Star Is Born, A 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 237, March 2019

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Bros . Home Entertainment
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Language throughout, some sexuality/nudity, and substance abuse
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Bradley Cooper
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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(French Language):
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In this new take on the iconic love story, "A Star Is Born" depicts the raw and passionate tale of Jack (Cooper) and Ally (Lady Gaga) two artistic souls coming together, on stage and in life. Theirs is a complex journey through the beauty and heartbreak of a relationship struggling to survive. (Gary Reber)

Special features include a making-of feaurette "The Road To Stardom" (HD 30:02); the three-part featurette "Jam Sessions And Rarities" (HD 07:01); and the music videos: "Shadow" (HD 03:37), "Always Remember Us This Way" (HD 04:04), "Look What I Found" (HD 03:18) and "I'll Never Love Again" (HD 04:54); Musical Moments (HD 28:23); 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 in anamorphic i Scope and Kowa Scope using the Arri Alexa Mini 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. Picture quality is excellent with a natural saturated presence that lights up the screen. Hues are rich and warm and at times the colors pop, especially during the concert performances. The wider color gamut is apparent in the subtle hue shadings in every frame. Fleshtones are perfectly natural and healthy looking. HDR contrast exhibits bright, at times intense highlights, against mid-tones and deep blacks, with generally good shadow delineation. Resolution is excellent with fine detail exhibited in facial features, hair, beards, clothing, instrument and performance equipment and object textures. Close-ups nicely expose skin and pores and individual strands of hair and other attributes. WOW! segments are from 08:00 to 14:28, 38:26 to 42:06, 01:21:22 to 01:24:16, 01:36:46 to 01:39:03 and 01:54:22 to 01:6:06. This is a terrific-looking picture that is colorfully saturated and often jumps off the screen with engaging intensity. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack features original songs performed in the movie by Lady Gaga with Bradley Cooper, which they wrote with a handful of artists, including Lukas Nelson, Jason Isbell and Mark Ronson. The music and all vocals for the movie were recorded during filming. Fidelity is excellent. The sound overall is excellent, though, dialogue is often quite forward sounding. Soundfield envelopment is excellent with an aggressive surround presence in all four channels. This energy extends aggressively to the height layer during the concert performance. The frontal soundstage extends wide, but dialogue often sounds a bit unnaturally forward. Instrumentation and vocals sound wonderful. Deep bass is often naturally intense rock and extends to sub-25 Hz frequencies during concert performances. Atmospherics are natural and realistic sounding and are positioned and pan widely across the soundstage. Dynamics and SPL extension are excellent.

The Immersive Sound element is limited to a subtle extension of the music performance. No other height layer signal is present. While the music extension does enhance the sub-conscience sense of dimensionality, the sound designers ignored so much that could have been achieved to sonically define the other soundscapes.

This is a well-produced soundtrack that, except for dialogue sounding at times forward and wanting in spatial integration, delivers an exciting dynamic presence during the concert performances. (Gary Reber)