The Woman King 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 265, January/February 2023

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.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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Sequences of strong violence, some disturbing material, thematic content, brief language and partial nudity
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Gina Prince-Bythewood
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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Inspired by true events, "The Woman King" is the remarkable, action-packed story about the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Follow the epic and intense journey of General Nanlsca (Viola Davis) as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director Gina Prince-Bythewood and Editor Terilyn A. Shropshire; the featurettes: "A Caterpillar's Destruction: Viola Davis On Set" (HD 09:48), "Representation Matters" (HD 09:59), "Woman/Warrior" (HD 11:40), "Storytellers" (HD 10:19) and "Thuso Mbedu Auditions" (HD 06:34); upfront previews and a Movies Anywhere digital copy.

The 2.39:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD Dolby Vision/HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally in anamorphic Panavision® using the Arri Alexa 65 and Arri Alexa Mini LF camera systems and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. The picture is gorgeous throughout. Color fidelity is exceptional with beautiful naturalness. Hues are warm and rich and filmic in appearance. Earthly tones dominate. Hue shadings are nuanced and enhance the realism. Production design and costume design are wonderful. Flesh tones are natural throughout. HDR contrast is excellent with natural black levels, revealing shadows and perfectly natural white levels. Resolution is superb with fine detail exhibited in the production design and environments. Facial features are finely resolved with detail exhibited in skin pores, lines, hair and beards. Tribal objects are revealing with fine textural detail. This is an exceptionally beautiful picture that is compelling throughout with reference qualities. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is dynamic sounding throughout. Terence Blanchard's orchestral score and choral ensemble voicings are well recorded with an enveloping soundfield that extends aggressively from the wide and deep sound stage to the four surrounds and the height layer. Atmospherics are a prominent sound element that enhance the sense of soundfield dimensionality. Sound effects sound realistic during hand-to-hand combat. Deep sub-25 Hz bass is at times an undercurrent to the sonics. Foley sound effects are incredibly realistic. Dialogue is the problematic element as it is predominately ADR with intelligibility and spatial integration wanting. The other sound elements far outweigh any minor difficulty with the dialogue.

The Immersive Sound element is effective with prime elements the extension of orchestral/choral score and singing as well as atmospherics. Often the choral or singular vocal is heard aggressively in the height layer. The main rhythmic drumming and other instrumental foundation remain at ear level. Other elements include warrior yells and grunts and cheers, as well as sound and atmospheric effects such as ocean waves at a slave ship beach, wind, birds sounds and more. This is a height layer that has been attentive to unlike so many Dolby Atmos soundtracks.

This is a wonderfully realistic and engaging holosonic® spherical surround soundtrack with excellent fidelity and dimensionality throughout. (Gary Reber)