A crew of astronauts on a multi-generational mission descend into paranoia and madness, not knowing what is real or not. Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Voyagers from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.


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

Film:


Extras:


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

85



Details:

Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2021
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 108 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Drama

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Descriptive Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Fionn Whitehead, Colin Farrell
Written & Directed by: Neil Burger
Music by: Trevor Gureckis
Region Code: A


Release Date: June 15, 2021


"What Does it Feel Like?"


Synopsis:

A crew of astronauts on a multi-generational mission descend into paranoia and madness, not knowing what is real or not. – Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

My Take:

With the future of the human race at stake, a group of young men and women, bred for intelligence and obedience, embark on an expedition to colonize a distant planet. But when they uncover disturbing secrets about the mission, they defy their training and begin to explore their most primitive natures. As life on the ship descends into chaos, they’re consumed by fear, lust, and the insatiable hunger for power.

Written and directed by Neil Burger Voyagers is a sci-fi adventure drama, based in an undisclosed future where a group of young astronauts embark on an 86-year multi-generational mission to establish and colonize a new planet unravels as the crew descends into madness after they stop taking an emotion/feeling suppressing drug that has been part of their regime since birth. The narrative explores themes surrounding the question of what it is like to “feel” for the first time and, what happens when our innermost nature, after being long suppressed, is finally unleashed.

Voyagers doesn’t break new ground from a conceptual standpoint as its topic has been covered in a variety of films over the years. The question and, its ramifications, do make for interesting coffee table discussion and, in this case, a watchable time passer. Voyagers makes little attempt to dig deep with its character base or narrative construct but, more or less strives to quickly set things up and begin ticking its thematic boxes.

Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp and Fionn Whitehead do a commendable job and help make the story a bit more interesting with their respective performances. The production elements are pretty basic but, get the job done. When all was said and done, I found that in general it held my attention but, Voyagers is a once and done affair.


Replay Value:



Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence, some strong sexuality, bloody images, a sexual assault and brief strong language.


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.


Audio: 86
(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



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:
    • Resolution:
    • Visual Impact:


Voyagers comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound.

I wasn’t able to determine how Voyagers was sourced for its Ultra HD presentation. It appears as though it was shot digitally may have been rendered from a 4K DI.

First and foremost, Voyagers isn’t a bright or colorful film, predominantly adhering to relatively cooler and, teal splashed chromatic schemes, which doesn't make for especially eye-catching levels of color. This is intentional, in trying to keep with the stylistic aesthetic of chosen to depicts its story. Fleshtones looked about the same, which is to say, a bit pallid, but not overtly unnatural.

Shot digitally, resolution is generally strong, although I wouldn’t say there was a substantial uptick in sharpness and detail compared to the Blu-ray. Upon closer inspection, I could make out finer details in facial features and clothing, but this predominantly came during close ups. On occasion, discernible improvements in depth could be seen in wide angle shots, but in most respects, I saw only incremental differences in apparent resolution when comparing select scenes from the UHD and Blu-ray.

I also found the presentation to be very tame in terms of its use of dynamic highlights, both bright and dark. I found only a few occasions where the presentation made visually compelling use of interstitial black levels offset by vivid bright elements which, when present, looked great. Predominantly speaking, HDR emboldened streaming/natural lighting schemes, that looked lifelike, but not appreciably vibrant, which, again, fell within the film’s thematic subject matter. There was some murkiness to shadows, but in general the low-level images appeared quite dimensional. I am sure that my quibbles with the video quality is owed to the original source and stylistic choice. Unfortunately, the result is a UHD presentation that failed to leave an impression on me.

Dolby TrueHD 5.1:

This is primarily a dialog driven film however there are elements in the film that require use of the entire system so its ability to clearly render them is essential. Dialog is reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture as it is appropriately balanced within the front soundstage. The surround mix utilizes the entire platform to recreate the many acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The rear channels contain a mixture of spatial ambience/musical extension as well as directional panning cues that effectively support the front soundstage. There is a solid low end associated with key sequences over the course of the film. This is a fair audio presentation that very much like the video quality, gets the job done but, fails to leave an impression.



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: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



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



Voyagers comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video.

This film has a distinctive visual aesthetic that utilizes a limited color scheme and high contrast. There are darkened interior sequences/lighting geared toward setting the mood and tone of the subject material. Flesh tones are slightly impacted appearing pallid and lacking tonal divergence. Blacks are deep but occasionally on the murky side which can leave them appearing flat. Detail in dark backgrounds and shadow filled areas is appreciable which give many of the dingy interior locations featured in the story better depth.

Images are cleanly rendered, allowing for revealing subtle detail during close up camera shots. Wide-angle shots have good dimensional quality and definition that leaves backgrounds appearing resolute. Overall, this presentation appears to faithfully represent the original source, which in and of itself, doesn’t make for the most visually compelling viewing experience.


Bonus Features:
  • [b[Disc 1[/b]: Voyagers Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Voyagers Blu-ray
    • “Born for This: The Cast of Voyagers” Featurette
    • “Against Type: Unlearning Human Nature” Featurette
    • “Survival of the Fittest: The Physicality of Voyagers” Featurette
    • “On the Surface: The Visual Style of Voyagers” Featurette
    • “Hidden Chambers: Tour the Humanitas” Featurette
  • Digital Code



Final Thoughts:

Written & directed by Neil Berger Voyagers is a formulaic sci-fi adventure that doesn’t break any new conceptual ground but, manages to make for a watchable time passer. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring fair all around video quality, clear lossless sound and a fan friendly assortment of extras. Voyagers is probably best left for a rental for all but the most devout fans.







Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7706 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
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems