V for Vendetta – 4K UHD Blu-ray Review

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Film Title: V for Vendetta (2005)
Release Date: 2020
Rating: R
Runtime: 132 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Studio: Warner
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos
High Dynamic Range: HDR10
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Version Reviewed: 4K UHD Blu-ray
Release Date: 11/3/20
Director: James McTeigue
Cast: Hugo WeavingNatalie Portman, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Rupert Graves, Roger Allam, Tim Pigott-Smith, Ben Miles, Sinéad Cusack, Natasha Wightman, John Standing, Clive Ashborn

Jump to Sections:
Movie | Video | Audio | Bonus | Closing | Screenshots
Full 4K Tech Specs found at the bottom

click to view a 4K Screenshot

The Movie

“V for Vendetta” was a 2005 film adaptation of the Vertigo (DC Comics) graphic novel (comic book series of the same title) created by Alan Moore (writer of “Watchmen” fame) and David Lloyd (illustrator). The film was directed by James McTeigue, now known for his work directing films such as “Ninja Assassin” (2009) and “The Raven” (2012). However, he’s really best known for his work as a second unit or assistant director on films such as “Dark City” (1998), “The Matrix” (1999), “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” (2002), “The Matrix Reloaded” (2003), “The Matrix Revolutions” (2003), and “Speed Racer” (2008).

The screenplay adaptation of the original graphic novel was handled by The Wachowskis: Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski. They are best known for their work both writing & directing the films “Bound” (1996), “The Matrix” (1999), “The Matrix Reloaded” (2003), “The Matrix Revolutions” (2003), “Speed Racer” (2008), “Cloud Atlas” (2012), and “Jupiter Ascending” (2015) — as well as the TV series “Sense8” (2015-2018). The Wachowskis also served as producers on this film adaptation of the V for Vendetta graphic novel. It’s certainly worth noting that Joel Silver served as a producer, who had worked on The Matrix films previously as well.

The story of the film adaptation takes place in London, set in a dystopian future. We first see a flashback to November 5th, 1605, when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament, as this, known as the “Gunpowder Plot,” serves as an instrument of information that was the inspiration for both the story and the primary character.

It goes like this, you have an anti-hero serving as the primary protagonist. A man in a Guy Fawkes mask and rather sleek dark black outfit, wielding knives and is known simply as “V” (Hugo Weaving). Our other protagonist here is a young girl named “Evey Hammond” (Natalie Portman) doing her own thing and working at the state-run television network. Serving as the leader here and as the primary antagonist is “Chancellor Sutler” (John Hurt). He leads as a fascist dictator and has banned most free-thinking forms of literature, music, films, and such.

The people are fed what to think by the aforementioned state-run television network known as “BTN” (British Television Network). That’s ironically enough where Evey works, as mentioned, as a personal assistant to one of the hosts of a TV show. As we are first introduced to both of our main characters Evey has snuck out one night past the state-mandated curfew to visit her boss, but she’s stopped by a couple of “Fingermen” (undercover police of sorts). She’s thankfully helped by a man in a mask, the previously mentioned V.

V. That’s simply how the mysterious man introduces himself to Evey, after saving her. He asks her if she’d like to join him for a little bit of a show and she agrees to — as strange as the masked man may seem. She learns he means business and he’s also what would be considered an anarchist or perhaps even a terrorist. That’s something this government in the story is very much against and he’s vowed his own way of seeking a personal vengeance for what he was put through, which you’ll learn more of by the film’s end.

Along the way, Evey will go back to work and then end up back with her friend V. Meanwhile two investigators named “Finch” (Stephen Rea) and his partner “Dominic” (Rupert Graves) is on the trail of this terrorist simply known as V, and that means searching the apartment of Evey Hammond. Lucky for her, she’s elsewhere when they come looking for her and they can’t use her to get to V from that. A game of cat and mouse goes on between the investigators, particularly Finch as he seems to take it personally. Evey will have a bit of a spiritual awakening of sorts, and I’ll leave it at that, to avoid dishing out “spoilers.”

Inevitably, you’ll learn what happened to V and why he’s seeking revenge by killing people and leaving a red flower by their bodies. He also has a reason as to why he’s plotting his revenge on this government that failed him and so many others. This is a very, very political story with lots of drama and action in pretty much equal amounts. This is a great film, in my own opinion, and proves to be one of my personal favorites.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November, the gunpowder, treason and plot. For I see no reason why the gunpowder treason, should ever be forgot.”

