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All Quiet on the Western Front (2022, Blu-ray, Netflix Rental) Review



Studio:  ‎ MPI Media/Capelight Pictures
Release Date:  ‎ 5/9/2023
Rating:  R
Film Grade:  A

The Story:  It’s near the end of World War I, but the conflict continues.  We meet Paul and his friends as they enthusiastically enlist for service to their country with fresh dreams of heroism and honor.  It isn’t long before that blind exuberance is smacked in the face with the reality of war.

My Take:  I debated about whether or not to write this one or not.  It’s a hard film to watch, but expertly done.  It gives the audience a brutal and unflinching look at a grim and gruesome war, and it excels in that portrayal, which makes it challenging to write about. 

This is a German production, filled with German actors who are likely unknown to American audiences, but they do an excellent job of giving us relatable characters with genuine camaraderie, facing a horrible situation that they could never imagine.  The director did a fantastic job with his young cast.

Production values are top-notch from costumes, set design, makeup, special effects, cinematography, to the sound effects.  They all work together to give the viewers a strong feel for the time and conditions.

The only thing that felt off to me was the musical score.  While it does contain classical elements that one would expect, it’s also punctuated by a squealing, ominous, modern-sounding “BWAAA WHAA WHAAAAA” distorted organ-like effect that is reminiscent of War of the Worlds, or any sci-fi movie trailer.  Not only is it jarring (at first I thought it was a processor decoding error scrambled for the remote control), but it just doesn’t fit the time period.  This is a minor point, and not a critical flaw.
   
Video:  The movie is a mixture of tones, primarily drab earthy browns and grays, which are occasionally contrasted with bright colors.  I did notice some noise or grain in dark scenes, but it wasn’t distracting, and imagine that it was intentional.  I was worried that there might be some banding in some of the scenes featuring fog and smoke, but didn’t find any signs of it.  This is a great-looking Blu-ray.

Audio:  The disc features an Atmos soundtrack if you select the German language version.  If you can’t stand reading subtitles, you’ll be stuck with a DTS-HD 5.1 mix.  Don’t do it, or you’ll be missing out on a fantastic use of Atmos, one that actually uses wides(!), along with tops.  This one of the best Atmos mixes I’ve ever experienced, with great placement of sound, a full soundstage, and excellent directional cues.  Bullets, bombs, planes, and other battlefield sounds are effectively used to pull the listener into the movie.

After watching the film, I went back and listened to just the tops and wides.  It was interesting to hear so much dialog coming from those channels.  It’s mixed lower than the center channel, so as not to be obvious, but it did add a spaciousness to the spoken parts of certain scenes.

Special Features: 

• Making of
• Trailers
• Commentary by Director Edward Berger

Final Verdict:  All Quiet on the Western Front is an outstanding war movie, and highly recommended to anyone that likes the genre or is in the mood for a somber, fatalistic look at the ravages of military conflict.  The presentation, actors, and production values all combine to create an unflinching look at the War to End All Wars.  (Spoiler alert – it wasn’t.)

This movie debuted on Netflix in October last year, so it’s encouraging to see it get an actual physical disc release (there’s also a 4K version available).  How they managed to make a movie of this scope and scale for 20 million dollars is mystifying, considering that wouldn’t even raise a Hollywood producer’s eyebrow for a simple, modern comedy.

As outstanding as it is, it’s hard to recommend as a blind purchase, due to the combination of its serious and depressing nature, and brutality.  While it would serve as excellent demo material, it almost feels disrespectful to the themes of the movie to use it that way. 

My Review System:
JVC DLA-RS420 Reference Series D-Ila Projector with 4K eShift4
Elite Screens Sable Frame B2 117” Width with Infinitely Variable Height
Monolith by Monoprice HTP-1 16 Channel Processor with Dirac Live
Monolith by Monoprice 7x200 Watts Amp
Monolith by Monoprice 3x200 Watts + 6x100 Watts Amp
JBL Studio 590 for Left, Center, Right, Wides, and Rears
JBL Studio 580 for Side Surrounds
JBL Studio SCS 8 for Tops
JTR Captivator 1400 Subwoofer X 4
Panasonic DP-UB420 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
NVIDIA Shield Android TV - 4K
HTPC Running madVR (work in progress)
Remote: URC MX-780
Mini DSP 2X4 HD controlling all subwoofers
APC S15 Power Conditioner with Battery Backup
My Room:  26’-1” X 17’-4” X 10’
Equipment:  Monolith HTP-1 feeding X7 and X9 amps, JVC RS3100, Elite Screens 135"", JBL Studio 590 for L, C, R, W, R, 580s for sides and four SCS8 for tops, JTR Captivator 1400 x 4, Panny DP-UB420K, Toshiba HD-A35. Nvidia Shield, Sonos Connect, MX-780 remote

See Youthman's actual tour of my room here: https://youtu.be/PHEaG2xKVhg

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. You should check out the original 1930 version.

