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Blu-ray Review Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Citizen87645

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Cameron Yee
Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review

The fourth season of HBO’s epically popular fantasy series racks up the kill count but falters at times with the rationale.



Studio: HBO

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other

Rating: TV-MA

Run Time: 9 Hr. 20 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Copy, UltraViolet

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: A

Release Date: 02/17/2015

MSRP: $79.98




The Production Rating: 4.5/5

As wedding preparations are under way for the marriage of King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) to Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), guests from far and wide begin arriving in King’s Landing. Most ominous of them is Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), a Dornish prince with a longstanding grudge against the Lannister Family, whom he blames for the rape and murder of his sister during the height of Robert’s Rebellion. He makes no attempt to hide his intentions to avenge her death, casting a veil of intrigue over an event already fraught with drama.

Deposed as the King’s Hand by his father Tywin (Charles Dance), Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) remains in service to King Joffrey and House Lannister, but finds himself increasingly at odds with sister Cersei (Lena Headey) and her sadistic son. Tyrion’s standing feels so tenuous he sends away Shae (Sibell Kekilli) to safer climates, but his protective gesture will ultimately win him no favors with his obstinate lover. Tyrion’s remaining ally appears to be his brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), but as the captain of the Kingsguard his ability to help his brother may be limited at best.

Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) endures an improved but persistent vulnerability at King’s Landing, now as Tyrion’s betrothed and one of the few accounted-for survivors of House Stark. But a surprising development at the royal wedding reignites past scrutiny, forcing her to flee to the Vale, where her aunt Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie) is regent. Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen) facilitates her escape, but his intentions and end game, as always, remain a mystery.

Sansa’s sister Arya (Maisie Williams) is likewise en route to the Vale in hopes of reaching safe haven, but is traveling with the Hound (Rory McCann), who intends to ransom her off to her kinsman after having abandoned his post at King's Landing. While there seems to be a friendship building between the unlikely pairing of fugitives, the Hound remains on Arya's retribution list and the youngest Stark daughter has proved herself persistent, if nothing else.

To the North, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), driven by visions of a three-eyed raven, continues his journey beyond the Wall with the help of Hodor (Kristian Nairn) and siblings Meera (Ellie Kendrick) and Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie Sangster). Their travels could reunite Bran with his step brother Jon Snow (Kit Harington), but an imminent attack by the Wildling hordes and Jon’s unheeded warnings to his Night’s Watch brethren will make even a partial Stark family reunion unlikely.

On the arid continent of Essos, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) continues her slave liberation campaign in hopes of building the following needed to decisively conquer the Seven Kingdoms. Ruling over a society on which she’s imposed such massive changes, however, is a challenge and she’ll soon find herself distracted from her end goal by inspiration and betrayals alike. Whether she’s equipped to rule over a much greater kingdom is not in question, but how and when she’ll be able to reach those ever distant shores.

The most popular series in HBO’s history manages to stay on top of its increasingly complicated storyline, not to mention production schedule, delivering a number of water cooler moments without necessarily resorting to gimmickry or shock for shock's sake. That’s saying a lot considering how many characters the writers (but really author George R.R. Martin) kill off by season’s end. While much has been said already about TV’s “new normal,” where no character is sacred and therefore vulnerable, not many series have been able to pull it off with Thrones's same organic sensibility (a cutthroat medieval environment certainly helps).

The execution, as it were, hasn’t always been perfect though.

On reflection, the fourth season had at least one controversial death, where viewers questioned both the lead up and need, but that’s as much a fault of a meager, 10-episode season as Martin’s brutal source material. In the big picture, it’s a minor complaint about a season that delivered more than it disappointed. It’s certainly not enough to diminish the viewership of the upcoming season, which will likely be the show's darkest and most watched yet.

The Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray includes the 10 episodes that aired on HBO between April and June 2014:
  • Two Swords
  • The Lion and the Rose
  • Breaker of Chains
  • Oathkeeper
  • First of His Name
  • The Laws of Gods and Men
  • Mockingbird
  • The Mountain and the Viper
  • The Watchers on the Wall
  • The Children
The fifth season of Game of Thrones premieres on April 12, 2015 on HBO.



