The Green Mile (1999) | 4K Blu-ray Review


For more than a decade, this movie has been locked away behind an inferior Blu-ray release. But do we have to suffer the punishment of yet another poor release, or does this new 4K transfer offer us some salvation. Let’s find out.


If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Buy it here!

The Green Mile 4K Blu-ray cover art

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-100)
Blu-ray (BD-50)
Digital Code
Released By:Warner Bros.
Release Date:February 22nd, 2022
Video Format / Codec:4K: H.265 (HEVC)
BR: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Resolution:4K: Native 4K, 2160/24p
BR: Full HD, 1080/24p
Digital Intermediate (DI):4K (from negatives)
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):HDR10
Aspect Ratio:4K: 1.85:1
BR: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s):English (4K):: 
Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

English (BR):: 
Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)


Additional tracks also available in French, French (Canada), German, Italian and Spanish
Subtitles:English SDH, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Norwegian, Swedish
Packaging:Dual-disc snapcase with slipcover*

*Slipcover may be limited to initial pressings
Region Coding:4K: Region-free
BR: Region A (locked)

Video Review:

We’ve had a few different standard Blu-ray releases of this movie over the years but they have always leveraged the same encode we have had since the first release back in 2009. I have available the 2012 version of that release which I’ll use in my comparisons below. That encode was not bad, but it was also not great either, suffering from some slight softness, poor grain structure and somewhat oversaturated yellow tones. But thankfully this new release is a ground up remaster with a brand new 4K scan of the original negatives bringing the best out of this film.

On the detail front there is a lot more to see in the textural qualities across the board. SKin and hair naturally get a significant boost bringing out pores, individual standards of eyebrow and more. But we also get to see a lot more detail in the peeling paint on the cell bars, fine patterns on suit coats, dust and dirt littering the prison work yard, and fineness in the the detail of smoke from the punishments being carried out for the prison’s inhabitants that all seemed to drive home that much more impact. Grain structure is also much more improved with it now appearing fine and organic. A few scenes with elevated grain still fit with the filmic appearance unlike the older transfer where the grain became more noticeable and blotchy and often distracted from the visual presentation on screen.

Color and dynamic range had a similarly noticeable benefit from the efforts put into this release. The color timing has been shifted to a much more natural look for most scenes and a bit cooler look to the scenes within the prison, which I personally found far more appropriate than those accentuated warm tones we have had in the past. Additionally the color quality is much improved with more nuance in tonality and richness being well balanced to provide punch where needed, but not go over the top. The dynamic range is also noticeably better with outdoor and indoor nighttime scenes getting much deeper blacks and whites still lighting up bright but without the blowout we would see in the past release. Specular and intense highlights from sparks were also more impactful and eye-squinting.
The included Blu-ray is actually a bit of a disappointment, as we did not get the same excellent remaster effort and instead have the exact same disc as that original 2009 Blu-ray release with it’s lesser encoded quality and overly warm color timing. But I guess if you prefer that look to this movie and still want it on your shelf, this is a way to have both. 

Video Score (4K): 4.8 / 5 (Reference)

Video Score (BR): 3.5 / 5 (Above Average)



Comparisons

Audio Review:

Honestly I would have been OK if they just improved the visuals as they did as the older 5.1 mix was very good. But they went back and gave us a new Dolby Atmos mix that took everything that old 5.1 mix did well, and did it all just a little bit better. From the strong clear dialog and action coming from my center channel to the purposeful but well-blended effects from the surrounds, and the solid usage of overhead channels to drop you well into the film, this mix in one word was excellent. The bass was present and impactful where it needed to be, providing a fullness to the sound while also providing an appropriate auditory and tactile experience in a film that only needed touches of it. Overall I was very pleased with everything on board. The one thing I would have appreciated was the inclusion of the original track as well, but that is something for which I won’t dock any points. 

For those who may not have an Atmos enabled system, the base 7.1 mix is also an improvement over the older 5.1 with more immersiveness and balance than that already very good mix.

Audio Score (4K/BR): 4.6 / 5 (Excellent)

Special Features and Packaging:

Warner Bros ported over everything from the standard releases as it’s all contained on that original Blu-ray disc master that we have, and thankfully it’s all very good and enjoyable for a fan of the film. They did thankfully also put the audio commentary on the 4K disc but thats about it. The biggest disappointment is we did not really get anything new here which would have been a nice touch, and did not even get the extended documentary on the film from the 2014 Diamond Luxe release, instead only getting the truncated version.

For packaging, this is pretty standard issue stuff. Thankfully we did get some new cover art, although I’m not sure I’ll be putting it up on display and the rest is a standard dual disc case. It’s on par with a standard 4K release and my scores will reflect as such.

Features Score: 3.6 / 5 (Good)

Buy/Upgrade-worthiness:

If you like this film (and even if you just like good 4K discs) this is definitely one for the collection. It is a much improved release over the older Blu-ray release and if for some reason you still want that one, you still get that disc here as well.

Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: YES!

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Buy it here!

Summary and Overall Scores:

This reviewer is very pleased with what we got for this film. I was not sure how Warner Bros would approach this release and thankfully they did some in a way that serves the film well and gives home media enthusiasts a great disc to have on their shelf.

Experience Score**: 4.5 / 5  (Excellent)

** 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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