Morgan (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Morgan 4K TNMorgan was a film I undeniably didn’t get to theatrically very much so on purpose.  While the trailers and the promise of Ridley Scott producing it initially sucked me in the overall negative critical response kept me far away.  However, I couldn’t help but wonder what really was under the surface here within Morgan.  Is it just some great concept cooked up, but executed poorly?  Does it really make you want to revisit Ex Machina immediately after viewing?  Those questions and more I hope to tackle and address down below in my 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review of Morgan, which releases at retailers everywhere this coming Tuesday, December 13th.  Here goes nothing or in more scientific terms, Great Scott!

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I guess the main reason that I was interested in seeing Morgan was not because its of my favorite genres, science fiction and horror, but because its a Ridley Scott production.  Furthermore, its directed by his son, Luke Scott, who makes his directorial debut here off a screenplay written by Seth Owen.  Morgan also features notable cast member names such as Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Paul Giamatti.  I just wish it was met with more critical respect.  So why prolong the inevitable here anymore than we have to.  Now is as good as time as any in this review to chat about what all goes down in Morgan.

In Morgan the gist of it all revolves around a corporate risk-management consultant who must decide whether or not to terminate an artificially created humanoid being.  Those damn corporate cronies.  Morgan (Taylor-Joy) is a bioengineered child who began walking and talking after one month of existence.  She’s now five years old when we find her and she has already exceeded the wildest expectations of her creators, not to mention captured their hearts too.  However, when Morgan attacks one of her most beloved handlers, that’s when pesky corporate becomes involved.

So as I was saying a corporate risk management specialist (Mara) visits the top-secret facility where Morgan is kept to assess the risks and whether or not she should be terminated.  One thing she underestimated I guess is you can’t keep a good girl down.  Oops!  Did I just say girl.  How can Morgan be a female gender when she is a “synthetic”?  Furthermore, how can Morgan show emotions and presume to understand concepts such as love when she’s not a human?  These questions and more get answered when a dangerous game of cat and mouse happens as Morgan breaks free and literally all hell breaks loose.  

After taking in Morgan I can definitely see how people are calling it the cheap man’s Ex Machina.  I remember watching it today thinking wow this must have been really cheap to produce.  In actuality it cost about 8 million dollars to make and sadly only made about that at the box office.  However, I digress.  I don’t want to get off topic here.  What made this scream Ex Machina for me was the fact that this secret base or lair as I like to call it in Morgan practically looked from the outside like it actually was from the former film.  What the hell, right?  I know!  There are many more similarities, but thankfully Morgan spun into something a bit different towards the end.  That was the saving grace for me.

I understand that I now come across as a minority here in my way of scoring Morgan a 3.5 film score.  It’s a slow moving movie, but the performances were strong for the most part and easily digestible.  Kate Mara was the biggest shock for me.  I never been much of a fan of hers, but she’s like a GD Terminator in this film.  She owns every moment she’s onscreen and you just could not ask for anything more from her.  Like I said up above for me it was the fact that Morgan has a twist.  After a plot hole I saw it coming miles away, or at least I hoped it was coming.  Thankfully the filmmakers did not let me down and I was completely satisfied by the film’s conclusion.  That’s always a bonus.  However, that’s not to say there aren’t many other cliche or predictable moments throughout (Paul Giamatti’s scenes come to mind)…because there totally is!  You just got to take the good with the bad.  For me the good outweighed the bad here, but I can definitely see both sides of the coin.

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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 Morgan.  The 1080p Blu-ray disc is Region A locked.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Clarity/Detail: The only nitpick you’ll find me make here is the fact that Morgan‘s presentation is mostly in the shadows.  Otherwise I’d be writing glowing reviews of the video here because there’s really nothing wrong here.  Textures in the surroundings, forest vegetation, wood grains, flowing water and even Morgan’s wool jacket are rendered sharp and accurate.  Fine detail can be found on the humans too from wrinkles, stubble, and even the light freckles on both redheads here.  Ha ha.
  • Depth: Despite the darkness of it all lighter moments such as scenes outdoors exhibit vast depth of field from the large lakes to the seemingly untouchable mountains in the distance down the never ending road our main protagonist travels down in the beginning.  Otherwise, characters are focused in the foreground with their backgrounds blurred, including flowers and vegetation shots outside, etc.
  • Black Levels: The black levels are deep and inky and thankfully the HDR shines through here with fine details in the shadows because like I said multiple times now this is a very dark show.
  • Color Reproduction: Here’s where I don’t have much to talk about.  It’s not that there’s anything wrong in the color department.  It’s just the fact that when we’re indoors its intentionally sterile and cold and outside you’re treated to earthy tones (kind of reminded me of the 4K presentation of The Revenant there) and bright whites in the sun.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones all look natural and authentic throughout.  There aren’t many characters in this one so there’s really nothing to nitpick further here.
  • Noise/Artifacts: There’s absolutely nothing to complain about here other than the darkness of it all.  I didn’t see any excessive noise or grain, ugly artifacts, banding, etc.

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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 the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Morgan.  Sadly there is no next-gen spatial surround audio format (Dolby Atmos or DTS:X) to be found here.  Both the 4K UHD disc and the regular 1080p Blu-ray come armed with the feature presented in a DTS-HD-MA surround track.  Therefore, this is not a good title to showcase my new Klipsch Dolby Atmos elevation speakers with.

  • Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD-MA 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dynamics: This is going to be a quick recap here in the audio department because the surround track in Morgan is a very simple one, but quite effective at the same time.  Morgan paints a very sterile environment in the first two Acts of the film, but things get very aggressive by its “shocking” conclusion.  Thankfully nothing gets lost in the shuffle here.  Effects are both prioritized and directional when necessary and all onscreen events are faithfully reproduced from the quietest of moments to the loud and rousing car smashing, gunplay times.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel plays innocently and subtly throughout in the film’s haunting score, but when called upon it kicks quite aggressively too.  For onscreen events it doesn’t really pick up until a neck breaking scene and then it becomes a force to be reckoned with in Act 3.  Everything from gunshots, glass breaking (which would have made for some cool Dolby Atmos moments), car crashes to kicks, punches, thuds, blows and more are made sugary sweet by the LFE channel here.  Yes, you read that right.  Read between the lines here and realize there are fight scenes in here.  I did say that Kate Mara’s character was like a Terminator, did I not?  I mean it!  This girl can fight!
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Just like the bass I brag about up above the rear channels don’t really get rocking until Morgan‘s third Act.  However, there’s always something going on in them from the swirling score and ambient sound effects to gunshots, glass breaking, car chases, etc.  Morgan may not be a summer, blockbuster action flick, but it doesn’t disappoint either in the surround sound department.  Rather the rear channels are very subtle and when called upon very responsive putting you in the middle of all the drama.  Read into that what you want.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: Every spoken word is prioritized loud, clear and intelligible throughout the film’s brisk 92-minute runtime.

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Fox’s Morgan 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set release comes armed with several items to select from as far as bonus material, including deleted scenes, a short film shot on Epic RED and an audio commentary track. So if you’re a fan of Morgan you can join the director, Luke Scott, as he recounts everything he possibly can about the production of the film within its 92-minute runtime.  To round out the extras here there is a redeemable Digital HD version of the film good towards either iTunes or UltraViolet use, but not both.  With the exception of the audio commentary track (found on both the UHD and 1080p Blu-ray discs) let’s take a look at all the extras which are housed on the 1080p Blu-ray disc.

  • Modified Organism: The Science Behind Morgan (HD, 19:40) – This first supplement is where the story of Morgan raises some interesting ethical scenarios amongst the scientific experts and filmmakers in discussion here.  It’s a bit science (evolution) versus the story here, but mostly focusing on science.  This one also helps you understand the blanket term of genetic engineering…yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Check out a sample of this extra below in the embedded video clip.

  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 6:03) – There’s a Play All function here that you can also select to play with optional commentary by Luke Scott: “It Is Not A Child,” “This Is A Beech,” “A Friend?,” “Face On A Fork” and “Extended Study Fight.”  I’m not sure what I think about this first deleted scene here.  I don’t want to see a naked Morgan.  I guess there’s a reason why these were cut, huh?  Leave it to Luke to tell you why with the optional audio commentary.
  • Audio Commentary (HD) – Here we have the feature film commentary with director Luke Scott.  Like I said up above you can listen to this either in the 1080p or 4K version of the flick.
  • Loom (HD, 20:27) – This short film was made to showoff new technology for Fox with Epic RED and RED Studios and was actually based on a 200+ page script.  It was also shot in 3D to show off Real 3D technologies.  Geovani Ribisi is in this too!  There is optional audio commentary by Luke Scott here too.  This one is a short about you guessed it genetic engineering and its beautifully shot.  In my opinion this extra is a MUST watch.  It’s too bad this extra was not presented in 4K on the UHD disc.
  • Still Gallery (HD)

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We have now come to that point in the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review of Morgan where I give you a proverbial text traffic light.  Red means stop.  Yellow means proceed with caution.  And green means buy, buy , buy.

Yellow LightSo there you have it!  This one gets a yellow light from me.  Morgan arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a near perfect audio and video presentation as well as some really cool extras.  However, in the end Morgan will probably not be everyone’s cup of proverbial tea.  Therefore, I encourage testing the waters before committing to a blind buy…unless you find it at a great price.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to now have Morgan in my growing 4K collection.  I’m just not ignorant to the fact that most people will feel it’s ultimately a ripoff of Ex Machina.  It definitely shares a lot of DNA, including setting, but remember that twist Morgan has.  It really does have a payoff.  You just have to be patient and wait for it.  It’s in the replay value department that makes me hesitant to recommend this as an instant buy.  If you’re a fan of Morgan, what are you waiting for?  Hit up that pre-order link down below and enjoy.  Thanks for reading!

DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified A/V gear found here.  Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.


It’s Just Another Day At The Office

When Morgan Wakes Up

on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

December 13th!




Morgan 4K UHD Blu-ray Cover Art


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).

2 Responses to “Morgan (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    I watched it last night with Ana. It was awful. It’s like someone watched Ex Machnia and decided to make all the wrong and opposite decisions.

  2. Brian White

    I was wondering about that as I was looking over the weekend to see if you wrote a review.

    I agree it’s a poor man’s Ex Machina, but I loved the way it went on to become something more in the end. However, it’s no Ex Machina and I agree. It’s like a red headed cousin.