Solo: A Star Wars Story 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 233, November 2018

WSR Score3.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Walt Disney Home Entertainment
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Sequences of sci-fi action/violence
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Ron Howard
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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"Solo: A Star Wars Story" explores Han Solo's (Ehrenreich) first encounters with future friend and copilot Chewbacca (Suotamo) and notorious gambler Lando Cairissian (Glover), as well as his adventure-filled past alongside fellow street thief Qi'ra (Clarke) and career criminal Beckett (Harrelson). (Gary Reber)

Special features include the following featurettes: "Solo:The Director & Cast Roundtable" (HD 21:44), "Team Chewie" (HD 06:41 ), "Kasdan On Kasdan" (HD 07:50), "Remaking The Millennium Falcon" (HD 05:36), "Escape From Corellia" (HD 09:59), "The Train Heist" (HD 14:30), "Becoming A Droid: L3-37" (HD05:06 ), "Scoundrels, Droids, Creatures And Cards: Welcome To Fort Ypso" (HD 08:02) and "Into The Maelstrom: The Kessel Run" (HD 08:28); eight deleted scenes (HD 15:13); upfront previews; and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

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 65, Arri Alexa Mini and Arri Alexa ST Plus camera systems and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. The movie was also released in 3D with a 3D conversion by Stereo D. Disney has not made a 3D edition available. Picture quality is darkly saturated with seemingly dark highlights and pale black levels. Thus, HDR contrast does not appear to have been used to potential. Overall, the imagery is generally softly focused with detail evident as would be expected––in close-ups of facial features, hair, clothing and fabrics, and object texture. Color depth and saturation are satisfying but not exceptional as the imagery is dark. Viewing the movie requires a dark or preferable black room environment to appreciate the subtitles of the HDR contrast with respect to shadow delineation. The occasional highlight adds a welcome touch of dynamic contrast. WOW! segments are sorely lacking. Overall, this is a generally under-performing visual experience with a televisionish set appearance. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is engaging, with an active surround presence that fills the soundfield with moments of laser blasts, explosions, crashings and battlefield chaos, all enhanced with bass energy and strong, aggressive .1 LFE action on a few occasions. This all provides effective dynamics. The orchestral score is well recorded with a wide and deep soundstage that extends to the surrounds and the height layer. Dialogue is for the most part intelligible with good spatial integration.

The Immersive Sound element is almost exclusively limited to an extension of the orchestral score in the front height layer. There are only a few sound effects, such as a security alert voice and alarm, a lighting space storm, subtle spaceship rattles and a spaceship dive sound effect. It's hard to believe this is a "Star Wars" sound design, as the designers embarrassingly have omitted so much additional spherical dimensionality.

This is a somewhat typical "Star Wars" soundtrack that delivers a dynamic presence with plenty of nuanced atmospherics to engage the listener. (Gary Reber)