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Thor: Ragnarok (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

While some have this illusion of some sort of fatigue (Black Panther is laughing HARD about that right now), 2017 was a pretty terrific year for the comic book super hero movies across the board.  Marvel’s three offerings all ramped up the fun factor and were as successful with their comedic chops as they were the heroics and action bits. And they led up to the heaviest hitter of the bunch, Thor: Ragnarok.  The film’s trailer was crazy loved and built up great hype which then delivered in pleasing critics, audiences and the almighty box office dollar. My kids were quoting “I know him, he’s a friend from work” from the day that trailer dropped all the way to having their butts in the seats on opening night. And We surely can’t wait to relive this one again, and you’ll be able to too on March 6th when it arrives on glorious 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray.

Film 

Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his home world and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk – and grapple with his silver-tongued adopted brother Loki, the fierce warrior Valkyrie and the eccentric Grandmaster.

In Thor’s third adventure, Taika Waititi and company seemed to realize one of the strengths of the the two films and character prior was humor. Rightfully so, and knowing Chris Hemsworth absolutely has some fantastic comedic chops, they’ve spun an adventure, buddy-comedy film that is a complete blast to wander through. The film packs an energy and weirdness like we’ve not seen before with the God of Thunder. It also knows how having such great comedy can also play into really build the suspense with caring about and moving the stakes.

Gone is the desire for yet another Earth bound Thor adventure. The only time we see Earth is a very brief, pretty much shoehorned in Doctor Strange scene because it was included as the previous film’s post credits scene. Its a really funny scene and Benedict Cumberbatch is terrific, but it serves zero purpose in the film other than to just establish these characters meeting. No, most of the film takes place on the beautiful junk planet of Sakaar. Its the dreams of a 1980s comic book or low grade Star Wars knock off, post-apocalyptic b-movie from the early 1980s come to life with an actual budget. Sakaar is full of great costuming, weaponry, characters and sets where its almost like a feature version of the Mos Eisley cantina, where everything is lived in, matter of fact, but many tale could be told about this place and its inhabitants.

Taika Waititi’s film isn’t afraid to shake things up and change the status quo at any turn either. Some of the returning characters are bumped off without warning (Kudos to those name actors who showed up only for impalement day), Thor’s look changes, an outlook on who some of the characters and places are is brought into a new light. The film has a very punchy and liberating feeling to the series. Yes, a departure from what came before, but the feeling of a fresh start and new beginning is all over it. I know most of the characters ideal goals is to have a trilogy here, but Thor, with the weakest series of them all feels like it could be the one that could go on into the fourth phase of Marvel.

From the outset of the first trailer and delivering in the film, Ragnarok is one with great fun, comedic punch and oozing with style. Its proclaimed a Jack Kirby comic come to life, but this film brings that 1980s aethsetic, style and feel into something original, fresh and with substance rather than just a nostalgic “Hey look, remember this? You liked this stuff as a kid”. Waititi has a handle on the material, sets, costumes and characters that allow it to be its own living, breathing world. The ships, the blasters, the armor, everything on Sakaar enjoys itself, believes in itself and never feels forced.

Thor: Ragnarok capped off a year of films from Marvel that all had a comedic spin and was really saving the best for last. Funny enough, all three had a different sense of comedy to them as well, with Guardians being its thing, Spider-Man taking the John Hughes-ish route and then the silliness of Ragnarok. However, all knew the stakes, delivered in the action and adventure and brought on some of the stronger and better villains that Marvel has ever seen (And just think, the next film delivers an all-timer in Killmonger). Ragnarok is a Marvel film I really love and one that I feel I can pop in at any time and its always going to put a smile on my face.  Its Thor’s best film and one of the best Part 3’s we’ve ever seen as its the clear best of its series (And I’m someone who does like the first two).

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p) HDR10

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Thor: Ragnarok is a vivid, colorful adventure with the god of thunder, so I’m sure expectations are very high with the 4K Ultra-HD release. The film definitely delivers in being a nice upgrade from the Blu-ray counterpart. The image is much crisper and sharp, with details coming on much stronger (Just take a look at Karl Urban’s head is some shots). With this image, some of the CGI elements are just a hair weaker than they were before (Though, don’t freak, they are still effective). In terms of color, this one feels like it takes a while to get going, as until we reach Sakaar, the film has the stereotypical bland look that Marvel films have been dinged for in the past. But, fear not, this thing become pure eye candy for a lot of this, from Jeff Goldblum’s clothes and make up, to fireworks in the sky, the green lining of Hela’s suite or the volcanic ferocity of Surtur. Many of the ships and costumes just looks so boldened and vivid. You’re sure to love this experience with Ragnarok.

Depth:  Ragnarok features an excellent depth of field with the foreground and background imagery. Along with the little bit more obviousness of the CG elements I mentioned above, you can notice a clean separation of character and green screen background in a handful of scenes in the film. Its not bad or distracting, but if you know a thing or two, you’ll take a little notice. Movements are cinematic and very smooth, with no blurring or jittering effects during rapid action movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are well saturated and natural throughout the film. All details are held onto no matter how dark they are. Patterns, textures and hair follicles are all maintained in the image. Darker scenes are well defined and also produce some more poppy colors. No crushing witnessed during the viewing for this review.