Movie Rating: 5 (out of 5)


click to view a 4K Screenshot

Video Quality

“V for Vendetta” makes its debut on 4K UHD Blu-ray in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio with the HDR10 form of High Dynamic Range. The movie was shot on Super 35mm film using the Arricam Lt, Arricam St, Arricam 235, and Arricam 435 Extreme cameras with Cooke S4 lenses — according to IMDb.

This 4K visual presentation comes from a new 4K scan of the original film elements. It then received a new 4K DI (digital intermediate) master — as stated on IMDb as a 2020 4K DI Remaster. Therefore, the movie itself has been remastered in 4K for this specific 4K UHD Blu-ray release as well as for the limited theatrical rerelease.

Next, let me get technical, for a bit, in regards to the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc itself here. This release is using a BD-100 (100 gigabytes) disc, 82.77 gigabytes total, and 72.9 gigabytes for the film itself. In hindsight, the original 2008 Blu-ray release of the film only was using 25.49 gigabytes total, and then just 21.2 gigabytes for the film in 1080p HD. That’s an improvement, with a filesize now almost three times larger for the film in 4K.

Now, let’s look at some comparisons between this new 4K and the original Blu-ray release, for reasons I’ll be using to reference a tad bit further below.

Blu-ray VS. 4K Screenshot Comparisons:

SOURCES: 2008 Blu-ray (left), 2020 4K UHD Blu-ray (right)

And, I can also offer you a video slideshow of these with my Blu-ray VS. 4K UHD Blu-ray screenshot comparison over on YouTube (also found below).

As you can tell by the comparisons, there has been a slight bit of a crop on the new 4K scan and remaster. The original 2008 Blu-ray did offer up a little bit more visual real estate, so-to-speak, but this new 4K version seems to be framed in a most tasteful manner than before. But, that’s just my personal opinion. The color timing here has certainly changed up and much more thanks to the addition of HDR10 form of high dynamic range. The HDR adds more realistic lighting in darker scenes, a solid black level, more accurate flesh tones, and a more realistic set of colors on the wardrobe and set design. This really proves to be impressive on 4K and is a definite upgrade over the Blu-ray, which was only mastered at 2K.

There’s really nothing at all to complain about here in the new 4K remastered presentation of “V for Vendetta” in its debut to the 4K UHD Blu-ray release. This visually is impressive enough, with a very nice amount of newfound detail, to earn itself a damn-near perfect rating of 4.75 for video quality.

Video Quality Rating: 4.75 (out of 5)


click to view a 4K Screenshot

Audio Quality

“V for Vendetta” makes its debut to the 4K UHD Blu-ray format in Dolby Atmos, with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core, for those who don’t have the proper equipment to fully decode the Atmos.

So, wow, simply put: this has a very, very impressive Dolby Atmos sound mix and comes as one hell of an improvement over the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 featured on the original 2008 Blu-ray. This is absolutely demo material from start to finish, a total of 132 minutes. I’m talking about from when the opening studio logos are shown until the end credits. It’s got this well-balanced amount of action, which makes for some great Atmos.

It should obviously be noted, just as with the original 2008 Blu-ray release’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 this on a 5.1.2 scale offers up just as impressive, if not slightly improved, amount of rear channel use all throughout. However, now with 7.1 for the Atmos core, you’ll get two additional rear channels for those on a 7.1.2 configuration, for example. Also, the dialogue is delivered very distinctly, as you’ll notice in the opening narration, from the center channel speaker. The music and sound effects get mostly presented in the front left and right channels but they’ll get their share of rear and height channel use as well. With that being said, now, let me describe a bit of some of my favorite parts, early on, and give you an idea of what to expect out of this new Atmos mix.

Just at around 2 minutes in, and I was already loving the height channels getting used for the score and sound effects. The height channels add so much more to this film which features its fair share of explosions and knife fights early on even. It doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to leave you realizing how much those height channels really do add to this listening experience. It’s truly an improvement here in terms of sound, with this new Atmos sound mix. The height channels just add so much more to this film, especially during some of the big action sequences that include equal amounts of sound effects and music. Those are just an absolute blast from nearly the start to the finish of the film. This new Dolby Atmos mix delivers and is (as mention above) “demo material” worthy of a perfect 5 rating for audio quality.

Audio Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)


click to view a 4K Screenshot

Bonus Materials

Bonus materials physically on this release include:

  • A Digital Copy of the film is included, via a physical paper insert with a redemption code, which is compatible with Movies Anywhere. That means you’ll get a 4K digital copy of the films on services like iTunes, VUDU, and Fandango Now.

