The Boss Baby Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
The Alec Baldwin-voiced The Boss Baby has some good lines, and fun moments, losing momentum midway for adults but keeping kids captivated.The fantastical story imagines a corporation of genius babies who dispatch one of their leading operatives - The Boss Baby of the title - to investigate a surge in ageless puppy cuteness which is threatening to make cute babies extinct. Inserted into the previously happy family household of only child Tim, The Boss Baby causes no end of trouble, but when Tim learns of his true mission, he decides to help out. There's a certain impressiveness to the imaginative storytelling behind the piece, crafting a genuine kid's story free of the limitations of logic or coherence. And within the Men in Black-esque world of the narrative - which may or may not just be one child's wild imagination - it all makes sense.Allegories abound, and messages of love and understanding and sibling bonding underpin the affair, but it's at its height when it's buried in the full-tilt baby-centric futurescape, with Baldwin going full Baldwin in the lead. Written sharply (at times the dialogue appears solely designed for adults, as the in-jokes on business and the pop culture references will largely sail over the heads of younger viewers) the plotting only really flags towards the end of the second act, never really recovering its momentum and bookended by an extended montage to round things off. Much like (but arguably better than) The Secret Life of Pets, it's at its best in small, focussed vignettes that bring this baby-centric world to life.
Picture QualityThe Boss Baby looks to have been finished with a 2K Digital Intermediate (DI), resulting in a 4K upscale on this Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, although the 2160p presentation, framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1 widescreen, is still gorgeously impressive and hard to fault, much like the accompanying 1080p Blu-ray.
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 Ultra HD Blu-ray release of The Boss Baby on a Samsung UE55KS8000 Ultra HD TV and a Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
Gorgeously impressive, much like the accompanying 1080p Blu-ray
Indeed the only criticism the presentation is likely to receive will probably be as a result of the lack of immediate distinction between the Ultra HD Blu-ray and its 'standard' HD Blu-ray. Detail is indistinguishable between the two, with both boasting a strong thread of clarity and sheer definition around the animated designs and background nuances. The colour scheme offers slightly more room for differentiation between the two, with the bright vibrant colours benefiting, albeit sometimes only marginally, from the use of HDR and, perhaps more obviously, WCG, whilst black levels are slightly stronger largely as a result of the implementation of the former. It's enough to put this a nudge above the Blu-ray, but far from a keen example of what the format, or its various enhancement tools, can provide. That said, it's such a good looking presentation that marking it down would not reflect how impressive it actually looks.
Sound QualityThe Boss Baby is delivered on Ultra HD Blu-ray complete with a tremendous Dolby Atmos immersive audio track framed around an almost equally impressive Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core. Dialogue remains finely balanced and clearly and coherently disseminated across the frontal array, whilst the surrounds lap up the myriad effects with aplomb, and allow the engaging - if marginally derivative - score to maintain an almost continuous feeling of utter immersion.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack is a hearty, heady affair
There are plenty of finer focus effects noises on offer, mostly baby-derived, but natural nonetheless, precisely dispersed across the array. The soundscape is exceptionally used during the more action-centric chase scenes and crowded environments, bustling with heaving adult bodies as the children struggle to escape being trampled. With wild imagination taking over key scenes and transforming them into dreamscape environments, there's plenty of room for the track to wow, and, as aforementioned, the score keeps pace with the proceedings and gives the surrounds more than enough to get on with even when the effects are not so prevalent or prominent. It's a hearty, heady affair.
ExtrasWith nothing ported over onto the actual Ultra HD Blu-ray disc itself, we're left to swap over to the accompanying Region Free Blu-ray disc to get to the meat of the additional material, which is largely focused on further in-character faux footage, allowing the laughs to continue here.
There's nothing substantial here, but there are still a fair few additional laughs to be had
A series of faux promotional offerings offer snippets of in-character action, with both Baldwin and Buscemi on hand for promos, a newscast debate, and even a Gandalf-centric short. To top that off there are a number of Deleted Scenes, with optional director's commentary, although the incomplete effects for many leaves them not quite as enjoyable as the short promo material. There are also a series of short Featurettes looking at the cast, crew and characters, as well as having the cast and crew reflect briefly on their own sibling rivalry experiences.
Rounded off by trailers and a gallery, there's nothing particularly substantial here - everything runs at around 3 minutes in length - but there are still a fair few additional laughs to be derived, and some fun for the kids too.
Ultra HD Blu-ray VerdictThe Boss Baby Ultra HD Blu-ray struggles to distinguish itself from its Blu-ray counterpart
The Boss Baby is a fun little baby-centric animation that has a fair few laughs for kids and adults alike, riding high on Baldwin's titular lead, even if it starts to flag around the middle and doesn't really manage to pick up steam again. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc makes for an interesting release, as it's another excellent video and audio offering which struggles to distinguish itself - head and shoulders - above its Blu-ray counterpart, leaving it likely a title that only Ultra HD Blu-ray completists will insist upon having on the format.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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