Moon 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 241, July 2019

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Duncan Jones
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Dolby Digital+ 5.1
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This is the 10th anniversary remastered edition of "Moon," a modern sci-fi classic. Sam Bell (Rockwell) is nearing the completion of his three-year long contract with Lunar Industries, mining Earth's primary source on energy on the dark side of the moon. Alone with only his base's vigilant computer Gerty as his sole companion, Bell's extended isolation has taken its toll. His only link to the outside world comes via satellite messages from his wife and young daughter. He longs to return home, but a terrible accident on the lunar surface leads to a disturbing discovery that contributes to his growing sense of paranoia and dislocation 250,000 miles away from home. (Gary Reber)

Special features include on the 4K Ultra disc all-new conversation with Writer/Director Duncan Jones and Journalist Joe Utichi (HD 09:23) and never-before-seen deleted scenes (HD ). The Blu-ray includes commentary with Writer/Director Duncan Jones and Producer Stuart Fenegan, commentary with Jones, Director of Photography Gary Shaw, Concept Designer Gavin Rothery and Production Designer Tony Noble; Jones' short film "Whistle" (HD 28:46); a making-of featurette (HD 15:18) and "Creating The Visual Effects" (HD 11:09); a Science Center Q&A with Jones (HD 20:48); the filmmaker's Q&A at the Sundance Film Festival (HD 11:15); the theatrical trailer; upfront previews and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

The 2.40:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed on Kodak Vision3 film stock in anamorphic Panavision® using the Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL camera system and sourced from a 2K (not 4K) master Digital Intermediate format. As the 2K Digital Intermediate has been upconverted to 2160p, there is no real gain in native resolution. Film grain is never objectionable and very light, only apparent in a few close-up segments. The appearance is minimalist in production design and bland in color fidelity but effectively nicely rendered. Fidelity is excellent, though, predominately grayish in hue, except for a scattering of colorful objects that adorn Sam's living quarters and the Post-It Notes stuck to Gerty's body shell. Subtle hue shadings are apparent. Fleshtone rendering is perfectly natural for the most part, but at times is pale looking. HDR contrast is excellent. Black levels are deep and shadow delineation is revealing, such as the lunar surface and the shadings of the exteriors of the lunar vehicles. Spot lighting effects offer intense bright whites, which nicely contrast with the otherwise sterile environment. Resolution, for the most part, is revealing of good detail, however, slight softness is at times noticeable. Object detail can be impressive, such as the rugged terrain deviations on the lunar surface and the depiction of the worn appearance of the moon station's interior. Sam's clothing and space suit, as well as the intricacies of the harvester and the soil spewing out its rear and nicely detailed. Other fine detail is evident in Sam's facial features, beard stubble and scratches over his eye. WOW! segments are from 16:25 to 18:02, 24;50 to 25:44, 54:42 to 58:23, 01:05:38 to 01:06:55 and 01:17:12 to 01:17:40. While there is a deliberate lack of visual flair to the film, this is an eye-catching and engrossing visual experience that establishes this new edition as the definitive collector's choice. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD-7.1-channel soundtrack is newly remixed and approved by Writer/Director Duncan Jones. Also included is the original Dolby Digital 5.1-channel audio mix. Clint Mansell's eerie and haunting synthesizer score, accentuated with piano, is superb and enjoys wonderful clarity and spatial dimension, both across the soundstage and as soundfield envelopment. The surround extension is aggressive, both at ear-level emanating from the four surround channels and within the height layer. The music uses deep bass to enhance and support sound effects such as the rumbling harvester mining machine sound or door and hatch and sunshade closings. Atmospheric din is fairly constant and extends to the height layer as well. Deep bass is never exaggerated but well balanced to embolden the dynamics. Dialogue is intelligible and nicely integrated spatially throughout, and Kevin Spacey's voicing of the robotic Gerty is perfectly positioned slightly forward and enveloping, and characterized as a steady monotone.

The Immersive Sound element features a strong extension of the synthesizer score as well as strong directional sound effects such as those associated with the mining harvester. Additionally, a rather constant and variable-sounding atmospheric sound effect is present throughout, except for Sam's sleeping quarters. At one point an alarm buzzer goes off loudly, signaling damage to the space station. In another segment, Sam's voice can be heard as he speaks to Gerty. When inside the vehicles used to move from the station to the harvester, there are sound effects associated with the bumpy ride. In another segment, the voice of a Lunar Industries spokesperson is heard, Sam's reverberant voice is heard in the clone unactivated-state corridor below the space station. Overall, these elements make for a good height layer use.

This is a well-crafted holosonic® spherical surround soundtrack that delivers a compelling and contemplative energy with effective soundfield envelopment. (Gary Reber)