Diana must contend with a work colleague and businessman, whose desire for extreme wealth sends the world down a path of destruction, after an ancient artifact that grants wishes goes missing. Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Wonder Woman 1984 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.


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

Film:


Extras:


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

83



Details:

Studio and Year: Warner - 2020
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 151 minutes
Genre: Fantasy/Action

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1/1.90:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, English/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Written by: Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, Dave Callaham
Region Code: A


Release Date: March 30, 2021


"A New Era of Wonder Begins"


Synopsis:

Diana must contend with a work colleague and businessman, whose desire for extreme wealth sends the world down a path of destruction, after an ancient artifact that grants wishes goes missing.- Warner Bros. Home Entertainment


My Take:

The fate of the world is once more on the line, and only Wonder Woman can save it. This new chapter in the Wonder Woman story finds Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) living quietly among mortals in the vibrant, sleek 1980s—an era of excess driven by the pursuit of having it all. Though she’s come into her full powers, she maintains a low profile, curating ancient artifacts and only performing her super heroic acts incognito. But now, Diana will have to step directly into the spotlight and muster all her wisdom, strength and courage in order to save mankind from a world of its own making.

I will begin this review with some of the comments from my review of Wonder Woman:

I can’t say that I’ve ever read a Wonder Woman comic. I was more of a Marvel Comic fan growing up, but I did read DC, and followed some of her exploits in The Justice League. I was of course familiar with the character, and watched the various incarnations that came to television etc. After seeing her introduction in Batman v. Superman I was intrigued, finding this iteration of her character, and her potential within the current DC universe, to be much more interesting.

I took in Wonder Woman on its opening night and absolutely loved it. Gal Gadot owns the role, bringing the character to life with strength, poise, beauty and a charismatic toughness that captures the essence of what you would envision Wonder Woman to be. DC has been behind the curve with their film adaptations based upon comic book characters. They have begun making some headway and Wonder Woman is leading the charge. I thoroughly enjoyed the script, which had the perfect balance of action and story. I also appreciated the interwoven levity, superb chemistry between Gadot/Pine, and host of well-drawn characters that supported the narrative.


In addition to the above, I have enjoyed the handling of Wonder Woman’s character in her appearance in Justice League (both iterations). Needless to say, that when Wonder Woman 1984 was announced I was excited to see what was next. The trailer showed potential which further increased interest for me. COVID-19 put a serious damper on the entertainment industry (among many other businesses) and, as a result Warner Bros. made the decision to release a cache of their upcoming theatrical films via streaming for a limited time. Wonder Woman 1984 was first in line, releasing on Christmas Day. My wife and I tuned in.

I really enjoyed the film’s opening sequence which takes place on Themyscira when Diana is a little girl. This further bolstered my anticipation of what was to come. Well, things took a rapid nose dive for the next two plus hours. The script, co-written by director Patty Jenkins, is a mess. As I watched I hoped that there would be revelatory element that would switch from the current trajectory of the narrative. It never happened. Beginning with the concept surrounding the nature of the threat the plot smacked of a lack of invention. Speaking of which, the idea of bringing Steve back and how that was handled only added to the TV serial vibe.

The two villains are weakly drawn and unsupported by ridiculous backstories and a laughable union that is far from diabolical. Oh, and WHY did this have to take place in the mid 1980’s? The attempts to underscore that with humor never land. The addition of Wonder Woman’s abilities, both the jet and the air gliding, didn’t bother me. I liked the armor too. There were some problems with pacing and the handling of Diana’s encounters with her foes in the story. There was a bit of a preachy undertone at the heart of the lesson to be learned by the villains in the story. It wasn’t just about good versus evil.

Gal Gadot continues to invigorate this character and aside from the opening sequence (and post-credit scene) is the film’s bright spot. Chris Pine is fine but, really isn’t given any meaningful part to play in this story. I like Kristin Wiig but, can’t decide whether she was wrong for the part or simply didn’t have a character with any meat of the bone. Pedro Pascal would have made for an excellent villain under better circumstances. Here, his talents were simply wasted. Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen were in the film for a fraction of the time and had deeper impact.

The production elements were as you’d expect and were pretty solid across the board. To say that Wonder Woman 1984 was disappointing would be an understatement. I found its poorly crafted and executed storyline failed to make use of the potential of its subject. Having said that, I am still a fan and, hope that whatever we see next from Wonder Woman lives up to what we have come to expect.


Replay Value:



Parental Guide:

The rating is for sequences of action and violence.


