In 2016, we got our first modern live action look at The Suicide Squad in the David Ayers helmed flick. It ended up being a disjointed and forced take on the band of criminal misfits, but still was enjoyable enough, and the 4K release was very good from a technical quality. But there was so much potential left on the table, so Warner Bros and DC came back to the premise with the James Gunn led, The Suicide Squad, which passively acknowledges the 2016 flick, and has some carryover in actors and characters, but fundamentally stands on its own. I’m not reviewing the film itself today (though, I fully enjoyed it), but rather diving into the 4K release to find out if this second shot at making a top quality film out of this band of morally flexible “heroes” resulted in am equally top quality release on the premium physical media format (spoiler alert…it did)
If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon
|Format(s):||UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-66)|
|Released By:||Warner Bros. Home Entertainment|
|Release Date:||October 26th, 2021|
|Video Format / Codec:||4K: H.265 (HEVC)|
BR: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Native 4K, 2160/24p
(3280 x 2160 at 23.976 frames/sec, progressive)
Full HD, 1080/24p
(1920 x 1080 at 23.976 frames/sec, progressive)
|Digital Intermediate (DI):||4K (from digital RAW)|
|High-Dynamic Range (HDR):||Dolby Vision (MEL), HDR10+, HDR10|
|Audio Format(s):||English (4K/BR): |
Dolby Atmos / TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Additional Tracks available in French (Canada), Italian, Spanish, Hindi, Hungarian, Polish, Tamil, Telugu
|Subtitles:||English SDH, French, Italian SDH, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Swedish|
|Packaging:||Dual disc snap case w/ slipcover*|
*Slipcover may only be available on initial pressing
|Region Coding:||4K: Region-free|
BR: Region A (locked)
I’m getting this out of the way up front: This is probably one of the best films I have seen in 2021. Filmed in resolutions up to 8K, and presented in the widescreen IMAX ratio of 1.90:1, this 4K was a treat for the eyes. The amount of detail and clarity was astonishing, with closeups of characters’ faces, both CG and practical visual effects, environments and more coming in crystal clear, with nary a hint of softness or artifacting. Whether it be the fine details of the makeup being applied on Harley Quinn’s face as she is being whisked to the presidential palace, or the little bird getting it’s taste of sweet revenge from the remainder of Savant’s “head”, everything was rendered and presented crisply. It is noted here as well that this film comes on a 100GB Ultra HD disc and that extra space was put to good use as compression artifacts were virtually non-existent. As mentioned BG effects are very sharp, but if there is an area to get nitpicky, there is some a bit of softness that creeps in on those elements, but it really is barely noticeable (you’d have to look for it, and up close).
On the grain front, this was shot digitally, so there is no real film grain here, but it does look like some digital grain was added, and seemed to add to the aesthetic of the film. It is very light, and looks mostly organic. Even if you dislike the idea of grain, you will not even see it given the visual feast your eyes will be in the process of trying to consume.
Warner Bros. decided to give us all three flavors of HDR on this disc, which I always appreciate. As my theater is set up for Dolby Vision and standard HDR, but I do like the idea of supporting HDR10+ and folks who do have equipment capable of displaying it can have that upgraded experience as well. Back on track, the colors in this film are really well handled, with reds and oranges getting a nice boost amongst the cooler grays and teals. Whether it be Harley’s dress and lipstick, or orange prison jumpsuits, they pop on the screen without being comically oversaturated. The rest of the color palette, including the greens of the jungles and yellow on Javelin’s suit, all get a nice uptick and they really come alive. This film is not meant to be an over the top color feast, but where color is meant to cut through with impact, it’s reflected as such in the presentation There is little to no perceived color banding or color blocking visible throughout the presentation.
