Robin Hood Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Robin Hood, the latest re-telling of the classic legend, from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

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

Film:

Extras:

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

94

Details:

Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2018
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 116 minutes
Genre: Action

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Tim Minchin, Jamie Dornan
Directed by: Otto Bathurst
Music by: Joseph Trapanese
Written by: Ben Chandler, David James Kelly
Region Code: A

Release Date: February 19, 2019

“Join Their Resistance”

Synopsis:

“Returning home from the Crusades, Robin of Loxley (Egerton) finds his country oppressed by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham (Mendelsohn). With the help of Moorish warrior Little John (Foxx), Robin transforms into the heroic outlaw Robin Hood, taking up arms to fight the sheriff and win the heart of his love, Maid Marian (Hewson).” – Lionsgate Home Entertainment

My Take:

The tale of Robin Hood has been the subject of a host of Hollywood productions. Some, definitely better than others at capturing the spirit of the adventure of the hooded outlaw that took on the establishment, robbing from the rich to give back to the poor. Robin Hood is the latest iteration, that takes on the story in reimagined fashion, making the legendary character into an action hero.

I don’t know, Robin Hood, at least to me, doesn’t really need to be converted into death defying superhero. The narrative here only resembles the original story via use of the names of its characters. Otherwise, there is very little here that feels as though it’s taken from the classic tale. The film favors a style over substance narrative that skimps on anything truly meaningful, from a storytelling perspective, and simply jumps into a series of action set pieces stitched together by bit and pieces borrowed from Robin Hood. The dialog is a bit on the campy side as are the attempts at drama, which on a few occasions is laughable.

Now, having said that, there were moments where I didn’t mind Robin Hood. This comes as seeing it strictly as a dyed in the wool, popcorn movie, where the action takes precedence over the story, aiming at those willing to check their brain at the door and take it for what it is. In the vein there is something to derive from the film. The problem is that using Robin Hood lore as a foundation for a film like this is off putting to fans hoping for a well-crafted Hollywood production featuring its iconic characters/story.

So, am I giving Robin Hood a pass? No. It’s a poor excuse of a Robin Hood film. I would be lying if I said that there weren’t moments where I found it mildly entertaining. At the end of the day it’s going to be up to the viewer to decide. If you’re curious, view it strictly as mindless entertainment and go from there.

Replay Value: 2.5 Stars

Parental Guide:

The rating is for extended sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive references.

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): 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: 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 98
(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: 

Robin Hood 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, Robin Hood was rendered from an 8K source and finished on a 4K DI. The film was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind and that comes through in both its 1080p and Ultra HD presentations. This isn’t a colorful film however its palate of sepia tones and variants of blue/red benefited from UHD’s wider color gamut, appearing noticeably warmer and pleasing to the eye. Resolution gets a boost with the differences between the UHD and 1080p renderings being appreciable. Close-ups tend to be better refined with resolvable texture on surfaces and physical features being easier to detect.

There is intermittent use of visual elements that utilize high dynamic range. Once things kick off, beginning with Robin Hood’s first appearance, followed later by the infiltration of the vault/counting room, there is excellent use of HDR where bright/fiery elements looked appreciably vibrant, and alternatively, low level sequences had excellent depth of field and emboldened contrast. The extended chase during chapter 12 puts everything together nicely, featuring deep, detailed blacks, offset by vivid, squint inducing highlights. Robin Hood in Ultra HD wasn’t a night and day difference from its 1080p counterpart however, I found it to be an appreciable improvement that made watching the film a bit more fun.

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 Forum 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 UB820 UHD player (DV) and Oppo 203 UHD player (outputting HDR-10 only). The title looked terrific on both formats with respect to the reproduction of HDR. I found that the DV presentation offered deeper delineation of color, and specular highlights, which were most noticeable in key sequences, such as the previously mentioned chapter 12 chase sequence. I felt that the rendering of the finest details in shadows was a toss-up. Inevitably you can’t go wrong with either but, my preference was the Dolby Vision presentation.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be an entertaining listening experience that made steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics, discrete effects and music. This is done to very good effect and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events. I noticed that the front overhead channels were used for adding depth to the sound stage while the rear overhead channels contained more discrete sound objects/effects. In addition to things like overhead pans where sounds move through the room and weapon fire emanates from one point and hits its mark in another, there are several key sequences that deliver an engaging listening experience.

This includes the altercation during the Crusades, Robin Hood’s public appearances, and the extended chase in chapter 12. These sequences, among various others over the course of the film, place you inside the action as sounds rotate and revolve around the soundstage from both above and at ear level, making for an involving surround sound display. 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: 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: 96
(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

Robin Hood comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

This film intentionally uses a limited chromatic scheme and uneven lighting to depict its period specific world. Deep defining blacks and revealing details in low lit backgrounds and shadows provide excellent depth and gradational highlights to the film’s pervading darkened sequences. Detail is characterized by predominantly transparent imagery that dimensional and defining. This was the case in all but a few instances where definition softened slightly. I suspect that this was more than likely innate to the photography rather than related to the encoding. I thought that the creative choices made regarding the visual style of this film were right on target.

The lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (Atmos core) soundtrack has good dynamic range, detail rich clarity and makes ample use of the entire surround platform to drive the film’s elements. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is notable. The low frequency effects channel is active as the subwoofer works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the palpably rich bass and dynamic impact associated with the action-based sequences. Dialog is firmly planted in the center channel and renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Robin Hood Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Robin Hood Blu-ray
  • Outlaws and Auteurs: Reshaping Robin Hood: 7-Part Documentary
  • Outtakes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Robin Hood is a style over substance affair that fails to live up to its subject matter but, manages to offer enough stylized action to qualify as mildly entertaining fodder for popcorn movie junkies. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Combo Pack from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring excellent Ultra HD video, reference quality lossless surround sound, including an engaging Dolby Atmos immersive mix, and top-notch high definition video quality. Rounding out the package is a fan friendly assortment of extras that provide a peek behind the curtain at the production. Robin Hood won’t satisfy true fans of its source material, but it’s an easy way to check your brain at the door and kick back while enjoying its terrific presentation on Ultra HD/Blu-ray. I would definitely recommend a rental before purchase.

 

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 Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems