Glass 4K Blu-ray Review

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"This was an origin story, the whole time."

by Casimir Harlow May 22, 2019 at 10:41 AM

  • SRP: £24.99

    Glass Film Review

    Concluding the trilogy that nobody saw coming, Shyamalan's may not be a perfect payoff to a 20 year build-up, but it's a decent companion-piece to 2016's Split.

    Once heralded for his impressive twists and atypical mysteries, filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan's star was pretty quick to fall, delivering a succession of critical and commercial failures which arguably only turned around in the last few years, with his low budget The Visit offering a turning point which was finally cemented in the almost equally low budget 2016 horror thriller, Split. Aside from being an excellent little psychological mystery, Split pulled off a last minute stinger which left fans reeling, tying the feature into one of Shyamalan's earliest - and arguably best - movies, Unbreakable.

    Promising to conclude the trilogy that nobody was expecting, Shyamalan now delivers Glass which, as can probably be discerned from the name, returns us to Samuel L. Jackson's titular antagonist from Unbreakable, tying in James McAvoy's multiple personality Horde borne in Split, and bringing back Bruce Willis' unlikely superhero David Dunn, who has spent the last two decades using his gifts to clean up the streets.

    The story largely revolves around the efforts of a psychiatrist to convince all three of them that they are suffering from delusions of grandeur, with Dunn defiant in his beliefs that he is doing good; the Horde spinning through multiple personalities whilst perpetually trying to escape; and Glass practically unresponsive, or at least seemingly so...

    Ironically, despite his desperate desire to form the perfect anti-superhero trilogy, all anybody really wanted was a satisfying clash of the titans

    Glass perhaps suffered by comparisons to the 2000 first film, Unbreakable, buckling under the weight of responsibility - how could any possibly come up with a fitting conclusion to 20 years of brewing mythology? Viewed more as a sequel to Split, however, with tangential - but crucial - connections to its forebear, it at least takes the successful ideas planted in that more recent hit and sees them through to fruition.

    Shyamalan makes the most of a going-for-broke James McAvoy (who arguably does all the underacknowledged heavy lifting in terms of performance, for both this and Split) and an ever-watchable Samuel L. Jackson, whilst also pulling off a near-miracle, which is to not only return Bruce Willis back to the cinemas, but also somehow persuade him to care about his art once again. This trifecta almost leaves the film - at least for fans of the previous two chapters - curiously unmissable, despite its flaws, which undoubtedly requires a certain element of lowered expectations.

    Although clearly back working his magic once again, Shyamalan is also his own worst enemy, losing sight of the simple endgame he plotted out in Split, failing to make good on the tremendous stinger offered therein and instead getting carried away with his own multiple plots-within-plots when, ironically, despite his desperate desire to form the perfect anti-superhero trilogy, all anybody really wanted was a satisfying clash of the titans in this final chapter. Glass is, rather unnecessarily, far more complicated than that, but underneath all the extraneous layering, there's a decent enough addition to the franchise that nobody saw coming.

    Glass 4K Picture

    Glass Glass 4K Picture
    Glass comes to UK Ultra HD Blu-ray courtesy of Walt Disney and Buena Vista, although the disc looks to be likely identical to the US release from Universal, delivering a suitably stunning native 4K presentation.

    The disc presents a native 3840 x 2160p resolution image utilising the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.39:1. It uses 10-bit video depth, a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR), and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec.

    We reviewed the UK Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Glass on an LG 55B7 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD OLED TV with an LG UP970 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

    A suitably stunning native 4K presentation

    Shyamalan really has put a great deal of effort into crafting a very specific visual palette, even if his attention to detail may largely go unnoticed to those who have not been explicitly informed about it. Aside from the excellent clarity and detail that resounds throughout, giving a rich texture to almost every shot with little in the way of softness, the colour scheme has been specifically colour-coded to reflect illusions vs. delusions, giving the key characters specific tones when in their own 'illusion', whilst the psychiatrist's perspective is offered with a comparatively bleached-out palette.

    Strong implementation of WCG and HDR makes all the difference toward noticing this, livening up what could occasionally be mistaken for quite a tame, muted colour scheme. Black levels remain rich and deep, and with no signs of defects, it's an all-round excellent video presentation that's thoroughly demo-worthy and just shy of reference.

    Glass 4K Sound

    Glass Glass 4K Sound
    Glass also enjoys some tremendous 3D High Definition immersive audio in the form of Dolby Atmos. With Shyamalan's attention to detail tuning up a storm in the aural department, there's a richly crafted soundscape on offer, blending the key elements of dialogue, effects and score to create a warmly engulfing mix.

    A reference Atmos track

    Whether Willis' gruff mumbles or McAvoy's multiple voices, dialogue remains clearly and coherently disseminated throughout, taking precedence across the frontal channels of the array. Effects enjoy the brooding Horde, the various key setpieces and confrontations (which are better in the first half) and surrounding noises of police, traffic, screaming and a wondrously immersive thunderstorm, all keenly separated across the array with some manner of discrete implementation. The score isn't quite as effective as Split, although it brings back those classic Unbreakable themes to good effect, rounding out a reference Atmos track.

    Glass 4K Extras

    Glass Glass 4K Extras
    Although seemingly brimming with extra features, the package actually only amounts to little more than an hour of additional material, split into a flurry of mini-featurettes as well as a reasonable amount of deleted footage.

    Hardly comprehensive, but far from bare bones too

    The mere fact that there are a dozen Featurettes means that each is going to be just a few minutes in length, but still there are some nice background pieces on the main characters, the making of a franchise, the key confrontations and budgetary restrictions, the actors, director, score and effects, affording some manner of insight into the production. A slew of Deleted Scenes, as well as an Alternate Opening, each afforded introductions from the Director, round out the disc. It's hardly comprehensive, but far from bare bones too.

    Glass 4K Blu-ray Verdict

    Glass Glass 4K Blu-ray Verdict
    Glass is unnecessarily complicated but a decent enough addition to the franchise that nobody saw coming

    The UK 4K Blu-ray release of Glass delivers outstanding native 4K video and excellent Dolby Atmos enhanced sound, as well as a flurry of short extras, making for a recommended purchase for fans of the film and the franchise. Flawed as it may be, those who have enjoyed both Unbreakable and Split should still view this as unmissable.

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99

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