The Northman 4 Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 261, May/June 2022

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Strong bloody violence,some sexual content, and nudity
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-100)
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Robert Eggers
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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In "The Northman," after witnessing firsthand the murder o his father, a Viking prince (Alexander Skarsgard) devotes his life to avenge his father's death, save his mother, and reclaim his kingdom. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Co-Writer/Diector Robert Eggers; six featurettes: "An Ageless Epic" (HD 11:17), "The Faces Of Vikings" (HD 10:27), "Amleth's Journey To Manhood" (HD 03:56), "Shooting The Raid" (HD 04:10), "Knattleikr Game" (HD 02:42) and "A Norse Landscape" (HD 04:43); 10 deleted and extended scenes (HD 12:28) and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

The 2.00:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed in Super 35 on 35 mm Kodak Vision3 film stock using the Arriflex 235, Arriflex 435 ES and Panavision Millennium XL2 camera systems and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. Film grain is extremely fine and virtually unnoticeable. Picture quality exhibits naturalness and realism throughout, The color palette exhibits warm hues with nuanced shadings. Browns, grays and greens dominate the palette. At times the scenes are so dark that colors are desaturated with lifeless hues, Some of the scenes with fire imagery are spectacular as well as the numerous terrain settings, including an erupting volcano. Flesh tones are natural. HDR contrast is superb with deep shadows and black levels. White levels appear perfectly natural in torches, the moon, and daylight. Resolution is excellent with fine detail exhibited during closeups of facial features, garments and earthy textures, but otherwise a big soft. Facial features such lines pores, beards and hair are captured with realism.This is a hauntingly creative pictures that is generally dark in overall appearance and should be viewed in the dark. Production design is creative and conveys a sense of mystery and realism. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is dynamic sounding and features an energized orchestral/choral score that is rhythmic with loud pounding drum segments. There are numerous theme variations which results in a compelling score. The male choral segments are powerful. The music is enveloping with a wide and deep soundstage and aggressive surround energy. Atmospherics sound realistic, For the most part, sound effects entail blows and body slams during the numerous hand-to-hand combats. Of course, there are lots of other sound effects that enhance the overall dark violent proceedings. Foley sound effects are prominent and perfectly in synchronization with picture. Dog barks and howls sound real. The sound of swords clanging are realistic. Deep bass extends to very low frequencies and enhances the dynamics and darkness of the depictions. Thunder extends deep to sub-25 Hz frequencies as well as segments of the music. Dialogue is generally clear, but not always, sounding unintelligible, with at times English subtitles. ADR sounds generally well integrated spatially but also wanting in integration.

The Immersive Sound element is quite active with an aggressive extension of the orchestral/choral score. There are strong godly voices at the beginning, other reverberant voices in interior wood hut scenes and enveloping atmospherics such as environmental sounds, bird hawks, wind, thunder, lightening, rain, sounds of flickering fire flames, a creaky boat, voice of man, fire flame spikes, dancer voices, wolf/man howls, environmental din and other minor sound effects. This is a terrific height layer that dramatically enhances the dimensionality of the soundtrack for far greater realism and excitement.

This is a well-crafted holosonic® spherical surround soundtrack that sounds impressively dimensional and dynamic. The entire soundfield is virtually active throughout in every scene for an exciting home theatre experience. (Gary Reber)