Moonage Daydream appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. A hodgepodge of sources, the disc replicated the film as created.
Which meant virtually zero consistency. Sharpness varied from very good to awfully soft, with everything between as well.
Occasional instances of shimmering and jaggies materialized due to the wide range of film/video used, but I saw no added edge haloes. Grain popped up as necessary and could become heavy.
Print flaws also depended on the original material. Much of the movie looked clean, but more than a few instances of specks and marks appeared.
Unsurprisingly, colors also veered all over the place. Elements created specifically for the film boasted nice vivacity, but plenty of less than attractive hues occurred. Still, in general the colors became a strength, and HDR added impact to the hues.
Blacks depended on the source, so some showed nice depth while others became too dense. The same held true for shadows.
HDR brought extra oomph to contrast and whites – to the degree this inconsistent image allowed, at least. Given the nature of the film, I felt it earned a “B”, but one should anticipate a lot of ups and downs.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos offered more consistent pleasures, especially in terms of music. The constant array of songs blended to all the channels in an immersive manner.
Effects followed suit, as those components cropped up around the room in a positive manner. Speech largely remained centered.
Due to the film’s intentions, the soundscape can lean overwhelming at times. Nonetheless, the track used the channels in a largely satisfying way.
Audio quality held up well, though of course, those pieces depended on their sources. This meant occasional signs of reedy speech or rough effects.
Music also came with some less satisfying moments – such as the semi-low-fi 1974 Buffalo performance – but most of the time, the songs worked well. Indeed, some of them sounded terrific.
As noted, speech and effects showed inconsistencies, but they appeared positive overall. The soundtrack suited the project.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Both came with identical audio.
As for visuals, the 4K UHD boasted stronger delineation – when it could. Like the technical notes indicated, a lot of the film displayed sources with limited resolution, and 4K’s improved resolution tended to mean those looked worse versus the Blu-ray.
Colors got a boost, but grain became more prominent on the 4K. Essentially, for every aspect of the 4K that topped the Blu-ray, I found something else that made the BD more appealing. I guess you should select the one with the set of pros/cons that works best for you.
When we shift to extras, the 4K disc provides the movie’s trailer as well as an audio commentary from writer/director Brett Morgen. He offers a running, screen-specific discussion of the movie’s development and research, visual/auditory choices, technical elements and thematic threads and decisions.
At the start, Morgen relates a reluctance to “explain” the movie, and he semi-resists that tendency, though he does get into his “story” choices to some degree. He balances these with a nice view of all the challenges involved with a project of this scope and he makes this a strong examination of the movie.
The remaining extras appear on the included Blu-ray copy. Shot at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood and introduced by Jack Black, a Q&A involves Morgen, filmmaker Mark Romanek and musician Mike Garson.
We get some basics about the film as well as thoughts about Bowie. We get a fair amount of repetition from Morgen’s commentary and don’t find many insights here.
Next we get an Interview with Re-Recording Mixers David Giammarco and Paul Massey that goes for 26 minutes, 42 seconds. It also involves Morgen.
As expected, the featurette looks at the sound design of the film. We find a useful view of the technical issues and choices.
Finally, we get a live performance taped in Buffalo November 8, 1974. This gives us “Rock ‘n’ Roll With Me” and runs four minutes, 52 seconds.
Shot on video, the clip looks and sounds mediocre at best. That said, fans will love this snippet – and hope that we get the whole concert released. While the Bowie camp has given us multiple audio recordings from the 1974 tour, no video versions have yet hit, so lesser quality and all, we’d be exceedingly happy to sink our teeth into the entire show.
The package concludes with a booklet that provides a foldout poster on one side as well as credits and an essay from film critic Jonathan Romney on the other. It adds value to the set.
Too pretentious and over the top for its own good, Moonage Daydream becomes a messy documentary. While fans will enjoy the smorgasbord of rare clips, the overall package becomes a grating mess. The 4K UHD offers appropriate visuals, solid audio and selection of useful bonus materials. As a diehard Bowie buff, I can find elements to satisfy, but the movie leaves me unhappy as a whole.
To rate this film visit the Blu-Ray review of MOONAGE DAYDREAM