'Yesterday: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital'
(Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
Overview: Jack Malik was just another struggling songwriter ... but that was yesterday.
After a mysterious blackout, Jack (Himesh Patel) discovers he is the only person on earth who remembers The Beatles!
As he rockets to fame by passing off the Fab Four's songs as his own, Jack risks losing Ellie (Lily James) – the one person who has loved him and believed in him from the start.
Before the door to his old life closes forever, Jack must decide if all he needs is love, after all.
4K Ultra HD Verdict: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE) continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this September with the release of this quite stunning, and brilliantly off-beat 'Yesterday' on their 4K home video format on September 24th, 2019.
For my money, this 'Yesterday: 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 'Yesterday' 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 (60.57 Mbps), Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: 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 the stunning outdoor and indoor "live concerts" that get performed. Chock full of delicious hues and nuances of all the special stage lighting, it brings a real depth to those moments.
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 Jack is always seemingly confused at the start of the film; when he's constantly being told, and shown, that there simply isn't a band, and never has been, called the Beatles!) now have been tinged with a glorious 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 and having waited a long time for this to be brought into my own home theater, I settled in to watch Danny Boyle's most recent film which contemplates what the world might be like without The Beatles.
Or rather, if nobody remembered the Beatles, except the former teacher, protagonist who also happens to be a struggling singer songwriter who is nearing the 10,000 hour mark of his up-to-now futile music career.
Was it 'merely' the underlying brilliance of Lennon and McCartney that propelled the Beatles to stardom in the '60s? Is it simply catchy tunes and meaningful lyrics that led to the perennial relevance of the Beatles catalog?
Is this an ongoing cultural phenomenon demonstrated by the passing of love of Beatles music from parent to child, fan to the uninitiated, that continues, fervently, even today?
These might be a few of the questions that ran through my head as the plot unfolded manifest in another question: could one guy with a guitar replicate The Fab Four's success?
As a bit of a Beatles fan, the subtext to the film, contrasts the roles that a select few beyond the fab four played in The Beatles success with the movie's equivalents.
As a snarky jab at the music industry, Brian Epstein's meticulous eye for detail is hearkened and contrasted with Kate McKinnon, whose performance is at once spot on and over the top.
Her character is undoubtedly the tip of the iceberg for those archetype 'gonna conquer the world' southern California denizens, yet rings hollow in a few spots.
The distinction is poignant for a Danny Boyle movie, normally the complete opposite of tone deaf, and while I chose to include it here, the scene(s) I reference may be cut from the final release version. (For edification purposes, the music studio in L.A.).
Speaking of the studio, the Beatles, simply would not be without the mastery of studio producer George Martin. The orchestral arrangements, the sound story mentality, the embracing of the Beatles' desire to embrace the latest technologies are a few of the ways in which Martin guided the manifestation of magic conveyed on vinyl.
The film, in this regard, is light on the complexity and development of the sound over time and focuses instead, even acknowledges, that Jack's is a lesser reflection of the brilliance of the Beatles, with a few laugheties about lyric selection.
Which is not to say that the interpretations of the songs chosen are not without merit. The sincere portrayal of 'Yesterday' provides a solid framing for the rest of the movie.
'In my Life' plays a vital role in driving the movie forward, and appropriately so. And the at once nuanced, yet in your face pleading of 'Help' is a true reading of the song's rarely spoken meaning appropriate to the character and plot.
Patel's rendering, spoken and sung, is true.
What is a bit muddled is the inability for interpersonal communication in a world without a common language of love, alongside earworm hooks, impeccably delivered by John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
Instead it takes a plot twist I didn't anticipate, to initiate the third half of the movie resolution.
Ultimately, the movie succeeds at contemplating how a struggling musician / teacher might navigate the complicated waters of being the one person in the world who remembers and can perform The Beatles … A Long and Winding Road indeed!
Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on a couple of the special features that are included.
The Alternate Opening and Ending are something I honestly feel we can all do without seeing, especially the latter, as we're all noticeably happy with the way this one in the final cut brought things to a nice twist close; so why offer up an "alternate" universe ending that, well, makes me grumpy, to be quite honest, sorry!
However, 'Live at Abbey Road Studios' is a wonderful behind-the-scenes, in studio look at Himesh Patel (as himself, or possibly Jack it all depends on how you perceive what you are watching) recording the Beatles songs used for the film.
The featurettes 'Ed Sheeran: From Stadium to Screen' is a fun reveal of how Ed went from a busker, to a mega singer / songwriter, to a "movie star" here in 'Yesterday,' and 'Agent of Comedy: Kate McKinnon' showcases the hilarious talents of the wacky American comedic actor perfectly.
This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:
Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray and a digital copy of 'Yesterday'
Features HDR10+ for Brighter, Deeper, More Lifelike Color
Live at Abbey Road Studios
A Talented Duo
Playing for Real
Ed Sheeran: From Stadium to Screen
Agent of Comedy: Kate McKinnon
A Conversation with Richard & Ed
Feature Commentary with Director Danny Boyle and Writer/Producer Richard Curtis
The 'Yesterday: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' will be released September 24th, 2019 and will be available for the suggested retail price of $39.99.
Official 'Yesterday' 4K Ultra HD Trailer