Video Rating: 4.5/5  3D Rating: NA

Presented in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the 1080p, AVC-encoded transfer doesn’t look much different from past releases with its inky blacks and strong contrast. Some forest scenes can look a bit drab in comparison to the other locations, especially the high contrast environment of the Wildlings, but that’s likely by design given the storytelling. Color is incredibly rich, most notably in the sunny settings of the eastern territories and King’s Landing. Detail is likewise impeccable, though there are some hints of noise in more challenging images like the tightly concentrated, high contrast patterns in the North. Still, the picture is often quite breathtaking and no doubt superior to either broadcast or streaming presentations.



Audio Rating: 4.5/5

Dialogue in the English language 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently crisp, detailed, and intelligible. Surround effects can be fairly aggressive, and the various pans and environmental effects are consistently balanced and seamless. By comparison, LFE does not have as much of a presence, except for a few key battle sequences, but the track has a consistent, pleasing depth and fullness throughout.



Special Features Rating: 5/5

The In-Episode Guide continues to be a useful feature for diving deeper into the series’ mythology. Audio commentaries and featurettes round out another sizable collection of extras.

Previews and Recaps: Episodes include the "previously" and "next" on promos that originally aired with them.

In-Episode Guide: The exhaustive compendium provides descriptions of the show’s characters, locations, and history in context with events of each episode. Most of the information is in text form, but the histories come in video form and are unlocked as one progresses through the episodes (hint: if you don’t want to bother with the unlocking part, all the videos can be accessed on Disc 4)

Audio Commentaries
  • Episode One: “Two Swords” with Executive Producers/Writers/Directors David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell)
  • Episode Two: “The Lion and the Rose” with Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), Co-Executive Producer/Author George R.R. Martin, and Director Alex Graves
  • Episode Four: “Oathkeeper” with Director Michelle MacLaren and Director of Photography Robert McLachlan
  • Episode Five: “First of His Name” with Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark)
  • Episode Six: “The Laws of Gods and Men” with Director Alik Sakharov and Writer/Co-Producer Bryan Cogman
  • Episode Seven: “Mockingbird” with Aidan Gillen (Littlefinger), Kate Dickie (Lysa Arryn), Executive Producer Bernadette Caulfield, and Producer Chris Newman
  • Episode Eight: “The Mountain and the Viper” with Production Designer Deborah Riley, Costume Designer Michele Clapton, and Director of Photography Anette Haellmigk
  • Episode Nine: “The Watchers on the Wall” with Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Rose Leslie (Ygritte), and John Bradley (Samwell Tarly); second commentary with VFX Producer Steve Kullback and VFX Supervisor Joe Bauer
  • Episode Ten: “The Children” with Rory McCann (The Hound), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), and Director Alex Graves; second commentary with Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister)
[DISC ONE]

The Politics of Power: A Look Back at Season 3 (25:00, HD): The cast and crew recap the previous season.

New Characters and Locations (7:39, HD): A survey of the season’s new locales, including Meereen with Daenerys’s slave liberation efforts, Dorne with Oberyn Martell and his paramour Ellaria Sand, the Dreadfort with Ramsay Snow, Highgarden with Mace Tyrell, and the Haunted Forest with the Thenns.

Bastards of Westeros (7:16, HD): An explanation of the cultural and societal treatment of the bastard children of the noble houses of Westeros, focusing particularly on Jon and Ramsay Snow.

[DISC FOUR]

Behind the Battle for the Wall (37:11, HD): An in-depth behind-the-scenes of the preparation and filming of the epic battle sequence from the season’s ninth episode.

The Fallen: A Roundtable (29:37, HD): Roundtable discussion features six actors whose characters were killed off in the season. Co-Producer/Writer Bryan Cogman moderates.

