Maze Runner: The Death Cure 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 227, May 2018

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
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Intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, and some thematic elements
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Wes Ball
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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"Maze Runner: The Death Cure" is the final chapter in the trilogy. In the conclusion, Thomas (O'Brien) leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final mission. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all. Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions the Gladers have been asking since they first arrived in the maze. Based on the novel by James Dashner. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary by Director Wes Ball, Writer T.S. Nowlin and Joe Hartwick, Jr.; 11 deleted and extended scenes with optional audio commentary by Ball, Nowlin, and Hartwick, Jr. (HD 27:51); five featurettes: "The Final Run" (HD 06:03), "Dystopia: The Completed World" (HD 04:19), "Allies Reunited" (HD 05:27), "A Look Back: The Director's Journey" (HD 05;54), and "Going Out On Top" (HD 04:33); a gag reel (HD 11:38); Visual Effects with optional commentary (HD 27:01); a gallery; a 24-page prequel origins comic book written by Nowlin; theatrical trailers; and a Movies Anywhere digital copy.

The 2.39:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally using the Arri Alexa XT camera system 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. A 3D version was released theatrically, but no announcement from 20th Century Fox as to a 3D Blu-ray. As with the last installment, "The Scorch Trials" (Issue 205, March 2016), the picture is stylized and laden with special effects. The color palette exhibits prominent blue and yellow hues and is nicely saturated. While there are numerous shifts in hues throughout with a wider color gamut, resolution is generally excellent, but at times soft, with respect to facial features, hair, and clothing. The imagery throughout is generally natural in appearance except for the infected ones. The devastated environment is sharp and clear. HDR contrast is excellent, with deep blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Bright highlights, such as daylight and lighting effects, are superb, as well as the fiery orange blazes and embers and bright sparks emanating from explosions. Editing is fast and keeps visual tracking challenging but engaging. WOW! segment are from 0:26:16 to 0:30:37, 0:51:20 to 0:52:39, 01:30:07 to 01:34:08, and 02:04:28 to 02:07:20. This is a terrific-looking picture that is sure to enthrall fans of the saga. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is quite dynamic with deep .1 LFE and channel bass extending to sub-25 Hz frequencies. The bass is often very powerful, especially during intense action scenes. John Paesano's powerful, bombastic orchestral score spans the frontal soundstage and extends to the four surrounds. Atmospherics and sound effects are effectively delivered, defining an apocalyptic setting and the operations within The Last City. Flying machines and gunfire are aggressively panned around the soundfield and are directionalized. Explosive segments blast through every channel, with aggressive immersive effect enhanced with powerful deep bass. Foley effects are finely executed throughout. Dialogue is largely ADR and not particularly well integrated spatially, but consistently intelligible. Fidelity is excellent.

The Immersive Sound element sadly is weak overall, as there is so much visual material to work with to create the sound design. Some of the elements, mostly very brief, include a train whistle, crashing sounds, train car clangs, a vehicle engine rev, train panning, bullet scrapes, wheels spinning creating dust, aircraft overhead, welding sparks, a hissing sound, monster sound effects, screaming infected people, rocket fire, a PA announcement in The Last City, and other brief sound effects here and there. Unfortunately, the sound designers chose not to record the orchestral with immersive height or to extend the ear-level recording so there is no music in the height channels. One has to wonder why studios are failing to create great Immersive Sound experiences.

This is an exciting holosonic® experience at ear-level that delivers a diverse palette of sounds with both aggressive and intense soundfield diectionality. The orchestral score is terrific, and stay for the end credits to hear the powerfully dynamic score. (Gary Reber)