1917 – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

1917

When I originally reviewed the film back in November, I gave 1917 a glowing review. After several viewings, my thoughts on the film stayed the same. That’s because 1917 is a film, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It’s a film that is both engrossing and cinematic experience. So even though you’re not watching this on the big screen, it’s still amazing to see on your big screen. The film is so immersive it just sucks you in. Not to mention, the tension and war will leave you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

Truthfully, the story is pretty simple. But what’s truly amazing is how this tiny story is set within the grand scale of World War I. It’s all thanks to Sam Mendes’ idea to shoot this film as a one-shot film. So even though you’re joining along on this mission, you can get a sense of the scale of the war in France. When Mendes says that the one-shot was the only way to tell this story, this is most likely what he meant.

Of course, it also helps that Roger Deakins’ stunning cinematography helps with the storytelling. Their method of making everything look naturally lit makes 1917 look like a real documentary. At the same time, Thomas Newman’s masterful score amps up the tension and accentuates the emotion of a scene.

But what truly grounds this film is the performances by George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman. The friendship between these two is contentious at first, but the relationship between the two puts everything in motion. It’s George MacKay, though, that carries the film with his emotional performance. It’s a performance that deserved some love during awards season.

Overall, 1917 is a spectacular film that is both a cinematic achievement and experience. World War I never really get some love, but Sam Mendes has given us the definitive film for World War I. It truly is one of the best films in 2019.

Movie Rating: 5/5 atoms

Video

1917 - Colin Firth

1917 hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with an HDR10 transfer and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Thanks to the Oscar-winning work done by Roger Deakins, the video for 1917 is spectacular. After all, the source footage is half the battle of these video transfers. So because of the natural and meticulously planned lighting work, the picture jumps from a high to medium contrast. Of course, you can see how good the contrast is in the majestic flare scene. As a result, both the brightness and black levels look spectacular too. The brightness is at an optimum level where the lights just pop off the screen. Also, the black levels are a deep black with no loss of details in the shadows.

The picture does have a slightly dull look to the colors. However, it does fit with the look and tone of the film. Of course, when you have Roger Deakins using the latest technology from ARRI (the ARRI ALEXA Mini LF), you’re going to have some clear native 4K details. You’ll get to see all of the amazing work done by the production design team. Overall, this is a great video transfer.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Audio

1917 - Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay

1917 hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos and a core 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. This review will reflect 1917‘s Dolby Atmos track. Much like the video transfer, the audio mix is spectacular. Of course, it kind of had to be. It has to be as immersive as the film itself. The film itself isn’t necessarily action-packed from beginning to end. So the audio mix doesn’t necessarily become active until the action revs up. But when the action comes to life, the sound effects subtly and gradually pan across the soundstage. It’s nothing that’s too distinct. The sounds are also accurate and have some punch to it.

From the echoes of the planes flying overhead to the German bunker collapsing, these effects immerse you when it can. When things are quiet, the distinct atmospherics and Thomas Newman’s loud and boisterous score mostly dominate the mix. Thankfully, the dialogue is still distinct despite the loudness of Newman’s score. Overall, this is a spectacular mix.

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms

Special Features

1917 - George MacKay

1917‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc has the following special features on the 1080p Blu-ray disc:

  • The Weight of the World: Sam Mendes
  • Allied Forces: Making 1917
  • The Music of 1917
  • In the Trenches
  • Recreating History
  • Feature Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Sam Mendes
  • Feature Commentary with Director of Photography Roger Deakins

For a technically challenging film such as this, it’s amazing to see that no stone was left unturned when it came to documenting this technical cinematic marvel. So hit that “Play All” option and get ready to sit in awe over the work done on this film. It’s seriously staggering to see the amount of prep work done for this film.

The feature commentary with Sam Mendes is quite an informative one. In it, he divulges a lot of the technical secrets behind the film—including some of the cut and edits in the film. Not to mention, he also provides information about some of the story aspects of the film. When it comes to Roger Deakins’ feature commentary then get ready for a lot of great technical and behind-the-scenes information. Not to mention, Deakins will let you know when the edits, “blends” or “wipes” happen.

Special Features Rating: 5/5 atoms


Overall, 1917 was one of the best films in 2019. The story may be relatively simple but the film is such a cinematic experience that you can’t help but immerse yourself in this film time and time again. Both the video quality and audio mix are spectacular. Not to mention, the special features are both well-edited and informative. Also, the feature commentaries will provide you with all the information you need when it comes to the making of this technical achievement.

Overall Rating: 5/5 atoms

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

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1562 posts

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