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Wonder (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

If you saw a movie this past summer or fall, there’s a really REALLY good chance you caught the trailer for the film, Wonder. In my personal experience, it played with pretty much everything, ESPECIALLY the films I took my kids to go and see. And said marketing campaign paid off, showing it had no fear of the Justice League and powered itself to being a box office champion. In the face of super heroes with capes, this particular one wore an astronaut helmet and had the bedding set to match. Critics and audiences warmed to the film and now you can reheat those feelings or check them out for the first time when Lionsgate brings the film to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray. You can pre-order now for the near Valentine’s Day release of February 13th.

Film 

Wonder follows the inspiring story of the Pullman family, whose youngest child, Auggie, is a boy born with facial differences. When Auggie enters mainstream elementary school for the first time, his extraordinary journey unites his family, his school, and his community, and proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

With watching said trailer I mentioned for Wonder, I had two different thoughts. First, it was one of those trailers for a movie that make me roll my eyes and feel I can predict every turn a movie has. Luckily, I rarely completely judge a movie by its marketing. And second thought, how odd and different this movie looked from everything else. A film like Wonder was a more common place a few decades ago and now feels like some sort of lost artifact; a film for the whole family.

And really, this is no lie, it truly is one for the family. It doesn’t play dumb, it just plays as it is. It works as both a drama for adults and a drama/educational experience for kids. Wonder has a level playing ground where parents and children can come together and experience the same thing in different ways from one another. The film has plenty of good emotional ticks and scenes with which can spark a nice conversation centered around real life helpfulness as opposed to “Man that part where this blew up and the alien blasted that thing was awesome!” There are genre films that can touch upon these things or think they do, but unless your last name is Spielberg, its probably not getting through like they want it to.

What Wonder excels at most is letting this movie first and foremost be about the kids. The adults give helpful guidance and support, but this movie never crutches or allows itself into falling into a trap about revealing some secret past detail or derailing the narrative to make it more about them. We have four kids the movie wants to follow and it truly is about them, their feelings, their experiences, their relations and most of all, their point of view in the story. Many, even some of the best, want to steer toward the parents, and that’s likely because you have adults making these movies, but Wonder never takes its eyes off of its focus.

Wonder is probably a brand new classic in the family film/family drama genre of films. You get some outright terrific performances and a film with a really touching story that is impossible not to fall for or get a little misty eyed during. People hating on the film, probably haven’t seen the film. There’s a load of charm, relate-able moments, crowd pleasing turns, challenging times and much more. There’s a reason the film continued to carry and soar at the box office, and that’s because it really is just that good and appeals to a mass amount of audiences.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p) Dolby Vision

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Wonder comes to 4K Ultra-HD with a pretty terrific picture.  The image is one that is a very tight and crisp one. There are plenty of details that shine through here, especially on clothing textures and patterns as well as things like the surface of the science project seen in the film. Wonder carries a natural and rustic look that feels very homely in this presentation.

Depth: Solid spacing throughout the film with foreground images and background well defined from one another. Characters move freely and naturally through each frame with no distortion.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and well saturated in the image. No detail is lost among the dark. No crushing witnessed in this viewing.

Color Reproduction: Colors come on as natural through and through. Browns, grays and more looks lifelike in their tones. There is some pop here and there, and the HDR isn’t really bursting but does show up in the form of car lights and other more glistening background details.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and keep their tone throughout the duration of the film. Facial details are clear as day from any given distance. Jacob Tremblay’s make-up work holds up quite well here under this well defined image.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Optimized For Late Night Listening, English Descriptive Audio

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Wonder isn’t a movie that completely demands to sound revolutionary emanating from you home theater system. But, giving itself a lifelike feel, with fully realized environments is a feat that maybe sometimes goes unappreciated. The film’s sound design feels natural, comfortable and at home in this mix.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Most of the subwoofer effort comes from music, but also involves some engines and doors slamming.

Surround Sound Presentation: Impressively, environments are well realized with unique effects and ambiance coming from the sides and rear speakers. Movements is very accurately tracked as well.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras 

Wonder comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a digital copy of the film.

Audio Commentary

  • With Stephen Chbosky and RJ Palacio

Summer Of Fun (HD, 57:44) – A 5-part documentary featuring interviews with the author as well as cast and crew that takes us through the thoughts on the book, thematic elements of the story, the various production aspects of every stage of making the film as well as this movie’s message of kindness and putting it out into the world. This is all accompanied by plenty of behind the scenes footage.

A Child’s Sense of Wonder (HD, 13:23) – This featurette focuses on working with all the various children on the movie as well as the kids’ experiences as well.

What A Wonderful World (HD, 12:34) – Here we focus on the production design in the film, capturing the essence of each human being as well as the city of New York.

“Brand New Eyes” Music Video (HD, 3:26)

Theatrical Trailers (HD, 3:14)

Wonder: Soundtrack Behind-the-Scenes (HD, 3:57) – A brief rundown of how all the music came together with the Director, Music Supervisor, Composer and the producer. Features a lot of just clips from the film with pieces of the score. Nothing really too deep or introspective here.

Summary 

Wonder is a truly engaging and touching family film that isn’t anything new, but damn does it do everything well. This 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray presentation is the best you’re going to get in sight and sound. The extras also really allow you to sink your teeth into this production as well. If you’re picking up this release from Lionsgate, you truly are getting your money’s worth.

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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).

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