Rob Hawkins (Stahl-David) has been offered the job of a lifetime in Japan, and his brother Jason (Vogel) is planning to send him off in style with a fantastic going-away party. During the party, when Rob is surrounded by friends and well-wishers, an alien lands in New York's Central Park, destroying buildings and devouring everyone it comes in contact with. Now Rob and a group of loyal friends must make their way across the city to rescue their friend Beth (Caplan), who is trapped in her apartment. The group winds their way through the subway tunnels and across Central Park, now renamed "Cloverfield," in order to get to their friend, before the alien has a chance to. (Stacey Pendry)
Special features include commentary by Director Matt Reeves; a Special Investigation Mode; the featurettes: "Document 01.18.08: The Making Of Cloverfield" (HD 28:22), "Cloverfield Visual Effects" (HD 22:32), and "I Saw It! It's Alive! It's Huge!" (HD 05:53); a blooper reel "Clover Fun" (HD 03:56); five deleted scenes available with or without director's commentary (HD 03:25); two alternate endings (HD 04:29); and an UltraViolet digital copy.
The 1.78:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 UltraHD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally using Panasonic AG-HSC1U, Panasonic AG-HVX200, Panavision Genesis HD Camera (some scenes), Sony CineAlta F23, and Thomson VIPER FilmStream Camera systems in the HDCAM SR format and sourced from a 2K (not 4K) master Digital Intermediate format. As the 2K Digital Intermediate has been upconverted to 2160p, there is no real gain in native resolution. The movie is intended to be an amateurish home video with the imagery entirely photographed from a handheld video camera. Some may appreciate this style of movie-making while others will not. This new upconverted 4K Ultra HD shows solid, consistent black levels throughout the presentation, but near-black shadows still appear flat and crushed. As noted, the HDCAM-shot movie has a personal handheld camera feel, and colors are often too vibrant and saturated to seem natural for a handheld device. And while there are times when the picture looks un-high-definition, there are scenes that are very well resolved, with nicely defined fine details. Fleshtones are less washed out and the picture is less harsh and noisy, as was the case on the Blu-ray Disc at times. (Danny Richelieu/Gary Reber)
Unfortunately, the soundtrack has not been remixed in an Immersive Sound format and instead retains the same lossless Dolby® TrueHD 5.1-channel soundtrack. As previously reviewed, the soundtrack heavily favors the front stage, but the surrounds are used well for canned effects that are meant to originate behind the camera's view. Fidelity is somewhat lacking, though, and popping, clipping distortion can be heard at times throughout. Dynamic range sounds slightly compressed, and bass definition is somewhat flabby. Phantom imaging is nicely mixed into the front stage. The LFE channel is used often with good effect, and deep bass is a large part of the sound design. The music underneath the end credit role is nicely recorded and worth a listen.
The Immersive Sound element produced by Auro-Matic takes the otherwise mediocre soundtrack another dimension, transforming a two-dimension native soundtrack into a three-dimensional sonic experience. DTS Neural:X and Dolby Surround work well too, but the reference loudspeaker layout is Auro-3D configured, and Auro-Matic does sound the best. The sound is fully immersive with effective height sonics complementary to the visuals.
Unquestionably, this is the way to experience the soundtrack. (Danny Richelieu/Gary Reber)