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War of the Worlds (UHD Blu-ray) review

War of the Worlds (UHD Blu-ray) review
« on: May 15, 2020, 05:52:47 PM »


Studio: Paramount     
Release Date: May 19, 2020
Rating: PG-13
Film: 4/5

Plot
As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival in this sci-fi action film.

My Thoughts
It isn’t often you take a classic story, mix in an A-list action star, and arguably the best director of his generation all on one project, but that’s the case with 2005’s War of the Worlds. The film itself is good, but not great and has plenty of plot holes, but you don’t watch a movie like this looking for the “perfect” screenplay. Just check your brain at the door and enjoy the ride. Spielberg does a great job of creating the atmosphere of impending doom, but for those of us who love watching movies you’ll notice that some of the sequences in the film remind you of similar circumstances from other movies—namely Jurassic Park and Independence Day. Cruse does a good job of playing the everyman Dad who’s doing his best to save his family and even after 15 years, the film still entertains.

When I saw this film was coming out on UHD I got excited because the original DVD was a demo showpiece, especially in the audio department. For the most part, this film doesn’t disappoint in this regard. The cinematography don’t really lend itself to an eye-popping 4K presentation, but since so much of the film takes place in darkness, the HDR grading definitely helps in the low light situations.

Enough with the video, let’s talk about the Atmos track. Unfortunately, it’s somewhat of a letdown. Don’t get me wrong, it’s quite good, but it doesn’t measure up to the Blu-ray (or DVD) in the one area that matters, Low Frequency Effects. Sure, the overheads are used to good effect and the soundtrack has never sounded so immersive, but the LFE doesn’t dig as deep or hit as hard as previous home video releases. Listening to the Atmos track in a vacuum scenario (no comparisons to other formats), one would think it sounded fine. It’s loud, discrete effects fly at you from every direction, and these adequate bass response that makes its presence known. BUT, if you compare it directly with the included Blu-ray’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, you’ll definitely hear a difference.

If you’re so inclined, go to Chapter 4, and pay particular attention to the LFE. You’ll realize that the bass isn’t as pronounced in the 20-30HZ range. Yes, the dynamics hold up well, but that foundation-shaking bass that us bassheads love is missing. It doesn’t hit as hard and doesn’t have the visceral impact that it should. At some point I’ll break out my mic and RoomEQ to measure it, but you’ll have to trust me that it is a stepdown in audio quality (and my good friend Ralph Potts agrees—we had a lengthy phone call on the matter). If you don’t have the ability to dip well below 30Hz, you probably won’t notice or won’t care, but I don’t have 6 subwoofers in my room to get soundbar performance!
 

Video 9.5/10

Audio 9/10 (Dolby Atmos)

Special Features:
  • Revisiting the Invasion 0 The H.G. Wells Legacy
  • Steven Spielberg and the Original War of the Worlds
  • Characters: The Family Unity
  • Previsualization
  • Production Diaries
  • Designing the Enemy: Tripods and Aliens
  • Scoring War of the Worlds
  • We are Not Alone
  • Galleries
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Blu-ray and Digital Copy




Conclusion
While the audio didn’t meet my high expectations, the video quality balances things out. The bigger question is which version will I rewatch a few years from now? I’ve read of some people making their own copies of the film by combining the video from the UHD release with the audio track from the Blu-ray, but I’m not handy enough to do anything that technical, so I’ll just have to flip a coin the next time I watch it. If you’re a fan of the film, it’s worth watching for the video alone, but if you’re a basshead like me, you’ll realize there’s something missing in the bargain.   

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
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

Re: War of the Worlds (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2020, 11:08:05 AM »
As suspected, for some stupid reason a sound engineer who "made" the Atmos track neutered the bass below 30Hz. Here's a comparison from the Blu-ray DTS-HD MA 5.1 to the UHD Atmos track.

https://i.imgur.com/5dA0fXb.jpg
War of the Worlds (UHD Blu-ray) review
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

Re: War of the Worlds (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2020, 04:17:15 AM »
Greetings,

I have nothing to add really. Obviously I agree but, in general, I am glad to own it as the video and use of Atmos make it entertaining in spite of the lack of ULF bass. Nice review Dave..


