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  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in Dolby Cinema

    Posted Mon Apr 24, 2017 at 11:32 AM PDT by
    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 poster

    Last week, I had the extraordinary privilege of attending the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 world premiere at The Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA. As I've written before, Hollywood premieres are a unique because they are a few hours where the magic of Hollywood, rather than the often mundane business aspects, shine brightest. There are screaming fans, stars on the red (or in this case purple) carpet, free concessions, and a cavernous auditorium where filmmakers, performers, and craftsmen also gather for the Academy Awards.

    On top of all of this generally good buzz, we had a ginormous laser Dolby Vision projection system with its 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio with one of the most expansive Dolby Atmos configurations in the world. So technically, The Dolby Theatre isn't a true Dolby Cinema (or Dolby Cinema at AMC), but for you to experience the movie like I did, you'll need to see out the Dolby Cinema format.

    Dolby Theatre

    THE MOVIE ITSELF


    With the original Guardians of the Galaxy -- heretofore known has Vol. 1 -- director/co-writer James Gunn and his creative collaborators put a fresh spin on the comic book and space opera genres. Fusing together meta-comedy, a band of rogues, '70s rock music, a neon color palette, and a unique tonal balance, the filmmakers arguably produced one of Marvel's best pictures in its growing canon. 

    This week sees the release of Guardians Vol. 2, which is a rare comedy sequel -- like 22 Jump Street -- that stands shoulder to shoulder with its predecessor. I'll leave our full in-depth review to Phil Brown over in the Bonus View, but, for me, Vol. 2 feels as fresh as the original while simultaneously giving you a heaping serving of the elements that worked so well the first trip 'round the galaxy. Much of this is due to the way Gunn and team give the story time to breathe. In place of the now-standard bloated, overly plotted "turn off your brain" blockbuster, Vol. 2 focus on its characters and thematics, pairing people (and aliens) off to deal with their fears and flaws... all while making the audience laugh themselves silly and -- somehow -- feel a genuine connection to main, CGI, and secondary characters alike. (#BabyGroot4Ever)

    In other words, if you enjoyed Vol. 1, get your walkman ready because Vol. 2 is gonna be on repeat for a long time.

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

    DOLBY VISION


    You know how there are movies like Gravity or The Jungle Book that define a premium technology? Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the single most vibrant and resplendent Dolby Vision title to date.

    Projected on a large screen with a proprietary, dual-4K laser projection system, Dolby Cinemas boast more brightness, wider color capabilities, and the best contrast ratio of any commercial cinema experience today (IMAX Laser is also all kinds of wonderful). Guardians Vol. 2 is simply glorious in Dolby Vision, offering start-to-finish eye-candy that is colorful and sharp with pure black levels. 

    Not only are there moments where the screen simply vanishes, plunging the auditorium into darkness, but I'm fairly certain there are extended sequences that feel like they've been graded to the wider Rec.2020 color space (I'll make sure to update this when I confirm). If that's true, it's only the fourth production to do so since Pixar's Inside Out. (the sub-conscience scene) & The Good Dinosaur (the bad fruit scene), and the entirety of The LEGO Batman Movie. If I'm wrong, then this is one of the most visually stunning uses of the DCI P3 color space I've ever seen.

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

    My comments must sound like hyperbole -- and, make no mistake, the tech geek in me is genuinely excited -- but, sincerely, this movie is a visual stunner. Play close attention to the fauna of Kurt Russel's planet, or to the exotic worlds and planets visited as Rocket space-jumps between them all, or to what's best described as celestial fireworks near the film's final moments. I very much enjoyed the movie along, but couldn't help but sit back at least once a scene to marvel at all the digital artistry on display. Jaw... dropped.

    Since Disney has yet to support Dolby Vision or HDR10 in the home entertainment landscape, if you get a chance to see Vol. 2 in a Dolby Cinema, take it. It's quite honestly the best HDR/WCG I've ever seen, sitting next to Pacific Rim for pure eye-candy glory.

    Let's just hope we get to take this one home someday. 

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

    DOLBY ATMOS


    While Vol. 2 doesn't define Dolby Atmos in the same way Mad Mad Fury Road or Gravity did, the latest Marvel adventure uses the object-based surround format in consistently engaging ways, proving filmmakers are thinking about sound mixes as Atmos-first rather than multi-channel affairs that get an Atmos upgrade. 

    Vol. 2 in Dolby Atmos offers an ultra dynamic and immersive aural experience that surround geeks will be drooling over. Dialog is spectacularly clear, even when characters are off screen -- there's a terrific demo moment where Chris Pratt is trying to find tape, his voice bouncing around up and down and behind the audience left ear. LFE levels are also on point, providing heart-pounding heft to gunfire, explosions, and crashing ships. The classic rock tracks have never sounded this clear. And the effects themselves range from whole room immersion down to, as describe above, smaller little Atmos moments. 

