13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This was an excellent transfer.
Sharpness looked terrific at all times. Virtually no unintentional signs of softness materialized, so this was a tight, accurate image. I saw no signs of jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes, and the film lacked edge haloes or print flaws.
If the colors teal and orange didn’t exist, could Michael Bay make movies? These hues were omnipresent and heavy, and the disc replicated the source well – even if the actors occasionally took on an Oompa Loompa vibe. The 4K UHD’s HDR added impact as well, so expect the humans to be even more Oompa Loompish.
Blacks came across nicely, as dark tones were deep and rich, without any muddiness or problems. In addition, low-light shots gave us smooth, clear visuals. All in all, this became a terrific presentation.
I also felt happy with the solid Dolby Atmos soundtrack of 13 Hours. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the mix offered plenty of opportunities for lively auditory information, and it took good advantage of these. From the opening standoff to road chases to gunfire to explosions to other action elements, the mix filled the speakers on a frequent basis. The track placed information in logical spots and blended all the channels in a smooth, compelling manner.
Audio quality was also positive. Music sounded lively and full, while effects delivered accurate material. Those elements showed nice clarity and kick, with tight low-end. Speech was always distinctive and concise, too. This mix worked well for the film.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Audio remained identical, as both sported the same Atmos mix.
As for visuals, the 4K UHD offered superior blacks, contrast, definition and colors. Finished at 2K, I suspect the 4K UHD came from the same transfer as the Blu-ray, but the format’s superior capabilities made it stronger.
All of the package’s extras appear on a Blu-ray disc, and these consist of featurettes. For the Record: Finding the Truth Amid the Noise runs eight minutes, two seconds and provides notes from author Mitchell Zuckoff, US Army Ranger Kris “Tanto” Paronto, former Marine Mark “Oz’ Geist, producer Erwin Stoff, screenwriter Chuck Hogan, former Navy SEAL Joost Janssen, diplomatic services consultant Dale “Chip” McElhattan, and actors Matt Letscher and John Krasinski.
They discuss the film’s background and pursuit of realism. A few nuggets emerge, but much of the piece feels self-congratulatory.
During the 27-minute, 34-second Uncovering Benghazi’s Secret Soldiers, we hear from Krasinski, Paronto, Janssen, Geist, Zuckoff, Hogan, McElhattan, Stoff, former Marine John Tiegen, military advisor Harry Humphries, and actors Pablo Schreiber, James Badge Dale, David Denman, Dominic Fumusa, Demetrius Grosse, and Max Martini. The featurette examines the real participants in the movie’s story as well as factual issues and the actors’ approaches to their roles.
Like “Truth”, “Uncovering” comes with some interesting tidbits, and it’s good to hear more from the actual people involved. Nonetheless, it continues the prior featurettes fairly superficial feel and seems more like it exists to praise the project’s realism than anything else.
Next comes Preparing for Battle: Behind the Scenes of 13 Hours. It lasts 26 minutes, 24 seconds and features Stoff, Krasinski, Dale, Screiber, Martini, Grosse, Humphries, Janssen, McElhatten, Denman, director of photography Dion Beebe, stunt coordinator Kenny Bates, production designer Jeffrey Beecroft, co-producer Michael Gase, location manager Christian McWilliams, special effects supervisor Terry Glass, chief special effects technician Terry Flowers, and actors Alexia Barlier and David Giuntoli.
The show covers director Michael Bay’s approach to the material, cinematography, sets and visual design, actor training, stunts and action, locations, and effects. Of the three featurettes, “Battle” includes the most information, but that doesn’t make it especially good. Once again, we find a decent array of details but these tend to get submerged under the promotional tone.
Operation: 13 Hours Premiere goes for three minutes and features Bay, Paronto, Schreiber, Geist, Tiegen, and Krasinski. This takes us to the movie’s debut at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. It’s total fluff.
Finally, we get a two-minute, 58-second In Memoriam reel. It offers names and photos of those who died in the attack depicted in the film. This becomes a decent tribute.
Note that although this 4K UHD set includes the bonus disc from the prior release, it lacks a Blu-ray copy of the movie itself.
In other hands, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi could’ve been a gritty, powerful and emotional tale. Under Michael Bay’s eye, however, it turns into just another cartoon war story. The 4K UHD offers excellent picture and audio but lacks substantial bonus materials. Hours becomes a superficial disappointment.
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