Histories and Lore: Animated illustrations with character voice overs explain key events in Westeros history and culture. The items are also incorporated in the In-Episode Guide, but obviously they’re more accessible here.
  • House Martell with Oberyn Martell (3:54, HD)
  • House Baelish with Littlefinger (3:58, HD)
  • Dragons with Grand Maester Pycelle (3:42, HD)
  • Poisons with Oberyn Martell (3:38, HD)
  • The Bastards of Westeros with Ellaria Sand (2:07, HD)
  • The Iron Bank with Tycho Nestoris (2:24, HD)
  • Robert’s Rebellion with Oberyn Martell (4:40, HD)
  • Sellswords and Hedge Knights with Bronn (2:35, HD)
  • The Wall with Samwell Tarly (4:01, HD)
  • The Nations of the North with Tormund Giantsbane (4:03, HD)
  • The Kingsguard - Jaime Lannister with Jaime Lannister (3:36, HD)
  • The Kingsguard - Bronn with Bronn (2:26, HD)
  • The Maester’s Chain with Qyburn (2:28, HD)
  • The Death of Kings with Varys (3:01, HD)
  • Valyrian Steel with Jorah Mormont (3:02, HD)
  • Justice of the Seven Kingdoms with Bronn (2:59, HD)
Deleted Scenes
  • Bronn and Shae (1:52, HD)
  • Dany and Missandei (1:12, HD)
Blooper Reel (2:02, HD)

Printed Episode Guide: Summaries of the season’s 10 episodes.

Digital Copy: Available via iTunes or Ultraviolet, redemption expires on February 28, 2018.



Overall Rating: 4.5/5

The fourth season of Game of Thrones gets more of the same quality HBO Blu-ray treatment, from presentation to supplements. Followers of the show should have no reservations adding this latest release to their collection.


Reviewed By: Cameron Yee


Support HTF when you buy this title:

 

Mark-W

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Senior HTF Member
Joined
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Messages
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Thanks for the review Cameron!


We have a winner for MOST IRRITATING COMMENTARY TRACK EVER (yes, I am yelling.)

  • Episode Five: “First of His Name” with Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark)

Sophie and Maisie should be banned from doing commentary tracks. This one is little more than a long series of giggles and cackles as these two enjoyed each others company and added next to nothing about what is it was like to be in this episode or Game of Thrones in general.


This was the first time ever I had to shut off a commentary track because it was as enjoyable and nails on a chalkboard.


Also, on two other commentaries, when selecting them from the menu, they also added the Polish dub while the commentary was one. This may be player centric and was fixed easy enough my simply using the Blu-ray remote to select the last listed language track listed that was marked ENG.
Cameron Yee said:
Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review

The fourth season of HBO’s epically popular fantasy series racks up the kill count but falters at times with the rationale.

3204e54d3876a5b783069700f02d02e1.jpg

Studio: HBO

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other

Rating: TV-MA

Run Time: 9 Hr. 20 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Copy, UltraViolet

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: A

Release Date: 02/17/2015

MSRP: $79.98

The Production Rating: 4.5/5
As wedding preparations are under way for the marriage of King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) to Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), guests from far and wide begin arriving in King’s Landing. Most ominous of them is Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), a Dornish prince with a longstanding grudge against the Lannister Family, whom he blames for the rape and murder of his sister during the height of Robert’s Rebellion. He makes no attempt to hide his intentions to avenge her death, casting a veil of intrigue over an event already fraught with drama.

Deposed as the King’s Hand by his father Tywin (Charles Dance), Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) remains in service to King Joffrey and House Lannister, but finds himself increasingly at odds with sister Cersei (Lena Headey) and her sadistic son. Tyrion’s standing feels so tenuous he sends away Shae (Sibell Kekilli) to safer climates, but his protective gesture will ultimately win him no favors with his obstinate lover. Tyrion’s remaining ally appears to be his brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), but as the captain of the Kingsguard his ability to help his brother may be limited at best.

Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) endures an improved but persistent vulnerability at King’s Landing, now as Tyrion’s betrothed and one of the few accounted-for survivors of House Stark. But a surprising development at the royal wedding reignites past scrutiny, forcing her to flee to the Vale, where her aunt Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie) is regent. Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen) facilitates her escape, but his intentions and end game, as always, remain a mystery.

