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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Boxing > Urban > Comedy > Sports > Science Fiction > Action > Aliens > Outer Space > Crime > Police > Creed (2015 Rocky spin-off/MGM/Warner)/In The Heart Of The Sea (2015/Warner)/Independence Day (1996/Fox w/Extended Cut & 2 Blu-rays)/The Martian: Extended Edition (2015/Fox w/Extended Edition & 2 Blu-

Creed (2015 Rocky spin-off/MGM/Warner)/In The Heart Of The Sea (2015/Warner)/Independence Day (1996/Fox w/Extended Cut & 2 Blu-rays)/The Martian: Extended Edition (2015/Fox w/Extended Edition & 2 Blu-rays)/Point Break (2015 remake/Warner/all 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)



4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B/B/B+/B/B Sound: B/B+/A- & B+/A- & B+/B Extras: C/C/B/B-/C- Films: C+/C/B/B-/C-



The new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format continues to impress, even when the film is one that might not always work, as we revisit five key titles we covered before and get to see how the impressive higher fidelity of the better playback works to their advantage...



Ryan Coogler's 2015 Rocky spin-off Creed is likely getting a sequel after its decent box office was followed by a solid home entertainment release. You can read my thoughts on it at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/14101/Creed+(2015+Rocky+spin-off/MGM/New+Line/War


That same regular Blu-ray is included in this set with those same extras. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray has no extras and the same DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix as that Blu-ray, but offers an upgraded 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35 X 1 Ultra High Definition image that has a little more stability, depth, detail and particularly makes the actors and Philadelphia locales work better. As a result of those two factors playing back better and being comparatively more naturalistic, this is the better, easier, nicer and more pleasant was to watch the film. The HD shoot still has a few issues, but they are not too bad. Thus, this upgrade works.



Ron Howard's In The Heart Of The Sea (2015) is a disappointment of sorts we reviewed in its 3D and 2D versions at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/14118/In+The+Heart+Of+The+Sea+(2015/Warner+Blu-ra


That same regular 2D Blu-ray is included in this set with the same extras, though I was not as impressed with playback as my colleague. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray has no extras and the same DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix as that Blu-ray, but offers an upgraded 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 1.78 X 1 Ultra High Definition image that is netter than the 1080p Blu-ray with some better depth and detail, but digital visual effects look weaker in a tradeoff common to a few such films in the new format. It also repeats the very able, well-recorded Dolby Atmos 11.1 mix the 1080p Blu-ray offered. Thus, its an upgrade that was worth it technically, though I was disappointed with the film's inability to focus, go for gross humor and dottled around too much.



Roland Emmerich's original Independence Day (1996) is still one of the better films of its kind and back when the original Blu-ray format was launched, it was one of our favorite early demos. You can read more at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/6720/Independence+Day+(1996/Blu-ray)+++I,+Robot


We liked the film so much, that you'll find our coverage of a DTS DVD import. It is of my opinion that the Blu-ray helped sell the format early being so good. The double Blu-ray set that followed later is included here versus our old basic single Blu-ray. So I can say that the film does look better in its 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35 X 1 Ultra High Definition image presentation here where color, detail and depth are so good that I was reminded of how good my 35mm presentation was two decades ago. However, the improvements here come with a problem different than bad CGI digital effects that have held back several of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays in picture quality. The film was shot in the Super 35 format, where no anamorphic squeeze lenses are used to create the widescreen scope image, but it is optically lifted from a smaller frame of 35mm film (usually 3-perforations, versus 4-perf or 1.33 X 1 35mm and a bit better than 2-perf aka Techniscope or Chromoscope), done to allow certain visual effects to fit more easily without distortion issues form those high quality squeeze lenses.


However, this also means more grain, so the grain issues many 1080p Blu-rays ran into with 2-perf Techniscope/Chromoscope will be one the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format will run into at 2160p as the grain will be more obvious and viewable. Some of the grain comes from composite visual effects work as the film goes a generation down in optical printing, et al, while other stances are just the smaller section of the 35mm frame. Still, this is better than the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image either standard Blu-ray version has offered before.


But the far more obvious upgrade is the sound. Back in the day, Fox issued a DTS-only 12-inch LaserDisc of the film that was sonically stunning for the pre-lossless sound era and many felt (including myself) felt the lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on the previous 1080p Blu-rays somehow lost some of the sonic range and detail one would have encountered seeing a 70mm blow-up of the film with interlocked DTS 5.1 sound as presented on the old LaserDisc. Well, the soundmaster has been taken out of the vault and expanded.


