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Game of Thrones: Season Eight (UHD Blu-ray) review

Game of Thrones: Season Eight (UHD Blu-ray) review
« on: December 07, 2019, 04:28:34 PM »


Studio: HBO           
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Rating: Not Rated
Film: 2/5
 
Plot
The Emmy-winning series returns for a final season of duplicity and treachery, nobility and honor…and an epic clash between the living and the dead. With the Night King’s army bearing down on Jon and Dany and their combined forces, a denouement eight season in the making will be reached, answering a myriad of questions surround the fate of the series’ protagonists.
 
My Thoughts
I was late to the phenomenon of Game of Thrones and it took three tries to get through the first season—mainly due to my wife’s objections the first two times. We agreed to give the first two seasons a try and see how it went from there. Needless to say, after the second season ended, we were hooked and couldn’t wait to catch up and watch all of the episodes on HBO.
 
The first five seasons of this show are simply spectacular in every regard. The in-depth exploration of a plethora of characters, political gamesmanship around every corner, and oh yeah, there are dragons too! Everyone had their favorite for who they thought should ascend to the Iron Throne (I always thought Tyrion would be the best of the bunch), but literally no one I’ve talked to praise the final season of the show. Sure, there are some people online that will defend it until their dying breath, but they are few and far between.
 
The show started to go off the rails in season six, although its decline was a steady fall and not drastic. It was still entertaining, and it was fun to see where the story was going. Unfortunately, the seventh season completely changed the way the stories were being told—instead of a slow burn it was a mad rush to finish the season. It was if the show runners were burned out and just wanted a new project to focus on.
 
That brings us to the eighth and final season. It only contains six episodes, although they are slightly longer than the typical episodes in previous seasons. Regardless, I thought the season got off to a good start with the first two episodes. In fact, the second episode was probably the best since sometime in season five. It explores the relationships that had developed between many main characters over the years as they prepared for what could be there final day together with the Army of the Dead marching toward Winterfell. Which leads us to episode three.
 
First, it was shot extremely dark (which thankfully the UHD and Blu-ray discs look 1000 times better than the HBO feed on cable) and the episode runs one hour and twenty-two minutes, making it the longest of the series. It’s essentially a battle from the start to finish and is fatiguing to watch. Heroes will fall, the battle will ebb back and forth, and in they end the final moment is in a word, anticlimactic. After so many years of build-up, that’s the best they could do? Wow, things weren’t looking good for the final three episodes.
 
Episode 4 turned out to be pretty good, mainly because its character focused, and it set things up for Episode 5—the big moment we’ve all been waiting for. Ultimately, it’s a complete and total letdown—even worse the second time through. Characters who proved to be bad-asses just two episodes before wander around fecklessly and Danny’s character arc falls off a cliff. I don’t want to get into spoilers, but this is arguably the worst episode in the entire series—seriously, it’s that bad.
 
Finally, we get to the sixth and final episode and what came to mind watching it a second time is “Thank God it’s over.” I think showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss felt the same way. In fact, I think they maybe had a grudge against the fans of the show and wanted to ruin all of their lives. The decisions made in the writing room showed arguably the worst judgement in how to end the show as possible. I’ve resorted to reading fan fiction of how “they” would end the show and in every single case, they get it better than Weiss and Benioff.
 
In the end, it’s a TV show and it doesn’t really matter. Shit happens. Regardless, what the pair showed is as long as they were adapting someone else’s story, they were up to the job. But when the time came to stand on their own two feet, they couldn’t handle the pressure. Months after the finale aired, the pair finally made a public appearance together at the Austin Film Festival to face their angry fans and answer questions. To their credit, they were both brutally honest and intimated that they were never really qualified for the job of running this show from the beginning. They must have made one hell of a pitch to George R.R. Martin and HBO to get selected and while they did a great job in the first five seasons, once the book material ran out they were lost at sea with no compass or North Star to guide them. Unfortunately for them, the fans understood the themes and messages of the books much better than they did and maybe their pride—or stupidity—kept them from brining on new writers who actually knew the universe and where things should end up.
 
