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Ghost Canyon

'Midway' [Steel Book, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray]
(Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, et al / 4K Ukltra HD Blu-ray + Digital / PG-13 / 2020 / LGF)

Overview: 'Midway' centers on the Battle of Midway, a clash between the American fleet and the Imperial Japanese Navy which marked a pivotal turning point in the Pacific Theater during WWII.

The film, based on the real-life events of this heroic feat, tells the story of the leaders and soldiers who used their instincts, fortitude, and bravery to overcome the odds.

Blu-ray Verdict: Lionsgate Films (LGF) is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the simply breathtaking 'Midway’ in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this February 18h, 2020.

For my money, this 'Midway: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' Steel Book 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 'Midway' 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, 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; such as the absolutely breathtakingly "real" images of when the missiles strike the ships, the bombs explode on the boats; where suddenly ALL you can see, all you can focus on are the magnificent red/orange explosions. It just all comes more vividly to life, which is amazing to see, in truth.

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 the scenes on the decks of the ships where the men in charge realize they have to do something in retaliation or face certain incoming-as-they-speak death; and those captivating moments in the various pilot cockpits where you can read everything in their minds seeping through their collective eyes) 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), English: Dolby Digital 2.0 and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1.

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.

As for the film itself, well, finally there is a WW2 movie with the right balance of modern effects and good storytelling. I've always preferred the straightforward stories in 'Tora Tora Tora' and 'A Bridge Too Far' over the newer gory angst filled war movies and those which deal with obscure insignificant incidents.

Unlike Bay's 'Pearl Harbor' or the older 'Midway' movie there is no wasted time on silly romances. Also the dragginess of Eastwood and the gore of Spielberg are not present here.

The screenplay is clear and comprehensive from pre-Pearl Harbor to the decisive day everything is clearly explained. Doolittle deserves mention. Good history lesson for some folks nowadays who seem to forget which country was defending themselves against those who waged aggressive wars!

Slower moments are not dull as they are used to explain strategy, training and the role of intelligence.

The air battle scenes and dive bombing scenes are thrilling yet clear. You can still see who is who. You are really put right into the center of things. Superb exciting cinematography without looking fake or too CGI.

The casting is brilliant. Using distinctive famous actors to portray the various heroes helps the viewer remember who is who and build up sympathy for whether they make it or not.

Ed Skrein, usually the anti-hero type role, here plays the cocky pilot and his eventual vulnerability is touching. Luke Evans is convincing as another hero pilot.

Patrick Wilson is perfect as the intelligence officer who helped get it right. The older actors like Denis Quaid and Aaron Eckhart are well cast too and Woody Harrelson, usually a goofball, is rather fine too.

Actors usually don't associate with historic roles like Darren Criss and Jonas are surprisingly right. Mandy Moore looks pretty and suitable in her WW2 getup and IMO should attempt more roles from this period. The Japanese naval officers are distinctive enough to differentiate also.

That said, the best part for me was that the stakes of the climatic battle are well realized here and the CGI is NOT poor, nor distracting. Indeed, they are extremely well done (but are far more effective and real on the big screen, as you can only imagine, of course).

Furthermore, you completely forget your watching visual FX after a point, which one assumes, is the whole idea. Where the earlier 'Midway' film failed in its visuals of the battle, here you're really put in the seat of the plunging dive bomber or on the deck of the carrier during the numerous actions.

It is a visceral experience to see these sequences on the big screen, sure, but even to se it on the big screen home entertainment TVs we all seem to have these days, well, it's still something that shouldn't be missed.

In closing, it took a truly international effort from a German director, some Chinese producers, an American writer and great British and American cast to make the best WW2 movie in decades. But, oh my God, it was well worth the wait!

As for this wondrous Steel Book edition of the 4K Ultra HD presentation, well, the 4K Dolby Atmos presentation is clean, bright and comes complete with some rather outstanding sound (as one would hope, given the density of the subject matter).

Overall the CGI effects accurately portray the ships and planes of the era in some brilliant and just eye popping ways and so if you're a World War II buff or just a lover of good movies, this is one to add to the collection!

This isn't a Michael Bay movie, but it has all the hallmarks!

As for the aforementioned Steel Book, well, it means this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray comes in a very unique slipcase, which gives us this historic movie complete with one highly active soundtrack.

Simply put, 'Midway' is an instant classic. A very clear telling of the historic events that led up to and then including the epic naval battle at Midway. Great cast, great editing, great effects and terrific sound and in the form of this wondrous Steel Book, a definitive must for all home entertainment collections.

As for the special features included here on this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steel Book edition, the stand outs for me have to be the highly intense, and very revealing Audio Commentary by Roland Emmerich and the magnificent look behind-the-scenes of "Getting It Right: The Making of Midway” Featurette.

In the first, Emmerich takes us frame by frame through the film, recounting not only how things came to be in certain shots but interestingly enough (and possibly more interestingly) how certain shots they had tried over and over to create just couldn't get finished off.

In "Getting It Right: The Making of Midway” Featurette, we get more of the behind-the-scenes reveals, albeit this time visually, and we get to watch along as the actors are put through their run here, run there paces, each and every time, from various angles.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

4K UHD / BLU-RAY / DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES:
• Audio Commentary by Roland Emmerich
• “Getting It Right: The Making of Midway” Featurette
• “The Men of Midway” Featurette
• “Roland Emmerich: Man on a Mission” Featurette
• “Turning Point: The Legacy of Midway” Featurette
• “Joe Rochefort: Breaking the Japanese Code” Featurette
• “We Met at Midway: Two Survivors Remember” Featurette
• Theatrical Trailer

DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES:
• Audio Commentary by Roland Emmerich
• “Getting It Right: The Making of Midway” Featurette
• “The Men of Midway” Featurette
• Theatrical Trailer

Best Buy 'Midway' 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Digital Steel Book Purchase Link

Amazon 'Midway' Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Purchase Link

Official 'Midway' Trailer

Official 'Midway' Website

Official 'Midway' @ Instagram

Official 'Midway' @ Facebook

Official 'Midway' @ Twitter

'Midway' arrives on Digital February 4th and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Steel Book Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital), Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand February 18th from Lionsgate.





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