Updated: Aug 18, 2019
4K ULTRA HD MINI-REVIEW / HDR FRAME SHOTS
4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital copy; 2019; PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some language; streaming via Amazon Prime Video, FandangoNOW (4K), Google Play (4K), iTunes, Vudu (4K), YouTube (4K)
THANK GOODNESS “Avengers: Endgame” has finally arrived for home viewing!
At the multiplex, "Endgame" recently topped James Cameron’s “Avatar” to become the highest-grossing film of all-time at $2.79 billion. There were difficult moments requiring a theatrical re-release and ad campaign pushed to fans to achieve this. It’s a fine film, but with nearly a three-hour running time, it required complete dedication and determination to remain seated. Bravo to those who eschewed their beverage for popcorn only!
Was it worth it? Yes! The climatic finale of the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was filled with action and angst. It loses some favorite characters and actors, while setting up the next onslaught of Marvel movies. Perhaps Marvel/Disney will show mercy upon us with an intermission, used extensively during the 1950s and ‘60s in super long films like “The Ten Commandants,” “Around the World in 80 Days,” “Spartacus,” “West Side Story,” “The Sound of Music” and “Patton.” Even last summer’s 50th Anniversary screening of “2001: A Space Odyssey” had a 15-minute break.
Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) teaches his daughter Lila (Ava Russo) a few archery techniques. Seconds later his world is turned upside down.
But, last night in my favorite home theater chair, watching “Endgame” was a breeze. With a simple tap of the pause button, I could take care of business, and refresh my drink and popcorn, without a hitch. Meanwhile on-screen, the Marvel gang awaited my return. They never complained.
Right out of the gate, this Marvel Studio 4K disc and 4K streaming – except iTunes, who have been locked out on all 4K movies from Disney for more than a year – the picture quality is impressive. Brother co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo rejoin cinematographer Trent Opaloch, who visually helmed the Russo’s “Infinity War,” “Captain America: Civil War” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” He used 6.5K digital cameras (2.39:1 aspect ratio) to capture a wide spectrum of colors and bold contrast levels. Sadly, much of that added resolution was lost when the Russo’s were forced to render endless FX shots in 2K to save time and money; the rest of the film was also mastered in 2K.
For this presentation, the 2K master was upconverted to 4K. It uses the latest HDR technology to expand the colors and contrast levels. A quick comparison between the 4K and the HD reveal a nice uptick in overall sharpness, evident in the opening sequence as Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) teaches his daughter Lila (Ava Russo) a few archery techniques. The extra clarity is most apparent on screens 75-inches or larger. Facial details are clear and more defined, while the HDR10 (disc) and Dolby Vision (streaming) toning are crisper giving the scene’s afternoon clouds more definition, with Clint and Lila silhouetted against the rural landscape and sky.
The color palette is either cool or warm depending on the scene. Greens and blues dominate as Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) records a final message to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) from on-board the Benatar, as he and Nebula deplete the last of their oxygen and food. As the camera focuses on Tony’s face, a warm glow appears, quickly transforming into blinding intensity – especially with Dolby Vision – as Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) rescues the pair, transporting the ship back to the Avengers’ new headquarters on Earth.
Surprisingly, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is quite powerful this go ’round. It may be the best of the Marvel films on 4K. Most Disney and Marvel films struggle with lower volumes and overall flatness. This time it’s a different story. Thunder cracks around the room from all of the speakers over the Marvel logo opening, leading into Traffic’s soulful 1967 hit “Dear Mr. Fantasy” to the team’s final triumph. Composer Alan Silvestri (“Forrest Gump” “Back to the Future”) is at his best in his Marvel canon of films, creating dramatic moments using drums to strings and brass.
We’ll detail the bonus features in the next batch of HDR frame shots from “Avengers: Endgame.”
― Bill Kelley III, High-Def Watch producer
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