D-Day: Normandy 1944 Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

June 6, 1944: The largest Allied operation of World War II began in Normandy, France. Yet few know in detail exactly why and how, from the end of 1943 through August 1944, this region became the most important location in the world. Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of D-Day Normandy 1944 from Shout! Factory.

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

Film:

Extras:

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

94

Details:

Studio and Year: Shout! Factory – 2014
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 42 minutes
Genre: Documentary

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/English Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Tom Brokaw
Written & Directed by: Pascal Vuong
Music by: London Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Paul Rouger
Region Code: A

Release Date: May 5, 2020

“The Historic Landing That Changed the World”

Synopsis:

June 6, 1944: The largest Allied operation of World War II began in Normandy, France. Yet few know in detail exactly why and how, from the end of 1943 through August 1944, this region became the most important location in the world.” – Shout! Factory

My Take:

June 6, 1944: The largest Allied operation of World War II began in Normandy, France. Yet few know in detail exactly why and how, from the end of 1943 through August 1944, this region became the most important location in the world. Blending multiple cinematographic techniques, D-Day: Normandy 1944 brought this monumental event to the world’s largest screens for the first time.

In May 1943, to counter Hitler and the Axis forces, the Allies decide to open a Second Front on the western side of Europe. The Allied forces, led by General Eisenhower, have just months to organize the operation, code-named “Overlord,” that will break Hitler’s Atlantic Wall fortress and lead to the battle of Normandy.

Following significant industrial growth, the US and their allies will, in a very short time, succeed in assembling millions of soldiers in southern England, as well as thousands of boats and planes alongside millions of tons of supplies in preparation for the landing on the beaches of Normandy. The choice of location was kept a secret from the Nazis by tricking them through disinformation operations.

Taking advantage of a small window of opportunity, the great offensive armada goes to sea on June 5th, 1944. At dawn on June 6th, D-Day, the landings begin, with over 150,000 men on the first assault. Despite heavy losses, the landing is a success and, by the evening, the Allied forces have breached the Atlantic Wall.

Following the successful landing, the battle of Normandy begins. Military and civilian casualties run into the tens of thousands but, after fierce fighting, by August the battle of Normandy finally ends. The Allied troops liberate Paris on August 25th.

Thanks to “Overlord” the course of WWII swings back in favor of the Allies. But it will take another year to defeat Nazi tyranny and restore Peace and Liberty in the world.

Blending multiple cinematographic techniques, including animation, CGI and stunning live-action images, D-Day: Normandy 1944 allows audiences of all ages to discover from a new perspective how this landing changed the world. Exploring history, military strategy, science, technology and the enduring human spirit, the film will educate and appeal to all. Narrated by Tom Brokaw, this film pays tribute to those who gave their lives for our liberty … a duty of memory, a duty of gratitude. D-Day: Normandy 1944 isn’t an in-depth documentary but, is a pitch perfect overview that captures the significance of June 6th 1944, the coordinated effort surrounding its undertaking and the sacrifices of those that made it happen. There are archival photos, reenactments and CGI that assist in rendering the film as well. This 75th anniversary edition of D-Day: Normandy 1944 is a poignant film that made me feel a sense of pride and thanks for being an American.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

This film is suited for general audiences.

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: 96
(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: 

Audio: 88
(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

D-Day: Normandy 1944 comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Shout! Factory featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD D-Day: Normandy 1944 (originally exhibited in IMAX theaters) was rendered from a 4K DI. This is a terrific Ultra HD presentation that looks superb on my large screen. First and foremost, the thing that immediately stands out is the lifelike reproduction of the textures captured by the camera’s lens. Whether it be the finest minutia visible in the make-up of the uniforms/clothing used during the reenacted scenes, clarity of the archival photos, CGI, or the majestic vistas of the landscapes surrounding the European regions, the imagery is gorgeous.

The benefits of high dynamic range are nearly as stark as earth toned colors have an added dimension that enlivens shots where they would normally have blended in, being seen as a less provocative background element that would generally go unnoticed. Whites are emboldened, detailed and bright, especially during low level transitions viewed in a darkened environment. Contrast abounds, lending an authenticity that underscores the subject matter, bringing it to a visually compelling level.

DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio:

The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound has excellent dynamic range and detail. Dialog is clearly rendered in most respects although, I would have preferred that Tom Brokaw’s narration be given more prominence as it occasionally blended in rather than be up front. This isn’t an aggressive surround mix but when applied the surround channels generate plenty of atmosphere and where appropriate, discrete sound placement. Front and rear channel imaging is spot on as details and spatial cues mate perfectly with the images onscreen. Low frequency effects provide palpable richness to the music and live sounds. I found this to be an entertaining and complimentary audio presentation.

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: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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

D-Day: Normandy 1944 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Shout! Factory featuring 1080p AVC encoded video.

This is a reference quality high definition presentation that boasts vivid colors, superlative depth, and an abundance of high-level detail. The color palette is alluring as the resplendent earth toned hues leap from the 1.78:1 framed video. Contrast balance is spot on as the various shades of gray are gradationally revealing and whites appear bright with crisp highlights that preserve detail. Blacks are delineated, deep, and rich, which works hand in hand with the definitive shadow detail to provide low level images with excellent perspective and depth of field. Resolution is impeccable as the vastness and scope of the recorded elements offers lucid, three-dimensional acuity that is extraordinary. The beautifully captured images of France and the surrounding regions are captivating, as the richness of color, transparently rendered detail, and near infinite sense of depth and dimension are assuredly conveyed in high definition.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: IMAX D-Day: Normandy 1944 Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: IMAX D-Day: Normandy 1944 Blu-ray
    · Interview With Director Pascal Vuong
    · Interview With Narrator Tom Brokaw
    · Interview With Historical Advisor Peter Herrly
    · Behind The Scenes: Normandy
    · Behind The Scenes: Sand Animation
    · And More!

Final Thoughts:

Narrated by noted journalist Tom Brokaw, D-Day: Normandy 1944 is a poignant and interesting documentary film. It comes to home video in the Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo pack from Shout! Factory featuring sparking Ultra HD video quality, rewarding lossless sound, and a fair supplemental offering. D-Day: Normandy 1944 is an easy recommendation for genre fans and high definition video enthusiasts that appreciated a well-crafted and worthwhile film experience.

 

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
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