I read the book when I was in high school and saw the 1930 movie.

Obviously lot of similarities and some differences. The original had American actors playing the Germans and the original also didn't have any music.


Samsung UN75F8000 LED TV, NAD T-777 (7.2 Receiver), Oppo 103, Sony PS4, Panamax MR-5100, 7 Paradigm Reference series 8" in ceiling speakers (AMS-150R) - 30 degree tilting speakers, 2 Paradigm SE Sub, universal remote MX-450, universal advanced RF base station MRF-3501

Thanks for the review. You should check out the original 1930 version.

I read the book when I was in high school and saw the 1930 movie.

Obviously lot of similarities and some differences. The original had American actors playing the Germans and the original also didn't have any music.



Thanks for your input.

I think we will watch the 1930 just to see how it compares, but I'll need a bit of a break with something lighter first.

After writing the review I did check out some changes between the book and earlier movie, and there were some liberties taken with this version, so they're dissimilar enough to be worth checking out. 

Scott
My Room:  26’-1” X 17’-4” X 10’
Equipment:  Monolith HTP-1 feeding X7 and X9 amps, JVC RS3100, Elite Screens 135"", JBL Studio 590 for L, C, R, W, R, 580s for sides and four SCS8 for tops, JTR Captivator 1400 x 4, Panny DP-UB420K, Toshiba HD-A35. Nvidia Shield, Sonos Connect, MX-780 remote

See Youthman's actual tour of my room here: https://youtu.be/PHEaG2xKVhg


Thanks for the review. This is on our watch list, but I know we need to be in the right frame of mind to sit through it. I'm sure we'll get to it at some point this summer. 
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

AVSCraig

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I've seen the original and it's good. This new version looks astounding on 4K Blu-ray. And the soundtrack is amazing too I thought.

This isn't as somber as " Come And See ". I have a lot of war movies in my collection. This might make a good double feature with 1917. 
Direct (585) 671-2972 8:00am - 4:30pm Pacific 
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We carry projectors, screens, speakers, receivers etc. !!
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bmoney

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On the to do. Not sure when I’ll get around tot Thai one though. Is the dubbing for English atmos bad? Or should I go w German subs
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7.4.4 diysoundgroup 1099's (3) 
Volt 6 (8 ) 
18" SI subs (4) 
diy 130" 2.40 spandex screen
minidsp 2x4HD
JVC rs600
Lumagen radiance pro 4242
Nvidia shield pro
Emby NAS media player

tripplej

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  • A goal without a plan is just a wish!
Thanks for your input.

I think we will watch the 1930 just to see how it compares, but I'll need a bit of a break with something lighter first.

After writing the review I did check out some changes between the book and earlier movie, and there were some liberties taken with this version, so they're dissimilar enough to be worth checking out. 

Scott
The 1930 one is more authentic to the book but both show how the war is sold vs the reality once you are in war!

Definately check it out and let us know your thoughts.
Samsung UN75F8000 LED TV, NAD T-777 (7.2 Receiver), Oppo 103, Sony PS4, Panamax MR-5100, 7 Paradigm Reference series 8" in ceiling speakers (AMS-150R) - 30 degree tilting speakers, 2 Paradigm SE Sub, universal remote MX-450, universal advanced RF base station MRF-3501

AVSCraig

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    • AV Science, Inc
On the to do. Not sure when I’ll get around tot Thai one though. Is the dubbing for English atmos bad? Or should I go w German subs
I hate dubbed movies. I watched the German w subtitles.
Direct (585) 671-2972 8:00am - 4:30pm Pacific 
www.avscience.com  craig@avscience.com
We carry projectors, screens, speakers, receivers etc. !!
Twitter - @AVS_Craig Sacramento CA area

On the to do. Not sure when I’ll get around tot Thai one though. Is the dubbing for English atmos bad? Or should I go w German subs
You won't have a choice if you want the Atmos soundtrack.  The dubbed English version is just 5.1.  I didn't have time to compare the two versions, but I doubt the 5.1 mix can compare to the Atmos mix.

My wife and I both prefer the original language versions of movies; it's the best way to preserve the nuance and intonations of the actors.

