The Greatest Showman Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews this musical extravaganza that celebrates the birth of show business, and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing, to create a spectacle, that became a worldwide sensation.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

95

Details:

Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox – 2017
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 105 minutes
Genre: Musical/Drama

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC @
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Zac Efron
Directed by: Michael Gracey
Music by: John Debney, John Trapanese, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
Written by: Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon
Region Code: A

Release Date: April 10, 2018

“This is Me!”

My Take:

Inspired by the imagination of P. T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

I wouldn’t consider myself to be a big fan of musicals, but, I am a fan of entertaining films, and if they happen to be a musical, that’s fine by me. My wife is a huge Hugh Jackman fan, so, when we were at the theater and saw the trailer for The Greatest Showman, there wasn’t any doubt that we were going to see it upon its release, and we did. The film is inspired by the world renown P.T. Barnum, a visionary showman who founded the circus concept, that would go on to become the Barnum and Bailey Circus.

Taking a snapshot of his life, the dramatized storyline focuses on Barnum’s inspiration, family life, penchant for grandiose entertaining, and the discovery of using rare acts to attract audiences to his shows. The narrative eschews intimate details of Barnum’s life, focusing more on a rather simple story, which is connected by the film’s series of musical set pieces. I didn’t find that to be a negative, and thought that the story had ample heart, tangible subtext, and a cache of characters and performances that complimented its thematic tone.

The songs written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, one of which (This is Me!), won this year’s Golden Globe Award, are terrific, and along with its accompanying performances by the cast, underscore the story. The film has epic aspirations, but, its narrower scope doesn’t quite reach that high. It’s production elements are excellent though, and I appreciated the dedication of its cast and crew which shines through brilliantly. As I sat and watched it at home, I found myself sitting back and enjoying the choreography, music, and formulaically fun story even more this time than the first. The Greatest Showman may not be the most well-rounded musical to come down the pike, but, its certainly entertaining to watch, and that’s where it counts. My wife loves it and rates it among her top ten favorites. High praise indeed.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic elements including a brawl.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

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Dolby Atmos Rating: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion: 
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The Greatest Showman comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD The Greatest Showman was rendered from 3.4K and 6.5K sources and finished on a 4K DI. With the limited exposure to Ultra HD sourced from a 4K Digital Intermediates we are left to judge based upon what we have seen thus far.

The Greatest Showman is a period-based film that is boldly colorful throughout, and this Ultra HD rendering makes the most of its elements. With an appreciable increase in detail and emboldened chromatic highlights the image appears sharper and vivid when compared to the 1080p version. Primary and secondary colors are beautifully rich, while whites appear gradational and vibrant. When brought together, the combination of rich color, sepia, and gradational gray tones literally pop off of the screen.

I also enjoyed the presentation’s implementation of HDR. This film contains a host of brightly lit interior/exterior and low-level interior/exterior sequences. The cinematography makes frequent use of shadows, cascading/streaming light and a mix of light/dark elements. It’s application here is used very well drawing upon HDR’s ability to create stark contrast between the two. The added dimension in blacks, and shadows as well as the detail rich specular highlights are immediately noticeable.

The film has a variety of sequences that make use of close up camera angles that show off the superb rendering of detail. At times the level of minutia is outstanding, as even the finest nuance in the physical features, period clothing and interior sets is resolvable. The exterior shots and CGI featured in the story have superb depth which adds an enriching, and eye-catching aesthetic to them. The difference between viewing The Greatest Showman in high definition and Ultra HD is a definitive one that exemplifies the strengths the new format has to offer. I hope we see more like it!

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the less aggressive variety, but, considering the source material that’s not a complete surprise. Its use of audio objects placed above is limited to atmospherics and occasional panning fills. This is done to good effect when implemented, and created an enriching level of immersion, that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. Where the Atmos presentation excelled was in the use of object-based sounds during the film’s musical set pieces or the devastating event in the third act. In many respects the track retained the feeling of being front focused, however when called upon its ability to render acoustics, point to point imaging and expanding the breadth of the soundstage never disappointed. While this Atmos mix doesn’t make constant use of discretely placed audio objects from above, I found myself completely involved when it mattered. I found this to be an enjoyable audio presentation that absolutely complimented the source material.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
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  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

 

Audio: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 

 

The Greatest Showman comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

This is a high quality and faithful video presentation that enhances the grandiose cinematic visual style employed in the film. Fidelity appears intact as colors are vividly reproduced via lustrous primaries, and rich secondary hues that look simply beautiful in high definition. The clothing/costumes have excellent tonal variation with descriptively intricate chromatic detail that collectively leap off of the screen. Fleshtone reproduction can be dependent on the particular visual scheme utilized, however, in general they appear warm, and lifelike.

Blacks are dynamic, gradationally satisfying, and deep, which is accentuated by contrast that is spot on and predominantly stable over the course of the presentation. The blend during sequences containing mixed light/dark elements looks superlative. Resolution is excellent especially during close ups which reveal crisp definition and fine textural nuance. Wide angle shots exhibit estimable dimension with appreciable object detail. Softening is apparent from time to time but appears innate to the photography. The Greatest Showman looks terrific on Blu-ray.

The DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio soundtrack has excellent dynamic range and detail. Dialog is articulately reproduced through the center channel and maintains a position of prominence within the front soundstage. This isn’t an aggressive surround mix, but, when applied the surround channels generate plenty of atmosphere and discrete sounds. Front and rear channel imaging is spot on as details and spatial cues, mate perfectly with the events transpiring onscreen. Low frequency effects are appropriately applied and provide tangible richness to the music and live sounds. I found this to be an entertaining and complimentary audio presentation.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: The Greatest Showman Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: The Greatest Showman Blu-ray
  • The Family Behind The Greatest Showman Featurette
  • The Songs
  • The Spectacle
  • Music Machine
  • Sing-A-Long
  • Director’s Audio Commentary
  • Galleries
  • Trailers
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Inspired by the life of P.T. Barnum The Greatest Showman is a entertaining musical with epic aspirations that aren’t quite met, but, that doesn’t prevent it from being an appealing and fun film experience. Speaking of which, it’s presentation on Ultra HD Blu-ray in this Combo Pack from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is outstanding, featuring sparkling all around video quality, enriching lossless sound, including a complimentary Dolby Atmos mix, and a fan friendly supplemental offering. The Greatest Showman is easy to recommend, especially for those that enjoy big screen musicals.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems 

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