Babylon – Limited Edition Steelbook (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

A creator’s big swing. A huge 3 hour Hollywood history epic. High Oscar hopes. Largely divisive reaction. Box office bombing. Minimal Oscar love. That’s the wild ride that was Damien Chazelle’s Babylon just a few months back during the holiday season. I, for one, loved the film but many were taken aback and almost turned into nuns when it came to what the film dished out. Nonetheless, its probably going to have a bit of a cult fanbase that grows in years to come. And one way to keepsake it or check it out is the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray edition that is arriving on March 21st. It comes with some featuerettes as well as the option to put it on your shelf in collectible steelbook packaging. The Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Diego Calva fictional drama about Hollywood’s transition from silent to sound can be yours if you pre-order it now using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review at the bottom of the page.


Babylon follows an ambitious cast of characters — The Silent Film Superstar (Brad Pitt), the Young Starlet (Margot Robbie), the Production Executive (Diego Calva), the Musical Sensation (Jovan Adepo) and the Alluring Powerhouse Performer (Li Jun Li) — who are striving to stay on top of the raucous, 1920s Hollywood scene and maintain their relevance at a time when the industry is moving on to the next best thing.

I have plenty to say about Babylon over the end of the year season. It scored in at #5 on my Top 10 films of 2022 where I wrote;

If you know me, I LOVE big swings from directors. And Damien Chazelle took a giant one here with Babylon. A film that has turned much of film Twitter and proclaimed film aficionados into a bunch of sheltered nuns. Yes, this movie is bonkers, but there is nothing THAT extreme in this that someone who takes in a good well rounded amount of film from other genres and internationally hasn’t seen before. But, it is what it is. I had joy blasting through this breakneck trip through Hollywood’s transition from silent to sound. Performers here all doing a damn fine job, but there’s a scene with Jean Smart addressing Brad Pitt later in the film that is one of my absolute favorites of the year and really deserves giving her tons of recognition. Babylon is a movie, like Chazelle’s La La Land that I finished and immediately wanted to take a gander at again. It’s a shame it isn’t doing better at the box office, but I’m also not surprised as its not a film for everyone and if people are going to clear out their schedule for a movie that’s over 3 hours this holiday season its going to be Avatar. For those detractors of this film, I’ll just kindly refer to the title of David Cross’ 2002 album.

And I went into it more in the video companion to the article on my YouTube Channel here (Begins about the 30:50 mark):


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are provided courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-100

Clarity/Detail Babylon was shot on 35mm film, finished with a 4K digital intermediate, and definitely has a romantic and big cinematic look to it in this transfer. There’s a great look to the colors and black levels in this image. There’s a solid layer of grain and good, fine depth and details in the look of the picture. Overall its a really beautiful looking movie despite any reservations you may have on the content.

Depth: Depth of field is outstanding here as Chazelle set out to make a grand old school epic and it actual translates to one. There’s a mighty sense of big scale here, that’s larger than life and has a good pushback and distance in the frame for the background and foreground. Movement is filmic and smooth with no issues from distortions such as blurring or jittering.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and absolutely gorgeous here as they bring out a lot of the attitude in their contrast in making colors strike where it counts. No information is hidden as fine details like hair follicles or patterns like very slim pinstripes on suits come through with ease. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are bold, rich and romantic here in this transfer. There’s an overall golden look to the film as a sort of vibe. Reds really relish here and pop. Flames, candlelight, lights, signs and other little things pop with good HDR glow when contrasted against the night or shadows.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. Facial features and texture like make-up brush strokes, wrinkles, freckles, sweat beads, dried dirt/blood, skin blemishes and more come through clear as day.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Audio Description

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Cantonese, Danish, Spanish, French, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish, Thai

Dynamics: Babylon features a bumping and thumping Atmos track that really knows how to paint a room and also contrast with big hits from scene to scene. There’s a great balance here in the score/vocals/effects with some outstanding layering and depth. The score sounds amazing through your home theater speakers with every instrument discernible and even the ringing sounds of percussion hanging on til their very fade into silence.

Height: From above you get more from people upstairs or on the balconies at parties, instruments in the score, some above voices (Like the sound recording scene) and much more in a very genuine way with some playful touches in spots.

Low Frequency Extension:  There’s a great boombastic nature to the drums, strings and horns in this score that really hit nice and lift off on the subwoofer. Car engines, smashing, crashing, punches and other noises also have good power from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Every inside and outside area is full of sound and even the quietest rooms feel lived in. Rear and side channels provide excellent ambiance, unique sounds and off screen activity to really resonate and put you in the room for 360 degree experience. Sound rolls around the room and the score powers around different channels to build a full concert.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


Babylon – Limited Edition Steelbook comes with the standard 2-Disc Blu-ray edition and a redeemable digital code. All bonus features are found on Disc 3, which is the 2nd Blu-ray disc. This particular edition comes in collectible steelbook packaging.

A Panoramic Canvas Called Babylon (HD, 30:50) — The cast and crew discuss the inspiration and motivation behind the original story and development of this epic, 15 years in the making. This is a rather rock solid making-of featurette with good interviews and some in depth notions about the times and production. I’m pretty grateful this exists on here as I thought we might be getting just a bunch of skimpy couple minutes long EPK featurettes.

The Costumes of Babylon (HD, 2:51) — Over 7,000 costumes for the film, 150 speaking parts and each having 15 changes and Chazelle says that he wanted the people to speak through their costumes. Its a brief piece, but it goes over Pitt’s characters clothes, Robbie’s, Calva’s and briefly Adepo’s, Smart’s and Li’s.

Scoring Babylon (HD, 1:50) — This quick featurette goes over Justin Hurwitz’s musical process and his mindset he brought to the film with an aggressive and inspired approach. “This is one for the ages” says Margot Robbie.

Deleted & Extended Scenes (HD, 9:15)


Babylon is a 3+ hour film but flies by quite easily for me. Sure, its a bit mess and rough around a few edges, but I like that about it. Its free to do what its creator desires (and has earned to this point in his career). Now he’ll probably be shuttled to director jail for a while, but this was a worthy offense! This 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release of the film features a stunning looking and sounding disc that features some solid extras with a surprisingly very informative 30 min featurette. This version’s steelbook packaging has some terrific art as well. An easy pick up for collectors and fans of the film.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

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