JoJo Rabbit Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

From acclaimed writer-director Taika Waititi, JoJo Rabbit is a WWII satire about a lonely German boy serving in Hitler’s youth training corps, whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic. Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

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

Film:

Extras:

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

90

Details:

Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox – 2019
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 108 minutes
Genre: Comedy/Drama

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

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Taika Waititi, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant, Same Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson
Written & Directed by: Taika Waititi
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Region Code: A

Release Date: February 18, 2020

“An Anti-Hate Satire”

Synopsis:

JoJo Rabbit, is a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic.

My Take:

Acclaimed writer-director Taika Waititi brings his signature humor and pathos to JoJo Rabbit a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy (Roman Griffin Davis as Jojo) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.

My first taste of writer-director Taika Waititi’s penchant for dark satire was in a film called “What We Do in the Shadows”. I have been a fan ever since and, as such, couldn’t wait to see JoJo Rabbit. Unfortunately, it saw limited theatrical engagements and never came to my local cineplex. I have eagerly awaited its home video release.

Based on the book “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens, JoJo Rabbit is a dark satire set during World War II that deals with delicate subject matter that on its surface, could immediately put some viewers off. However, once you see what Taika Waititi was aiming for and, how he goes about it, you soon realize that its not only clever but, equally on point, even in today’s sociopolitical climate. Interestingly enough, the film’s satirical edge is wonderfully underscored by elements of drama, some of which, prove quite poignant.

I watched it with my wife and we reveled in the deft humor, subtle, yet distinct, context and the infusion of crackerjack dialog and situational drollery. The characters are a blended and nimble bunch with none feeling tossed in simply to serve as window dressing. As for the cast, young Roman Griffin Davis carries the film, plain and simple. Everyone else revolves around him offering sterling support that underscores the proceedings.

JoJo Rabbit and its ensemble cast garnered attention in the 2020 awards season earning a Best Picture Academy Award® Nomination, a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy, a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for Best Picture, and a Screen Actors Guild Award® nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Star Roman Griffin Davis, whose first-ever acting role was ‘Jojo,’ won a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Young Actor, as well as a nomination for a Golden Globe in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy.

Additionally, Scarlett Johansson has received an Academy Award® Nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award® nominations for her performance as ‘Rosie.’ And at the film’s helm, writer, director, actor and producer Taika Waititi has received Academy Award Nominations for Adapted Screenplay (which he took home!) and Best Picture (with Carthew Neal), as well as nominations from the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America, and BAFTA (Adapted Screenplay).

Earlier this year, the film was honored at the AFI Awards, making it onto AFI’s list of the Top 10 Movies of the Year for 2019. And the film also won TIFF’s highly acclaimed Grolsch People’s Choice Award, while Waititi garnered the Ebert Director Award at the festival’s tribute gala awards event.

JoJo Rabbit is justly deserving of the accolades it has received. I enjoyed every minute and look forward to sitting down with it again.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for mature thematic content, some disturbing images, violence, 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.**

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: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

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: 

JoJo Rabbit comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

JoJo Rabbit was derived from a 3.4K source and finished on a 2K DI for its presentation on Ultra HD Blu-ray.

JoJo Rabbit is a 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 sepia tones and color grading, which ultimately leaves some sequences appearing less visually engaging than others. Color reproduction is consistent, with primaries like green 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 daytime shots of the sun-splashed landscapes 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. Exterior sequences offer the slightest hint of added punch which gives the image appreciable visual pop. 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 JoJ Rabbit in Ultra HD didn’t make for an especially compelling viewing experience, however, I found it to be a complimentary improvement over the 1080p Blu-ray presentation.

DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio:

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 surround mix utilizes the entire platform to recreate the many acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The rear channels contain a mixture of spatial ambience/musical extension as well as directional panning cues that effectively support the front soundstage. There is a rich low end associated with the sequences of war that take place in the film’s last act. This is a complimentary audio presentation that mates well with the source material.

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: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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

JoJo Rabbit comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video.

This is a solid looking new release title from Fox. Images onscreen exhibit plenty of fine rendering and crisp definition that on occasion rises to higher levels especially during close ups which can be very revealing. Long range shots appear resolute with good dimensional depth and notable object detail. Bright exterior segments are punchy with crisp dynamic whites and appreciable texture. Colors range from warm and vivid to deep sepia. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. Other than some innate softening, I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: JoJo Rabbit Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: JoJo Rabbit Blu-ray
    • Deleted Scenes:
    o “Imaginary Göring”
    o “Little Piggies”
    o “Adolf Dies Again”
    • Outtakes
    • Inside Jojo Rabbit
    • Audio Commentary by Taika Waititi
    • Theatrical Trailer
    o Teaser Trailer
    o Theatrical Trailer
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

Based on the book “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens and adapted for the big screen by writer/director Taika Waititi, JoJo Rabbit is a dark satire that exudes the filmmakers ‘s flamboyancy and penchant for pointed storytelling. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack featuring excellent overall video quality, crystal clear lossless sound and a middling supplemental set. JoJo Rabbit is justly deserving of the accolades it has received and is a must-see for cinema enthusiasts. I look forward to sitting down with it again. Enjoy!

 

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