The Greatest Showman (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

The Greatest Showman 4KI don’t know what it is about me.  I’m a red-blooded American male who craves carnage, gore and action in every movie going experience I partake in, but I also have a huge soft spot in my heart when it comes to moving, engaging and rousing musicals.  The latter is exactly how I felt after just one viewing of The Greatest Showman’s first theatrical trailer last year.  It was hook, line and sinker for me.  Try as I might I could not get my fiancee to share in the same blissful excitement as me because of the subject matter.  She’s very much against the circus and the long chronicles of animal abuse that usually goes hand-in-hand with them.  Try as I might I could not persuade her, but I understand her position and it’s admirable (although I assure that’s never shown onscreen here).  I just want to be entertained.  I desire to be dazzled by endless entertaining song and dance musical numbers.  That’s the appeal of The Greatest Showman for me going into it for the very first time in my review below.  Well, that and it’s leggy box office success this past December and January.  Let me change into my Big Top costume and we’ll get this 4K circus started down below.

The Greatest Showman 4K


Disclaimer: I’m saying this in advance as this review may be a tad biased as I have now seen this one three times in a single day and I’m still head over heels writing this.  I feel like nothing I say down below will ever due this masterpiece justice, but just forewarning you in advance of my love for the magical world of The Greatest Showman.

As you are already aware The Greatest Showman is a dramatic musical film.  However, what you probably didn’t know is that this masterful gem was directed by Michael Gracey.  Why is that so important to know?  Well, it’s because this is his directorial movie debut.  Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon wrote the screenplay that attracted stars such as Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya.  And if you didn’t already know The Greatest Showman sort of retells the fantastical story of P. T. Barnum’s creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, his rise from poverty and all the lives he magically touched along the way making a significant difference in them.  Did I whet your appetite yet?  Well, let me try a bit harder.

Despite mixed reviewers where mainstream reviewers found themselves on polar opposites from each other The Greatest Showman did receive some critical acclaim to go along with 415 million dollar haul at the box office (against an $84 million budget).  Those proceeds alone made it the fifth-highest grossing live-action musical of all-time.  At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, the movie received nominations for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor – Musical or Comedy for Mr. Jackman.  For the song “This Is Me,” the musical won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and was even nominated for Best Original Song at the 90th Academy Awards.  While it obviously did not win all the awards out there it’s very nice to see it get some love and the attention I believe it rightfully deserves.

I feel ashamed having just seen this movie for the first time for the purpose of writing this review.  Why you ask?  Well, it’s quite simple.  Had I witnessed this theatrically last December as I had wanted to The Greatest Showman would have easily been my #1 film of 2017.  I loved it that much!  However, that’s like telling you I prefer mild salsa over hot.  You don’t care one way or another so let me tell you about all the ways in which I love The Greatest Showman here.

The premise and story of the film as most of my peers argue is a very simple, albeit a very effective one though if you ask me.  In it’s most basic essence the story may not be anything elaborate, but it’s full of a lot of important life lessons most people, including Mr. Barnum, learn the hard way in life.  You reading that kids?  This movie can save you from a lot of heartache in life if you learn from all the mistakes and choices/moves of redemption the lead characters make.  It’s a tale of rags to riches and vice versa for the two leading men here where a couple things come into play.  First, being comfortable in life when it comes to a pursuit of riches/success usually means progress is prohibited.  I can understand that point of view.  Then there’s the cautionary tale of greed.  How much is too much?  Are you appreciating what you have already right there in front of you?  What’s the difference between redemption and revenge?  I could go on and on, but I think you understand where I’m going here.

Beyond the hard life lessons taught within here The Greatest Showman is really all about the celebration of humanity.  It doesn’t matter where you come from, what color, size, shape or gender you are.  It’s about seeing the potential in ALL people.  That’s a very important theme/concept that the musical film conquers here.  One could also say it’s about seeing the impossible come true.  I guess you could say there’s many different ways you skin the proverbial cat here.  However, for me it really all starts with the intensity of the musical numbers.  They are completely infectious here.  If your feet are not stomping before the movie even begins, then I’m not sure you have a pulse.  This flick completely engages and grabs ahold of you during the opening movie studio logos.  Think Moulin Rouge on steroids right from the very beginning.  The songs are very inspiring, motivational and emotionally charged/moving.