Scott
My Room:  26’-1” X 17’-4” X 10’
Equipment:  Monolith HTP-1 feeding X7 and X9 amps, JVC RS3100, Elite Screens 135"", JBL Studio 590 for L, C, R, W, R, 580s for sides and four SCS8 for tops, JTR Captivator 1400 x 4, Panny DP-UB420K, Toshiba HD-A35. Nvidia Shield, Sonos Connect, MX-780 remote

See Youthman's actual tour of my room here: https://youtu.be/PHEaG2xKVhg

Are the subtitles within the picture or in the black bars (assuming 2.40:1 aspect ratio)?
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

AVSCraig

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Are the subtitles within the picture or in the black bars (assuming 2.40:1 aspect ratio)?
This one is F'd up. They subs at the bottom ( dialog ) are in the black bars. Just to complicate matters, there is the rare informational subtitle at the top. The ones at the top aren't all that important ( I previewed this on my 16:9 screen ), so I just raised the subtitles up enough to put the bottom dialog subs in the picture and force the top subs right off my 2.35:1 screen. Why someone would shoot a movie in scope and then place subtitles so it only works 100% on a 16:9 screen is idiotic in my book. 
Direct (585) 671-2972 8:00am - 4:30pm Pacific 
www.avscience.com  craig@avscience.com
We carry projectors, screens, speakers, receivers etc. !!
Twitter - @AVS_Craig Sacramento CA area

This one is F'd up. They subs at the bottom ( dialog ) are in the black bars. Just to complicate matters, there is the rare informational subtitle at the top. The ones at the top aren't all that important ( I previewed this on my 16:9 screen ), so I just raised the subtitles up enough to put the bottom dialog subs in the picture and force the top subs right off my 2.35:1 screen. Why someone would shoot a movie in scope and then place subtitles so it only works 100% on a 16:9 screen is idiotic in my book.
I did the same thing with the Blu-ray disc.  My Panasonic UB-420 shifted them up just fine, but some of the locations were cut off.  Since we're not big on German geography, the names didn't mean that much to us.

As to why they'd do that, it may have something to do with Netflix, since I'm sure the vast majority of their viewers are watching on TVs, so they probably figure that they might as well put that black bar at the bottom to some kind of use.

At least we're past the days of pan and scan.
My Room:  26’-1” X 17’-4” X 10’
Equipment:  Monolith HTP-1 feeding X7 and X9 amps, JVC RS3100, Elite Screens 135"", JBL Studio 590 for L, C, R, W, R, 580s for sides and four SCS8 for tops, JTR Captivator 1400 x 4, Panny DP-UB420K, Toshiba HD-A35. Nvidia Shield, Sonos Connect, MX-780 remote

See Youthman's actual tour of my room here: https://youtu.be/PHEaG2xKVhg

This one is F'd up. They subs at the bottom ( dialog ) are in the black bars. Just to complicate matters, there is the rare informational subtitle at the top. The ones at the top aren't all that important ( I previewed this on my 16:9 screen ), so I just raised the subtitles up enough to put the bottom dialog subs in the picture and force the top subs right off my 2.35:1 screen. Why someone would shoot a movie in scope and then place subtitles so it only works 100% on a 16:9 screen is idiotic in my book.
I know you have the Lumagen, which works well for you, but for whatever it's worth, I watched this on Netflix with the Envy, and it handled this well. Mine is set to automatically shrink the image just enough when there are subtitles on top so they can be seen, and then to re-expand when they're gone. The bottom subtitles are treated separately, and there the Envy makes the necessary adjustment (also automatically), and leaves that narrow bar at the bottom for the duration of the movie (which is my preference), so there's no jumping around of the image as the subtitles come and go down there.

I know this can be a contentious subject, and don't want to start any arguments, but this is one area where the Envy works well.

AVSCraig

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I know you have the Lumagen, which works well for you, but for whatever it's worth, I watched this on Netflix with the Envy, and it handled this well. Mine is set to automatically shrink the image just enough when there are subtitles on top so they can be seen, and then to re-expand when they're gone. The bottom subtitles are treated separately, and there the Envy makes the necessary adjustment (also automatically), and leaves that narrow bar at the bottom for the duration of the movie (which is my preference), so there's no jumping around of the image as the subtitles come and go down there.

I know this can be a contentious subject, and don't want to start any arguments, but this is one area where the Envy works well.
Shrinking the picture and then making it bigger isn't a solution. That's a 1/2 ass solution and totally distracting. Better to just lose the upper subtitles. They aren't really needed. The better solution would be they don't f up with the subtitles to begin with. Or make it 16:9 instead of scope.
Direct (585) 671-2972 8:00am - 4:30pm Pacific 
www.avscience.com  craig@avscience.com
We carry projectors, screens, speakers, receivers etc. !!
Twitter - @AVS_Craig Sacramento CA area

Shrinking the picture and then making it bigger isn't a solution. That's a 1/2 ass solution and totally distracting. Better to just lose the upper subtitles. They aren't really needed. The better solution would be they don't f up with the subtitles to begin with. Or make it 16:9 instead of scope.
That is a subjective call, and I understand different people have different opinions on this. In my experience, subtitles at the top are infrequent enough that I don't mind the occasional jump. The Envy does give you the choice to keep the space at the top until the end of the movie, as you can do with the bottom subtitles, so there's no jumping there either. So it can accommodate different preferences. If you do that, the picture is still much larger than it would be at 16:9, so I see it as a worthwhile solution.

But I do agree - the best solution would be to avoid this conundrum in the first place. But clearly these decision are made assuming that people are watching on a TV.

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