AVS Discussions
  Go Down

His Dark Materials: Season One (Blu-ray) review

His Dark Materials: Season One (Blu-ray) review
« on: August 07, 2020, 11:16:21 AM »


Studio: Warner / HBO   
 Release Date: August 4, 2020
Rating:  Not Rated
Film:  3.5/5
 
 Plot
 Based on Phillip Pullman’s epic fantasy trilogy, this enchanting HBO series reveals a young orphan’s incredible journey into a parallel world where a human soul exists outside of the body in the form of a talking animal—referred to as a daemon.  
 
 My Thoughts
 Pullman’s first book was published in 1995 and while it never reached the heights of the soon-to-follow Potter saga, it was met with similar controversy from religious groups. Pullman is a devout atheist and takes serious Umbridge with organized religion. In fact, the evil “Magisterium” portrayed in the books (and TV series) if very similar to our Catholic Church.
 
This is the second attempt to adapt the books to a visual medium, with the first coming in 2008 from New Line Cinema. In fact, it’s the film that sunk the studio due to its extravagant costs and poor box office take. It’s budget was $180 million and in order to finance it, they sold the overseas-distribution rights. Unfortunately, the domestic take was a paltry $70 million while it raked in $200 million abroad making the film an unmitigated disaster from a financial point of view. Furthermore, the film itself was severely flawed and the subsequent sequels were never made.
 
Fortunately for fans of the books, HBO has decided to make a run of it with a new story which is tailor made for TV. One of the flaws of the film is that it had to move too fast to give the story room to breathe which isn’t an issue when you can take eight episodes to cover the first book (nearly eight hours of screen time). That being said, the show starts out a bit rough and throws a lot at the viewer in the first episode or two, but once it settles down and get to the meat of the story, it has legs and keeps you wondering what’s coming next.
 
I enjoyed the first season, but I have to admit it took me time to warm to the characters, particularly the protagonist portrayed by young actress Dafne Keen (Logan). While she’s likable, she didn’t blow me away the first episode, but she began to grow on me as time went on. If you haven’t read the books you may feel a bit overwhelmed at first but give it time and you’ll be ready for season two.

  
 Video 4.5/5 
 
 Audio 4.5/5 (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
 
 Special Features:
 
·        Making His Dark Materials
·        Dafne Keen: Bringing Lyra Belacqua to Life
·        Ruth Wilson: Bringing Mrs. Coulter to Life
·        Lin-Manuel Miranda: Bringing Lee Scoresby to Life
·        James McAvoy: Brining Lord Asriel to Life
·        Adapting His Dark Materials
·        The Daemons of His Dark Materials
·        Dressing His Dark Materials
·        Building His Dark Materials
·        Digital Code

 
 

 Conclusion
 Although it starts out a bit rough, it finds its sea legs about half way through and the conclusion will have you anticipating season two which will be coming to HBO at some point in the future. The presentation on Blu-ray is excellent and its definitely worth giving it a look. 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

Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

Re: His Dark Materials: Season One (Blu-ray) review
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2020, 11:53:57 AM »
Thanks for the review David, I've been wanting to see this. 

It's disappointing that as far as I can tell, there is no 4K version available. HBOMax doesn't seem to support 4K, which seems like a huge miss in this day. 

Re: His Dark Materials: Season One (Blu-ray) review
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2020, 01:41:52 PM »
Thanks for the review David, I've been wanting to see this.

It's disappointing that as far as I can tell, there is no 4K version available. HBOMax doesn't seem to support 4K, which seems like a huge miss in this day.
No 4K...I was surprised as well. The PQ is pretty good in 1080p though, so no real complaints. I contemplated on giving it a 5/5 :)
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

Re: His Dark Materials: Season One (Blu-ray) review
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2020, 11:24:25 PM »
News today that new WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar has announced a re-org which includes elevating HBO Max as its own operating unit with a higher priority. He was CEO of Hulu several years ago so he's obviously got roots in streaming, and the HBO Max head is another guy with Hulu experience, Andy Forssell. I would think it reasonable to expect HBO Max to quickly start ramping up its capability and offerings.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2020, 11:26:46 PM by Paul Heroy »

claw

  • *****
  • 215
Re: His Dark Materials: Season One (Blu-ray) review
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2020, 07:15:54 AM »
News today that new WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar has announced a re-org which includes elevating HBO Max as its own operating unit with a higher priority. He was CEO of Hulu several years ago so he's obviously got roots in streaming, and the HBO Max head is another guy with Hulu experience, Andy Forssell. I would think it reasonable to expect HBO Max to quickly start ramping up its capability and offerings.
Except that 4K and HDR have never been a priority at Hulu, so will it be any different with these ex-Hulu executives at HBO Max?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2020, 07:17:50 AM by claw »
JVC RS500/LG B7A OLED/Denon X6400H,X4200W/Panasonic UB820/Oppo 203/Apple TV 4K/Fire Stick 4K/HDfury Diva,Vertex,Linker

Re: His Dark Materials: Season One (Blu-ray) review
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2020, 10:13:04 PM »
Except that 4K and HDR have never been a priority at Hulu, so will it be any different with these ex-Hulu executives at HBO Max?
Fair question but Kilar left Hulu in 2013, well before 4K was an option anyway. It's offered by arguably the top 3 streaming competitors in Netflix, Amazon & Disney+. It does seem to have been mentioned as being on the radar for implementing soon, so hopefully by early next year something tangible will happen.

  Go Up
 

SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal