1917 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 249, April/May 2020

WSR Score4.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Violence, some disturbing images, and language
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-100)
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Sam Mendes
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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In "1917" at the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (MacKay) and Blake (Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers––Blake's own brother among them. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director/Co-Writer Sam Mendes, commentary with Director of Photography Roger Deakins; five featurettes: "The Weight Of The Worlds: Sam Mendes" (HD 04:29), "Allied Forces: Making 1917" (HD 12:01), "The Score Of 1917" (HD 03:52), "In The Trenches" (HD 06:59) and "Re-creating History" (HD 10:25); upfront previews and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

The 2.39:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD Dolby Vision/HDR10+/HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally using the Arri Alexa Mini LF camera system (4.5K) and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. Amazingly, the camera capture is seemingly one take (which it isn't), and edits are few, between very long, continuous shots. The edits are virtually imperceptible with the first occurring at 8:18. This makes for a very realistic presentation. Color fidelity is superb, though, slight desaturated, with a wide color gamut revealing amazing shades of hues and nuanced depth. The emphasis is on browns and grays. Bleak, earthy grays, uniform beiges, and overcast skies are the dominant tones. Brief frames exhibit earthy greens, red blood, and white blossoms on a downed trees. Such color nicely contrasts with the otherwise drab and war-torn world around the soldiers. Fleshtones are naturally rendered. In essence, the color palette is extremely authentic in appearance. The soldiers' uniforms are brownish, dark green taupe and convincingly natural. HDR contrast is remarkable, especially given the constant flow of a single camera exhibiting overcast skies, dark underground trenches and dungy military quarters. Shadow delineation is incredible. Black levels are perfectly natural. Explosions light up the sky during a scene of movement through a dilapidated urban area. Scenes of raging fires cast a bright intensity during the night. Smokey interiors are captured perfectly. Resolution is finely detailed. Throughout the opening scene, the trenches are lined with worn woods, beaten sandbags, and shelling debris. In every scene, object texture is nuanced in fine detail. While closeups are not prevalent, faces are clearly defined. WOW! segment are from 26:38 to 30:02, 01:02:16 to 01:05:30, 01:28:44 to 01:34:40 and 01:37:00 to 01:38:25. "1917" won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, and Roger Deakins is certainly deserving of the prodigious award. The look of "1917" is amazing. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is extremely realistic sounding from the first sonic depiction of the dirty and ragged trenches and across the battlefields. Atmospherics are incredibly natural sounding and dimensionally realistic. Sound effects also sound real, such as an explosion within the confines of an abandoned German bunker and artillery blasts and explosions as soldiers engage in a battlefield. Rushing waters sound intense with a ferocious movement. Gunfire, especially from a sniper's rifle, is naturally powerful and penetrating with a deep bass undercurrent. The orchestral score is dynamic sounding and serves as a background element that is prominent throughout and at times raises in level for dramatic contrast. The sound occupies a very wide soundstage that extends to the four surrounds, for an effective enveloping experience. Dialogue is nicely integrated spatially.

The Immersive Sound element is rather weak with mostly subtle ambient sounds, brief sound effects such as a fighter plane overhead, a raging fire, wind through trees and falling blast rubble. No music is extended to the height layer. So much more could have been imagined to make for a really effective and outstanding spherical surround experience to match the cinematography.

Overall, "1917"'s ear-level soundtrack is an effective holosonic® experience with excellent fidelity and convincing nuanced sounds that impart compelling realism. (Gary Reber)