Written and directed by the late John Singleton, Boyz N the Hood is the critically acclaimed coming-of-age story of growing up in a South Central Los Angeles neighborhood. It is a place where harmony co-exists with adversity, especially for three young men growing up there. Ralph Potts reviews its Ultra HD Blu-ray debut from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures – 1991
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 112 minutes
Disc Format: BD-66
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, Regina King
Written & Directed by: John Singleton
Music by: Stanley Clarke
Region Code: A,B,C
Release Date: February 4, 2020
“Three friends struggle to survive in South Central Los Angeles where friendship, pain, danger, and love form a true picture of life in the ‘hood in this critically acclaimed, action-filled story.” – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
I reviewed Boyz N The Hood when it released on Blu-ray in 2011 and have included comments from that review here. The rating for the film is the same. New ratings for the Ultra HD video, bonus features and Dolby Atmos mix are contained below.
Boyz N The Hood is the critically acclaimed story of three friends growing up in a South Central Los Angeles neighborhood, and of street life where friendship, pain, danger and love combine to form reality. “The Hood” is a place where drive-by shootings and unemployment are rampant. But it is also a place where harmony coexists with adversity, especially for three young men growing up there: Doughboy (Ice Cube), his brother Ricky (Morris Chestnut), a college-bound teenage father; and Ricky’s best friend Tre (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), who aspires to a brighter future beyond “The Hood.” In a world where a trip to the store can end in death, the friends have diverse reactions to their bleak surroundings. Tre’s resolve is strengthened by a strong father (Laurence Fishburne) who keeps him on the right track. But the lessons Tre learns are put to the ultimate test when tragedy strikes close to home, and violence seems like the only recourse.
This groundbreaking film is a cultural expose that is specific to the black urban experience in South Central Los Angeles. Watching it now it seems just a bit passé but its message as a statement piece remains constant. It has been years since I have seen Boyz n the hood. I recall its original impact and am reminded of how it boldly speaks from the heart in its depiction of the trappings faced by these young men. Listening to writer/director John Singleton talk about the film and how events in his life served as its catalyst are very interesting. Boyz n the hood has lost none of its luster in the twenty years since its release. It is a compelling and gritty drama that pulls few punches and holds a level of significance that is still in effect today.
The rating is for language, violence and sensuality.
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: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- HDR: Dark Highlights:
- HDR: Bright Highlights:
- HDR: Expanded Color:
- Visual Impact:
Dolby Atmos Rating: 86
(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:
Boyz N the Hood comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.
For its presentation on Ultra HD Blu-ray Boyz N The Hood was derived from a 4K scan of the original camera negative and finished on a 4K DI.
It’s important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. Boyz N the Hood has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that won’t result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn’t a problem and shouldn’t be seen as such.
Looking at the film’s opening moments the improvement in depth and delineation is noticeable but, not staggering. Things do get better though. Grain is intact, occasionally rising to more obvious levels but, never to a distracting point. Boyz N the Hood isn’t an overtly bright film, although there are bright elements. The cinematography benefitted from the enhanced resolution and warmer chromatic accents. In many respects, the image is emboldened with a discernible boost to definition. While the increase in resolution isn’t always on display, I believe that this is innate to the photography. The wide-angle shots of the streets in and around South Central Los Angeles looked great.
Color reproduction benefited from the wider color gamut, especially blues, and reds which pop nicely. High dynamic range added a tangible visual element that enriched both natural and artificial light. Its application is appropriately applied here, keeping within the boundaries of the film’s cinematography and visual aesthetic. Hands down, this is the best Boyz N the Hood has looked on home video. Kudos to Sony for giving this the treatment it deserves. Hopefully we can expect continued support of the Ultra HD releases from their extensive catalog.
The new Dolby Atmos mix uses the entire platform so as to broaden the soundstage. This includes off camera sounds and low-level ambience. The music is mixed over the sound field, adding natural depth to its orchestrated elements while complimenting the film’s thematic details. This is done to very good effect, correlating with the onscreen events quite nicely as the most minute audio cues are fully realized. I appreciated the fact that the sound designers didn’t go overboard with the freedom of object versus channel- based mixing. The soundtrack retains much of its original essence with the Atmos mix adding a noticeable increase in scope.
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:
- Disc 1: Boyz N the Hood Ultra HD Blu-ray
• John Singleton Tribute
• Theatrical Press Conference
• Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
• Theatrical Trailer
- Disc 2: Boyz N the Hood Blu-ray
Legacy Bonus Features:
• Commentary with Writer/Director John Singleton
• The Enduring Significance of Boyz N the Hood
• Friendly Fire: Making of an Urban Legend
• Deleted Scenes
• Audition Videos Featuring Ice Cube, Angela Bassett, Morris Chestnut and Tyra Ferrell
• Compton’s Most Wanted Music Video “GROWIN’ UP IN THE HOOD”
• Tevin Campbell Music Video “JUST ASK ME TO”
- Digital Copy
The late John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood is a groundbreaking cultural expose that speaks to the black urban experience in South Central Los Angeles. It has lost none of its luster in the 29 years since its release and is a compelling and gritty drama that pulls few punches while holding a level of significance that is still in effect today. It’s making its debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray in this Combo Pack from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment that features beautifully restored Ultra HD video, a complimentary Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix, and new and legacy bonus content. If you’re a fan and are equipped to take advantage of the upgrades this release is recommended. If you aren’t, and already own the previous release, the decision to upgrade for the additional features/restored video will depend on how important that is to you.
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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