Only The Brave

WSR Score4.5
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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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Thematic content, some sexual references, language and drug material
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Joseph Kosinski
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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Based on a true American story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots that gave their lives to protect their community, "Only The Brave" is an intense tale of brotherhood, sacrifice, and inspiration. This is the heroic story of a team of local firefighters who––through hope, determination and sacrifice––become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the nation. The firefighters forge a unique brotherhood that comes into focus as they fight a fateful fire to protect our lives, our homes, and everything we hold dear. Based on the "GQ" article "No Exit" by Sean Flynn. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director Joseph Kosinski and Actor Josh Brolin, the featurettes "Honoring The Heroes: The True Stories" (HD 08:08), "Behind The Brotherhood: The Characters" (HD 07:20), and "Boot Camp: Becoming A Hotshot" (HD 08:42); deleted scenes (HD 02:07); the "Hold The Light" music video and a featurette by Dierks Bentley featuring S. Carey (HD 04:42); Behind The Song: "Hold The Light" (HD 02:42); upfront previews; and a Movies Anywhere digital copy.

The 2.39:1 1080p AVC picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally using the Sony CineAlta F65i camera system and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. Unfortunately, Sony chose to release a 4K Ultra HD edition for streaming, which is worrisome in that it raises the concern that in future 4K Ultra HD release will be reserved for only streaming. What's up with that? Still, without the benefit of 2060p native resolution, HDR and WCG (wider color gamut), this is an amazing Blu-ray picture with excellent color fidelity with natural hues and accurate fleshtones. Intense fiery reds and oranges are impressively saturated. Other predominant colors are red and yellow hotshots gear, as well as the natural greenery of the foothills and tree-lined streets of the urban areas. Hues are vibrant, with rich and warm tones. Contrast is excellent, with nicely defined nighttime scenes with revealing shadow delineation. At times shimmering aliasing artifacts are noticed but are never a distracting visual deterrent. Resolution is excellent with fine detail exhibited throughout, including all manner of flames and smoke. Facial features, skin pores, hair beards, clothing, firefighter gear, forestry, and object texture are all well defined and realistic. This is a spectacular visual experience depicting amazing fire intensity contrasted with brave men working their hazardous job. A WOW! segment is from 01:52:12 to 01:5:17. The picture is an intense reference-quality visual experience of peril. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is excellent, with an aggressive surround presence sonically depicting hazardous conditions. The orchestral score and heavy rock interludes is nicely supportive with a wide and deep soundstage that extends aggressively to the surrounds. Spatial dimensonality is excellent, with very real atmospherics, such as desert sounds, swarming bees, trees falling, rushing water, and roaring fire sound effects. Helicopters are nicely panned and powerful sounding, especially when dropping huge volumes of water. Deep bass is effective in presenting a dynamic presence, especially during scenes of infernos with sub-25 H frequencies in the .1 LFE channel. Quieter moments are realistically created with excellent Foley sound effects. Fidelity is excellent throughout. Dialogue is intelligible throughout, even during intense sonic segments, with good spatial integration. While there is no Immersive Sound element, the soundtrack benefits immensely by engaging Auro-Matic processing, which lifts the enveloping sonic character to another level, which is amazing. This is a well-crafted reference soundtrack that sounds impressive, with a dynamic surround presence. (Gary Reber)