Passengers Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

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Surprisingly watchable!

by Simon Crust Apr 6, 2017 at 6:46 AM

  • Film Review

    You can't get so hung up on where you'd rather be, that you forget to make the most of where you are

    Passengers is a film evenly split into three acts. Each have their merit, but when combined make a somewhat predictable and inevitable whole; and yet it still manages to remain an enjoyable watch. In an unspecified future, the Earth is full, and the spaceship Avalon is travelling to Homestead II, a habitable planet some 120 years travel (at half-light speed) away, with 5,000 passengers as well as everything needed to populate a New World. During an asteroid shower part of the ship is damaged and one of the hibernation pods opens ninety years too early, leaving Jim alone on the ship with nothing but an android bar tender for company. When the isolation gets too much he deliberately wakes Aurora, a female passenger he has become infatuated with, but when the ship starts to malfunction can they put aside their difficulties to save everyone on board?
    The first act concerns itself with Jim and his coming to terms with his complete isolation on a ship that will do anything for him, so long as it is within his ticket price. Perhaps the most dramatic act, investigating how a social creature survives loneliness, even with luxury on hand? The middle act is a typical love story, two souls bonding in a shared catastrophe. Here the cracks begin to show with the inevitable showdown just waiting around the corner. The final act is the action sequence which again has all the hallmarks of predictability, but this time adds implausible science and suddenly changing character motivations. The film lives and dies on the chemistry between the two leads, Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, which thankfully works extremely well. Asking more questions than it answers and despite the predictability, it remains surprisingly watchable!

    Picture Quality

    Passengers Picture Quality
    Passengers was filmed digitally using Arri Alexa 65 cameras, with a resolution of 6.5K and finished using a 4K Digital Intermediate (DI), meaning we’re seeing the full native resolution on this Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, presented in a widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The disc uses 10-bit video depth, a Wider Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR), and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec. We reviewed the Region free US UltraHD Blu-ray release of Passengers on a Panasonic 65DX902B Ultra HD 4K TV with a Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

    Oh you have to love those clean lines

    This image is pristine with razor sharp detail throughout, but especially true of the ship interiors and digital displays; take a look at the pod bays, just how demonstratively defiant the edges are; look to the corridors and how the lighting is so perfect – it makes the (included) 1080 Blu-ray look soft and flabby by comparison. Skin texture and clothing weaves have never looked so fine. The exterior of the ship is also incredibly detailed.

    Of course this resolution combined with HDR and WCG make for a stunning image; look again at the above examples of how deep the shadows go, how bright the lighting is, how much more there is in the picture with its effortless combination of tones. Contrast the blackness of space and the pinpoint stars against Aurora as she sits gazing out of the window, how natural her skin tone is, how the crumbs on her plate have a presence and how she is illuminated by the recording device. The whole is image is simply picturesque.

    The source is as clean as a whistle and this transfer is just as good.

    Sound Quality

    Passengers Sound Quality
    Simon Crust reviews the Dolby TrueHD track on a 5.1 surround System – Lovely bass! There is a terrific sense of envelopment from the surround speakers, particularly within the confines of the ship as it communicates with Jim during the first third of the film. There are bouts of noise and confusion, such as the asteroid field at the beginning, contrasting with moments of silence amplifying the isolation of being alone. Talking of the opening, what an aural assault with destruction being wrought all around the room, and that bass coming in tight and strong to really add weight behind the impacts. The ship itself also makes good use of LF effects and keeps the neighbours awake with some room shaking bass. It never, however, takes over, but is used to add so much presence to the sound. Effects are well realised with the surrounds making good use of ambience, such as in the bar. Dialogue is very natural sounding and well layered into the mix with nothing ever being lost. The score too makes good use of all the speakers.

