A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

After a jaded magazine writer is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiveness from America’s most beloved neighbor. Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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

Film:

Extras:

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

92

Details:

Studio and Year: Universal – 2019
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 109 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS:X/Master Audio 7.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Cooper
Directed by: Marielle Heller
Music by: Nate Heller
Written by: Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 18, 2020

“We Could All Use a Little Kindness”

Synopsis:

“After a jaded magazine writer (Primetime Emmy® Award-winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiveness from America’s most beloved neighbor.” – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

My Take:

Lloyd Vogel is an investigative journalist who receives an assignment to profile Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers. He approaches the interview with skepticism, as he finds it hard to believe that anyone can have such a good nature. But Roger’s empathy, kindness and decency soon chips away at Vogel’s jaded outlook on life, forcing the reporter to reconcile with his own painful past. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod and, is a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism.

I took in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood when it was in theaters and thoroughly enjoyed it. At first glance one might think that this is a biopic about Fred Rogers but, its not. It’s a character story about a jaded and embittered reporter for Esquire Magazine whose life is forever changed after he reluctantly accepts an assignment by his editor to do a “heroes” fluff piece that profiles Mr. Rogers. The result is a wonderfully shaped narrative that features both men, with the focus being on Lloyd’s pent up anger toward his estranged father and how Fred Rogers kind, gentle, influence enables Lloyd to see beyond that.

As the story evolves Lloyd’s heart softens, leading him down a path of discovery, all the while, supported by Fred’s unobtrusive guidance, effecting understanding and uplifting message of love and forgiveness. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a heartwarming film containing a series of moments that proved emotive without feeling schmaltzy. I loved the balance between depicting Lloyd’s story while capturing the essence of who Fred Rogers was and, how he made such a difference to not only those around him but, everyone that got something out of watching him on television. One of my favorite scenes is when Lloyd and Fred are traveling on the subway in NYC and, people in the train car recognize him.

Who better to portray Fred Rogers than Tom Hanks? He does a fantastic and transformative job. Matthew Rhys is equally strong in the role of Lloyd. Their performances anchor the film, with the supporting turns by Chris Cooper and Susan Kelechi Watson adding a complimentary element. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was every bit as good the second time around. It is a compelling and, uplifting film that that carries a positive message that we could all take a hint from.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for some strong thematic material, brief violence, and some mild 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.**

UHD Presentation: 90
(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: 

 

DTS:X 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: 

 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS:X/7.1 Master Audio sound.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was shot on film/digital and finished on a 4K DI for its presentation on Ultra HD Blu-ray.

A Beautiful in the Neighborhood is a more or less period-based film that has a specific visual aesthetic which comes through quite naturally in this Ultra HD rendering. It’s a stylish visual film, that adheres to color grading and cinematography which can leave some sequences appearing less visually engaging than others. Color reproduction is consistent, with primaries like blue and red appearing richer, and more delineated. Secondary hues look great, although not appreciably better. The increase in resolution isn’t always on display, but the wide-angle shots in the city and at the diner where Fred and Lloyd have lunch look terrific. Close-ups tend to offer appreciable refinement and deeper resolvable texture on surfaces and physical features compared to the Blu-ray. The differences, while not staggering, are easily discernible.

The same is true when comparing the video’s dynamic range. Certain brightly lit and exterior sequences offer the slightest hint of added punch which gives the image appreciable visual pop but, in general specular highlights are nowhere to be found. Like the Blu-ray rendering, the darkened highlights in low-lit environs, can be hit or miss but it most respects, have appreciable dimension and resolvable detail. Fleshtones are reproduced beautifully, with a natural and pleasing tonality.

Viewing A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood in Ultra HD didn’t make for an especially compelling viewing experience, however, I found it to be a faithful and complimentary improvement over the 1080p Blu-ray presentation.

DTS:X:

In listening to the DTS:X surround mix I found it to be quite active, which considering the source material was welcoming. In general, its use of audio objects placed above is limited to atmospherics and occasional panning fills. This is done to good effect when implemented and created an enriching level of immersion. Where the presentation excelled was in the use of object-based sounds during the film’s musical reproduction and the handling of interior/exterior venue replication. When called upon its ability to render acoustics, point to point imaging and expanding the breadth of the soundstage never disappointed. I found this to be an enjoyable audio presentation that absolutely complimented the source material.

Please Note: This title contains an IMAX Enhanced DTS:X/HDR experience which I am currently not set up for. That didn’t prevent my ability to decode the DTS:X track at the core of the listening platform.

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: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

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

 

Audio: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 

 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

This is an excellent high definition rendering that sports plenty of fine detail and definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective. Colors range from warm and vivid to cool, reserved and, almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Contrast is strong and blacks are fairly deep and delineated. Shadowy areas exhibit appreciable depth of field and visible gradational stages. The wide-angle shots of the shooting locations look terrific. Other than some innate softening, I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. A Beautiful Dy in the Neighborhood looks great on Blu-ray.

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 5.1 channel surround mix utilizes the entire platform to recreate the many acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The surrounds contain a mixture of spatial ambience/musical extension as well as directional panning cues that effectively support the front soundstage. There is actually a solid low end that occasionally underscores the film’s thematic elements. While clearly a step below the DTS:X sound mix, this is a complimentary audio presentation that mates well with the source material.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Blu-ray
    • Over 15 Minutes of Additional Scenes
    • Blooper Reel
    • Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers
    • The People Who Make a Neighborhood: The Making Of
    • Dreaming Big, Building Small: The Puppets & Miniatures
    • Daniel Tiger Explains: Practice Makes Perfect
    • Filmmaker Commentary
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod and, is a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism. It comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent technical merits mated with a fair supplemental offering. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is quite simply, time well spent, that deserves a place in the collection of fans, or at the top of your Blu-ray rental queue.

 

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” 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/Roomie Remote V6 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