1917 appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Shot and finished 4K, this became a terrific visual presentation.
At all times, sharpness appeared positive. Virtually no instances of softness emerged, so I thought the image seemed accurate and well-defined. I noticed no signs of shimmering or jaggies, and the movie lacked any print flaws.
While 1917 opted for orange and teal, I thought it gave these a bit of a twist. Perhaps to make the film resemble projects like They Shall Not Grow Old, the hues took on something of a “colorized” look. Within visual choices, the tones appeared well-rendered.
Blacks were always deep and tight, and I saw good contrast as well. Shadows seemed clear and appropriately opaque. The Blu-ray became a strong reproduction of the film.
Note that the IMAX presentation of 1917 opened the film up to a 1.90:1 aspect ratio. We don’t get that version here, and I suspect the filmmakers prefer the 2.39:1 ratio. Neither audio commentary addresses the IMAX ratio, though.
I also felt pleased with the solid Dolby Atmos soundtrack of 1917. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the mix offered plenty of opportunities for lively auditory information, and it took good advantage of these.
With a mix of combat scenes and 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.
As we head to extras, we find two audio commentaries, the first of which comes from co-writer/director Sam Mendes. He brings a running, screen-specific view of the project’s origins and family influences, historical elements, cast and performances, photography and editing, sets and locations, stunts and action, effects, and related domains.
A veteran of the format, Mendes provides a more than capable commentary. He gets into a good mix of creative and technical domains, as he turns this into an informative and winning chat.
For the second commentary, we hear from director of photography Roger Deakins. He offers a running, screen-specific look mainly at cinematography and camera-related topics, but he gets into connected domains like sets, editing and effects as well.
Expect a technical commentary from Deakins, which seems good and bad. On one hand, we learn a lot about the methods used for the film’s unusual photographic challenges.
On the other, Deakins tends to focus too much on how they executed the film rather than why. Because Deakins sticks with the technical areas, we don’t learn much about the creative reasons for the choices.
Because Deakins offers a friendly, engaging personality, this never turns into a dry, boring chat. That said, I wish he’d spent more time with decision-making processes and less with technical elements.
Five featurettes follow, and The Weight of the World lasts four minutes, 29 seconds. It brings notes from Mendes, Deakins, co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns, producer Pippa Harris, production designer Dennis Gassner, and actors George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman.
“Weight” examines how Mendes launched the project and his family influences as well as his impact on the production. It mixes good insights with happy talk about the director’s greatness.
With Allied Forces, we get a 12-minute, one-second piece that features Mendes, Deakins, Wilson-Cairns, Harris, Chapman, MacKay, 1st AD Michael Lerman, producers Callum McDougall and Jayne-Ann Tenggren, and camera operators Peter Cavaciuti and Charlie Rizek.
“Forces” examines camerawork and technical challenges. Some of this repeats from Deakins’ commentary, but we get fresh information, and the visuals that depict the various domains help make this a worthwhile show.
The Score of 1917 spans three minutes, 52 seconds and includes Mendes, Harris, Tenggren, and composer Thomas Newman. As expected, “Score” covers Newman’s work, with an emphasis on the ways he integrated with the production. This becomes a short but informative reel.
Next comes In the Trenches, a six-minute, 59-second reel that offers material from Mendes, Harris, MacKay, Chapman, and Tenggren. “Trenches” covers cast, characters and performances. It becomes a decent program, though one that leans on praise for the actors.
Finally, Recreating History goes for 10 minutes, 25 seconds and delivers comments from Mendes, Gassner, Chapman, Lerman, Deakins, Wilson-Cairns, Harris, McDougall, location manager Lindsey Powell, set decorator Les Sandales and art director Elaine Kusmishko.
Via “History”, we look at sets and production design. This becomes another engaging reel that indulges in a little more happy talk than I might prefer.
The disc opens with ads for Dark Waters, The Current War, and 4K UHD. No trailer for 1917 appears here.
A second disc provides a DVD copy of 1917. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray but it omits “Trenches” and “History”.
Viewed as an action/war movie, 1917 offers some thrills. However, it doesn’t connect as a more powerful work, so expect it to remain superficial and gimmicky. The Blu-ray delivers excellent picture and audio along with a mix of useful bonus materials. 1917 becomes an interesting journey but not one that threatens greatness.