    I wasn't in the Dolby Theater's sweet spot, but from where I was sitting, the whole thing was impressively technical but never exhausting. I look forward to revisiting it from my favorite dead-center seating in the next week or two.

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

    FINAL THOUGHTS


    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
    is a fun and fantastic example of how modern blockbusters can be clever and dramatic and laugh-out-loud funny all while delivering compelling character arcs and thrilling action set-pieces. In other words, you need not turn off your brain to enjoy this one, but you'll probably want to check out Vol. 1 to get the most out of Vol. 2.

    Even if the movie weren't enough to warrant a recommendation all on its own, Vol. 2 features one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful Dolby Vision HDR wide color gamut gradings I've ever seen, right up there with Pacific Rim, The Jungle Book, and Inside Out (which featured one scene in Rec.2020). In all my years of cinema-going, I've never seen colors as vibrant. The Dolby Atmos mix is also brimming with immersive spectacle and quieter moments making use of pinpoint precision.

    There will be many fantastic ways to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 when it opens May 5th (well, May 4th the night before), but there won't be a truer way to experience it than a Dolby Cinema. I know I'll be going again and I hope to see you there too.

    To find a Dolby Cinema at AMC location near you, click HERE. Thanks again to everyone at Dolby for such an amazing night.

    Dolby Cinema at AMC

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  • What is DTS:X?

    Posted Mon Apr 24, 2017 at 10:55 AM PDT by
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    If you don't know the difference between a channel-based mix and an object-based mix, this guide is here to breakdown the ins and outs of the DTS:X format.

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  • Oppo Launches UDP-205 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player for $1,299

    Posted Mon Apr 24, 2017 at 08:50 AM PDT by
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    The company's latest UHD Blu-ray player is now shipping.

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  • One Day Only: Get an NES Classic Edition at Best Buy Before They're Gone

    Posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 at 12:31 PM PDT by
    NES Classic Edition Retro Blast From the Past News

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  • What is Dolby Atmos?

    Posted Fri Apr 21, 2017 at 02:29 PM PDT by
    Dolby Atmos LOGO

    If you don't know the difference between a 5.1 setup and a 7.1.4 configuration, this guide is here to breakdown the ins and outs of the Dolby Atmos format.

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    Posted Fri Apr 21, 2017 at 02:00 PM PDT by
    yamaha musiccast soundbar

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    Posted Thu Apr 20, 2017 at 05:15 PM PDT by
    LG 5K Monitor

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    Posted Thu Apr 20, 2017 at 09:00 AM PDT by
    Samsung Amazon HDR10+

    The enhanced HDR format is coming to Amazon streaming content through Samsung displays.

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    Posted Mon Apr 17, 2017 at 03:15 PM PDT by
    Sony 4K Projector

    Amazon is offering big discounts on select HD & Ultra HD projectors!

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    Posted Fri Apr 14, 2017 at 02:15 PM PDT by
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    Trailers, release dates, and season pick-ups have been revealed for various streaming titles.

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  • HD Gear News Roundup: Week of April 9th, 2017 – Onkyo Receiver, BenQ Monitor, and More

    Posted Thu Apr 13, 2017 at 03:00 PM PDT by
    onkyo TX-8270 receiver

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    Posted Thu Apr 13, 2017 at 12:30 PM PDT by
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    Posted Mon Apr 10, 2017 at 11:00 AM PDT by
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    Amazon is offering big discounts on select 4K displays, including models with HDR and Dolby Vision!

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    Posted Fri Apr 7, 2017 at 04:15 PM PDT by

    Several new mid-range Ultra HD TV models are now available.

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    Posted Fri Apr 7, 2017 at 02:20 PM PDT by
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    The company's home theater screens are now available with acoustically transparent perforated material.

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    Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 at 12:25 PM PDT by
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    An update has been released for the company's UHD Android TVs.

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    Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 at 11:30 AM PDT by
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    The company is now the first-ever Chinese consumer electronics brand to sponsor the tournament.

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  • Google Launches Live YouTube TV Streaming Service, Monthly Plan Set for $35

    Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 at 04:15 PM PDT by
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    The YouTube TV platform is now live.

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    Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 at 03:45 PM PDT by
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    The premium network is now available through Sling TV.

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  • Netflix Reveals Trailer for 'Anne,' Streaming Premiere Set for May 12

    Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 at 08:30 AM PDT by
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    Anne Shirley is heading to Netflix in May.

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