Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release of Welcome to Marwen, a drama based on a true story about a victim of a brutal attack that finds a unique and beautiful therapeutic outlet to help him through his recovery process.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal – 2018
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 116 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: SSteve Carell, Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger, Merritt Wever, Eiza Gonzalez, Gwendoline Christie, Leslie Zemeckis, Neil Jackson, Janelle Monae
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Written by: Robert Zemeckis, Caroline Thompson
Region Code: A,B,C
Release Date: April 9, 2019
“When a devastating attack shatters Mark Hogancamp (Carell) and wipes away all memories, no one expected recovery. Putting together pieces from his old and new life, Mark meticulously creates a wondrous town where he can heal and be heroic.” – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
Welcome to Marwen, tells the miraculous true story of one broken man’s fight as he discovers how artistic imagination can restore the human spirit. When a devastating hate crime leaves Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell) shattered, without his memory, or the ability to draw/illustrate, which was his profession, he was left to try and pick up the pieces as best he could. Finding his own coping mechanism, Mark meticulously creates a wondrous fantasy world, where he draws strength to triumph in the real one. His astonishing art installation becomes a testament to the powerful women who support him on his journey.
When I initially saw the trailer for Welcome to Marwen I was immediately taken in by it. Firstly, I will pretty much watch anything that Steve Carrel is in and secondly, its fact-based human-interest story seemed right up my alley. I then began hearing reviews that were negative which really disappointed me so while I definitely wanted to see it, a trip to the theater was put off. It arrived for review and my wife and I sat down to watched it with tempered expectations. As I watched I realized that the film that I was initially hoping for after first seeing the trailer was unfolding before me.
Welcome to Marwen is a moving tribute to the indomitability of the human spirit in the face of adversity and the healing power of acceptance and friendship. As it turns out this all took place in Kingston NY which is very near to where I live. I loved the creative decisions that were utilized to tell Mark’s story. Seeing how he used his creations as an outlet to cope with his anxiety, post-traumatic stress and, perceptions of those around him by inserting them into Marwen, was fascinating. I didn’t have any issue with how, at times, the film blurred the lines between his world and the real one. I think it worked. Does the process work on every level? No, but the story’s rich context is underscored by the nuance capable through the use of motion capture which allows the intersection of digital and live action performances.
Mark’s need to heal through actions taken in both of his worlds is at the center of the film’s finest moments. This is where Welcome to Marwen succeeds thanks in large part to Robert Zemeckis’ vision and the wonderful cast he chose to portray its characters. I found that the film left me thinking about it long after the credits rolled, which to me, speaks volumes about its thematic impact.
I found Welcome to Marwen to be exactly what I hoped it would be. In my book you can’t ask for more than that…
The rating is for sequences of fantasy violence, some disturbing images, brief suggestive content, thematic material and 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.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialog Reproduction:
- DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element):
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
Welcome to Marwen comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound.
This is a solid looking high definition rendering that sports plenty of fine detail with sharp edges and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective during wide angle camera pans. Colors range from warm, vivid and inviting to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Blacks are rich and noticeably deep with a slight boost to contrast that is just enough to give the video a visually dynamic aesthetic without negatively impacting fidelity. Visible detail in low lit scenes/backgrounds is quite good, offering discernible depth of field. I didn’t see any obvious signs of video related artifacts as the video had a pristine and generally pleasing quality.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround mix delivers the soundtrack’s elements with aplomb. The higher fidelity inherent in this lossless sound mix is readily apparent. Dynamic range is noteworthy which renders the film’s fantasy action-based sequences with defining impact and energy. Dialog is presented with crystal clear intonation, full bodied texture, and deep room penetration. Alan Silvestri’s music score is airy, clear and warm. Imaging across the soundstage is spot on as sounds are integrated with precision. This is an involving surround mix that intelligently utilizes the entire system where appropriate. Low frequency detail is clean, well-articulated and deep as points of contact resonate with palpable impact. This isn’t a bombastic or overly aggressive soundtrack but it’s blend of intricate detail and room filling dynamics make for an entertaining home theater experience.
- Deleted Scenes
- Marwen’s Citizens
- A Visionary Director
- Building Marwen
- Living Dolls
- Digital Copy
Based on the miraculous true story of one broken man’s fight to heal, Welcome to Marwen is a stirring and eclectic drama that speaks to the indomitability of the human spirit in the face of adversity and the healing power of acceptance and friendship. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video and a fair supplemental package that looks behind the scenes. Welcome to Marwen is deserving of the attention of genre fans that enjoy a film that takes the road less traveled. Give it a spin on Blu-ray and see for yourself.
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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