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Alan Taylor
Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom Jr., Corey Stoll
Writing Credits:
David Chase, Lawrence Konner

Young Anthony Soprano grows up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters start to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio (US)
English Descriptive Audio (UK)
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 120 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 12/21/2021

• “The Making of Newark” Featurette
• “Sopranos Family Honor” Featurette
• 3 Deleted Scenes


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
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-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Many Saints of Newark [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 16, 2021)

When The Sopranos ended after a six-season run in 2007, it left the fate of main character Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) up in the air. However, when Gandolfini died suddenly in 2013, that appeared to formally end any future Sopranos projects.

But then series creator David Chase apparently woke up one day and exclaimed prequel! That led to 2021’s theatrical film, The Many Saints of Newark.

Set in 1967, young Tony Soprano (William Ludwig) comes under the wing of his gangster uncle Dickie Moltisani (Alessandro Nivola). The pre-pubescent Tony edges into this lifestyle when he launches a gambling operation in his elementary school.

Fast-forward to 1972 and teen Tony (Michael Gandolfini) continues to follow Dickie’s lead. This leads him farther into criminal schemes as he careens toward his future status as a major New Jersey mob boss.

Confession: I never watched a single episode of Sopranos. Long ago, I abandoned any TV series that I didn’t screen for this site’s reviews.

For reasons unknown, I passed on the DVD releases of Sopranos. I never “caught up” so this made Newark my first formal experience with these characters.

Based on my screening of Newark, part of me wants to watch the HBO series to see why it earned so much praise. Another part of me wants to avoid anything connected to Sopranos because the film leaves such a lousy taste in my mouth.

Not that Newark becomes a genuinely bad movie. Actually, I kind of wish it did turn into a cinematic disaster, as at least then it would provide something interesting.

Instead, Newark just comes across as dull. Although it aspires to provide an epic gangster experience, instead it just comes across as a sluggish compilation of genre clichés.

Oddly, Newark barely attempts its apparent goal: to show us what led Tony Soprano to become the man viewers knew from Sopranos. Surprisingly little of Newark pursues that path, as it prefers other topics.

Even there, however, Newark feels disjointed and unfocused. With Tony’s journey as little more than vague hints and subtext, we find ourselves… without a whole lot.

I guess Dickie becomes the “main character”, but he never quite feels like the focal point. Others fail to take up the slack, so we find ourselves with a meandering narrative that never manages to develop into anything even vaguely compelling.

I admit I don’t understand why Newark doesn’t make Tony the clear center of the story. After all, publicity materials explicitly sell the movie as an “origin story” for Tony, but the end result barely nibbles at that topic.

Given that I never saw Sopranos, it remains possible – and indeed probable – that Newark boasts more dramatic impact for those who enjoy great familiarity with the characters and situations. Perhaps all this foreshadowing works better with that background.

However, a film like this needs to succeed on its own, and Newark flops in that regard. It feels like a pointless attempt to revive Sopranos that never becomes anything interesting.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-

The Many Saints of Newark appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a strong image.

Sharpness was good, as the movie appeared well-defined and concise. Only a sliver of softness impacted some wide shots, as most of the film delivered a precise, tight impression.

No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. In terms of print issues, no concerns materialized.

Most of Newark opted for a heavy teal orientation, with occasional orange elements as well. Within those constraints, the hues were appropriate and well-rendered.

Blacks seemed dark and tight, while shadows showed good clarity. This became a solid “B+” presentation.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, I also felt pleased with the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Newark, as it added impact to the presentation. Most of the sonic power came from street/violent elements, as scenes in those situations used the various channels in a pretty involving manner.

Music also became an active partner, as the movie’s score and songs boosted from all the speakers in an active way. The track felt more ambitious than I expected from this particular tale.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech sounded crisp and distinctive, and music appeared robust and full.

Effects were accurate and dynamic. Low-end response showed good thump and richness. A complementary track, the audio merited a “B+”.

Two featurettes appear, and The Making of Newark runs 13 minutes, seven seconds. It offers notes from writer/producer David Chase, director Alan Taylor, production designer Bob Shaw, costume designer Amy Westcott, makeup department head Nicki Ledermann and actors Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom Jr., Michela De Rossi, Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Corey Stoll, and Michael Gandolfini.

“Making” reflects on Sopranos as well as the story/characters of this prequel, cast and performances, costumes/makeup/hair and sets/locations. Some decent notes emerge, but “Making” feels fairly generic and without real depth.

Sopranos Family Honor goes for five minutes, 36 seconds and involves Farmiga, Chase, Stoll, Nivola, Taylor, Bernthal and Gandolfini.

“Honor” offers a look at the TV characters and their movie representations. Like “Making”, this becomes a watchable but generally insubstantial reel.

Three Deleted Scenes span a total of five minutes, 26 seconds. We find “Livia’s Nightmare” (1:50), “Soprano Moving Day” (0:40) and “A Jukebox on the Arm” (2:56).

Expect some modest character expansions here. Still, we get more of Tony, and since he plays such a minor role in the final film, that seems like a positive.

Perhaps fans of The Sopranos will take something positive from the prequel The Many Saints of Newark, but to this novice, it seems like a dud. Nothing interesting or creative emerges in this stagnant, jumbled ‘origin story’. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture and audio along with a smattering of bonus features. This becomes a spotty prequel.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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