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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Mountain Climbing > China > Western > Revenge > War > WWII > The Climbers (2019/Well Go Blu-ray)/Far Country (1954/Universal/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/Midway 4K (2019/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

The Climbers (2019/Well Go Blu-ray)/Far Country (1954/Universal/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/Midway 4K (2019/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

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

These films are set in the near past involving people who are in tough positions of responsibility and in more highly responsible lives, with all their own different situations and results...

1960, 3 Chinese explorers became the first Chinese to climb Mt Everest, but due to the lost of their camera, they were unable to bring back the proof of climbing of Mt. Everest and the international community did not acknowledge their feat. Fifteen years later, China and it's army wants to try one more time and prove that the Chinese people made it to Mt. Everest in Daniel Lee's The Climbers (2019).

While considered China's heroes, they were scorned by the public and the international community. Without definitive proof, everything they did, the sacrifices they made were place into question and they lost face and honor. 15 years later, China once more calls Fang Wuzhou to train the next generation of Chinese mountain climbers to climb Everest. Wuzhou is a veteran climber knows the dangers of Everest and seeks to lead the a young generation of climbers, eager and naive, but like all who came before, Everest does not judge or discriminate between race, gender and is just as deadly from one person to the next.

Even with the latest technologies and an army backing you up ...climbing Mt. Everest means risking your life against dangers, ice, snow, high winds, altitude sickness ...but for climbers it is the ultimate adventure. Fang Wuzhou and his team made it to Mt. Everest in 1960, but due to saving a team member's life they lost their camera. After a massive failure, lost of lives, Fang Wuzhou has one last chance to prove the to the world that they made it.

Based of a true story of Chinese explorers climbing Mt Everest, it show the dreams , strength and sacrifices of Chinese people. While it started out for the honor and country, Mt Everest is a personal story/challenge for any true mountain climber.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is an HD shoot with some obvious CGI and a few other flaws here and there, but it looks fine otherwise, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Mandarin 5.1 lossless mix is impressive despite not being a new, state-of-the-art 12-track sound film. Clarity and depth impress throughout. Extras include guest star Jackie Chan, behind the scenes and trailers.

The 1954 epic The Far Country gets a lavish two-disc presentation from Arrow Academy that is a must see for fans. Starring James Stewart and Ruth Roman, this film looks and sounds fantastic on disc and is a great time capsule piece.

Set around at time of the Yukon Gold Rush, Jeff Webster (Stewart) is a rootin' tootin' cowboy who drives his cattle from Wyoming to Yukon, along with his partner Ben Tatum (Walter Brennan). Along the way, they run into an adversary - a corrupt judge (John McIntire) and his henchmen who are out for blood.

The Far Country has a brand new 4K restoration from the original film elements by Arrow Films that bests previous versions on disc, including a DVD of it we reviewed in a James Stewart DVD box set many years ago. The film is presented in its original widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (its original three-strip Technicolor presentation better than ever) and an original PCM 1.0 Mono audio mix. Both of which are of high quality for the Blu-ray format. As mentioned in the below list of extras, there is a different cut of the film on the disc with a different aspect ratio of 2.00:1 which boils down to your personal preference. This film is gorgeous to look at though with beautiful landscapes show on film that certainly holds up.

Special Features include:

Two presentations of The Far Country in both original aspect ratios of 1.85:1 and 2.00:1

Limited edition booklet with new writing on the film by Philip Kemp and original reviews

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

New audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin

American Frontiers: Anthony Mann at Universal, an all-new, feature-length documentary with Mann biographer Alan K. Rode, western author C. Courtney Joyner, script supervisor Michael Preece, and critics Michael Schlesinger and Rob Word

Mann of the West, a newly filmed appraisal of Far Country and the westerns of Anthony Mann by the critic Kim Newman

Image gallery

and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Finally, another clunky big budget production to add to his resume, Independence Day & The Day After Tomorrow director Roland Emmerich decides to go back to the past again (as he did with 10,000 BC and The Patriot) with Midway (2019), a sort of remake of the 1976 film of the same name and a new take on the real events. The big question is... did anyone ask for yet another movie of this era/battle? The answer is clear when you watch this film, as it doesn't necessarily have anything new in it that you haven't seen before. It is miles better than Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor, though, so I give it that!

The film has a massive cast which includes Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, Woody Harrelson, and Nick Jonas to name just a few.

Midway 4K centers on the Battle of Midway, the infamous clash between the American fleet and the Imperial Japanese Navy which marked a pivotal turning point in the Pacific Theater during WWII. From the perspective of several different commanders and officers, this harrowing story is captured on film in grand fashion.

While the film is loud and expensive, it can't escape the 'fake' look that it is has going for it. It seems as if nearly this entire movie was shot on green screen stages as most everything is digitally created. The boats, thousands of soldiers, the environments are all fake. While somethings obviously had to be done this way, it is interesting when looking at what the 1976 version did for real, and how much this one seems mainly created in a computer. All of this makes this version of Midway not feel as authentic as maybe it was hoping to be.

The presentation of Midway, however, is top of the line and it comes across very well here on the 4K Ultra HD 2160p HEVC/H.265, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image for a simply stunning and clear image. Paired with that is a lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 audio track (mixdown in Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) for older systems) and even English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo lossless. This is a very loud movie as mentioned, which makes it particularly fun to watch at home if you have an immersive audio system. The clarity of the image works for and against the film as it exposes (to my eyes anyway) some of the lines between reality and digital effects. Still, this is a fantastic presentation for 4K UHD and definitely demo disc worthy.

Also included is a 1080p Blu-ray edition with the same widescreen/ sound specs that looks fine for the format and a digital HD copy too.

Special Features:

Audio Commentary by Roland Emmerich

"Getting It Right: The Making of Midway" featurette

"The Men of Midway" featurette

"Roland Emmerich: Man on a Mission" featurette

"Turning Point: The Legacy of Midway" featurette

"Joe Rochefort: Breaking the Japanese Code" featurette

"We Met at Midway: Two Survivors Remember" featurette

and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

True, Midway is a big silly war movie, but it is a good way to exploit the range of your home entertainment system with its impressive score and sound mix. The film itself isn't terrible, but it just doesn't feel as immersive as other recent war film entries like say Nolan's Dunkirk, the recent 1917 (our 4K review for that film is next up), or even Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge.

- Ricky Chiang (Climbers) and James Lockhart



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