Color Reproduction: Perhaps the single most appealing aspect of Thor: Ragnarok is its insanely awesome color palette that is on display in the film. This transfer is nothing short of lovely during a lot of the Sakaar sequences. HDR comes in full effect with lighted blasters, blaster fire, lightning, the Bifrost, Surtur and much more carry a really sweet glow to them.  Early on, with Earth sequences and the early ones on Asgard, things are a bit more of that Marvel aesthetic, being a hair washed out and there isn’t much lovely aside from some Doctor Strange trickery and such.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial details are beyond excellent with stubble, wrinkles, make-up, lip texture, tattoo texture, face paint and more coming through clear as day.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, English Descriptive Video Service 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 (Canada) Dolby Digital, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, German 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Japanese 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus

Subtitles: English SDH, French (Canada), Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean

Dynamics: Like Coco that I reviewed last week, Ragnarok has its volume set lower than most titles featuring a Dolby Atmos track. While the film’s track is effect and features some really cool battle sequences and the like, I can’t help but feel it may have been more in my face that what they have given me (And I am referring to it when it is turned up to a more idea loudness). The mix is well balanced and with good, crisp and distinct sounds, vocals and music. Overall there’s a bit of punch its holding back.

Height: There are plenty of cool moments emanating from your ceiling. Lightning likes to travel above, the arena crowd looms above, as well as fireworks and ships. Led Zeppelin takes on a concert-like sound with the assistance of the speakers.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer could pound and hit a bit more, but it does fine here with punches, blasts, crashes, crumbles, lightning strikes and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: The mix here is well realized around the room, giving distinct and unique moments throughout to the side and rear channels. Front carries the action with excellent accuracy and precision back and forth.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp with good attention to mouth sounds on diction.

Extras 

Thor: Ragnarok comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a digital copy of the film. All bonus materials are found on the standard Blu-ray disc, with the exception of the “Evolution of Thor & Hulk’s Bromance” featurette and 2 additional deleted scenes that are a digital exclusive.

Blu-ray Disc

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Taika Waititi

Play Movie With Taika Waititi’s Director Intro (HD, 1:44) – A comedic little take on a pretentious director intro to a film (“I wanted to catch the essence of Peter Pan with Terminator 2…”).

Getting In Touch With Your Inner Thor (HD, 6:39) – Catches up with Chris Hemsworth, the series and character’s history in the films to this point and the choice to make some changes and put a new spin on the character for Ragnarok.

Unstoppable Women: Hela & Valkyrie (HD, 5:58) – The two female leads in the film get the spotlight on this featurette with both having a lot of praise and depth on their characters, performance techniques and more.

Finding Korg (HD, 7:34) – Taika Waititi is the subject of this featurette. We get a feel for his directing style, control and how much everyone enjoyed working with him. There is also discussion on his character Korg that he plays in the film. This one is also full of a lot of humor and plenty of gags from Taika.

Sakaar: On The Edge Of The Known and Unknown (HD, 8:24) – The remainder of the production’s characters and actors are gone over here as well as the planet that most of the film takes place on.

Journey Into Mystery (HD, 5:47) – It first tells us where in the Marvel timeline the story takes place then focuses on the comic book inspirations for story and characters in the film, but also truly bringing a 1980’s Jack Kirby drawing into life.

Gag Reel (HD, 2:18)

Exclusive Short: Team Darryl (HD, 6:08) – This continues the series of ongoing shorts about Thor’s roommate Darryl. With Thor gone and a move to Los Angeles, Darryl has taken in The Grandmaster.

Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years – The Evolution of Heroes (HD, 5:23) –  A brief history of the The Avengers universe through interviews with the cast and Kevin Feige leading to just some brief fluff on the upcoming Infinity War.

Deleted/Extended Scenes (HD, 5:43)

8-bit Scenes – These sequences were actually used to help the filmmakers plan and shoot them in the film.

  • Sakaar Spaceship Battle (HD, :58)
  • Final Bridge Battle (HD, 2:17)

Digital Exclusives

Thor And Hulk: A Galactic Adventure (HD, 2:59) – A quick featurette discussing the two most powerful characters’ relationship in the movies and finally getting them together away from an ensemble and making a “buddy picture”.

Deleted Scenes

  • Race To The Wormhole (HD, 1:15)
  • Travel To Asgard (HD, 2:18)

Summary 

Thor: Ragnarok gives you an absolute blast of action and laughs through this comedic adventure through the Marvel cosmos. The God of Thunder’s 4K Ultra-HD debut delivers some stunning, gorgeous videos with an Atmos track that does the trick but overall could add some more punch to it. The extras here are fun and really reflect the vibe of the overall film itself (Though are a bit more on the fluff side). Marvel have delivered all you’re really going to want here in the present from this release, so pick it up Day 1.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

4 Responses to “Thor: Ragnarok (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Jan

    Why is this dubbed „Cinematic Universe Edition“?
    (Suggesting there are other editions / apart from the steelbook)

  2. Brian White

    Yeah, why Brandon. Why this be called CUE?!!!

  3. Brandon Peters

    I really have no idea other than it just being some kinda flashy ploy akin to being no different than has always been with DVDs and after like an American Pie “extra crust edition” or something like that.

  4. Brian White

    Ha ha I love it…Extra Crust! I remember that!