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Ghost Canyon

'Mortal Engines: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital'
(Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

Overview: Visionary filmmaker Peter Jackson presents a startling new adventure unlike any you've seen before.

Hundreds of years after our civilization was destroyed, a new world has emerged. A mysterious young woman named Hester Shaw leads a band of outcasts in the fight to stop London now a giant predator city on wheels from devouring everything in its path.

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Universal Studios Home Entertainment continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this March with the release of this wondrous near-future gem, 'Mortal Engines' in the new 4K home video format on March 12th, 2019.

For my money, this 'Mortal Engines: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'Mortal Engines' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10; Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like in the many moments when our heroine witnesses and has to deal with the mighty rolling city of London. They truly do seem to pop here now.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes where Hilmar, bandana on to cover her mouth, wrestles with some of the great predator cities at dawn's break) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, and English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit).

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, 'Mortal Engines' has been high on my movies-yet-to-see (in 4K) ever since it finished its run at the theaters.

So, from the off, let's put the things in perspective. This is an Outback production not a Hollywood one. However the level of digital imagery is the greatest and more realistic ever seen; even when what we are seeing is impossible.

It is true that the story is not a match with the visuals. It is pretty standard; but keep moving very fast and allow an spectacular scene after the other.

It seems the director took YA novel and reduced it to the basis in order to have two hours of pure entertainment and letting go an unconcealed critic to the British government and society.

The predator city is called London, and basically "ingest" less powerful cities in order to survive. Inhabitants are assimilated, but as a lower class while the upper class living and differentiate from the rest.

People cheer when another city is attacked as a Roman circus London is at war with everybody else; specially those other powerful cities that decides to be static and united.

Compared with other PG-13 movies this is violent, sometimes bloody and brutal. Combining spectacular decadence with something of the Mad Max world (what do you expect coming from Down Under).

While the script is simple entertaining sadly the acting of the main characters is barely acceptable. The exception, of course, is Hugo Weaving who creates a bad guy that can change from loving friend and father to selfish and merciless killer in the blink of an eye.

Indeed, the film throws out terminology and characters like it is an established franchise in which audiences already understood what and who they are. The result was a film that hardly connected to its audience which I found to be the worst kind of let down.

I did, however, find interest in one particular character, Shrike, a cyborg killer machine who was the most empathetic and garnered the most interest.

Then again, perhaps it had something to do with the focus they gave to the character's background and build therein.

That all said, 'Mortal Engines' has stylish and retro-futuristic elements similar to Jupiter Ascending, Mad Max (the new one), Elysium and The Great Wall, but a way better story than any of those, in my humble opinion.

It's a steampunk smorgasbord. The storyline is fairly simple and straight forward with a few gentle twists and surprises and none of that getting lost in it's own cleverness.

Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on some of the Bonus Features included. Indeed, the major one is a 5-Part Behind-The-Scenes wonderful featurette that brings to life (or moreover, dissects) how the movie created the predator worlds, etc.

Entitled Welcome To London, it reveals the great city in more finer detail, primarily focusing on constructing the city (and the world around it) for the film.

It includes: Building the Beast (5:08), Levels of London (5:19), The Smallest Details (4:20), London Museum (5:19), and Medusa and St. Paul's (6:11).

The supplement is hosted by actor Robert Sheehan, who portrays Tom Natsworthy in the film.

From the others, two of them that stood out for me here were End of the Ancients (3:13) where we latch on to a museum tour that fills in a little post-apocalyptic history.

The other is In the Air (4:52) which is a closer look at the airborne cities and the role of flying vehicles in the film; with emphasis on design and utilization in the film.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Bonus Features of:

Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray and a digital copy of 'Mortal Engines'
Welcome to London: 5-Part Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
End of the Ancients
Character Series
In the Air
Film New Zealand
Feature Commentary with Director Christian Rivers

'Mortal Engines' Official Trailer

Amazon Purchase Link