Regards,

Re: War of the Worlds (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2020, 02:20:15 PM »
I didn't get a chance to compare the audio, but it's too bad what they did.

However, I did compare a few scenes of the video...dramatic increase in PQ to be sure.

Re: War of the Worlds (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2020, 07:19:59 PM »
I didn't get a chance to compare the audio, but it's too bad what they did.

However, I did compare a few scenes of the video...dramatic increase in PQ to be sure.
The UHD video is a huge upgrade...the audio is a downgrade :(
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

flyinion

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  • cpaluda from HTE
    • Flyinion Films
Re: War of the Worlds (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2020, 02:59:34 PM »
It's unfortunate about the audio.  I was looking to upgrade my old dual DVD special edition of it recently and ended up with the blu-ray instead of the 4K disc.  I don't have a 4K TV yet and was only going to do it for the Atmos sound since I do have Atmos capability.  I might still get the 4K eventually for the video upgrade once I have a TV that can take advantage of it, the BR disc only cost me like 3 bucks after using a few Amazon rewards anyway.
Pansonic TC-P60VT60 | Denon AVR-X4500H | Sony UBP-X800 | Chane A2.4 L/C/R | Chane A1.4 SR | SVS Elevation Atmos/height | SVS PB-2000 | Logitech Harmony 950 | Arris MX011ANM (Xfinity X1) | Apple TV 4K

claw

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Re: War of the Worlds (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2020, 03:17:57 PM »
I never viewed the Blu-Ray with a decent sub-woofer.  So with my dual 18 inch PSA subs, I was satisfied with the LFE since I had nothing to compare to.

I thought the Atmos layer was very good.
JVC RS500/LG B7A OLED/Denon X6400H,X4200W/Panasonic UB820/Oppo 203/Apple TV 4K/Fire Stick 4K/HDfury Diva,Vertex,Linker

Re: War of the Worlds (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2020, 07:52:36 PM »
I never viewed the Blu-Ray with a decent sub-woofer.  So with my dual 18 inch PSA subs, I was satisfied with the LFE since I had nothing to compare to.

I thought the Atmos layer was very good.
Immersiveness was very good, but when you hear the LFE on the Blu-ray (or DVD), you'll be shocked at how different it sounds. Pop in the Blu-ray that came with the 4K and just watch the pod scene. 
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

flyinion

  • ***
  • 34
  • cpaluda from HTE
    • Flyinion Films
Re: War of the Worlds (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2020, 11:44:14 AM »
When I watched the blu-ray I ran it with of course DTS Master but with the Dolby Upmixer enabled as well to send stuff to my Atmos speakers and I think it did a pretty good job of emulating out some Atmos effects.  Of course nothing will compare to an actual Atmos track where it properly positioned by the engineers.
Pansonic TC-P60VT60 | Denon AVR-X4500H | Sony UBP-X800 | Chane A2.4 L/C/R | Chane A1.4 SR | SVS Elevation Atmos/height | SVS PB-2000 | Logitech Harmony 950 | Arris MX011ANM (Xfinity X1) | Apple TV 4K

claw

  • *****
  • 198
Re: War of the Worlds (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2020, 12:55:51 PM »
Immersiveness was very good, but when you hear the LFE on the Blu-ray (or DVD), you'll be shocked at how different it sounds. Pop in the Blu-ray that came with the 4K and just watch the pod scene.
It was a rental so I can't view the Blu-Ray.   I will purchase the 4K disc package when the price is right.
JVC RS500/LG B7A OLED/Denon X6400H,X4200W/Panasonic UB820/Oppo 203/Apple TV 4K/Fire Stick 4K/HDfury Diva,Vertex,Linker

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