The 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc includes:

  • NEW “James McTeigue & Lana Wachowski In Conversation” (13:18 – HD) will also be shown starting on October 30th during the film’s limited 2020 theatrical rerelease. This appears to have been shot on the set of a film, perhaps while filming the upcoming “Matrix” sequel? It seems logical. Here you have the film’s director (McTeigue) and one half of the screenwriting team and producer, Lana Wachowski. This proves to be a really informative conversation and slightly serves as a retrospective on the film itself.
  • NEW Natalie Portman’s Audition (14:06 – HD) includes the actresses’ original audition tapes, put together with the final scenes afterward. You get a total of three scenes here, and as mentioned, the final scenes, as they appeared in the film, play after each audition video — with exception of the final scene.
  • NEWV for Vendetta Unmasked (23:28 – HD) is actually an archival featurette that had been previously unreleased on home video. This discusses the graphic novel origins and primarily consists of interviews with Joel Silver (producer), Natalie Portman (“Evey Hammond”), Hugo Weaving (“V”), Stephen Rea (“Finch”), James McTeigue (director), Stephen Fry (“Deitrich”), David Lloyd (co-creator, “V for Vendetta”), Sinéad Cusack (“Delia Surridge”), Owen Paterson (production designer), John Hurt (“Chancellor Sutler”), Kevin Phipps (supervising art director), and Peter Walpole (set decorator). NOTE: This featurette technically is previously unreleased, while it is new to home video is (as mentioned above). It is actually older, from 2006, and is presented in a 4×3 format with black pillar bars on the sides, and even more on top and bottom during the clips from the film. New Wave Entertainment television originally did this. It was directed and produced by Josh Oreck. You can actually now watch this featurette entirely over on YouTube as of today, thanks to Warner.

The Blu-ray included here is the original 2008 disc, just pressed again with different art. Everything here, on this disc, is presented in SD (standard definition) video quality and in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (@ 192kbps) — unless otherwise noted below. This Blu-ray Disc contains the following materials:

  • “In-Movie Experience” (2:12:24 – HD) is “a Director’s Note: Reimagining a Cult Classic for the 21st Century” — according to its description on the menu. This is a PIP (picture-in-picture) video experience that will require some Blu-ray players to enable secondary audio. If you’re not hearing anything but the movie, instead of also the interviews, then that’s what is wrong. This uses BD-Java and will allow you to skip through the movie and see further interviews and behind-the-scenes glimpses via the pop-up videos that play as you watch the film. The film’s director James McTeigue gives you something that I’d compare to a visual commentary more than I would an audio commentary track here. It’s a shame that we don’t get these type of extras today on Blu-ray and 4K UHD Blu-ray releases. Picture-In-Picture (PIP) video really had something going for it and there were a lot of films that used this type of “In-Movie Experience” on Warner Blu-ray titles. Here you’ll get interviews with other members of the cast and crew such as Natalie Portman (“Evey”) and Hugo Weaving (“V”) — as well as others.
  • “Behind the Story” consists of:
    • “Designing the Future” (17:16 – SD) includes lots of behind-the-scenes on-set footage as well as interviews with folks like James McTeigue (director), Owen Paterson (production designer), Kevin Phipps (supervising art director), Natalie Portman (“Evey”), Peter Walpole (set decorator), Joel Silver (producer), Hugo Weaving (“V”), Sammy Sheldon (costume designer), Nicholas Daubeney (supervising location manager), Dan Glass (visual effects supervisor), Jose Granell (model unit supervisor), and Nigel Trevessey (model unit crew).
    • Remember, Remember: Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot (10:18 – SD) gives us the history behind the man who the character, in this film, “V” wears a mask of. The history goes like this: in Great Britain, in the year 1605 on November 5th, Guy Fawkes conspired (with others) a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament — in what has become known as the “Gunpowder Plot.” This featurette consists of interviews with Stephen Fry (Deitrich), Roger Allam (Lewis Prothero), Natalie Portman (Evey), Mark Nicholls (author, Investigating Gunpowder Plot), Paul Hammer (author, The Polarisation of Elizabethan Politics), David Smith (author, A History of the Modern British Isles, 1603-1707), David Herber (president of The Gunpowder Plot Society), and Sinéad Cusack (Delia Surridge).
    • “Freedom! Forever!: Making V for Vendetta (15:57 – SD) has lots of behind-the-scenes footage, clips from the film, and glimpses from the graphic novel. In between all of that you’ll get interviews with David Lloyd (co-creator, “V for Vendetta”), Joel Silver (producer), James McTeigue (director), Stephen Fry (Deitrich), Natalie Portman (Evey), Owen Paterson (production designer), Stephen Rea (Finch), Roger Allam (Lewis Prothero),  Sinéad Cusack (Delia Surridge), John Hurt (Chancellor Sutler), Hugo Weaving (V), and Rupert Graves (Dominic).
    • “England Prevails: V for Vendetta and the New Wave in Comics” (14:40 – SD) takes a look back at the original Vertigo comics. This includes interviews with Joel Silver (producer), Karen Berger (executive editor, Vertigo), David Lloyd (co-creator, “V for Vendetta”), Stephen Fry (Deitrich), Bill Sienkiewicz (comic book author/artist), Geof Darrow (comic book author/artist), Paul Levitz (DC Comics president & publisher), Paul Chadwick (comic book author/artist), and James McTeigue (director).
  • Additional Footage: “Natalie Portman SNL Rap” (2:34 – SD) was featured on an episode of “Saturday Night Live” and features The Lonely Island. A lot of you may ask, how is this related to the film? Well, Portman happened to be hosting an episode back in 2006 in promotion for this particular film. It’s also worth noting that Andy Sandberg and Chris Parnell are great in this.
  • Music Video: Cat Power – “Montage” (2:02 – SD)
  • Theatrical Trailer (2:24 – SD) is presented in Widescreen, in the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio, however, it is only in SD (standard definition).
  • “Soundtrack Album Info” (0:15 – HD) just gives you a quick list of some music found on the motion picture soundtrack.

