Snake Eyes 4K Blu-ray Review

Best it can hope for is mediocrity

by Simon Crust

Snake Eyes Review

It's not your skill that's lacking, it's your heart

I’ve never owned a G.I. Joe figure; I had Action Man. He had gripping hands, eagle eyes, realistic hair, and scar. He had army fatigues, weapons, and vehicles. And until Star Wars came along, he was a firm favourite. But G.I. Joe, no idea; never seen him, or the comics or the cartoon shows, indeed never really paid any attention until the 2009 film, and I never saw that! So, when it comes to Snake Eyes a character from G. I. Joe lore, I am all rather nonplussed, preferring to assess the film on its own merits rather than as some form of canon.

And it’s still terrible.

Ok, maybe terrible is the wrong adjective. Woeful might be more apt. The thing is, there is nothing inherently wrong, all the separate parts seem ok; there is an easy to follow narrative that draws on established fiction, ninjas are always cool, action set pieces are numerous and suitably frenetic, it looks genuinely amazing with the Japanese landscape being particularly well used, and there is a clear intent to bring an action blockbuster to the forefront by being bold and brash – trouble is, it’s all so amateurish and eye rollingly obvious that when everything is brought together the whole thing is pants.

The effort into making the lead characters ‘cool’ borders on the ridiculous. The armies upon armies of ‘red shirts’ that are sacrificed while our heroes escape unscathed is face-palmingly annoying. Also, shaking the camera as much as possible to hide the fact of the many stunt men standing around waiting their turn to attack gets old very quickly. The crosses and double-crosses are seen a mile away. The all-powerful McGuffin is simply daft. Who brings a cross bow to a machinegun fight? And the dialogue is worse than anything George Lucas has written.

I’m not even sure who the film is aimed at. It is incredibly violent for a kid’s film, even if the proudly worn PG-13 certificate precludes any actual gore, and it is too stupid to appeal to adults. Presumably early teen boys, at a guess, but are they interested in toys made into films. Didn’t we do a podcast on that recently?

I dunno, I just think a paying audience wants more from a film than characters with red hair that are called Scarlet, giant snakes than can be charmed by a ‘calm heart’, magical exploding stones, or a bunch of characters that for 120 minutes say precisely nothing and get nowhere fast even though they’ve chopped off a million heads. Essentially the film has neither heart nor soul, and without an emotional investment from the audience the best it can hope for is mediocrity – Snake Eyes even struggles for that.

Snake Eyes Video

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins
Included Images are not sourced from the UHD

Snake Eyes was shot digitally using Arri Alexa Mini Cameras at a resolution of 3.4K and finished as a 4K DI from which this UHD is presumably sourced.

The disc presents a native 3840 x 2160p resolution image with widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratio, uses 10-bit video depth, High Dynamic Range, a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec for HRD10 and Dolby Vision.

We reviewed the Region free UK Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Snake Eyes on a Panasonic TX-65HZ1000B Ultra HD 4K TV with a Panasonic DP-UB450 Dolby Vision HDR10+ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

Chrome

The native 4K image is drop dead gorgeous, the digital grading of the picture being of particular delight in Dolby Vision.

Detail is wonderful, from close up skin texture and clothing/armour; the engravings on the weapons, their ornate handles, to the Japanese landscape; the castle grounds with the trees, rocks and bridges, to overlooking the city with its many cars, buildings, windows etc – there is no hint of softness, everything is clean and absolute.

Dolby Vision gives an intensity and vibrancy to the colour scheme, the digital grading tends towards the earthy hues but the pop you see from neon or streetlights or vegetation against the sky is stunning. The pinpoint colouring of lights in the city at night or the lanterns on the river or in the McGuffin safe is simply gorgeous.

Black level is deep and strong, giving terrific frame depth and holding good shadow detail, while the white scale never clips, the white suite, or clouds for example.

Digitally there are no compression issues, and the original source is pristine; a beautiful, clean and crisp image.

Snake Eyes Audio

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins
My pointy stick is bigger than your short sword

The immersion afforded by Dolby Atmos is tremendous, this is a very action orientated film, and the set pieces make full use of the surround field. Hordes of sword wielding baddies are brushed aside and their battle cries plus the ting and swish of metal against metal and the thump and crash of bodies hitting the deck is like being in the thick of it all. Vehicles navigate around the sound scape, while rain falls everywhere. The surround channels provide plenty of ambience while the overheads come alive during battles and storms; thunder is very intense.

Skadoosh

Dialogue is natural sounding, dominated by the frontal array but given the directionality when needed. The score makes good use of all the channels to further extend the soundscape. Bass it deliciously deep, with some lovely LF effects, the snakes, thunder, gunshots, the snakes (did I mention that? It’s worth mentioning twice) and some underpinning bass sweeps are the icing on the cake, not since skadoosh has there been such sweeps. Shame it’s on such a pants film.

Review System: Denon AVR-X4300H, MK Sound LCR750 and SUR55T, XTZ S2 Atmosphere ceiling mounted, SVS PB-12 Ultra.

Snake Eyes Extras

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins
Fanciest resturant in town

Extras are found on the UHD, which is nice, even if they are all throw away.

Morning Light: A Weapon with Stories to Tell

Deleted Scenes – 5 in total.

Enter Snake Eyes

A Deadly Ensemble

Arashikage

Conclusion

Snake Eyes 4K Blu-ray Review

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins
Check out my one eyed snake

Snake Eyes would be the X-Men Origins: Wolverine if G.I. Joe had any established franchise. The fact that it could probably be regarded more in line with a soft reboot is all the more astonishing when you consider that it is so painfully daft. It tries so hard to be take itself seriously that it plays like parody, and honestly there is nothing of substance in the whole 120 minutes. In the words of Jeremy Clarkson, “It’s stupid”. If only it didn’t look and sound so damn gorgeous.

Stupid

The 4K UHD set from Paramount is pretty good: the native 4K picture is beautiful; incredible detail, rich, vibrant, painfully good colouring, with strong blacks and a dynamite white scale. The Dolby Atmos track is also wonderful, with a real sense of envelopment and immersion with some hefty bass to boot. Extras are not worth bothering about.




Snake Eyes Available to Download & Keep from the 3rd November and on 4K Ultra HD+Blu-ray™ , Blu-ray™ and DVD on the 15th November.

Scores

Movie

.
.
.
.
.
.
4

Picture Quality

10

Sound Quality

10

Extras

.
.
.
.
.
.
4

Overall

.
.
.
7
7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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