There’s so much more to talk about here.  There’s the likable chemistry between Zac and Hugh, the amazing cast and all their talents, the love stories including one triangle, the cinematography and homage to the old musicals the way it’s shot here, the rich/lavish costumes and so much more.  All of this and as I tell my fiancee not a single animal is mistreated here.  However, that’s just it.  This one is not about corralling circus animals.  It’s about diversity and overcoming hardships by remembering life’s one universal truth.  If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish great things even when naysayers claim it’s impossible.  I think that is something I really loved about this film, the way Barnum’s brain worked.  It was interesting to see onscreen how he was wired, meaning how his mind ticked as he picked up on little things said to him or seen in passing to spark creative ideas for his vision of the successful circus we all knew and loved as the Barnum & Bailey Circus.  This and so much more is the magical, but very much simple story of The Greatest Showman.  Sadly, I didn’t even get a chance to talk about the bookends I adore here, but I have to leave something for first time viewers to discover.  Enjoy!

The Greatest Showman 4K


The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Fox’s The Greatest Showman.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Clarity/Detail: This is the real deal folks.  Believe what you want, but my sources tell me this one was digitally captured with a variety of Alexa cameras and finished at a 4K DI.  How can you top that?  Just reading that you have to already know how fabulous this 4K UHD title is going to look on your expensive television sets.  Everything from textures in costumes and grains of sand to freckles and stubble in actor closeups are brilliantly rendered and on display here for all to see.  I don’t think I really need to go any further than that.  Of course though the 4K UHD presentation does enjoy a minor uptick in detail from its 1080p cousin.  The one thing to point out is the fact that some of the background CG moments do occasionally appear a bit soft, but for me that just sold the Moulin Rouge-like dreaminess of it all.  I was perfectly fine with these moments.
  • Depth: There is an excellent presence of depth of field thanks to three-dimensional pop of the foreground subjects and objects in every shot.  There are so many examples to list, but here’s a few for you: on the beach, through the woods, over rooftops, on the circus floor, in the bar rooms, the Queen of England’s throne room, across a hospital room, within various opera houses and so many more.  You get the big picture!
  • Black Levels: Black levels are strong and never crush even in the dark scenes (a sequence involving young kids running through an abandoned house come to mind) thanks in part to the inducement of HDR.  Candlelight scenes look gorgeous and nothing gets lost in the shadows here.  Everything is deep, dark and healthy throughout.
  • Color Reproduction: When warranted colors like reds, blues and yellow pop vibrantly and rich throughout Just like a great circus would.  However, for the most part everything just has a real natural look to it all. There are some shots where the camera is capturing dialogue or action against windows allowing sunlight in so you’ll have that from time-to-time.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones were natural for the most part throughout.
  • Noise/Artifacts: There was zero in way of any noise or nasty artifacts to complain about here.

The Greatest Showman 4K


Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of Fox’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of The Greatest Showman.  I do want to know that the  4K UHD Disc comes armed with a Dolby Atmos surround track while the 1080p Blu-ray comes equipped with DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1.

  • Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Dynamics: Fidelity is what this one is all about and it’s spread around very nicely here.  It’s a very lively surround track Fox presents you with here, but make no mistake it can be quiet and tender when it wants to.  However, it’s the brashness and balls of it all here that grips you from the opening movie studio logos and never really lets you go throughout the feature’s entire runtime.  I love that about this surround track.  It’s unapologetic just like it’s subject matter.  This one is a celebration of humanity like only this Dolby Atmos surround track can deliver.  The songs literally sound larger-than-life here and I love it so very much.
  • Height: At first the Atmos channels weren’t really engaged here, but once Barnum opened his museum things picked up they never looked back.  Moments such as firing pistols upwards, high flying/swinging trapeze tricks, photo flashes going off, fires burning, explosions and even music found their way out of the Atmos speakers.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel is beefy throughout.  The percussive moments and feet stomping throughout keeps you engaged and booming throughout.  In fact the LFE pounces on you right from the very beginning with not only feet stomping onscreen, but causing your own feet to move to the rhythm being presented here.  There are other onscreen moments like using a hammer being used for example where bass is employed, but mainly the LFE is utilized to pump up the jam throughout with jubilant celebration of the magical journey that unfolds here.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: The film is pretty heavy on dialogue and singing, given that fact a lot of your activity in the rears includes the phenomenal soundtrack.  However, there are moments of ambient effects such as audience members cheering, trapeze swinging moments, fire burning and more.  If I only had one complaint in this category, I would have loved to see a tad more engagement here.  I digress though because beggars can’t be choosers.  The most important thing here was the music and that sounds like a million bucks.  Therefore, there’s really no room for complaints here.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: The dialogue levels are loud, clear and intelligible throughout.  Every single word, spoken or sung, is prominent and audible.  I couldn’t be any happier than I am with that fact.