Sansa’s sister Arya (Maisie Williams) is likewise en route to the Vale in hopes of reaching safe haven, but is traveling with the Hound (Rory McCann), who intends to ransom her off to her kinsman after having abandoned his post at King's Landing. While there seems to be a friendship building between the unlikely pairing of fugitives, the Hound remains on Arya's retribution list and the youngest Stark daughter has proved herself persistent, if nothing else.

To the North, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), driven by visions of a three-eyed raven, continues his journey beyond the Wall with the help of Hodor (Kristian Nairn) and siblings Meera (Ellie Kendrick) and Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie Sangster). Their travels could reunite Bran with his step brother Jon Snow (Kit Harington), but an imminent attack by the Wildling hordes and Jon’s unheeded warnings to his Night’s Watch brethren will make even a partial Stark family reunion unlikely.

On the arid continent of Essos, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) continues her slave liberation campaign in hopes of building the following needed to decisively conquer the Seven Kingdoms. Ruling over a society on which she’s imposed such massive changes, however, is a challenge and she’ll soon find herself distracted from her end goal by inspiration and betrayals alike. Whether she’s equipped to rule over a much greater kingdom is not in question, but how and when she’ll be able to reach those ever distant shores.

The most popular series in HBO’s history manages to stay on top of its increasingly complicated storyline, not to mention production schedule, delivering a number of water cooler moments without necessarily resorting to gimmickry or shock for shock's sake. That’s saying a lot considering how many characters the writers (but really author George R.R. Martin) kill off by season’s end. While much has been said already about TV’s “new normal,” where no character is sacred and therefore vulnerable, not many series have been able to pull it off with Thrones's same organic sensibility (a cutthroat medieval environment certainly helps).

The execution, as it were, hasn’t always been perfect though.

On reflection, the fourth season had at least one controversial death, where viewers questioned both the lead up and need, but that’s as much a fault of a meager, 10-episode season as Martin’s brutal source material. In the big picture, it’s a minor complaint about a season that delivered more than it disappointed. It’s certainly not enough to diminish the viewership of the upcoming season, which will likely be the show's darkest and most watched yet.

The Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray includes the 10 episodes that aired on HBO between April and June 2014:
  • Two Swords
  • The Lion and the Rose
  • Breaker of Chains
  • Oathkeeper
  • First of His Name
  • The Laws of Gods and Men
  • Mockingbird
  • The Mountain and the Viper
  • The Watchers on the Wall
  • The Children
The fifth season of Game of Thrones premieres on April 12, 2015 on HBO.





Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
Presented in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the 1080p, AVC-encoded transfer doesn’t look much different from past releases with its inky blacks and strong contrast. Some forest scenes can look a bit drab in comparison to the other locations, especially the high contrast environment of the Wildlings, but that’s likely by design given the storytelling. Color is incredibly rich, most notably in the sunny settings of the eastern territories and King’s Landing. Detail is likewise impeccable, though there are some hints of noise in more challenging images like the tightly concentrated, high contrast patterns in the North. Still, the picture is often quite breathtaking and no doubt superior to either broadcast or streaming presentations.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5
Dialogue in the English language 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently crisp, detailed, and intelligible. Surround effects can be fairly aggressive, and the various pans and environmental effects are consistently balanced and seamless. By comparison, LFE does not have as much of a presence, except for a few key battle sequences, but the track has a consistent, pleasing depth and fullness throughout.

Special Features Rating: 5/5
The In-Episode Guide continues to be a useful feature for diving deeper into the series’ mythology. Audio commentaries and featurettes round out another sizable collection of extras.

Previews and Recaps: Episodes include the "previously" and "next" on promos that originally aired with them.

