Allied – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

There’s something admirable about a filmmaker that creates a love letter film to genres that they love. Robert Zemeckis learned his love of filmmaking by watching the wartime love stories of old (see: Casablanca). Unfortunately, Zemeckis’ recent directorial efforts seem to focus more on visuals than actual storytelling. To his credit, Allied is a visually stunning film that perfectly captures the World War II setting. Zemeckis and cinematographer Don Burgess put together some strong set pieces as well as some convincing visual effects work. Despite all that, the film still doesn’t quite live up to the same level of elegance and tension as other wartime romance films.

What does work is the building of the film’s atmosphere of suspicion. Screenwriter Steven Knight is at his best when the dialogue is in its inquisitive mode. These parts are gripping but are never the primary focus of the film. Unfortunately, the romantic aspect of the film is its biggest drawback. Despite its A-list actors, the romance between Max and Marianne never quite comes to fruition on screen. This is what’s preventing Allied from becoming something truly memorable. In addition, the entire film seems rushed because there are several times where you feel like you’ve missed out on some important building blocks in Max and Marianne’s relationship.

It doesn’t help that Brad Pitt delivers an uncharacteristically wooden performance. For a quiet character, he conveys no emotion and his performance feels empty. The can’t be said for Marion Cotillard, who brings everything to the table as Marianne. Unlike Pitt, her subtle emotions can be seen thus enabling her to use that to add layers to her character. She’s tragic and empathetic so audiences want to root for her despite being suspicious of her. If Pitt was able to provide a similar performance, the film’s romance would’ve felt more organic than formulaic.

Overall, Allied is a fun mystery ride from Robert Zemeckis thanks to the technically pristine visuals and a committed performance by Marion Cotillard. But considering the talent involved behind and in front of the camera, Allied never quite reaches its full potential.

Movie Rating: 3/5 atoms

Video

Allied is presented in a 2160P HEVC H.265 encoded video with HDR and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. As is the case with all the Ultra HD Blu-rays I’ve seen, there are discernible improvements to be seen when compared to the 1080p version. The day scenes are where the video seems to shine the most. The bright highlights and vivid colors look terrific and showcase the film’s 1940s-era production and costume design. On the flip side, the night time scenes contain deep black levels and precise contrast – all thanks to the HDR. The dark elements mixed in with the bright highlights look amazing on screen. The details are superbly rendered and provide a good amount of depth to the video. Despite what you thought of the film, the video presentation looks great.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Audio

Allied is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround audio track. Surprisingly, this is the first Ultra HD Blu-ray release I’ve come across where it didn’t make use of a 7.1 or Atmos presentation. That’s kind of a disappointment and a wasted opportunity. There is a good amount of atmospheric effects that would’ve benefitted from a 7.1/Atmos presentation. The dialogue comes through crystal clear in the center channel. The front and surround channels envelopes the soundstage quite nicely. From the background chatter to the air raid sirens, these spatial and directional effects come in loud and clear. The audio presentation sounds great despite the lack of a 7.1/Atmos presentation.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Special Features

Allied‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc doesn’t have any special features in it, but the regular Blu-ray contains the following special features:

  • Story of Allied
  • From Stages to the Sahara: The Production Design of Allied
  • Through the Lens: Directing with Robert Zemeckis
  • A Stitch in Time: The Costumes of Allied
  • ‘Til Death Do Us Part: Max and Marianne
  • Guys and Gals: The Ensemble Cast
  • Lights, Pixels, ACTION! The Visual Effects of Allied
  • Behind the Wheel: The Vehicles of Allied
  • Locked and Loaded: The Weapons of Allied
  • That Swingin’ Sound: The Music of Allied

Allied features one of the most comprehensive collection of behind-the-scenes featurettes I’ve seen in a while. The featurettes cover everything including the script, production design, costumes, visual effects, cars, weapons, and music of Allied. Thankfully everything is as comprehensive as it is eclectic. There are your standard interviews with the cast and director but the real highlight here is the other rarely covered subjects. It definitely makes up for the lack of deleted scenes and other fluff.

Special Features Rating: 4.5/5 atoms


Overall, Allied is a beautiful film by Robert Zemeckis, but the film seems like wasted opportunity to create something memorable considering everyone involved. The video presentation wonderfully highlights the beauty and ugliness of the 1940s. Although Ultra HD Blu-rays should come standard with an Atmos/7.1 mix, the audio presentation is still top-notch. The special features contain a satisfying plethora of featurettes that cover a wide array of subjects.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1487 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.