Just when you think a studio like Disney has given up on releasing its catalog of live action films on 4K, along comes M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable from 2000.
The Production: 4.5/5
Unbreakable was an interesting concept for a movie, long before Marvel changed the current movie landscape – build an origin story of a super hero, but only give the audience the first act spread out over a two-hour running time. Hot off the surprise success of The Sixth Sense, writer-director M. Night Shyamalan was given the opportunity to make any movie he wanted, and he chose Unbreakable, working with Bruce Willis for a second time as everyman David Dunn, living in separate bedrooms with his estranged wife Audrey (Robin Wright) and young son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark), a promising football star sidelined by a car accident in college and now working as a security guard at the local university’s football stadium. When David miraculously becomes the sole survivor of a major commuter train collision travelling between New York and Philadelphia completely unscathed, he begins to receive notes from a mysterious and unknown bystander, asking him questions like “How many days of your life have you been sick?” The source of these mystery notes is comic book collector Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), a man suffering from osteogenesis imperfecta, aka brittle bones, who quickly steps further into David’s life, forcing David to soon realize his true purpose in life.
The movie is a slow burn, taking it’s time to arrive at its ultimate reveal, and it is that slow discovery that makes Unbreakable so interesting and intriguing. It is quite arguably Shyamalan’s best film, followed closely by Split and The Sixth Sense. Speaking of Split, audiences would eventually be surprised as that film concluded that Unbreakable and Split were part of a trilogy that would come to a disappointing conclusion with Glass. Regardless, both Unbreakable and Split are films that can stand on their own, and Unbreakable taps into the essence of comic book heroes with respect long before Marvel brought Iron Man to the big screen.
3D Rating: NA
Disney first brought Unbreakable to HD on Blu-ray back in 2008, and I revisited that disc two years ago in preparation for my review of Glass, and was shocked at how soft and dark that transfer was. Disney has finally released Unbreakable on 4K UHD Blu-ray featuring a newly minted 4k transfer, and the news gets even better for those who have not made the jump to 4k yet, because the included Blu-ray is NEW, sourced from the same new master with a higher bitrate than the old 2008 Blu-ray. However, this has always been a rather darkly lit film, with daytime scenes often appearing under grey overcast skies. The 2160p transfer with HDR10 high dynamic range is a definite upgrade from that 2008 Blu-ray (as is the included Blu-ray, but not as much, obviously). HDR allows the transfer to better resolve those darker scenes, providing stronger shadow detail that was soften lost previously. Detail is stronger overall, revealing fabric textures, facial features, and film grain is more organic. This new transfer has a much more pronounced bluish tone, yet colors are bold and vivid when necessary, without appearing overly saturated. There are some occasional soft moments in the film (the beginning of chapter four during the memorial service is a standout), but overall fans will be rather pleased with this as an upgrade.
The 2008 Blu-ray included both a 5.1 PCM track as well as a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. While a new Dolby Atmos mix was not created for this release, Disney has provided on both the UHD and Blu-ray a DTS-HD MA ES-encoded 6.1 mix (despite the fact that both the liner notes and disc menu indicate a 5.1 mix). The movie was released theatrically with a 6.1 mix, so this is perhaps the first time that mix has appeared on home video. Unbreakable is a film that, for much of its running time, plays in typical drama mode, with dialogue driving the story. Where the mix really comes into play are the spacious outdoor sequences like the football game in the stadium or the neighborhood park, Elijah’s fall down the subway station steps, or when James Newton Howard’s score helps drive the big reveal during the third act. LFE is good, adding a deeper end to the score and sound effects. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.
Special Features: 2/5
The UHD Disc contains no special features whatsoever, while the Blu-ray disc contains the same recycled extras from the 2001 Vista Series DVD release in standard definition.
Behind the Scenes (480i; 14:16)
Comic Books and Superheroes (480i; 19:21)
Deleted Scenes (480i; 28:28)
The Train Station Sequence (480i; 8:20)
Night’s First Fight Sequence (480i; 2:27)
Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy in UHD on Movies Anywhere.
Unbreakable finally gets its due with this release on 4K UHD Blu-ray, sporting a new 4K transfer with a 6.1 audio mix, and a remastered Blu-ray to boot.
Some of our content may contain marketing links, which means we will receive a commission for purchases made via those links. In our editorial content, these affiliate links appear automatically, and our editorial teams are not influenced by our affiliate partnerships. We work with several providers (currently Skimlinks and Amazon) to manage our affiliate relationships. You can find out more about their services by visiting their sites.