Posted Mon Apr 24, 2017 at 11:32 AM PDT by
Michael S. Palmer
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Posted Mon Apr 24, 2017 at 10:55 AM PDT by
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.Continue Reading
Posted Mon Apr 24, 2017 at 08:50 AM PDT by
The company's latest UHD Blu-ray player is now shipping.Continue Reading
Posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 at 12:31 PM PDT by
Michael S. Palmer
If you missed out and are anything like me -- you'll only pay MSRP or lower for a novelty gaming system -- Best Buy may be your last chanced to pick up an NES Classic Edition before they're gone foooooreeeeverrrrrr!*Continue Reading
Posted Fri Apr 21, 2017 at 02:29 PM PDT by
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.Continue Reading
Posted Fri Apr 21, 2017 at 02:00 PM PDT by
From simple 2-channel budget models to more robust virtual surround sound and complete Dolby Atmos solutions, there's a sound bar for all price points and needs.Continue Reading
Posted Thu Apr 20, 2017 at 05:15 PM PDT by
This week's roundup includes an award-winning monitor, voice processing tech, expanded Sling TV support, and more!Continue Reading
Posted Thu Apr 20, 2017 at 09:00 AM PDT by
The enhanced HDR format is coming to Amazon streaming content through Samsung displays.Continue Reading
Posted Mon Apr 17, 2017 at 03:15 PM PDT by
Amazon is offering big discounts on select HD & Ultra HD projectors!Continue Reading
Posted Fri Apr 14, 2017 at 02:15 PM PDT by
Trailers, release dates, and season pick-ups have been revealed for various streaming titles.Continue Reading
Posted Thu Apr 13, 2017 at 03:00 PM PDT by
This week's roundup includes a new stereo receiver, a QHD monitor, and more!Continue Reading
Posted Thu Apr 13, 2017 at 12:30 PM PDT by
Several Ultra HD TVs and smartphones will be on sale from April 14 through April 18.Continue Reading
Posted Mon Apr 10, 2017 at 11:00 AM PDT by
Amazon is offering big discounts on select 4K displays, including models with HDR and Dolby Vision!Continue Reading
Posted Fri Apr 7, 2017 at 04:15 PM PDT by
Several new mid-range Ultra HD TV models are now available.Continue Reading
Posted Fri Apr 7, 2017 at 02:20 PM PDT by
The company's home theater screens are now available with acoustically transparent perforated material.Continue Reading
Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 at 12:25 PM PDT by
An update has been released for the company's UHD Android TVs.Continue Reading
Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 at 11:30 AM PDT by
The company is now the first-ever Chinese consumer electronics brand to sponsor the tournament.Continue Reading
Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 at 04:15 PM PDT by
The YouTube TV platform is now live.Continue Reading
Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 at 03:45 PM PDT by
The premium network is now available through Sling TV.Continue Reading
Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 at 08:30 AM PDT by
Anne Shirley is heading to Netflix in May.Continue Reading
LATEST NEWS BLU-RAY
- Blu-ray News Roundup: New Titles from Kino, Warner Archive, Twilight Time, and More
- James Gunn's 'The Belko Experiment' Blu-ray Announced and Detailed
- Criterion's 'Othello' Blu-ray Delayed
- Blu-ray News Roundup: July Criterion Titles, 'The Shack,' and More
- Film Review - 'Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982 -1992'
- 'The Rockford Files: The Complete Series' Blu-ray Bound
- Disney Unveils 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Teaser
- Blu-ray News Roundup: 'Before I Fall,' 'Fist Fight,' '1492' and More
- Paramount Reveals New Trailer for 'Transformers: The Last Knight'
- 'The LEGO Batman Movie' Announced for Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
- 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' and 'The Godfather' Prepped for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
- 'Smurfs: The Lost Village' Ultra HD Blu-ray (3D Included) and Blu-ray Pre-Orders Live
- Rupert Sanders' 'Ghost in the Shell' Blu-ray & Ultra HD Blu-ray Pre-Orders Live
- Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus' Ultra HD Blu-ray Up for Pre-Order!
- 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Dated & Detailed for Ultra HD Blu-ray
- 'John Wick: Chapter 2' Ultra HD Blu-ray & Blu-ray Fully Detailed
- 'The Boss Baby' Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Up for Pre-Order
- 'Despicable Me' & 'Despicable Me 2' Head to Ultra HD Blu-ray with Dolby Vision
- What is DTS:X?
- Oppo Launches UDP-205 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player for $1,299
- One Day Only: Get an NES Classic Edition at Best Buy Before They're Gone
- What is Dolby Atmos?
- Best Sound Bars
- HD Gear News Roundup: LG 5K Monitor, Amazon Echo Tech, and More
- Samsung & Amazon Video Announce HDR10+ Support with Optimized High Dynamic Range Performance
- HDD Gear Deals: Up to 55% off 1080p & 4K Ultra HD Projectors
- Streaming News Roundup: 'Master of None,' 'Sense8,' Catastrophe,' and More
THE BONUS VIEW
- Blu-ray Highlights: Week of April 23rd, 2017 – A Note to Follow Sol
- Weekend Roundtable: Is It Worth a Second Chance?
- Weekend Movies: Crazy White Female
- ‘The Lost City of Z’ Review: An Intimate (and Somewhat Insane) Epic
- ‘The Promise’ Review: Love in a Time of Genocide
- ‘Unforgettable’ Review: Just Kidding, Quite Forgettable
- ‘Born in China’ Review: Animals Are Cute, Vol. 24,578
- ‘Free Fire’ Review: Claustrophobic Action Bliss
- ‘Colossal’ Review: Big-Ass Monsters Within