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^^^^^^^^^^

Thanks for the review of Pan's Labyrinth (UHD) Snell! After reading the review by Ralph Potts I was going to order it for he said it has an obvious up-tick in PQ due to HDR. But then I read other reviews which said it wasn't really any better than the Blu-ray version, which I have. I was really "on the fence" until I read your review. I'm not going to "double-dip" for I don't think it would be worth it. Oh, and I really don't like "Sub-titles" and that's the only way to view this title.

My wife and I were listening to an audio book on the book of Exodus this morning (on the Ten Plagues in Egypt) and it peaked my interest to watch Exodus: Gods and Kings again. I was curious to see what I wrote about it back in 2015 and I see I gave it a Tier 0 (.33). That was the 1080p version and I purchased the UHD version a couple of years ago so I may just write another review on that while the "credits are rolling."
 

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Exodus: Gods and Kings (UHD)

I will quote the words of AmerCa who reviewed the 1080p version back in March of this year (he put it in the Top Ten in Tier 0):

STUNNING....ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!

I'm going to give the link to my review of the 1080p Blu-ray and just add a few words here. I can say emphatically that this takes the PQ up a notch or two with mesmerizing DETAILS, dazzling COLORS, striking CLARITY, velvety BLACKS, and intricate SHADOW DETAILS. At times the PQ is simply breathtaking!!

In fairness there was one anomaly that kept rearing its ugly head: BANDING in blue skies! I would say I noticed this a good TEN times. I don't remember seeing this at all on the Blu-ray version. Thankfully each shot was fleeting (a second or two long). If not for that I would probably nominate this for the "Top Five" in the "Live Action Movies." But due to the banding, and a couple of brief instances of aliasing and some shots that almost appeared TOO SHARP, I'm going to have to penalize it slightly.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/150-blu-ray-software/858316-new-pq-tier-thread-blu-ray-discussion-749.html#post33399481

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0* (somewhere between #5 and #10 in the Live Action Movies)

PS I did NOT notice the "soft shots" in this release that I mention in my review of the 1080p release.
 

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The Croods (2013 - Fox)




Tier Recommendation: 0 (Top Five)


Phenomenal! Gorgeous! Breathtaking!

Yes, I've ran out of adjectives, I think I've already used them all in other reviews. But, oh...my...God. What a visual experience was this movie! But let's go back a little bit.

I caught this movie on Dish in SD. Standard definition on Dish here looks like crap, actually I think the resolution is 360p. Why? I don't know, they're cheapstakes, but I digress. I watched parts of it, and decided I wanted to buy it down the road. It looked nice, but I couldn't tell any more regarding the PQ. Well, "down the road" was today. And nothing could have prepared me to the absolutely amazing PQ I witnessed.

I gotta say I've been watching the past few months many animated movies, most of which I've been lazy to write about, although I'll get down to it eventually. But this movie is hands down, no doubt, the best animated film I've seen. Colors, details, texture, colors again, contrast, black levels, and DEPTH, wow, such depth that at times it looked like 3D. And those details and textures that make the animations feel so realistic, so palpable..there some effects and scenes that I still don't know if they're CGI or some kind of live footage was used. It's nuts. What a wonderful and spectacular animation, I never ceased to be wowed.

And the above purely refers to the PQ and animation. There's a lot to be said about the world's design and the fantastic vistas on display, the fantastic story and great action, that made me laugh loudly several times. I LOVED everything thing about it, even the AQ was fantastic as well.

There's many animated films I have yet to watch, and this is a six years old movie, but it still looks superb, and in my personal list is definitely top five, even when I have a little trouble mixing animation with live-action movies. I cannot imagine this movie NOT being at least in the top 15-20. I'm going to demo this to my family.

Edit: surprisingly, it appears this movie hadn't been reviewed here!

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^^^^^^^^^

I know I reviewed it (I OWN it!) and it's currently sitting in Tier 0 at #20 .
 
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^°^°°^°^
I've got two different tiers list, and in none of them is The Croods. Hmmm...

Edit: both of my lists start with Toy Story 3 at the top. I had them updated to January 31 of this year.
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^^^^^^^^^

Just click on Phantom's "PQ Tiers link" at the bottom of his posts.
 

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Ok, I found Djoberg's original review for The Croods, here--->https://www.avsforum.com/forum/150-blu-ray-software/858316-new-pq-tier-thread-blu-ray-discussion-690.html#post23808856


At the time he gave the disc top honors. In 2019 the BD is still fantastic. In 2013 it must have been like a revelation. We both felt the immediate need to show it to our families. :)



The Croods

WOW!!

DreamWorks has done it again! The animation is simply INSANE, with indescribable DETAILS and DEPTH (I have never seen depth like this before in an animated movie). One has called this the "animated Avatar" and you will know why when you view the incredible world that DreamWorks and Fox have made. The COLORS couldn't be more vibrant and dazzling. There are quite a few scenes inside caves or at night, but in these the mesmerizing BLACK LEVELS and SHADOW DETAILS come into play. SHARPNESS and CLARITY abound in every scene. Let me just add that the PHOTOREALISM is off the charts in several scenes, especially those with huge explosions creating unbelievable clouds of smoke that look ever-so-real. Those who admire realistic-looking oceans will also appreciate some rare but beautiful shots.

Well, you get the picture, I'm sold on this one and I can't wait to show this one off to family and friends. I'm not sure if it's the best one out there, but it's most definitely the best I've seen in a very long time. Having said that, because I don't remember ever seeing such amazing colors, details, depth and photorealism combined in an animated feature, I'm prepared to place this at the top of the Blu-ray hill....