 
Video 9.5/10
 
Audio 9.5/10 (Dolby Atmos)
 
Special Features:
 
  • In-Episode Guides
  • Game of Thrones: The Last Watch
  • When Winter Falls
  • Duty is the Death of Love
  • Audio Commentaries
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Histories and Lore
  • Blu-ray + Digital Copy
 

 
Conclusion
Looking back on what I’ve written, I’ve been rather cruel to Weiss and Benioff. Well, I think they deserve it and as a fan of Star Wars, I’m SO glad to see they’ve been dropped by Disney and will now take their creative talents to Netflix for a nine-figure deal. Star Wars has enough problems of its own without these two guys entering the mix. As for Season * of this show, there are more lows than highs, but having reviewed the previous seven seasons, I felt the need for completion and while I wished it ended better (like Breaking Bad), I’m not sorry I devoted so many hours to the show. The first five seasons are some of the best TV you’ll ever watch and maybe it was impossible to keep that up for eight long years. Here’s hoping that George R.R. Martin will finally finish the books someday and maybe he can fix what was ultimately broken. As disappointed as I am with the finish, I still have to recommend this to fans. The presentation on UHD is outstanding and the steelbook and magnet look great in my collection.
 
 
Reference Review System:
 JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
 (Calibrated with Portrait Displays CalMAN color calibration software & C6-HDR Meter from Portrait Displays)
 Stewart Filmscreen - Firehawk 88” 16x9 Fixed Screen
 Anthem AVM60 Audio/Video Processor 
 ATI AT527NC Powering Bed ChannelsATI AT524NC Powering Atmos Speakers
 Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player 
 System Controller: URC MX-980M&K S-150 THX Ultra (R-C-L Speakers)M&K SS-150 x4 (Surround Speakers)
 Atlantic Technology IC6-OBA x 4 Overhead Speakers
 SVS PC-Ultra Cylinder Subwoofer
 HSU VTF-15H MK2 Subwoofer
 SVS SB-3000 SubwooferJL Audio Dominion D110 Subwoofer x 2 (configured as tandem mid bass modules)Mini DSP controlling all subwoofers
 Audioquest and Monoprice - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
 PureAV PF60 Power Conditioner



Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

TRainH2O

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Re: Game of Thrones: Season Eight (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2019, 07:02:52 PM »
You know me, I'm a GOT Book fan and have steadily been on and off about the HBO series from the very start.

I fully understand that there's no way to present every single detail contained in the books in a television series. I get that some things have to be abbreviated and even cut but don't change entire storylines and delete one of my favorite book characters just to make it easier and save some film.

I have yet to watch the entire last season so I can't comment on how the show ended. However, I do remember an interview with George R.R. Martin. He was being asked how the show and books would end. Of course, he gave no spoilers but it did comment that if you think it's going to be a happy ending then you've clearly not been paying attention.

Overall, I have really enjoyed the series and I hate to see it end so hurriedly. Even though I am only three shows into the last season, it's clear that they were in a rush to wrap it up. On the bright side, I haven't seen Hodor come back as a White Walker. That would truly be tragic.

Thanks for the review, David.

Re: Game of Thrones: Season Eight (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2019, 07:17:56 PM »
You know me, I'm a GOT Book fan and have steadily been on and off about the HBO series from the very start.

I fully understand that there's no way to present every single detail contained in the books in a television series. I get that some things have to be abbreviated and even cut but don't change entire storylines and delete one of my favorite book characters just to make it easier and save some film.

I have yet to watch the entire last season so I can't comment on how the show ended. However, I do remember an interview with George R.R. Martin. He was being asked how the show and books would end. Of course, he gave no spoilers but it did comment that if you think it's going to be a happy ending then you've clearly not been paying attention.

Overall, I have really enjoyed the series and I hate to see it end so hurriedly. Even though I am only three shows into the last season, it's clear that they were in a rush to wrap it up. On the bright side, I haven't seen Hodor come back as a White Walker. That would truly be tragic.

Thanks for the review, David.
Tracy,

When you're done with the last season. Let me know what you think. 

I just think the writing got lazy the last 3 seasons and especially so the last season. I swear the Battle for Winterfell had maybe 10 lines of dialog in the entire episode. 
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

TRainH2O

  • *****
  • 397
  • Analog guy living in a Digital world
Re: Game of Thrones: Season Eight (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2019, 08:08:19 AM »
As you mentioned, the writers seemed to be ready to move on to other projects. Any GOT fan is going to want more regardless of whatever was presented but the show could have easily been two seasons longer and provided a more cohesive adaptation of the books. Of course, those who haven't read the books take the story for what it is on HBO.

Despite my quibbles with story and characters, it has still been one of the best dramas I have seen in quite some time. Now Martin needs to finish the book series.

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