Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 247, January 2020

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.
Walt Disney Home Entertainment
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Intense sequences of fantasy action, violence, and brief scary images
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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(THX® Digitally Mastered):
Joachim Rønning
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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The story of Disney's most iconic villain continues in "Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil." After sharing many happy years together, Maleficent (Jolie) and her goddaughter Aurora (Fanning) begin to question the tangled ties that bind them as they are torn apart by Aurora's upcoming wedding, unexpected allies, and new forces at play. But their love proves strong. (Gary Reber)

Special features include the feaurettes "Origins Of The Fey" (HD 03:02), "Aurora's Wedding" (HD 022:31) , "If You Had Wings" (HD 04:15) and "VFX Reel" (HD 02:11); two extended scenes (HD 03:41); outtakes (HD 01:53); the music video "You Can't Stop The Girl" performed by Bebe Rexha (HD 02:43) and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

The 2.39:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally using Panavision Millennium DXL2 and Red Helium 8K camera systems at 8K 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. Theatrically, there was a 3D presentation with conversion by DNEG, but no 3D Blu-ray was provided for review.

The cinematography is wonderful, with engaging lighting contrasts that create both beauty and dark imagery. HDR contrast is excellent with naturally bright highlights, deep, solid black levels and revealing shadow delineation. At times, the darker shadings exhibit a desaturated color palette, virtually absent of color. Otherwise, the color palette is quite dynamic with hues expressive of the wide color gamut displayed, The visuals are stunning, especially in the scene with Maleficent in a tunnel of grayish white fibers leading to a dark underground lair of Maleficent's dark fey. Shadows and spot lighting create exceptionally dynamic imagery. Colors in the daylight are nicely saturated and vibrant. Resolution is superb. Facial features and costumes are well defined with finely nuanced detail that captures attention in every frame. Production design is mesmerizing throughout, creating a world of extraordinary fantasy, especially in the scenes of the dark fey flying in their cave. The contrast differences between the colorful scenes and the desaturated, almost black-and-white scenes is visually engaging. Throughout is exhibited stunning visual and motion capture effects.

WOW! segments are numerous such as 06:57 to 09:21, 12:42 to 13:04, 16:36 to 18:32, 23:12 to 25:00, 40:52 to 45:08, 54:01 to 56:32, 59:26 to 01:01:23, 01:06:24 to 01:07:20, 01:15:58 to 01:18:20, 01:21:12 to 01:21:55, 01:28:48 to 01:30:27 and 01:46:03 to 01:49:03.

This is beautifully colorful picture with dramatic dark segments and one that the entire family will enjoy. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack features a beautiful and expansive orchestral/choral score with a very wide soundsage that is deep with enveloping extension to the four surrounds, creating an impressively dimensional soundfield. Within the dimensional scope of the music the action is engaging with lots of panning and discrete positioning of sound effects. Atmospherics create a suspension of disbelief in a fantasy land of old world kings and queens and, of course, the dark fey and the dreaded Maleficent. Foley sound effects are precise throughout. Sound effects are aggressively directonalized and enhanced with energized bass effects. Deep bass can be deep and powerful with extensions to sub-25 Hz, especially in the .1 LFE channel. Dialogue is intelligible throughout with generally excellent spatial integration.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised the aggressive extension of only the choral of the music score and effective ambient sounds and sound effects such as subtle young fey voices, wind, torch flames, birds and insects, a water fall, flapping wings, thunderous sounds, explosions and other minor effects. Certainly, with more attention to the opportunities presented in the imagery, this could have been a much more effective Immersive Sound experience.

This is a wonderful holosonic® ear-level soundtrack with segments of effective height layer enhancement, especially the choral segments. The soundtrack is propelled by an expansive and dynamic orchestral/choral score, effective sound effects and effective atmospherics. (Gary Reber)