'Skyscraper: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital'
(Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Moller, Noah Taylor, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / PG-13 / 2018 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
Overview: Former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) now assesses security for skyscrapers. He's on assignment in China when he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he's been framed for it.
A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family, who are trapped inside the building, above the fire line.
4K Ultra HD Verdict: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this October with the release of this quite stunning blockbuster, 'Skyscraper' in the new 4K home video format on October 9th, 2018.
For my money, this 'Skyscraper: 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 'Skyscraper' 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: Upscaled 4K (2160p); HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10; 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 the stunning alive, and brightly burning flames engulfing the skyscraper in question along with the markings that cover the face of our hero as the movie progresses!
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 the fire is spreading from level to level, nurturing its spacial awareness for a fuller impact) 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; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); French: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 and Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1.
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, well, WOW is the first word that comes to mind for me! I mean, sure it's all bananas as to a) How it all gets started and b) How our hero finally manages to save his family and the day, but what an engrossing batch of bananas it turn out to be!
So, for those uninitiated, 'Skyscraper' is an action-disaster movie with a sort of combination of "The Towering Inferno" and "Die Hard". The screenplay does not develop the characters well, but it is breathless in its action sequences, that's for damn sure.
It was also good to see the delicious Neve Campbell performing a solid supporting character and one with a bunch of important participation moments with her children - given that she shows an total, and absolute lack of chemistry with Johnson as his "loving wife"!
Again, sure, yes, the plot is absurd, but it is a good to see an action film with this type of exaggeration in today's everything-taken-too-seriously day and age.
That said, ... ** SPOILER ALERT ** ... the extinguishing effect of CO2 is based on the principle of lowering the oxygen content in the air to a value at which the combustion process cannot be sustained. Therefore it is hilarious to see the characters surviving after the release of CO2!
Moving on though from one of my pet peeve's of what can make a movie implode script wise, allow me to give you a more detailed look into the movie's plot.
Johnson plays Will Sawyer a former soldier and FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader who was badly injured during a hostage mission, losing his leg. After marrying the woman who performed the surgery that saved him and having twins, he is now a family man that is trying to start his own business assessing the safety and security for skyscrapers.
A former FBI team member of his has set him up for his most important job yet; inspecting and consulting for "The Pearl", the world's tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong.
During his meeting with its billionaire owner, Zhao Long Ji, Sawyer is given a tablet that has access to the building's security and safety systems. The tablet is valuable to a group of international terrorists who have already extorted Zhao once, but now has the money laundering tracking information on its leader, Kores Botha in the form of a memory card.
Botha wants the card and will do anything for it. The terrorist get the tablet from Sawyer and use it to set the building on fire with Zhao in his penthouse and Sawyer's family right above the fire. Sawyer returns to the building to save his family and battle the bad guys.
Phew ... right! To my mind, it really would have helped if the writers had put some humor into the film instead of just relying on the action sequences. Speaking of those, the film does have many but they are mostly of Johnson having to perform a death defying stunt to get to his family.
Indeed, and of course, most employ him barely catching a ledge or making an unbelievable jump, despite only having one leg. I don't mind these kinds of scenes, but 'Skyscraper' really seems to push them on its audience, they are exciting; but they remind us we are watching a movie, where these stunts only succeed.
One of the hardest to believe has him climbing a huge crane in mere minutes and then jumping off of it. This superhuman act was way too incredible to believe, sorry.
In fact, one other HUGE advantage that films like both 'Die Hard' and 'The Towering Inferno' had over 'Skyscraper' is a very good bad guy, as the so-called villain in this film is a flat-lining bore!
He has no charisma or appeal whatsoever. Even the building, which is probably very cool, gets pushed aside without much fanfare. In the preview we got the sense that the sheer size would play into the film, but I really didn't get that actual sense very often.
One thing I did appreciate was that they didn't waste the role of the building's owner. Most films would have had him killed early or even stupidly made him the secret villain, but this film wisely made him smart, good and important to the story; something refreshing in most popcorn films.
Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on some of the special features included. One of the funniest, and most eye-opening is the featurette entitled 'Pineapple Pitch' where Skyscraper's Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson discusses how a pineapple actually made the movie!
He relates that the writer/director/producer, Rawson Marshall Thurber calls him to say he had an awesome idea for the movie. It turns out that Rawson told Johnson that it he liked the idea not to call him back, but to text him back an emoji of a pineapple ... and if he hated it to send one of a middle finger (or a shit, it's hard to tell as they blank that moment out!)
Another one is 'Inspiration,' where Johnson explains more about his character, Will Sawyer and how he is different from any other character that he's ever played in his ENTIRE career! How, when we first meet him, he's an amputee just trying to put his life back together and struggling along with that.
His character, as he explains more, was a chance to be able to sink his teeth into "muscles" he had never been able to evoke on set before. He's not a superhero, has flaws and struggles daily and you just don't get to see Johnson portray that a lot on film, as Neve Campbell also points out. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:
Deleted Scenes & Extended Scenes with Commentary by Director Rawson Marshall Thurber
Dwayne Johnson: Embodying a Hero
Friends No More
Kids in Action
Feature Commentary by Director Rawson Marshall Thurber
'Skyscraper' Official Trailer