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Sonic the Hedgehog (UHD Blu-ray) review

Sonic the Hedgehog (UHD Blu-ray) review
« on: May 14, 2020, 06:11:54 PM »


Studio: Paramount     
Release Date: May 19, 2020
Rating: PG
Film: 4/5

Plot
Powered with incredible speed, Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz), aka The Blue Blur, embraces his new home on Earth. That is, until he accidentally knocks out the power grid and sparks the attention of super-uncool evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Now it’s super-villain vs. super-sonic in an all-out race across the globe to stop Robotnik from using his unique power for world domination. Sonic teams up with The Donut Lord, aka Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), to save the planet in this action-packed hit that’s fun for the whole family.

My Thoughts
The history of video games getting made into feature films has not been a good one, so anytime you sit down to watch one of these films, you need to keep your expectations somewhat low. In the case of Sonic, it overperformed at the box office with $146 million in the US and over $300 million worldwide. Needless to say, the film was very profitable for the studio and I’m sure it’s not the last we’ve seen of our furry little blue friend.

The film is catering to the kids, but the screenplay is wildly entertaining for adults and is a ton of fun. Jim Carrey doesn’t break any new ground as the villain, but his character has a lot of similarities to who he played in The Mask. The animation is surprisingly good, especially since the studio went back to the drawing board relatively late in the production given the fan backlash with how the main character originally was animated. Regardless, my wife and I enjoyed the movie immensely even though our kids are now adults.

The presentation is outstanding in both the audio and video departments. The UHD is loaded with detail and there are plenty of HDR moments that light up the screen, particularly when Sonic realizes his inner power and when he battles Robtotnik at various times throughout the film. Just as impressive is the Atmos soundtrack which is surprisingly aggressive, especially on the low end, with plenty of demo-worthy moments throughout the film. 

Video 9.5/10

Audio 10/10 (Dolby Atmos)

Special Features:
  • Commentary with director Jeff Fowler and the voice of Sonic, Ben Schwartz
  • Around the World in 80 Seconds
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Bloopers
  • “Speed Me Up” Music Video
  • For the Love of Sonic
  • Building Robotnik with Jim Carrey
  • The Blue Blur: Origins of Sonic
  • Sonic on Set
  • Blu-ray+ Digital Copy




Conclusion
If you have young kids, definitely pick this one up. It’s a family fun film that will please the entire audience. If you don’t have them, figure out a way to get a copy and enjoy the story and experience a fabulous UHD presentation, especially if you like foundation-shaking bass! Recommended. 

Reference Review System:
 
 
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 110” 2.35:1 Fixed Screen
 Anthem AVM60 Audio/Video Processor
 ATI AT527NC Powering Bed Channels

ATI AT524NC Powering Atmos Speakers
 Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
 System Controller: URC MX-980

M&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
 JL Audio Fathom F110 Subwoofers x 2 (stacked)

JL Audio Dominion D110 Subwoofer x 2 (stacked)
Mini DSP HD controlling all subwoofers
 Audioquest and Monoprice - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
 PureAV PF60 Power Conditioner
« Last Edit: May 14, 2020, 07:00:58 PM by David Vaughn »
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

Re: Sonic the Hedgehog (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2020, 04:39:38 AM »
I just watched this last night, and agree - a fun movie, with plenty of eye-candy.

One oddity, that I wonder if you experienced:

When I put the UHD Disc in my UB820, I could see my NX7 switching to HDR mode as it was spinning up, and going through the various preliminary screens.  But when I actually started the movie itself from the menu screen, the NX7 switched back to SDR mode, as if it wasn't seeing the HDR flag.

I checked my Marantz AVR, and it showed 4k/BT2020 coming in, and 4k/BT2020 going out, so there didn't seem to be a problem there.  I unplugged the UB820 to reboot it, but when starting the movie itself, it still switched to SDR.

And in point of fact, it *was* receiving HDR, because it didn't look right in SDR mode, and looked awesome when I manually switched to HDR (FrameAdapt).

So it still isn't clear where the cause of this glitch is originating.  Did you happen to experience anything like this?

I've never had this happen with any of the 150+ UHD Discs I've watched (I did waste a lot of time troubleshooting when watching Color out of Space until I finally figured out it was 4k, but *not* HDR!).

Re: Sonic the Hedgehog (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2020, 08:47:54 PM »
I just watched this last night, and agree - a fun movie, with plenty of eye-candy.

One oddity, that I wonder if you experienced:

When I put the UHD Disc in my UB820, I could see my NX7 switching to HDR mode as it was spinning up, and going through the various preliminary screens.  But when I actually started the movie itself from the menu screen, the NX7 switched back to SDR mode, as if it wasn't seeing the HDR flag.

I checked my Marantz AVR, and it showed 4k/BT2020 coming in, and 4k/BT2020 going out, so there didn't seem to be a problem there.  I unplugged the UB820 to reboot it, but when starting the movie itself, it still switched to SDR.

And in point of fact, it *was* receiving HDR, because it didn't look right in SDR mode, and looked awesome when I manually switched to HDR (FrameAdapt).

So it still isn't clear where the cause of this glitch is originating.  Did you happen to experience anything like this?

I've never had this happen with any of the 150+ UHD Discs I've watched (I did waste a lot of time troubleshooting when watching Color out of Space until I finally figured out it was 4k, but *not* HDR!).
I should have mentioned it in the review...thanks for reminding me. Yes, I had the same issue with the UB820...Ralph Potts did as well, but he says it's fine in his Oppo BDP-203. This is the second or third Paramount disc that has done this though, so it must be some incompatibility between the UB820 and Paramount discs. I had one other issue with the UB820 and Season 3 of Victoria...it would only play the middle episode (of three) on two of the discs, no matter which episode you chose to play. Frankly, I think the player needs a firmware update. 
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

Re: Sonic the Hedgehog (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2020, 04:09:29 AM »
I should have mentioned it in the review...thanks for reminding me. Yes, I had the same issue with the UB820...Ralph Potts did as well, but he says it's fine in his Oppo BDP-203. This is the second or third Paramount disc that has done this though, so it must be some incompatibility between the UB820 and Paramount discs. I had one other issue with the UB820 and Season 3 of Victoria...it would only play the middle episode (of three) on two of the discs, no matter which episode you chose to play. Frankly, I think the player needs a firmware update.
Very interesting - sorry you guys also had trouble, but glad it wasn't something unique to my system!

Agreed - a firmware update is definitely in order, to resolve some of these quirks.  Certain UHD discs are harder for it to read, resulting in pixellation, loss of a/v sync, etc.  So far, a long unplugging (I just do overnight since a few minutes is not sufficient), which has resolved this, but clearly something funky is going on.

And removing the 20 minute auto-shutdown, and enabling retention of subtitle luminance settings, would be nice as well.  I'd even pay a little to gain stability and functionality!

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