Ready Player One appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD. Overall, the image seemed satisfying.
In essence, Player brought two different visual experiences: the live-action “real world” material and the entirely CG “OASIS” footage. Unsurprisingly, the latter fared best, as those elements boasted meticulous delineation with vibrant hues and deep blacks.
Also unsurprisingly, the live-action shots came up a little short by comparison. Though these offered largely solid sharpness, a little softness crept into some wider shots. Colors also tended to be a slight bit less dynamic, and blacks seemed slightly flatter.
Those were minor criticisms, though, as both parts of the film looked quite good. I never saw jagged edges or moiré effects, and print flaws remained absent. Led by the excellent quality of the CG elements, this became a “B+” presentation that bordered on “A-“.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the film’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack excelled and brought us a vivid sonic impression. Of course, the film’s many action scenes worked best. With a lot of vehicles, weapon fire and other mayhem, the mix used the various channels to involve us in the material.
Quieter scenes boasted a nice sense of environment as well, and music added solid stereo presence to the music. The soundscape kicked into gear often and formed a seamless package.
Audio quality followed suit, with speech that appeared concise and distinctive. Music sounded full and lush as well.
As expected, effects became the most prominent aspect of the mix, and those elements seemed accurate and dynamic, with taut low-end when appropriate. This became a satisfying soundtrack for an action film.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Audio remained identical, as both discs included the same Atmos mix.
In terms of visuals, the 4K UHD offered a moderate upgrade. Because the film was finished 2K, the room for growth seemed limited, but the format’s strengths meant the 4K was a bit tighter and showed deeper blacks.
In particular, the HDR capabilities of 4K UHD made the biggest difference, as the expanded color range added punch to the image. This wasn’t a tremendous upgrade over the Blu-ray, but it worked better.
No extras appear on the 4K UHD itself, but the included Blu-ray copy brings materials. With a total running time of one hour, 57 minutes, 49 seconds, the set includes six featurettes. This collection brings “The ‘80s: You’re the Inspiration” (5:38), “Game Changer: Cracking the Code” (57:22), “Effects for a Brave New World” (24:39), “Level Up: Sound for the Future” (8:03), “High Score: Endgame” (10:04) and “Ernie & Tye’s Excellent Adventure” (12:00).
Across these, we find comments from director Steven Spielberg, novelist/co-screenwriter Ernest Cline, co-screenwriter Zak Penn, producer Dan Farah, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Donald De Line, production designer Adam Stockhausen, costume designer Kasia Walicka Maimone, special effects supervisor Neil Corbould, stunt coordinator Gary Powell, picture vehicle supervisor Graham Kelly, visual effects supervisors Grady Cofer, Matthew Butler and Roger Guyett, animation supervisor David Shirk, virtual production concept design supervisor Alex Jaeger, virtual production lab supervisor Joe Henderson, previsualization supervisor Scott Meadows, visual effects producer Daniel Brimer, computer graphics supervisor Brian Gazdik, digital effects supervisor Joel Behrens, supervising sound designer/re-recording mixer Gary Rydstrom, sound designer Kyrsten Mate, composer Alan Silvestri, and actors Tye Sheridan, Lena Waithe, Simon Pegg, Ben Mendelsohn, TJ Miller, Philip Zhao, Olivia Cooke, Win Morisaki, Mark Rylance, and Hannah John-Kamen.
The programs examine 1980s inspirations and their use in the film, the novel’s roots and path to the screen, adaptation, story and characters. We also look at cast and performances, production and costume design, the use of motion capture, cinematography, action and stunts, various effects, sound design and music.
Inevitably, we get a little too much happy talk here, as quite a lot of praise comes along for the ride. Nonetheless, we still learn a ton about the production, particularly in the technical domains, as those cover a slew of informative elements. The featurettes become useful and interesting for the most part.
The disc opens with an ad for the Blade Runner: Revelations videogame. No trailer for Player appears here.
Although Ready Player One offers a fun action experience, it doesn’t quite stick with the viewer in a way that would make it great. The movie brings us a lively 140 minutes that evaporates from the brain as soon as it ends. The 4K UHD offers solid picture along with terrific audio and a pretty engaging collection of featurettes. Player is “B”-level Spielberg but it still entertains.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of READY PLAYER ONE