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Category:    Home > Reviews > Spy > Action > Cold War > Mystery > Superhero > Animation > Comedy > Man From U.N.C.L.E. 4K (2015 feature film remake/Warner/Arrow 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray)/New Adventures Of Batman: The Complete Collection (1977 animated/Filmation/DC Comics/Warner Blu-ray)

Man From U.N.C.L.E. 4K (2015 feature film remake/Warner/Arrow 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray)/New Adventures Of Batman: The Complete Collection (1977 animated/Filmation/DC Comics/Warner Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B/B- Sound: B/C+ Extras: B+/C Main Programs: B-

Guy Ritchie's The Man From U.N.C.L.E. 4K (2015 feature film remake) arrives at an odd time for the spy genre as the film did not have a sequel, the original series (and its spin-off The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.) have not found the new audience they deserve despite some solid DVD set releases, the Bond series is on hold planning its relaunch after the amazing successful Daniel Craig era and the latest Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible film only bombed financially because they did not reschedule it like they should have. We first reviewed the film in its older Blu-ray release here:


A decent film that still holds up, it does not totally try to be the older show, but is set in the Cold War era. Setting spy films in the past has been a curse at the box office, but it was the only way to tell a tale of how the two agents get together. As for the leads, Henry Cavill in Robert Vaughn's Napoleon Solo role and Armie Hammer in David McCallum's Illya Kuryakin are still not bad here. The former is no longer Superman or on a hit TV show The Witcher he left to the disappointment of fans, but is about to play the lead in a Highlander revival. Hammer not only barely did better here commercially than in his horrid Long Ranger feature film revival a few years before, but had a set of scandals off-screen that ended his career, so there will definitely be no sequel to this one. That Hammer is portraying the character that put McCallum on the map, now know by a whole new generation of fans thanks to the late actors scene-stealing work on the otherwise not-so-interesting NCIS series makes this a curio ion a new way.

Still, it lands up being a decent one-off I hope more people catch because it is some of the best commercial work either lead actor ever did, still one of Guy Ritchie's better films. Of course, the current madness happening thanks to Russia makes this more aged than originally intended, but its something to see what things were potentially like and the hoped-for possibilities considered when this was made not that long ago.

Along with its still impressive supporting cast, it is at least worth a look to all serious film, spy and action fans.

Extras expand handily from the old Blu-ray release and include the original lossless Dolby Atmos theatrical sound mix for the first time, plus...

  • Brand NEW feature-length audio commentary by critics Bryan Reesman and Max Evry

  • The Hollywood Way: Brand NEW interview with co-writer/producer Lionel Wigram

  • A Lineage of Bad Guys: Brand NEW interview with actor Luca Calvani

  • Legacy of U.N.C.L.E.: Brand NEW featurette celebrating the original 1960s TV series and its influence on the 2015 movie, featuring Helen McCarthy, David Flint and Vic Pratt

  • Cockneys and Robbers: Brand NEW featurette exploring director Guy Ritchie's oeuvre, featuring Kat Hughes, Hannah Strong and Josh Saco

  • Spy Vision: Recreating 60s Cool, A Higher Class of Hero, Metisse Motorcycles: Proper and Very British, The Guys from U.N.C.L.E. and A Man of Extraordinary Talents. Five archival featurettes exploring the making of the film

  • U.N.C.L.E.: On-Set Spy: four archival, bite-sized featurettes going behind the scenes on the film set

  • Original Theatrical Trailer

  • Image gallery

  • Double-sided fold-out poster, featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dare Creative

  • Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing by Barry Forshaw, and a reprinted article from CODEX Magazine on the film's cinematography

  • and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dare Creative.

The New Adventures Of Batman: The Complete Collection (1977) is back and now on Blu-ray, to the surprise of more than a few fans, which reunited Adam West and Burt Ward in the roles that made them famous for the first time in nine years. We originally reviewed the show in its older DVD set at this link:


Long before the landmark Dark Knight Returns comic book in 1986 and Michael Keaton relaunch three years later, the Adam West Batman was THE Batman of the time. Since 1973, the Dynamic Duo were on the huge hit Superfriends! series that was in the middle of its long run and the Adam West series had become a giant money machine in syndication as all tie-in toys and comic books were flying off the shelves. Batmania was in full swing and continuing strong in a way modern fans do not know about and others just do not want to admit.

So the fact that this series was greenlit, made and landed up with huge ratings shows how popular Batman, Robin and the related characters were then, essentially meaning you had three hit shows going on at once, the reruns seven days a week and animated shows on Saturdays and in some markets, even Sundays. Add that some of the greatest memorabilia ever made for the characters was made at this time and you see why this was a hit and how they all added up to fun for fans everywhere, especially kids.

Though we get Bat-Mite (though Aunt Harriett and Alfred The Butler are gone, guess they passed away or at least Alfred retired?) and also get Batgirl, the show has some interesting plots, villains, action and even suspense in between the comic relief. Young kids would throw out the comedy and get to the action, which many older (and more serious viewer/fans) missed even when some of the villains were still at least somewhat comical. The more refined art (for Filmation Studios) was a plus, even more streamlined than Superfriends!, so the studio meant business and they delivered.

Watch the show now, looking better than ever here, thinking about that and you'll see why it was and still is a success.

The only extra is the ironically entitled Dark Knight Revisited featurette on this series that was included in the DVD set and its pretty good.

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 2.35 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on U.N.C.L.E. 4K 2015 is an improvement over the older Blu-ray and new 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition Blu-ray sold separately. Some of the film was shot in 2.8 K, other parts in 4K, so this is an improvement to enough of an extent that it looks as good as it did theatrically, but not spectacular either. I doubt it can look much better than it does in this 4K version here.

The sound on both discs have been upgraded to lossless Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) and instead of the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for the old Blu-ray, we get the full, original theatrical soundtrack for the first time and it is a little better. I was not knocked out buy it, but it holds up well enough and is a bit better than the mixdown.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Batman may be a little compressed and have some detail issues and softness since all 16 shows are on one Blu-ray disc, but color is a huge jump up from the DVD or any other release of the show (on video or broadcast and streaming, etc.) so you can see how Filmation got ahead of Hanna Barbera in refined drawing and better use of color.

Paramount already issued the 1973 Filmation animated Star Trek series on Blu-ray to favorable fan response, so here's hoping some other animated cartoon series also appealing to older audiences at the same time like Filmation's 1979 Flash Gordon, Filmation's 1976 Tarzan, DePatie-Freleng's 1975 Return To The Planet Of The Apes, the rest of Filmation's late 1960s DC Comics animated TV shows and even Valley Of The Dinosaurs (1974 from Hanna Barbera) get the same treatment at some point soon.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes on Batman do sound better than the lame, lossy Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono on the older DVD set, but now it is also a little more boxy than it should sound and slightly limited in ways it also should not. Otherwise, it is better than most animated TV shows on DVD and others on Blu-ray with oddly lossy Dolby Sound. The 1968 Filmation animated series was also issued recently on Blu-ray by Warner and fared technically a little better for sound and picture, which you can read more about at this link:


Maybe when the next huge wave of Batmania hits, they could do a set of both shows at once in 4K?

- Nicholas Sheffo


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