Bohemian Rhapsody Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Bohemian Rhapsody, the story of the legendary rock band Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury, leading up to their famous performance at Live Aid (1985).

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

97

Details:

Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox – 2018
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 135 minutes
Genre: Drama/Biopic

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazello, Aiden Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Music by: Queen
Written by: Anthony McCarten
Region Code: A

Release Date: February 12, 2019

“Fearless Lives Forever”

Synopsis:

Bohemian Rhapsody is an enthralling celebration of Queen, their music, and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury (Malek), who defied stereotypes and convention to become one of history’s most beloved entertainers. Following Queen’s meteoric rise, their revolutionary sound and Freddie’s solo career, the film also chronicles the band’s reunion, and one of the greatest performances in rock history.” – 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

My Take:

The following was included in the production notes for Bohemian Rhapsody. I found it to be a perfect introduction for my comments on the film and decided to include them:

The iconic intro of “We Will Rock You,” the soaring chorus of “We Are the Champions,” the mesmerizing operatics of “Bohemian Rhapsody”…

Who isn’t moved to sing along when they hear these anthems? Who can’t fail to stamp their feet at such heart-stirring beats? Who can forget that moment the Live Aid concert of 1985 suddenly moved into fifth gear when Freddie Mercury strutted onto the stage and sent the crowd into frenzies of communal singing?

It’s been over 25 years since the death of lead singer and flamboyant front Freddie Mercury, yet the music lives on. Freddie redefined and transcended stereotypes, just as Queen’s music refuses to be slotted into any traditional genre. Perhaps that’s why the band is such a cross-generational, multicultural and global phenomenon.

Growing up in the seventies and eighties I have clear recollections of Queen, their meteoric rise to stardom, their entertaining flair onstage, the popularity of the music they wrote/played and of course, their terrific front man, Freddie Mercury. I can’t say that I was a fan per se but, I liked their music and owned some of their singles. As a fan of Rock and, a former drummer in a rock band, I had an appreciation for just how good they were.

I went to the theater and took in Bohemian Rhapsody and was blown away. Much of this is owed to the performance of Rami Malek in his portrayal of Freddie Mercury but, like a band, this was a group effort. The story predominantly focuses on Mercury, containing bits of his family life, personal relationship with longtime friend Mary Austin, history with the band, and the evolution of his life/career leading up to Queen’s fantastic performance at 1985’s Live Aid concert at Wembly Stadium.

Bohemian Rhapsody is told from a personal perspective which not only includes public facts from private ones, including Mercury’s troubles with his bandmates, the media and storied friendship with Paul Prenter. The film’s pacing is spot on, supporting its thematic tone, allowing a defining connection to the various stages of the story which ultimately culminate on July 13th, 1985 at Wembly. Seeing again proves every bit as engaging and rewarding as I found myself caught up its series of memorable moments. I must once again praise Rami Malek for giving us probably the best performance of 2018. Bohemian Rhapsody is a gem.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

Bohemian Rhapsody comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Bohemian Rhapsody was rendered from 6.5K/3.4K sources and from what I can tell appears to have been finished on a 2K DI (although this isn’t something that is apparent when viewing it).

This biopic film is essentially boldly colorful throughout, and this Ultra HD rendering makes the most of its elements. With a discernible increase in detail and emboldened chromatic highlights the image appears sharper and vibrant when compared to the 1080p version. Primary colors are pleasingly rich while whites appear gradational and punchy. The spectrum of secondary colors looks terrific as well. The opening sequence provides a glimpse of what it to come, but it’s the flashback to 1970 that offers the bonus that the presentation’s wide color gamut has to offer. The combination of rich color, sepia, and gradational whites look stunning.

I also enjoyed the implementation of HDR. The added dimension in blacks, and shadows during the low-level scenes, such as the one where Freddie first meets Brian and Roger, is immediately noticeable. There are a host of sequences where the cinematography makes use of shadows, streaming light and a mix of light/dark elements. It’s application here is used very well, drawing upon HDR’s ability to create stark contrast between the two. The blend of shadow detail/depth of field offset by the presence of light at varying levels, looked very natural.

The film makes frequent use of close up camera angles that show off the superb rendering of detail. The exterior sequences, such as those that take place on the farm where the recording studio is located, have appreciable depth which has an enriching, and eye-catching aesthetic. Bohemian Rhapsody looks superb in Ultra HD and appears to be as faithful to the original source as any I have seen on the format.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be a fairly entertaining listening experience that made steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics and music. This is done quite well, and where applied, creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. I noticed that the front overhead channels were used for adding depth to the soundstage while the rear overhead channels contained more discrete sound objects/effects. In addition to things like overhead pans where sounds move through the soundstage, there are several scenes, such as the second act’s concert medley, that bring everything together. I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable this Dolby Atmos presentation was, adding a complimentary element that elevated the experience of watching the film

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

 

Audio: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

 

Bohemian Rhapsody comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

Colors are effectively used in this film to help set the tone based upon the mood of the scene. The chroma range is broad and hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are beautifully rendered with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen are exquisitely detailed and sharp with superb depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast is spot on and blacks are deep with revealing delineation that provides excellent perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video has a pristine quality that is free of video related artifacts.

The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack makes effective use of the surround platform and offers detail rich sonic clarity, and crystalline dialog reproduction. As you’d expect this mix doesn’t bombard you with aggressive surround sound. It applies it when appropriate and combines directional cues with supporting ambience that fills the listening area nicely. The front and rear sound field never collide but work in unison to render the soundtrack’s elements. Dynamic range and bass response are appropriate, adding thematic emphasis and resonating punch when called upon. This is a solid audio presentation that mates well with the source material.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Bohemian Rhapsody Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Bohemian Rhapsody Blu-ray
    • The Complete Live Aid Movie Performance Not Seen in Theaters (featured in 4K Ultra HD™ HDR on the 4K Ultra HD™ Disc)
    • Rami Malek: Becoming Freddie
    • The Look and Sound of Queen
    • Recreating Live Aid
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Bohemian Rhapsody is an engaging and entertaining biopic that features a sterling cast led by a defining performance by Rami Malek and apt direction from Bryan Singer. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring top notch Ultra HD video, engaging lossless surround sound, including a solid Dolby Atmos immersive listening experience and a middling supplemental package. If you’re a fan Bohemian Rhapsody is a must have for your Blu-ray collection.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems 

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