Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Burton's 1940s X-Men: Begins
Tim Burton is on good form with Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, a creepy, magical fantasy which is like his wacky 1940s version of X-Men: Begins.After his seemingly delusional grandfather (the ever-great Terence Stamp) is mysteriously attacked by 'monsters', Asa Butterfield's (Ender's Game, Hugo) Jake finds himself in therapy. He is sent to a small island off the UK coast to gain closure from revisiting his grandfather's old children's home, only to find that this is just where his adventure is going to begin. Run by Daniel Craig's best Bond girl, Eva Green's Miss Peregrine, the home is populated by gifted children who have wonderful powers - including Ella Purnell's Emma, who is so light she can float - but is also under attack from invisible Sentinel-like monsters called Hollows, under the command of Samuel L. Jackson's crazed shape-shifting scientist, Barron.Burton's $100 million-budget adaptation of the novel of the same name boasts all of the quirks and eccentricities common to his work, but also carries the wonderful imagination that his best features detail so effortlessly. Rich in set-up, whilst some of the characters aren't quite fleshed out in the eventful narrative (oddly an issue with X-Men: First Class too), it revels in the period landscape, engages with its magical shenanigans, and delivers in dark undertones, making for a film far from suitable for younger children, and all the more captivating for all ages beyond. It's great to have Burton delivering a slightly more accessible (and less outlandish, despite some residual traits) adventure which is a whole load of fantastical fun.
Picture QualityMiss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children swoops down onto UK 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with an excellent HEVC / H.265 encoded 2160p transfer framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen. The UHD Blu-ray was reviewed on a Samsung UE55KS8000 Ultra HD TV and a Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
Oddly reversing the normal format problems associated with UHD releases of recent movies - namely that even those shot in 4K are somewhat restricted by 2K Digital Intermediates, Miss Peregrine was actually rendered using a 4K DI and thus represents a true 4K master, but, ironically, was actually shot at less than 4K. The 2.8K source material was shot using an Arri Alexa XT but still, technically, delivers twice the resolution of a standard 1080p Blu-ray and, despite the technical specifications, the end result is a tremendously impressive video presentation, and a significant step up from the already outstanding Blu-ray visuals.
Miss Peregrine looks fabulous in 4K
Early supermarket shots are staggeringly clean, offering depth and detail that appears more limited by viewing distance - and your own eyes - than by any resolution restrictions, whilst the dip back into the past affords some gorgeous visuals both inside the lavish house and in the vibrant gardens. It's a largely beautiful film, benefiting from some excellent visual effects which are seamlessly blended into the proceedings.
Of course, as most UHD adopters know (or should know) well by now, it's not really about the number of pixels at all, with the image more significantly improving over its excellent Blu-ray counterpart through exquisite use of the High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) that the Ultra HD Blu-ray provides for, offering improved colour and a wider dynamic range that further bring the gorgeous shots to life, and make the darker sequences all-but flawless. The cave sequences, when Jackson's eyes first glow Tron blue are astounding, with rich and endless blacks but seemingly no loss in detail on the characters, objects or surrounding environment. With no noticeable digital defects, and no crush or banding problems, nor anything else to really quibble about, Miss Peregrine is fabulous looking title on 4K UHD.
Sound QualityCas Harlow reviewed the Dolby TrueHD soundtrack on a 5.1-channel setup – Miss Peregrine doesn't stop impressing when it comes to the audio, enchanting on UK Ultra HD Blu-ray courtesy of a finely observed Dolby Atmos track running off an excellent Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core. It's largely demo quality, promoting the dialogue across the front and centre channels, clearly and coherently, throughout, whilst the imaginative array of effects noises - from the nightmarish Hollows creeping through the woods to the various 'powers' of the children - given discrete observation across the array. The sunken ship-based effects are particularly engulfing, and the final act provides for some excellent confrontations and, consequently, excellent effects observations (including one quite adventurously set to a disco beat). The score engages and provides further fuel for your surrounds, and the track is hard to fault even without the benefit of full Atmos utilisation.
A reference Dolby Atmos soundtrack that matches the equally reference picture
Steve Withers reviewed the Dolby Atmos soundtrack on a 7.2.4-channel setup – As good as the core 7.1-channel mix is, the full Dolby Atmos version of the soundtrack is simply superb. It's a masterclass in audio design, taking full advantage of object-based audio and the additional overhead layer to deliver a truly immersive experience. There is a scene where a bird flies into a room and you'll swear there actually is a bird in your lounge, the placement of the effect is so precise. However the entire soundtrack is like this, with the bomber raid and sunken ship sequences both offering plenty of opportunity to engulf the viewer in sounds. The dialogue always remains clear and focused, whilst the score is mixed across the front and, at times, into other channels. The bass is deep and well integrated with the rest of the soundtrack, underscoring certain key action sequences. The sound designers use the greater freedom provided by Atmos to make the Hollows particularly creepy and to emphasise the peculiar powers of the children. Overall this is a reference Dolby Atmos soundtrack that perfectly matches the equally reference 4K picture.
As is the norm, the UHD disc itself is bare-bones, whilst the remaining features, which are quite comprehensive, pack out the accompanying standard Blu-ray disc.
The comprehensive extras pack out the accompanying Blu-ray
Beyond the 13 minute overview Featurette, The Peculiar Story, and the accompanying 9 minute Hollows & Ex-Hollows Featurette, the majority of the runtime of the supplemental features is dedicated to a feature length hour-plus look at The Peculiars, which takes you through the myriad characters and their powers and arcs, with plenty of interviews and behind the scenes snippets. There's a further 18 minute Map of Days: Miss Peregrine's Home / Blackpool Tower look at the time loop locations of the narrative, and the extras package is rounded off by a Florence and the Machine Music Video, a Gallery and some Trailers.
Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict
Far from suitable for younger children, but all the more captivating for all ages beyond, Burton delivers
Beyond the engaging fantasy adventure of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which offers a fun blend of Harry Potter and X-Men, the film makes for a stunning demo disc both on the video and audio front, with a 4K master and Dolby Atmos delivering the goods, as well as in the burgeoning extras department. Fans shouldn't hesitate in picking it up, whilst those intrigued should definitely check it out.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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