The HDR does a fantastic job of managing shadows and highlights with both, remaining detailed and appropriately impactful without crush or blowouts. Even challenging scenes, including the nighttime island incursion and the near white-out of the rain as the team approaches the Jotunheim, presented incredibly cleanly without elevation or loss of detail (unless intended). Specular highlights, from fireworks and explosions, to spotlight beams cutting through the dark of night, are piercing but balanced.
The standard Blu-ray included in this set is also quite good, but it certainly has its struggles here and there. In addition to the more limited color space available based on the technology, it’s also a bit limited on bandwidth to render details as clean as could be possible on the format. This is likely a trade-off made to keep the features on the Blu-ray and it’s one I’m happy to accept as the 4K owner, but also something someone would need to consider if buying the same Blu-ray disc as a standalone. I did observe some instances of more pronounced color banding and some light artifacts, but it’s also a modern digital movie with the high resolution source, so these really are nit-picks. That said, between the two. the 4K is a stunner while the Blu-ray is “just” very good.
Video Score (4K): 4.9 / 5
Video Score (BR): 4.4 / 5
Ok, so the video quality was amazing so this is where the disc is going to let us down, right? Wrong. This is also a reference quality audio mix that will give any home theater a proper workout. The Atmos mix is as equally a feast for your eardrums as the video was for your retinas. But first, let’s get this obligatory fact out up front. Dialog was very well handled, both up front on screen and when coming from off-screen, keeping a clean and clear presentation of character vocals. Given the amount of action in this film, it easily could have been lost, so it was a pleasure that it was properly in balance, never missing a word, nor having it be unnaturally bumped up.
The rest of the room was alive during this film, with an excellent use of the surrounds and heights for environment building when appropriate or managing the objects as they zipped around the audioscape. Placement of objects was precise and appropriate for the action, whether it be the sound of bullets zipping by or rotor blades overhead, and the score and environment were encompassing, properly presenting the music in addition to buildings crumbling, waves crashing in, and the rustling of rats in the trees.
For bass, get your subs warmed up because this has plenty for them to do.Whether it’s the chest pound from bullet fire, the low rumble from explosions, the thump from a bass drum, or bass drop to build intensity, everything comes through with impact and presence and it barely lets up for the nearly 132 minute runtime.
Thankfully for our standard Blu-ray fans, this same mix is on both discs.
Audio Score (4K/BR): 4.9 / 5
Special Features and Packaging:
Ok, so great video and audio, this is where I normally trash mass market comic-based films. But I can’t necessarily do that here. Expectations set accordingly, this is not a collector’s or limited edition type of release so getting a bunch of physical bonuses or a plethora of interviews and movie length featurettes is not in the cards. But Warner actually did a really nice job on this front for the type of standard release. Owners of this release are getting an audio commentary track from James Gunn on both discs, and on the Blu-ray get a series of making-of featurettes, four scene breakdowns (one is on the 4K disc as well), deleted scenes, gag reel, multiple trailers, as well as featurette focusing on the comic book origins. Overall a pretty nice selection of features that were both interesting and rewatchable for the fan.
On packaging, my copy was the standard slipcover release with artwork matching on both the clip and the case. The discs themselves do technically have artwork, but its of the monotone variety using black ink and the standard reflective disc to display some pretty basic designs. So if you were looking for a letdown, it was probably here, but honestly it’s better than many other releases.
Features Score: 4.2 / 5
OK, so should you buy this? This will be short and sweet. If you enjoyed this film, or you just like having some 4K demo material, this is a must buy. It has reference quality visuals and a demo quality audio track packed along a decent list of extra features that should make it into anyone’s collection.
Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: YES!
If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon
Summary and Overall Scores:
Warner Bros and The Suicide Squad came out swinging hard with this top quality release. They did all the right things from capture to its final transfer onto the physical media format. Aside from a limited/collector’s type edition with even more features, there is not much more I could have asked for on a home media release.
Experience Score**: 4.8 / 5 (Reference Quality)
** Experience score does not take into account the quality of the film itself, just the technical presentation, packaging and included features.
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