The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (2016)

The 4th and final film in The Hunger Games Trilogy (yep, thanks A LOT Harry Potter!) was released on Blu Ray just a few weeks back.  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (Electric Boogaloo) hit PACKED with over 5 hours of bonus content.  How does this one compare to previous releases in the YA novel adaptation? Check out my review below!

PICTURE QUALITY:
Mutton-Chops
To be fair, the picture quality isn’t BAD by any means of the word, it’s just DARK… though that’s because half the movie takes place in poorly lit tunnels and sewers and bunkers. STILL, I’d have loved to actually be able to SEE those CGI mutts that (SPOILER ALERT) kill Finnick for more than just a split second or two. It’s hard to judge a movie accurately when you can barely see what’s going on. I digress, as the daytime scenes, however far between they may be, do look great, and some of the CGI that’s in THOSE scenes is considerably better looking than some of the stuff in previous instalments of the franchise.

AUDIO QUALITY:
BEARD!
There’s not as much boom in this instalment, due to less BIG set piece-y moments. The audio is totally fine, some of the softer conversations are still definitely audible. Once the booby traps start popping up around Katniss and her crew, you can definitely hear the Dolby ATMOS mix kick in.  There’s really not much to report here, dialogue and score are offered cleanly and clearly and with excellent clarity.
 

SPECIAL FEATURES:
BEARD!
The label on the face of the Blu Ray touts FIVE HOURS of special features ,  and it features everything from a commentary track with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson, to a SERIOUSLY in depth making of documentary, which is just about as long as the movie itself, clocking in at just under two and a half hours.  Past that, there’s ANOTHER collection of featurettes (The Hunger Games: A Photographic Journey, Cinna's Sketchbook: Secrets of the Mockingjay Armor, Panem on Display: The Hunger Games: The Exhibition) and an episode of a series called “Jet to the Set” based on the film.

OVERALL:
Mutton-Chops
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 2 limps to the finish line here; but that’s what happens when you take what is the weakest book in the series, and split it into two even weaker films. This trend seems to be waning on audiences as well, as the box office haul for this movie was CONSIDERABLY lower than its predecessors (the fatigue is hitting other YA franchises as well, as the most recent entry into The Divergent series faced the same problem.) The package is loaded with supplements, which should please hardcore fans of the movies, audio and visual merits are above average as well. I’d recommend a purchase to completists and fans of the franchise for sure; otherwise, maybe you just  rent this one.
 

The Martian (2015)

The Martian, The Golden Globe winning BEST COMEDY OF THE YEAR (yep, that happened…) landed (that’s a space pun!) on Blu Ray this past week. One of my personal favorites of 2015, the Blu Ray looks just as spectacular as it did in the theatres. This one is a great one for sure, check out my review below:

PICTURE QUALITY:

BEARD

The Martian, as evidenced by the title takes place on Mars, primarily. OK, OK, obviously it’s not Mars, but it still looks AMAZING! The finer details look pretty great in close-ups, where smaller things like droplets of water dripping from the walls of Mark Watney's makeshift greenhouse are presented with razor sharp precision.  The vibrant reds that bask Mars in that sandy hue look incredible, even on a smaller scale than the movie theatre screen.  Equally as sharp and just as well detailed is most of the film's CGI, with nearly no elements sticking out as overly fake looking. Contrast is consistent as I noted above, and black levels are crisp and dark, helping to make some of the outer space sequences, most notably the ridiculously entertaining final act, pop extremely well.

AUDIO QUALITY:

BEARD!

There’s disco music ALL over this friggin’ movie, and it sounds great! The sound effects of the foreign planet ring out with extreme clarity. Obviously I know nothing about what NASA tech should sound like, but hell if I didn’t enjoy all of the beeps and whirs of it all. I turned it down quite a bit during some of the louder sequences, and everything was still audible and sounded “right”.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

BEARD!

The label on the face of the Blu Ray boasts “over an hour of special features” and if you know me, you know I’m a sucker for EXTENSIVE, LONG, IN DEPTH features…. That said, I’m still giving The Martians selection top scores. This is a case of quality over quantity for sure. Featuring some great interviews, a few “mockumentaries” with the actors in character, production galleries, and even a pretty solid Gag Reel, there’s definitely enough on here to keep people entertained for a while!

OVERALL:

BEARD!

The Martian is a bit of a rarity, in that, yes it does have quite a few comedic moments; but also at the same time paints a wonderful story about the willpower of human beings, and the lengths an individual will go through to survive. Equally as prominent in play here, is the theme of unity, and what it would look like for the entire world to come together for a cause. All of these pieces cobbled together behind a WONDERFUL script, a FANTASTIC cast, and the ever masterful directing of Ridley Scott, and you’ve got a film worth watching, again and again. Audio and Video quality are top notch on the Blu Ray, this one comes very highly recommended, and earns itself a perfect score in my eyes!