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)



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    • HDR: Bright Highlights:
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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: 76
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



    • Level of immersion:
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Wonder Woman 1984 comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Wonder Woman 1984 was rendered from a mix of 3.4K/6.5K digital/35mm/65mm film sources and finished on a 4K DI. Wonder Woman 1984 is a fantasy/action-based film that is essentially boldly colorful throughout, and this Ultra HD rendering makes the most of those elements. With a noticeable increase in detail and chromatic highlights, the image appears a bit sharper and vivid when compared to the 1080p version, which is excellent in its own right. Primary colors are pleasing, while whites appear crisp and gradational. The spectrum of secondary colors is beautifully rendered. The opening sequence provides a glimpse of what is to come but, the scene in the mall does a great job of showing off the presentation’s wide color gamut. In general, the combination of rich color, sepia, and gradational gray tones look great.

In some respects, I found the presentation to be very tame in terms of its use of dynamic highlights, specifically interstitial black levels offset by vivid bright elements. With the exception of the July 4th fireworks and battle outside the bunker in the finale (which both looked great), low-level sequences were on the flat side. On the other hand, bright, sun splashed sequences such as the those in the film’s opening and, later in the Middle East had lots of visual depth and pop. I guess you could call it a wash.

The film has a variety of sequences that make use of close-up camera angles that show off the rendering of detail. At times, the level of minutia is excellent, as even the finest nuance in the physical features, clothing and interior sets is resolvable. At other times this is less emphatic with certain scenes lacking the definition that provides the same reach out and touch level of delineation. The exterior shots and CGI featured in the story have superb depth which adds an enriching, and eye-catching aesthetic to them.

The 1080p rendering of Wonder Woman 1984 is quite good so the difference between the two isn't night and day, but overall, I was very pleased with this presentation, finding that it trumps the Blu-ray.

I also feel that this presentation more or less mirrors what I observed via streaming it on HBO Max although I felt that black levels and specular highlights were slightly better here.




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.

In comparing the DV and HDR10 renderings I ran the same scenes and the title looked solid 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 the key sequences mentioned earlier. 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 of the less aggressive variety when it comes to utilizing the height channels. This was also the case via the Atmos mix while streaming. Considering the source material this was disappointing and felt like a missed opportunity in that regard. I only noticed the appreciable instances where sound objects were mixed to the height channels. The first is when Diana and Steve exit the apartment building (random street sound), next happens after the invisible jet takeoff (random swoosh) and, during the encounter in the Whitehouse (lasso swoosh). There may have been one or two others but, none proved engaging.

Where the mix does better is in its application at ear level. There are a multitude of set pieces that show off the track’s blend of music and smaller object sounds that create an involving listening experience, that broadens the soundstage. The opening scene in Themyscira, the highway chase, the Whitehouse encounter and the battle outside of the bunker are all good examples. I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere as well as the integration of discrete object placement. This Atmos presentation could have been better and, can’t escape the feeling that it seems like a missed opportunity.



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: 94
(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


Wonder Woman 1984 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

This is a high-quality video presentation where fidelity appears intact as colors are vividly reproduced via lustrous primaries, and rich secondary hues that look beautiful in high definition. Wonder Woman’s armor has excellent tonal variation with descriptively intricate chromatic detail that pops nicely. Fleshtone reproduction can be scene dependent, however, in natural lighting they appear warm, and lifelike. Blacks are dynamic, gradationally satisfying, and deep, which is accentuated by contrast that is spot on and predominantly stable over the course of the presentation. The blend during sequences containing mixed light/dark elements looks great. Resolution is excellent especially during close-ups which reveal crisp definition and fine textural nuance. Wide angle shots exhibit strong dimension with appreciable object detail. Softening is apparent from time to time but appears innate to the photography. Wonder Woman 1984 looks excellent on Blu-ray.


The lossless 7.1 soundtrack has solid 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 excellent. 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 (*see below). Dialog is firmly planted in the center channel and renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction. I enjoyed this audio presentation and thought that it complimented the source material.

*The streaming version’s bass response was questionable which had me concerned. However, this track doesn’t suffer from that and overall bass response sounds and feels fine.

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Wonder Woman 1984 Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Wonder Woman 1984 Blu-ray
    • The Making of Wonder Woman 1984: Expanding the Wonder
    • Gal & Kristen: Friends Forever
    • Small But Mighty
    • Scene Study: The Open Road
    • Scene Study: The Mall
    • Gal & Krissy Having Fun
    • Meet the Amazons
    • Black Gold Infomercial
    • Gag Reel
    • Wonder Woman 1984 Retro Remix
  • Digital Code



Final Thoughts:

Wonder Woman 1984 is the second stand alone film to feature the iconic superhero. Unfortunately, this abysmal effort pales in comparison to the first film thanks to a poorly crafted screenplay and questionable direction. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack featuring excellent overall video quality, solid lossless sound and a fair supplemental package. As a fan of the character on the big screen, it pains me to say that Wonder Woman 1984 is a complete swing and miss that is tough to recommend. It will remain in my collection but, I would strongly recommend a rental versus a blind buy.












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