Sony’s 4K UHD Blu-ray release of Writer-Director Paul W.S. Anderson’s latest video game movie adaptation Monster Hunter is a definite feast for the eyes and ears.
The Production: 3/5
Paul W.S. Anderson is best known for his movie adaptations of video games, particularly the Resident Evil franchise, which starred his frequent collaborator (and current wife) Milla Jovovich. With Resident Evil: The Final Chapter closing out the series in 2016, Capcom and Anderson set their sites another popular game franchise, Monster Hunter.
In the desert, a team has all but disappeared. Another team, led by Artemis (Milla Jovovich), has been sent in to locate and if at all possible extract them. As they travel deeper into the desert, a storm appears and transports them to an alternate universe or dimension where giant kaiju rule the land, feeding on the few remaining humans. One of those remaining humans is known simply as Hunter (Tony Jaa), who speaks an unknown language to Artemis and her team, who are eventually wiped out by the kaiju. Hunter and Artemis strike up a partnership as they make their way across the desert to a more fortified location, where they meet up with The Admiral (Ron Perlman), and try to take on the kaiju themselves.
Monster Hunter is a fun diversion for much of its running time. Sure, it’s dumb, almost mind-numbingly so, but the action sequences as well as the chemistry between Milla Jovovich and Tony Jaa make it worth the ride.
3D Rating: NA
Monster Hunter was captured in 4.5K resolution using Arri Alexa LF cameras and completed as a 2K digital intermediate in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio with Dolby Vision HDR (according to IMDB). Sony’s 4K UHD Blu-ray release has upscaled that 2K DI to 2160p, using HDR10. The results are breathtaking, with exceptional detail – look at the military unit’s drive through the desert during the first act. Every crevice and crack in rock formations is expertly defined. Colors appear more vivid with more natural gradations within the film’s reality. Contrast is excellent, with deep blacks that retain strong shadow details.
The Dolby Atmos track is something of a surprise for a new title release, given Sony’s deal with IMAX-Enhanced which usually include DTS-X tracks instead. This is a demo-worthy and reference quality mix, fully immersive and is as fun as the movie. When monsters attack, the mix places you right in the middle of it all. Sounds move fluidly around the room, even above you at times, with strong LFE that adds emphasis to the crashes, explosions, and other impactful noises while never becoming too boomy. Dialogue, even with all that is going on in the mix, remains clear and understandable throughout.
Special Features: 2/5
All of the special features are available on the UHD disc, as well as the included Blu-ray edition of the film.
The Monster Hunters (1080p; 7:51): A very brief look at the cast and the characters they play.
For the Players: Game to Screen (1080p; 6:40): A lot of info is crammed into this under seven minute EPK piece, from obtaining the rights to the game from Capcom to getting the movie made.
Monstrous Arsenal (1080p; 5:02): A look at the various weapons used in the movie.
Deleted Scenes (1080p; 3:19): Two scenes are included – Steeler Joke #1 and Steeler Joke #2.
Previews (2160p; 2:33): Trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy (in UHD where available) on Movies Anywhere.
Monster Hunter is a fun but forgettable diversion, the very definition of a popcorn movie. Sony’s 4K UHD presentation is excellent and demo-worthy.
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