The bonus materials here are a nice improvement in comparison to that original 2008 Blu-ray release. You get the three new extras on the 4K disc itself, which are definitely worth viewing. Those total up to around 50 minutes themselves. Then you get another 65 minutes of basic extras on the Blu-ray, not including the extensive “In-Movie Experience” which has the feature runtime of the film itself. Fans will be happy with what you get here in terms of new content, and that you’re not missing out on any extras. This is an upgrade in terms of bonus materials, as a 4K UHD Blu-ray release.

Bonus Materials Rating: 4.75 (out of 5)


click to view a 4K Screenshot

Closing Thoughts

“V for Vendetta” was one very memorable 2006 film adaptation of the graphic novel (of the same title). The film offered up some extremely memorable performances from (vocally and physically) Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman. It also included some great supporting performances from the likes of folks such as John Hurt, Stephen Rea, Rupert Graves, Stephen Fry, Tim Pigott-Smith, Roger Allam, and Natasha Wightman — to just name a few.

The video quality here serves as a very nice improvement over the previous 2008 Blu-ray, as I’ve discussed and shown above. It’s great to see that the film has received a new 4K remaster and it’s an impressive 4K presentation. The HDR really adds a lot to a film such as this, with so many darker scenes and a primarily character’s wardrobe that consists almost entirely black. This is a very nice visual upgrade in 4K.

The audio quality here is simply the most impressive part of this 4K UHD Blu-ray release, with a Dolby Atmos mix that is sure to leave you blown away. In hindsight comparison to the original 2008 Blu-ray’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix is outperformed and a 7.1 core gives it a superior nature — even if you’re not able to (yet) fully decode the Dolby Atmos. This is what we often refer to as “demo material” and it’s something that you’ll want to test out your sound systems on. Let’s leave it at that. Yet again, this is a definite audio upgrade.

Finally, you get 3 new extras (in HD) on the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc itself that are around 50 minutes in length. Those prove to be very informative and worthwhile. Plus, you get all of the original 2008 Blu-ray extras presented on it. Those all total up to 65 minutes and that’s not even including the “In-Movie Experience” PIP (picture-in-picture) feature that has the runtime of the film itself. This is an upgrade in terms of extras (bonus materials) as well.

Video quality, upgrade. Check. Audio quality, upgrade. Check. Finally, the bonus materials, upgrade. Check. This is just an upgrade of a 4K UHD Blu-ray release from the fine folks at Warner all across the board. This is the best you have ever experienced “V for Vendetta” in terms of both video and audio quality. This release is a highly recommended upgrade.

In terms of 4K UHD Blu-ray release, this gets:
4.75 (out of 5) for video quality
5 (out of 5) for audio quality
4.75 (out of 5) for bonus materials


Overall Verdict:
Highly Recommended Upgrade

Available As:

2020 4K UHD Blu-ray Release

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4K UHD Blu-ray Screenshots:

Blu-ray VS. 4K Screenshot Comparisons

Packaging:


4K UHD Blu-ray Technical Specifications:

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Exact Runtime(s): 2:12:33
Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core), Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Czech, Polish, Thai
Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Swedish, Thai
HDR: HDR10
Disc Size: BD-100
Disc Use: 82.77GB total / 72.9GB for the film