The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version exclusively introduced the D-BOX-enhanced DTS: X 11.1 mix that shows just how superior the film's soundtrack was for its time. Loaded with detail, directional sound and amazing sonics for its time, they are here with few flaws, added nuance utilizing the overhead speakers and even when some elements show their age or the sound is not totally balanced at times, it is a revelation; especially for those who did not hear the 5.1 in its early glory. Even if the grain of the 2160p picture puts a few people off, the new soundmix here will quickly become the same top rate demo material it has been in previous formats over the lats two decades. I hope more classic multi-channel films get this amazing treatment.


Then there are the extras, starting with the longer version of the film. Its a nice change of pace, but nothing earth-shattering (no pun intended), but a solid change of pace. As for extras, the hilarious feature length audio commentary by Emmerich & co-producer Dean Devlin, plus second track with Special Effects Supervisors Volker Engel & Doug Smith are featured on both the new 4K Ultra HD and regular 1080p Blu-ray version, which also offer the ID4 Datastream Trivia Track for the theatrical versions only in both formats going back to that basic Blu-ray and DVD before it.


The first of the two 1080p Blu-ray has a trailer for the sequel, while the second extras-loaded 1080p Blu-ray repeats a theatrical teaser (then adds some more) and final trailers for the film and adds TV Spots, while scrapping the Alien Scavenger Hunt game. We also get the new 30-minutes-long Independence Day: A Legacy Surging Forward featurette, Making of ID4 featurette, Gag Reel, the Original Theatrical Ending that I did not think worked as well (glad they changed it), Stills Gallery, Creating Reality clip, ID4 Invasion piece, faux video newscasts, and the odd Combat Review piece.



Ridley Scott's The Martian: Extended Edition (2015) arrives not long after the standard 4K Blu-ray version we covered as one of our first 4K titles at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/14126/Exodus:+Gods+&+Kings+(2014)/King


That also included Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the single Blu-ray with a few extras include Production Art Gallery, Gag Reel and 6 Making-Of featurettes, minus two now included in the Making Of documentary featurette The Long Way Home. Both the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Extended standard Blu-ray have a feature length audio commentary track by Scott, Drew Goddard & Andy Weir, then the 1080 Blu-ray has a second Special Features disc that also adds Theatrical Trailers, Deleted Scenes and the 3-part Investigating Mars featurette.


The 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35 X 1 Ultra High Definition image on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and slightly less impressive 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Blu-ray are of the same picture quality, which is as good as it is likely going to get in those formats. So that leaves us with the sound upgrade worth discussing.


Though the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix on the previous 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and all the 1080p Blu-rays were pretty good, they were still a mixdown from the original 11.1 theatrical sound soundmaster. The Blu-rays (4K and 1080p) thus retain the DTS-MA mix, but this new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray offers a Dolby Atmos 11.1 track (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), also with D-BOX like its DTS-MA predecessors that is not only one of the best Atmos mixes to date, but is up there with the best mixes of a Ridley Scott film going back to the landmark 70mm Dolby (4.1) magnetic stereo surround mix that was only found on 70mm blow-ups of the film.


That mix (now 5.1 on Blu-ray, reviewed elsewhere on this site) was not the same mix on any other version of Alien and though Scott never did anything that sonically exclusive again, the quality of the character of would continue to show up on his best films (Blade Runner, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, Legend, Hannibal, even Thelma & Louise) and add to their narrative impact. The new version of the film is just an alternate version to me, not any better or worse than the theatrical version, but it is interesting as the two Alien cuts would be and has Scott in better form here. If you had any doubts about this upgrades 3-disc set versus the previous versions released of the film, the 11.1 sound alone puts this over the top as an upgrade worth the trouble and not just a lame 'double-dip'. Even with some image issues, the soundtrack has more than a few demo moments and moves to the front of the line as best sonic 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray releases to date.



Finally we have Ericson Core's 2015 remake of Point Break, which we also reviewed in its 3D and 2D versions at this link...

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/14129/Alexander+The+Great+(1956/United+Artists/MGM/


The 2D 1080p Blu-ray is included here with the same extras, while the 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35 X 1 Ultra High Definition image with no extras is the always slightly dark shoot the film has, but you get some more detail, depth and slightly better color that makes it a more realistic watch than the 2D or 3D versions. The 1080p Blu-ray only offers a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix, though it was an 11.1 theatrical sound release in its best bookings. Thus, we hoped we might get a Dolby Atmos 11.1 or DTS: X 11.1 mix, but the new 2160p disc only repeats the same DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix as before, so any fans or any chance on further improving the playback quality is not here. Was the 11.1 soundmaster that limited?



- Nicholas Sheffo


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