Film Title: Overlord
Release Date: 2018
Runtime: 109 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos
High Dynamic Range: HDR10
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Formats Available: 4K UHD Blu-ray | Blu-ray
Version Reviewed: 4K UHD Blu-ray
Release Date: 2/19/19
Director: Julius Avery
Cast: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, Pilou Asbæk, John Magaro, Iain De Caestecker, Jacob Anderson, Dominic Applewhite, Erich Redman
“Overlord” was produced by J.J. Abrams and directed by Julius Avery. Avery is best known for directing the film “Son of a Gun” (2014) and the short “Jerry Can” (2008). The screenplay for this film was a collaborative writing effort between Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith. Co-writer Billy Ray is best known for writing on films like “Flightplan” (2005), “Shattered Glass” (2003), “The Hunger Games” (2012), and “Captain Phillips” (2013). Co-writer Mark L. Smith is best known for his writing on films such as “Vacancy” (2007), “The Hole” (2009), and “The Revenant” (2015).
The story takes place on the eve of the D-Day invasion during World War II (June 5th, 1944). The film gets its title from Operation Overlord – a battle that took place in Normandy the very next day. The film leaves its historical accuracy behind to focus on science fiction, so understand this is not a true war story. It is, however, true that during the war the Nazis were very much into research of methods to win the war and also create a super race of soldiers. This would have obviously meant a lot of experimental work on human beings. This takes some of those facts and your typical Hollywood-style creative liberties along the way.
Said creative liberties taken involve a fictional group of paratroopers that are about to attempt to destroy a German radio tower. The group is comprised of “Boyce” (Jovan Adepo), “Ford” (Wyatt Russell), “Tibbet” (John Magaro), “Chase” (Iain De Caestecker), “Dawson” (Jacob Anderson) and “Rosenfeld” (Dominic Applewhite). As mentioned the paratroopers had a mission but they manage to get shot down and end up behind enemy lines, having to make their way to safety. Along the way, they’ll meet a girl named “Chloe” (Mathilde Ollivier) that will prove to be helpful.
Our lead character Boyce manages to stumble onto some top secret German research that is extremely mysterious, to say the very least and avoid dishing out “spoilers” here. Let’s just say that the Nazis were up to no good, and here they’re certainly up to some more evil. Be prepared to see some things that aren’t typical for World War II films, considering this is a fictional story. Some may find it to be a bit outlandish but considering some of the actual stuff that history has told us, it’s actually probably not as far-fetched as it may seem. This is science fiction, horror, action, with just a little bit of suspense and drama thrown in. “Overlord” is a unique film and I found it to be pretty enjoyable.
Movie Rating: 4 (out of 5)
This comes to 4K UHD Blu-ray presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, just as it was shown during its theatrical run. In its 4K debut “Overlord” gets the HDR10 form of High Dynamic Range included on this release. According to IMDb, this was shot digitally using the Arri Alexa Mini, Arri Alexa Sxt, and Panavision cameras (in 2.8K & 3.4K resolutions). The movie received a digital intermediate transfer but IMDb does not state whether it was in 4K or 2K.
The film starts out really dark, during the nighttime, so it takes a while before you’re really able to appreciate the amount of detail here. Despite dim lighting conditions the digital source manages to capture a nice amount of detail. Visually this can be sharp for the most part, coming from a digital source. There’s certainly a solid black level the be found here, with shadows emphasized nicely via the HDR10 form of a high dynamic range. The 4K presentation looks pretty nice, especially in some of the better lit and/or close-up shots later in the film. The colors do feel a tad bit subdued at times but that is to fit the visual style the filmmakers were going for. Lastly, in regards to color, I’m happy to say this does come with accurate flesh tones.
It is no way is a spoiler to tell you that a majority of the film takes place during nighttime, and can be in very dim lighting conditions as well. It’s just a dark film, it really is. There’s really no other way to put it. This has its moments though with the action and such where it manages to deliver some pretty cool visuals and cinematography. Overall, it is a pretty nice 4K video presentation that does this movie justice.
Video Quality Rating: 4.25 (out of 5)
Audio here is presented in Dolby Atmos, with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core for those without the proper equipment to decode Atmos. It is worth noting that Blu-ray actually also includes Atmos, as well.