Tier Recommendation: Top of Tier 0*
 

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Mary Queen of Scots (4K)

There was a surprising amount of eye candy in this. Lots of textures to look at (hair, beards, costumes, and especially Queen Elizabeth's caked on makeup) and great use of color. Lots of scenes of nature with both shadows and well-lit spaces with no black crush. When I was watching with my wife, I almost wanted to pause the video just to point out to her how, even though the forest in the background was a dark green, you could easily make out all of the trees. Juxtaposing those dark areas with bright and colorful lakes or mountains (or Mary's red hair) in the same scene is a great showcase of HDR.

Part of the reason this may have looked so great is that I recently installed the latest firmware update on my JVC RS4500K projector which added auto tone mapping. I'm going to have to go back and re-watch some other discs to see if now *everything* looks a lot better than before. This was one of the first movies I watched since installing the update, and it was gorgeous.

Tier recommendation: 0.5
 

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012 - Fox)

Tier Recommendation: 1.0 (current...2.5!!!)
I couldn't find any review for this movie (understandable due to its age), but that 2.5 placement it's an aberration. I'm gonna pretend it's some kind of error.

Despite my placement, I've could have placed this in tier zero EASILY. I didn't because I'm giving UHD discs room to breathe and because there's some massive color grading in here, which I totally love, that gives me an excuse to rate it lower because it looks "unnatural". But, dammit, this BD looks terrific. It's sharp with lots of clarity and detail. Black levels are very strong, but due to the color grading which leans into the muted side, color doesn't pop and impress like the best of tier zero. But the use of contrast within these constraints was very well done, and the picture is always a treat to watch. In fact, maybe it looks too pretty, like it's missing some grittiness more in line with the themes of the movie. But the image is just gorgeous.

This movie is a visual masterpiece, and I'm floored by what the director Timur Bekmambetov achieved with this film in terms of use of color to "paint" his scenes. This is the second time I've watched it, and the second time I was even more impressed. To most people, this disc will look absolutely like reference material, and in most respects it really is, but I'm really trying to be a little more demanding with my placements. A UHD of this movie should no doubt land in tier zero.

The audio is terrific, in one word. The first time I watched it I had to "restrain" myself a little bit, but in this occasion I had the house to myself for the majority of its running time, so I could better appreciate the fantastic audio track. The movie is a total blast.

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And lastly, here is my review that was given BETWEEN the other two:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/150-blu-ray-software/858316-new-pq-tier-thread-blu-ray-discussion-659.html#post22564221

As you will see AmerCa, I might have given this a rating of low Tier 0 or high Tier 1, but to my eyes the post-processing, resulting in severe "sharpening," caused me to penalize it drastically. There were also some issues with black levels at times and serious "hot contrast" too resulting in overblown whites.
 
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Wow top 5 & top 10 placements for Exodus: Gods & Kings. I haven't ever seen it at home, just in the cinema. Looks like I need to rewatch in 4K/HDR :)
 

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You will be very impressed Snell! I can guarantee it!! The CLARITY and DETAILS are off-the-charts, from beginning to end.:cool:
 
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@djoberg
Those are great findings, there were actually three reviews buried in there, and all of them WRONG!!!

Oh my god! I couldn't disagree with you more. I'll gladly concede many of your points, but tier 2.5 on average? No, sir!

AL:VH got ROBBED!

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Batman (1989...UHD)

For those of you who have seen the older versions (DVD & Blu-ray) of this classic from famed director Tim Burton, you will be more than gratified when seeing the UHD counterpart. It is BETTER in every way possible, though not perfect. It most definitely trumps former releases in BLACK LEVELS and in WHITES; in other words, the CONTRAST is vastly improved. It is also superior when it comes to DETAILS (most notably in faces and clothing) and DEPTH. I was mesmerized by many scenes highlighting these virtues. COLORS are also more vivid, especially in the close-ups of the Joker's painted face, hair, and flashy suits. FLESH TONES are spot on and CLARITY is on display in a variety of scenes.

To be fair, there are "signs of age" (remember, this was filmed in 1989) which the 4K Remaster was unable to remove. This is, like all Batman movies, a very dark movie and at times SOFTNESS rears it ugly head, along with some BLURRY moments. In those cases, depth is negligible and details falter.

Tier Recommendation: 1.0*

PS I was tempted to place this at the bottom of Tier 0 for there are some true "reference quality" scenes. I have read that the next installment (Batman Returns) fares better and I suspect it will easily land in the coveted Tier Blu.
 

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^^^^^^^

After watching parts of Batman again last night, I "may" have been too generous with my placement. There was a lot more less-than-stellar scenes than my review reflects. So, I believe I will change my rating to...

Tier Recommendation: 1.5*

PS I think what happens (and sometimes it's almost inevitable) with older titles is one ends up comparing (as I did) the older releases with the UHD release and you are so impressed with the obvious up-ticks in PQ that you get....well, "too generous" when it comes time to rank it.
 
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Ready Player One


Mixed feelings about this one. I feel like I want to write two separate reviews for this title; RPO: Oasis & RPO: Real World.

The Oasis shots looks like Tier 0.5 material in my eyes. It's sharp and punchy, good 3D like depth and the picture quality is pretty much on par with something like Alita: Battle Angel. some slight softness here and there but the CGI is top notch and the PQ is generally reference material.

The there's the non-Oasis shots, which look dull & noisy in comparison, somewhere in tier 1.5 range. You might even says Ready Player One is 0.25 at best and 1.75 at worst.



Tier recommendation: 1
 
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