Steel Magnolias 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue Issue 273, May/June 2024

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.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-100)
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Herbert Ross
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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In "Steel Magnolias," six divas of the silver screen –– Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts –– come together as bosom buddies in this hilarious and heartwarming story of life, love and loss in a small Louisiana parish. At the center of the group is Shelby Eatenton (Julia Roberts), newly married and joyfully pregnant, despite the fact that her diabetes could make childbirth life-threatening. Terrified and angry at the possibility of losing her only daughter, M'Lynn Eatenton (Sally Field) looks to her four closest friends for strength and laughter as she battles her deepest fear of death in order to join Shelby in celebrating the miracle of new life. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director Herbert Ross, Steel Magnolias 1990 TV Pilot (HD 22:48), the featurette "In Full Bloom: Remembering Steel Magnolias" (HD 23:20), 10 deleted scenes (HD 06:03), theatrical trailer and a Movies Anywhere digital copy.

The 1.85:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision/HDR10 picture, reviewed on a VIZIO Quantum X P85QX-JI UHD/HDR display, was photograph on film stock using the Panavision Panaflex camera system and sourced from 4K Digital Intermediate derived from the original camera negative. Film grain is strong and some viewers will find it objectionable. The color palette is wonderfully bright and colorful with perfect saturation. Hues are warm and rich with strong primaries that pop. Pastels also are a color flavor amongst such a vast range with nicely nuanced hue shadings. Flesh tones are perfect even with the ladies dense makeup. HDR contrast is excellent with deep black levels and reveling shadow delineation, as well as natural white levels. This is evident in the suburban Louisiana locales, both in interiors and exteriors. Resolution is superb with fine detail exhibited throughout for sharp and clear imagery. Facial feature appear detailed though grain is very apparent. Clothing fabrics are revealing and objects and textural features appear realistic. This is a gorgeously colorful filmic viewing experience of a classic. (Gary Reber)

The repurposed Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is for the most part reserved and frontal focused with generally nuanced surround envelopment, except for the orchestral score, which energizes every channel, including the height layer. The small-town atmospherics provide locational realism. Bass frequencies sound natural and not exaggerated, as would be expected for a dialogue-driven soundtrack. Dialogue is intelligible throughout with a Southern accent and sounds decently integrated spatially.

The Immersive sound element is comprised of an extension of the limited orchestral score and other music, partial outdoor atmospherics and a few sound effects such as gunfire and cheery bomb firecrackers and other minor effects. There is also a scene in the church with the bride's father speaking dialogue, a choir sequence, and one in a locker room with chatter. Overall far more could have been achieved.

This is a lively dialogue focused soundtrack with holosonic® elements that is a forte for the ladies' acting. (Gary Reber)