Shadow 4K Blu-ray Review
By Chris Heinonen on
In a kingdom ruled by a young and unpredictable king, the military commander has a secret weapon: a “shadow”, a look-alike who can fool both his enemies and the King himself. Now he must use this weapon in an intricate plan that will lead his people to victory in a war that the King does not want.
Shadow Movie Review
Shadow is a very good film, but one that is very methodical. Having seen some of Zhang Yimou’s films before I had a reasonable idea of what to expect, but this one is a bit slower-paced than those. The action sequences are amazingly choreographed but also few and far between, so those expecting an action film should adjust their expectations accordingly. The one area where I felt let down was by the subtitles, as I feel like there are often more details being spoken that are being left out of the subtitles due to space. Overall I enjoyed the film and would recommend it if you’re a fan of the style.
Shadow Technical Review
According to the IMDB, Shadow was shot on 4K and 8K cameras with a 4K digital intermediate, though the DCP package was only 2K resolution. Watching the film I can’t be sure what the resolution of the film is. Some scenes look very sharp, with the fine details on the soldier’s uniforms particularly standing out. Some other scenes look murky and lacking fine details, making it not look like a 4K film at all. Many of those scenes that look less sharp feature rainfall, which might be causing issues with compression as well. The entire film is mostly black and white, with a very muted palette throughout. If your TV has any grayscale uniformity issues, you’ll notice them here as I did on the TV here for review. Any grayscale tint issues are also going to show up.
While this is an HDR transfer, the use of it is almost entirely invisible from my perspective. If you were to tell me the brightest highlight for 99.9% of the film didn’t go above the 100 nits of SDR I would not be surprised. The cinematography is gorgeous, but the transfer just isn’t flashy. The metadata on the disc is odd as well, with a mastering monitor of 9000 nits peaks and 0.000 nits for black, which is something I’ve never seen before and doesn’t match a display that I know about. The MaxCLL and MaxFALL indicate much more brightness than I recall seeing during the film. Overall the film looks fantastic at parts, but less amazing in others, and doesn’t take much advantage of HDR. There aren’t any issues with shadows despite how dark parts of the film are, so overall it’s a good image.
The soundtrack is also very reserved at times and then comes alive at others. When the zither is played during the film, providing an important plot point, the notes fill the room and show off the dynamics of the soundtrack. The battles, which are far fewer than you might expect, take place in the rain and utilize the Atmos channels quite well. With how methodical the film is there are only so many chances for the soundtrack to shine, but it does when called upon. The Atmos channels could have been used more just for ambiance, but the soundtrack does sound quite good when it wants to.
Shadow Special Features
- Making Of Featurette
- Behind The Scenes Featurette
Shadow Review System
Vizio P-Series Quantum X 65”, Panasonic UB820 UltraHD Blu-ray Player, KEF Ci5160RL-THX Fronts, Ci3160RL-THX Center, 2x Ci200RR-THX Surrounds, 4x CI200RR-THX Atmos Speakers, Anthem MRX 1120 Receiver, Power Sound Audio Subwoofer.
Good story with incredible cinematography.
Too slow-paced and too little action for some, use of HDR almost entirely absent.
Shadow is a film that is very methodical in pace but fantastic in story and action when it wants to be. The image is a bit variable and the soundtrack is only big when it wants to be, but it is a nice film and a good disc.