Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has joined the 4K Ultra HD bandwagon with a gorgeous and often stunning H.265 encode in HDR10 with an amazing visual experience for the viewers. The film is as stunning as ever on this physical media disc and if you are a fan of physical media collections, the MCU or comic book movies as a whole, then this is the disc for you!
The 2160p video shows a welcomed uptick in definition and resolution, with some spots revealing more than in HD. Shot entirely on the Red Weapon Dragon camera system, capable of 8K resolution but mastered in a 2K digital intermediate, the freshly-minted transfer displays sharp, fine lines in nearly every scene, including those taking place on Ego’s planet. In the BD, these scenes, along with a good amount of CG imagery, were a bit softer, but the picture is consistently sharp in the UHD. The elaborate architectural design of Ego’s palace is easy to make out, and the surrounding alien foliage is clear and definite from a distance.
The hairs on Rocket are not only razor sharp but also move independently of each other. The cracks in Groot’s rough bark body are discrete, and the individual whiskers on the faces of Kurt Russell and Chris Pratt are striking. The loose wires and exposed pipes of Quill’s ship are plainly visible, while the most negligible scratch and imperfection everywhere gives the ship some character. The lettering on buttons is more distinct and legible, and the thick threading in the costumes is unmistakable, looking more aged than before. For more observant viewers, the makeup work of Gamora, Drax, and Nebula will reveal the most trifling and insignificant detail, adding to their realistic appearance, while facial complexions beneath the makeup appear natural with lifelike textures.
Although it is not always perfect, there are still a couple of blurrier spots compared to some of the best moments, and there are minor instances of aliasing along the sharpest edges. Nonetheless, the movie looks awesome!
Even more impressive is the improved contrast and brightness, where the UHD wins hands-down over its BD counterpart. The overall picture quality is noticeably brighter, providing the whole production with a bit more pep and enthusiasm. Whether it’s the fluffy clouds in the sky and Ayesha’s white furry coat or all the lights blinking on any given ship, the video delivers some of the whitest whites available on any format, providing various objects with an intensely sparkling radiance. Compared to the HD version, the brightest highlights are tighter and better controlled, making it possible to make out the tiniest details without sacrificing the luminescent glow of those said objects.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack is a significant improvement over the standard DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix from the Blu-ray. For those with an Atmos setup, the audio will engulf the entire room with sound, putting viewers in the middle of the action. The height channels are used effectively, immersing the audience in the film’s many exciting and action-packed sequences. The various ships and explosions in space soar and boom above the viewer, while smaller sounds, such as the rustling of leaves or the chirping of crickets, can be heard in the background. The dialogue is also clear and precise, always easy to understand over the sounds of the music and effects. Overall, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is an impressive upgrade and a great addition to the overall home theater experience.
In terms of special features, the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Ultra HD Blu-ray offers a decent amount of content. There is a commentary track with director James Gunn, which is an enjoyable listen for film fans. Gunn provides plenty of behind-the-scenes information and anecdotes about the making of the movie. There are also several featurettes, including “The Making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which provides a comprehensive look at the production process, from the writing of the script to the final edit of the film. Other featurettes include “Guardians Inferno Music Video,” which is a fun and catchy song with a retro vibe, and “Visionary Intro,” which gives viewers a quick introduction to the film’s visual effects.
Overall, the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Ultra HD Blu-ray is a fantastic release that does justice to the film’s impressive visuals and audio. The improved resolution, contrast, and brightness provide a more immersive and enjoyable viewing experience, and the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is a significant improvement over the standard audio from the Blu-ray. The special features offer a decent amount of content, with the “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!” ride-through being a particular highlight. Fans of the movie and the Guardians franchise will undoubtedly be pleased with this release, and it’s a must-have for anyone who wants to experience the film in the best possible quality.
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