Let me start by saying this up front: If you’re in the market for a Dolby Atmos mix that will make things in your house shake and possibly fall or jump off shelves at you and leave you on the edge of your seat: Overlord on 4K UHD Blu-ray is what you’ll need in your life. You’ll think a poltergeist came to visit just by only watching the first 10 minutes of the film.
It’s no lie that just the first 10 minutes of the film alone prove to be some of the most impressive Dolby Atmos material that I have heard (to date). The great part is that this treatment continues on throughout the film and it will amaze you more along the way in terms of sound. The height speakers are used in a smart and effective manner to make you feel right smack dab in the middle of the action of the latter days of World War II. It’s full of intense use of the subwoofer for low-end bass drops, beautifully presented rear channel use and whatnot. The amount of action throughout the film sounds excellent, with a large amount of bass presence during the more climactic moments from both sound effects and the music.
The dialogue gets delivered from the center channel without missing a beat (so-to-speak) and requiring no volume adjustments. In fact, listening to this Atmos mix at my normal reference volume level, I found it to be perfect in every way. This is a well balanced atmospheric and object-based lossless surround mix that will leave most anyone blown away, and downright impressed with what Atmos can truly do. The amount of action here really helps to show that off. You’ll be on the edge of your seat or perhaps jump out of it on a few occasions if this is your first time seeing the film.
The film’s original music (done by Jed Kurzel) is represented very nicely here in this Atmos mix, with a lot of rear channel usage, and is being primarily driven from the front left and right channels. It makes a nice balance of the music, the action, and the dialogue here. Simply put: this sound mix is nothing short of perfect.
Audio Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Bonus materials physically included on this release include:
- A Digital Copy of the film compatible with services like Apple’s iTunes, VUDU. Here you get a paper insert inside the packaging that contains a code you put in at the URL listed.
- A Blu-ray Disc of the film is included. It also features the same Dolby Atmos sound mix.
The real bonus material is on the “Special Features” (2nd) Blu-ray Disc and is presented in HD video with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. This includes:
- The Horrors of War (51:28 – HD) serves as a making of-style featurette with a lot of on-set footage, outtakes, concept art, set blueprints, visual effects demos, and primarily interviews. Those interviewed here include the following people: J.J. Abrams (Producer), Lindsey Weber (Producer), Jon Cohen (Executive Producer), Mark L. Smith (Screenwriter), Dominic Applewhite (“Rosenfeld”), Julius Avery (Director), Wyatt Russell (“Ford”), Jovan Adepo (“Joyce”), Jacob Anderson (“Dawson”), Bokeem Woodbine (“Sgt. Rensin”), John Magaro (“Tibbet”), Pilou Asbæk (“Wafner”), Jon Henson (Production Designer), Grant Armstrong (Supervising Art Director), Jo McLaren (Stunt Coordinator), Freddie Farnsworth (Military Trainer), James Grant (Unit Production Manager), Iain De Caestecker (“Chase”), Mathilde Ollivier (“Chloe”), and Tristan Versluis (Prosthetics Designer). This featurette does include a ‘play all’ function but it is also split up into the following chapters (if you so choose):
- Death Above
- Death on the Ground
- Death Below
- Death No More
- Brothers In Arms
Overall the bonus material here spans across just one featurette (split up into six parts), totaling up to roughly 51 minutes in length. The 4K release also includes the Blu-ray Disc and a Digital Copy of the film. That’s cool and all, but it’s not really much without an audio commentary or some deleted scenes and such to go along with it. It just feels a bit lacking. Still, what you get in the featurette discussing the making of the film proves to be both informative and enjoyable.
Bonus Materials Rating: 2.75 (out of 5)
“Overlord” proves to be a pretty interesting blend of history and the genres of science fiction/horror. It’s something you would expect J.J. Abrams to be associated with, and that’s why he served as a producer on this. The cast here is pretty good, with memorable performances by Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, and John Magaro – especially.
In terms of video quality this has a bit more than just being solid going for it, and in terms of audio is where it truly exceeds. This is one of the more intense Dolby Atmos mixes that I’ve heard to date and it’s sure to leave you impressed, regardless of what you think of the film. The bonus materials here are really the weakest part of the release and feel just a tad bit short even at 51 minutes. Still, they prove to be worthwhile and enjoyable after watching the film.
In terms of 4K UHD Blu-ray release, this gets:
4.25 (out of 5) for video quality
5 (out of 5) for audio quality
2.75 (out of 5) for bonus materials