The Greatest Showman 4K


Just when you think things couldn’t possibly get any better here than the feature film alone you’re prove wrong again.  Fox seems to be doing the impossible, taking a page from the film, by delivering some exceptional extras that fans of this movie will completely eat up and lose themselves within.  Also, Fox has ported over three of the supplemental extras from the 1080p Blu-ray Disc to the 4K UHD Disc: the audio commentary, Music Machine and the Sing-Along.  Of course there’s also a redemption code within that allows you to redeem the film in Movies Anywhere and watch the film digitally at your favorite digital movie retailer.  So there’s that too!  Now allow me to show you around this big top circus tent as these extras down below are truly spectacular to behold.

  • The Family Behind The Greatest Showman (HD, 14:05) – It was interesting to learn this one started back in 2009 (7 years in the making) when the producers recognized Hugh’s talent on stage at the 81st Academy Awards.  Hugh credits Michael Gracey for bringing this one to the big screen.  It’s also evident here that Hugh and Zac had a blast making this one according to the rehearsal footage we’re treated to here.  It was incredible how these two unknown songwriters brought the songs of the film to life, which is the heart and soul of this world.  It’s literally magical to learn how these songs were created.  This extra also touches upon the design of the world in this amazing feature.
  • The Songs (HD, 1:10:07) – This one is absolutely incredible.  There’s a Play All menu selection for those who just want to lose themselves in this one, but in a nutshell there are featurettes devoted to each tune in the film.  Amazing!  This one even tackles what wowed me…the Big Bang of a beginning this film hits you with instantly.  I think I said enough.  If you enjoyed this flick and all the associated songs, you’ll lose yourself in gluttony within this extra.  I can go on forever how beautiful this lengthy extra is, but I think you get the big picture.
  • The Spectacle (HD, 32:12) This one, albeit not as lengthy as the previous extra, covers the following 5 categories as it relates to this masterful film: Characters, Choreography, Cinematography, Production Design and Scoring.  For your convenience you can watch each of these individually or hit the Play All button, kick back and enjoy.  Like “The Songs’ extra up above this one’s equally as amazing to experience.
  • Galleries (HD) – There are two categories here as shown below.  They each feature a way to manually advance through the images or enjoy through it automatically advancing for you.  Take your pick!
    • Concept Art (HD)
    • Storyboards (HD)
  • Music Machine (HD, 56:14) Here you have direct access to each song sequence in the film.  You can also play them with a Sing Along option too.  Think of it like karaoke with big, colorful words highlighted onscreen so you can sing along with all the amazing lyrics.  You can pick songs individually or utilize the Play All option offered to you.
  • Sing Along (HD) Fox graciously gives us the entire film in the Sing Along mode, which is described up above.
  • Audio Commentary – Oh yes!  There’s an audio commentary on both the 1080p and 4K presentations of the film with director Michael Gracey.
  • Theatrical Trailers (HD, 4:38)

The Greatest Showman 4K


Well there you have it folks.  Another film watched…another movie added to my Top 100 list of all time.  Yes!  I love it that much!  I understand your results may vary with this one, but for me it just happened to be the right time, I was in the right state of mind and it struck the right accord with me.  I couldn’t be happier with the magical journey I was taken on here a total of four times yesterday and I cannot wait to experience it all over again.  I also anxiously await friends of mine seeing this for the first time too.  With exceptional video, an in-your-face Dolby Atmos surround track and hours worth of extras, including multiple ways to watch this film it’s a WINNER all around in my book.  It’s also one of the best films I have ever seen on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format thus far.  It also would have been my #1 of 2017 too.  Could of…would of…and should of.  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND taking this magical, musical journey with The Greatest Showman on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified Ultra HD Premium television set found here and player here.  Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.


The Greatest Showman

Will Have You Singing Along


4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

April 10th




The Greatest Showman 4K


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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