Ascending remains tough to recommend. If you’re curious feel free to give it a rental.

 

Ralph Potts
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” 16×9 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)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package