Men In Black appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. For the film’s second Blu-ray release, it comes as part of Sony’s “Mastered in 4K” line. What the heck does that mean? Here’s what Sony’s press release promises us:
“’Mastered in 4K’ Blu-ray releases will feature titles sourced from pristine 4K masters and presented at high-bitrate 1080p resolution, with expanded color showcasing more of the wide range of rich color contained in the original source. When upscaled via the Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs, these discs serve as an ideal way for consumers to experience near-4K picture quality. ‘Mastered in 4K’ Blu-ray Discs can be played on all existing Blu-ray Disc players.”
Old DVD fans will remember Sony’s “Superbit” program, as it came with similar promises. Superbit DVDs and “Mastered in 4K” BDs jettison all supplements to theoretically optimize picture/audio quality.
Sharpness generally looked clear and well defined. Only a few wider shots displayed some mild softness, but those instances remained minor; the majority of the flick displayed solid clarity. Moiré effects and jagged edges caused no problems, and edge haloes were absent. I witnessed no signs of digital noise reduction, and the image came free from print flaws.
Colors looked accurate and well saturated, with no concerns related to noise or bleeding. The tones didn’t dazzle but they satisfied. Black levels were deep and dark, and shadow detail appeared appropriately dense but not overly opaque. MIB presented a satisfying image.
Men In Black featured a strong Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack as well. The soundfield favored the front channels in that those three speakers displayed the most distinct and well-oriented audio. The music showed terrific stereo separation, and effects were placed accurately in the spectrum; when appropriate, sound panned smoothly from channel to channel as well, and the front speakers offered a very active presentation.
The rears seemed a bit skimpy on discrete, split-surround information but they made for involved partners nonetheless, as they created a terrific and three-dimensional image. The ship crash toward the end of the film really showed off this track at its best.
Audio quality also seemed very strong. Although some dialogue clearly sounded dubbed, the majority of it appeared well integrated, and the speech always appeared natural and distinct, with no concerns related to intelligibility. Effects came across extremely accurately and clearly; they also displayed some fine low end and could really add a powerful element to the mix. Danny Elfman's score seemed crisp and bright, and it also offered nice bass that gave the track some sweet "oomph". This became a quality mix.
How did the 2013 4K Blu-ray compare to the prior Blu-ray? Audio was identical, but visuals looked tighter, cleaner and more vibrant. The 4K delivered a clear improvement in terms of picture quality.
As stated earlier, the 4K line leaves out any extras. That means the commentaries and other useful elements get the boot here.
After 18 years, I continue to enjoy Men in Black, as it offers a clever, fun sci-fi/action flick. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture and audio but lacks supplements. I think the improved picture quality makes it the Blu-ray version to own; it’s a shame the bonus materials fail to appear, but if you want the movie to look as good as possible, you need to get the 4K Blu-ray.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of MEN IN BLACK