In-Episode Guide: The exhaustive compendium provides descriptions of the show’s characters, locations, and history in context with events of each episode. Most of the information is in text form, but the histories come in video form and are unlocked as one progresses through the episodes (hint: if you don’t want to bother with the unlocking part, all the videos can be accessed on Disc 4)

Audio Commentaries
  • Episode One: “Two Swords” with Executive Producers/Writers/Directors David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell)
  • Episode Two: “The Lion and the Rose” with Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), Co-Executive Producer/Author George R.R. Martin, and Director Alex Graves
  • Episode Four: “Oathkeeper” with Director Michelle MacLaren and Director of Photography Robert McLachlan
  • Episode Five: “First of His Name” with Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark)
  • Episode Six: “The Laws of Gods and Men” with Director Alik Sakharov and Writer/Co-Producer Bryan Cogman
  • Episode Seven: “Mockingbird” with Aidan Gillen (Littlefinger), Kate Dickie (Lysa Arryn), Executive Producer Bernadette Caulfield, and Producer Chris Newman
  • Episode Eight: “The Mountain and the Viper” with Production Designer Deborah Riley, Costume Designer Michele Clapton, and Director of Photography Anette Haellmigk
  • Episode Nine: “The Watchers on the Wall” with Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Rose Leslie (Ygritte), and John Bradley (Samwell Tarly); second commentary with VFX Producer Steve Kullback and VFX Supervisor Joe Bauer
  • Episode Ten: “The Children” with Rory McCann (The Hound), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), and Director Alex Graves; second commentary with Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister)
[DISC ONE]

The Politics of Power: A Look Back at Season 3 (25:00, HD): The cast and crew recap the previous season.

New Characters and Locations (7:39, HD): A survey of the season’s new locales, including Meereen with Daenerys’s slave liberation efforts, Dorne with Oberyn Martell and his paramour Ellaria Sand, the Dreadfort with Ramsay Snow, Highgarden with Mace Tyrell, and the Haunted Forest with the Thenns.

Bastards of Westeros (7:16, HD): An explanation of the cultural and societal treatment of the bastard children of the noble houses of Westeros, focusing particularly on Jon and Ramsay Snow.

[DISC FOUR]

Behind the Battle for the Wall (37:11, HD): An in-depth behind-the-scenes of the preparation and filming of the epic battle sequence from the season’s ninth episode.

The Fallen: A Roundtable (29:37, HD): Roundtable discussion features six actors whose characters were killed off in the season. Co-Producer/Writer Bryan Cogman moderates.

Histories and Lore: Animated illustrations with character voice overs explain key events in Westeros history and culture. The items are also incorporated in the In-Episode Guide, but obviously they’re more accessible here.
  • House Martell with Oberyn Martell (3:54, HD)
  • House Baelish with Littlefinger (3:58, HD)
  • Dragons with Grand Maester Pycelle (3:42, HD)
  • Poisons with Oberyn Martell (3:38, HD)
  • The Bastards of Westeros with Ellaria Sand (2:07, HD)
  • The Iron Bank with Tycho Nestoris (2:24, HD)
  • Robert’s Rebellion with Oberyn Martell (4:40, HD)
  • Sellswords and Hedge Knights with Bronn (2:35, HD)
  • The Wall with Samwell Tarly (4:01, HD)
  • The Nations of the North with Tormund Giantsbane (4:03, HD)
  • The Kingsguard - Jaime Lannister with Jaime Lannister (3:36, HD)
  • The Kingsguard - Bronn with Bronn (2:26, HD)
  • The Maester’s Chain with Qyburn (2:28, HD)
  • The Death of Kings with Varys (3:01, HD)
  • Valyrian Steel with Jorah Mormont (3:02, HD)
  • Justice of the Seven Kingdoms with Bronn (2:59, HD)
Deleted Scenes
  • Bronn and Shae (1:52, HD)
  • Dany and Missandei (1:12, HD)
Blooper Reel (2:02, HD)

Printed Episode Guide: Summaries of the season’s 10 episodes.

Digital Copy: Available via iTunes or Ultraviolet, redemption expires on February 28, 2018.





Overall Rating: 4.5/5
The fourth season of Game of Thrones gets more of the same quality HBO Blu-ray treatment, from presentation to supplements. Followers of the show should have no reservations adding this latest release to their collection.

Reviewed By: Cameron Yee

Support HTF when you buy this title:
{C}{C}
 

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