    A fantastic Dolby Atmos soundtrack that perfectly compliments the superb visuals

    Steve Withers reviewed the audio using a 7.1.4-channel Dolby Atmos setup – This is a fantastic soundtrack that genuinely enhances the film through clever use of immersive audio. The opening asteroid collision is a chance for the sound designers to show off with plenty of directional effects, bass energy and steering around a three dimensional soundfield. Once that's out of the way the sound design uses a sense of space and emptiness to emphasise Jim's loneliness. The ship is never quiet but the constant hum of this automated vessel, coupled with the echoes of its vast interior merely amplify Jim's lack of human contact. Once things start to go wrong onboard, the mix once again kicks up a gear, using highly directional effects to completely immerse you in the action. As the ship begins to fail, there are sounds all around and above you, whilst the zero gravity swimming pool scene is a nice standout. The latter part of the film has the most action and again the sound designers use the object-based nature of Dolby Atmos to position effects around the room with remarkable precision. The LFE channel also gets a solid workout with some thunderous bass that really adds impact to certain scenes. Dialogue is always clear and the score is nicely mixed across the frontal array, resulting in a superb soundtrack that perfectly compliments the impressive visuals.

    Extras

    Passengers Extras
    Disc 1 – Ultra HD Blu-ray with Stills – Cast and crew images and Moments – Excerpts from the film under named titles.

    Disc 2 – 3D Blu-ray

    Disc 3 – 1080p Full HD Blu-ray
    Casting the Passengers – Brief ten minute feature looking at the main cast of the film, the acting choices and what they brought to the story, plenty of interviews from key crew members before the actual ‘talent’ themselves.
    Space on Screen: The Visual Effects of Passengers – Even briefer, at seven minutes, look at the special effects used in the film, usual suspects are headed up by Visual Effects Supervisor Erik Nordby.
    On the Set with Chris Pratt – Four minutes of Pratt skylarking around on set while the cast and crew backslap like he’s just died.
    Creating the Avalon – A ten minute look at what it took to bring the ship to ‘life’; from design, concept to the construction and how it is depicted in the film. Once again plenty of cast and crew discussion headed up by Production Designer Guy Hendrix Dyas.
    Deleted Scenes – Eight in total for a (combined) runtime of ten minutes. None add much to the final produce and are titled as follows No New Drinks, Memory Maker, Tacos and Cocktails, Kiss in the Photo Booth, Aurora Finds Jim's Photos, Drunk Dial, Gus Reveals His Past and Gus Looks for a Solution.
    Outtakes from the Set – Four minutes of mistakes and messing around on set.
    Book Passage – Four fake adverts for interstellar travel, run about a minute each and are titled: Choose Your Star, Dare to Dream, Elite Suites and A Flight to Remember.

    Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict

    Passengers Ultra HD Blu-ray Verdict
    Passengers sees Chris Pratt dissecting loneliness and morality aboard a futuristic space vessel that awoke him 30 years into a 120 year voyage, and how he comes to terms with his fate. Split into three acts the second act is a love story after he awakens a second passenger that he has become infatuated with, while the third is an action sequence revolving around saving the ship. The film asks a lot more questions than it answers, sometimes failing to make some hard choices and has inevitability and predictability stamped all over it; but despite all this, the chemistry between the leads wins over and the film becomes a surprisingly enjoyable watch; weirdly asking you to simultaneously use and not use your brain.

    This US Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Passengers is a fully complete package

    This US Ultra HD Blu-ray set from Sony is a fully complete package; it contains three discs: 1080p Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray and 4K UHD Blu-ray – from a 4K DI – meaning the image is full resolution and is stunning in terms of both detail and colour reproduction beating, hands down, the 1080 image. The sound is another triumph being directional, precise and heavy on the bass. The extras are a little light, but there is some watchability to them.


    The Rundown

    Movie

    7

    Picture Quality

    10

    Sound Quality

    10

    Extras

    6

    Overall

    8

    8
    AVForumsSCORE
    OUT OF
    10
    You own this Total 7
    You want this Total 4
    You had this Total 0

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