Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ender's Game: 4K Utra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD Review

Ender's Game is the long awaited adaptation of Orson Scott Card's award winning novel of the same way and while it was originally released as an event film during the fall of 2013, it failed to attract the young adult audience Lionsgate had previously garnered success with in the film adaptations of the Twilight and Hunger Games novels. Originally released on Blu-ray Disc in 2014, the new Ender's Game: 4K Utra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD is really more of a port over of the 2014 BD release only now the DVD featured in the first release has been replaced by a new 4K 2160p Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc release which presents the film in a sharper and more colorful image quality because of the high dynamic range enabling that allows for greater color and more vivid images. The original 1080p Blu-ray release looked pretty darn good so it is no surprise that the 4K UHD version also looks great, but I found the difference in picture quality to be noticeable, but not nearly as jaw dropping as the Sicario UHD BD release. This could be due to a number of subjective factors that include, but are not limited to Sicario being a newer feature film release in general and one that I was not familiar with up until I screened it. Another factor that may play a part in this subjective review is that though still a relatively recent catalogue release on BD, science fiction films tend to benefit more from the eye and ear candy inherent with big budget releases. Simply put, I think maybe my expectations were too high. 

It is also varied upon one's point of view, but for me, on DVD, I have always preferred DTS Soundtracks over Dolby Digital because I found the sound to be more aggressive. In Blu-ray I preferred the Dolby TrueHD Soundtrack over DTS-HD MA 7.1 as included on the Blu-ray version of Ender's Game. So it is no surprise that between the previous DTS Soundtrack release and the new Dolby ATMOS, which is backwardly compatible with Dolby TrueHD, I prefer the Dolby ATMOS Soundtrack, which I think offered a greater range and higher fidelity over the DTS track. English Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio specifically mixed for late night Listening and a Spanish Language Dolby Digital 5.1 Soundtrack are also included on the HD BD version along with English Descriptive Audio and English SDH as well as English and Spanish Language Subtitles encoded as options. 

Like the UHD BD release of Sicario, the 4K Blu-ray Disc is the higher quality picture and audio presentation of the feature film only and all of the original bonus features and commentaries are on the HD BD, which is the exact same disc previously released. So if you have read previous reviews of that original release, you should know what to expect and thus that disc will not be covered here. A coupon insert containing a limited time only redeemable code for both an HD i'Tunes and Ultraviolet Digital Copy is also included within the single size two-disc black plastic BD case. 

I think for Ultra HD Blu-ray to distinguish itself the way Blu-ray did, the studios are going to have to invest in 4K exclusive content and even then without a greater level of interactivity that Blu-ray had over DVD, it may prove harder to draw in mainstream consumers that already have beautiful HDTVs and beautiful looking films on BD to invest in UHD BD at this early stage beyond cinema fans and the like so long as the selling point on catalog releases are simply greater picture and sound quality. I have no doubt that UHD TV is here to stay, but right now 4K Blu-ray feels a lot more like an extension of the format with titles packaged like Ender's Game rather than a successor to Blu-ray Disc as a whole. 

Ender's Game: 4K Utra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD is available now at retailers on and offline courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

(C) Copyright 2016 By Mark A. Rivera.
All Rights Reserved.