Overlord Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews Overlord, a dark thriller that follows a small group of American soldiers that find horror behind enemy lines on the eve of D-Day.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

94

Details:

Studio and Year: Paramount – 2018
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 109 minutes
Genre: Horror/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Starring: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbaek, John Magaro, Bokeem Woodbine
Directed by: Julius Avery
Music by: Jed Kurzel
Written by: Billy Ray, Mark L. Smith
Region Code: A

Release Date: February 19, 2019

“What Lies Beneath”

Synopsis:

“Nothing can prepare you for the mind-blowing mayhem that is Overlord, an insanely twisted thrill ride about a team of American paratroopers who come face-to-face with Nazi super-soldiers unlike the world has ever seen.” – Paramount Home Media Distribution

My Take:

On the eve of D-Day, American paratroopers drop behind enemy lines to penetrate the walls of a fortified church and destroy a radio transmitter. As the soldiers approach their target, they soon begin to realize that there’s more going on in the Nazi-occupied village than a simple military operation. Making their way to an underground lab, the outnumbered men stumble upon a sinister experiment that forces them into a vicious battle against an army of the undead.

I knew essentially nothing about Overlord as I sat down to review it. I think I had seen a teaser trailer once but, that was about it. Let me say that this is B-Movie cinema at its best. There is a multi-genre vibe that is nestled comfortably against a simple plot that asks little of the audience other than to sit back and let it wash over you. What Overlord lacks in complexity it more than makes up for with its tightly focused narrative that unleashes oodles of gory action, wink and nod situations and the fulfillment of its promise to provide a solid bit of escapism that I had loads of fun with. I look forward to giving Overlord another spin!

Replay Value: 4 Stars

Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong bloody violence, disturbing images, language, and brief sexual content.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

Overlord comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

Overlord was shot digitally, derived from 3.4K/2.8K sources, and rendered from a 2K DI for its presentation in Ultra HD.

The 1080p transfer looks solid and this Ultra HD rendering takes it up a notch with a discernible increase in detail, and emboldened highlights, both light and dark. Overlord is a primarily dark film and its low-level sequences will test displays that aren’t properly adjusted in terms of brightness levels. It features a multitude of streaming/cascading light and mixed light dark elements, that look terrific. Intimate details can be seen, both in wide-angle and close-up perspectives, imparting a discernible increase in depth/dimension. The use of CGI imparts some innate softening. I didn’t find it compromising per se, but I wouldn’t describe the overall nature of the video to be razor sharp.

The use of HDR is spot on, driving the story’s use of moody visual cues offset by gleams of light that illuminate dark environs. The opening sequence, aboard the military transport plane, is one of the presentations highlights from an HDR perspective. The finale engagement in the Nazi lab/church is equally impressive as the fiery finish stands out against the gradational blacks, grays and sepia, that make up its interior. Primary colors are scant but, are beautifully rendered when present. The film’s plethora of shadow laden environs offer increased resolve in terms of interstitial details that promote depth of field. Blacks are inky without compromise to fidelity.

Stylistically speaking, Overlord isn’t the type of film that is going to dazzle with its use of visual dynamism or vivid color. There is no question that its Ultra HD presentation appears faithful and makes for a distinct improvement when compared to the 1080p Blu-ray rendering.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Forum Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR-10 presentations for Overlord, I found the HDR renderings to be very close. As I alluded to earlier, this film’s elements aren’t consistently lent to use of overtly rich color, but I did take a close look at the rendering of contrast, chromatic depth and delineation during scenes containing dark and bright highlights. When I switched back and forth between the DV and HDR-10 renderings, I felt that the DV presentation revealed better definition in the darkest portions of the image, and slightly improved specular highlights. These differences aren’t especially noteworthy, but in the grand scheme, made for a more pleasing image. At the end of the day both looked excellent.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that made steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix atmospherics and discrete effects. This is done to very good effect and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. The opening sequence aboard the military aircraft and what follows, features a host of ambient and swirling effects that travel around the soundstage moving overheard, passing by and coming directly at the listening position. Following that are several set pieces that show off the immersive effect as the blend of atmospherics, weapon fire and smaller object sounds rain down from above. Everything comes together during the third act’s violent encounter that places you inside the action as sounds rotate and revolve around the soundstage from both above and at ear level. I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere and integration of discrete object placement. This was lots fun and at times made for a kick ass ride.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

 

Audio: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

 

Overlord comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

This film has an intentionally dark and reserved chromatic visual style that doesn’t lend itself to vibrant colors and glossy video quality. There are instances where brighter colors/elements are utilized and the boldly applied contrast allows them to pop visually. Otherwise onscreen images lean toward darker imagery that provides the thematic look intended to drive the story’s components. This is done to good effect. Shadow delineation is excellent overall and revealing of visible details within dark backgrounds and low lighting. Stable contrast and deep blacks allow scenes containing mixed content to appear gradationally satisfying with crisp whites and dynamic highlights. Resolution is discerning as images are characterized by intricate and definitively rendered detail that gives the video appreciable dimension and delineated texture. This is a solid high definition presentation that looked great on my large screen.

This lossless soundtrack is excellent and features wide dynamic range, superlative clarity and high-level detail. Dialog is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it is located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within the acoustic space it occupies in the soundstage. Front and rear channel imaging is excellent. This draws out both large and small sound elements and allows their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable.

The integration of discrete and atmospheric surround sound effects, plays an intricate role in this active surround mix. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is notable. The atmospheric effects associated with the various environments featured in the story sound engagingly real. Low frequency effects are applied authoritatively and underscore the audio presentation with aplomb. Its palpable presence is never in question as it renders refined bass quality that kicks nicely and extends deep enough to engage the room.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Overlord Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Overlord Blu-ray
  • Creation
  • Death Above
  • Death on the Ground
  • Death Below
  • Death No More
  • Brothers in Arms
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Overlord eschews deep, meaningful storytelling, which given its setting is rather interesting and one of the things that I liked about it. It doesn’t play at being anything more than a straight up, bloodletting, B-Movie that requires little from the audience other than to sit back and enjoy the ride. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Combo Pack from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring rewarding Ultra HD video, excellent high definition video/audio quality, including a terrific Dolby Atmos immersive mix, and a fan friendly supplemental package. Overlord comes highly recommended for genre fans looking for an entertaining thriller the rocks on Blu-ray.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems 

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