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02-12-2017, 10:56 AM #1
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (UHD Blu-ray) review
Based on the widely-acclaimed, bestselling novel, the story is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn) who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing battle in Iraq and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour. Through a sequence of flashbacks, the truth about what really happened is revealed – contrasting the realities of the war with America’s distorted perceptions of heroism. Co-starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, Vin Diesel and Steve Martin.
I hadn’t heard very many good things about this film going into it, so my expectations were pretty low and it still left me underwhelmed. The narrative tries to make you feel for Lynn’s plight, but I never connected with him. Furthermore, the casting is not very good—especially with Kristen Stewart, who just can’t act, and Vin Diesel, who’s given too many cringe-worthy lines (watch Chapter 10 and you’ll know what I mean).
The main reason I wanted to see this though was due to the technical quality of the disc. The film was shot with high frame rate cameras (120 fps) and it’s the first UHD Blu-ray to be presented in 4k/60Hz. The picture quality is just stunning, but I hated the look of it. It looked “too real” and took me out of the film almost instantly. If anyone plays video games, the entire film reminded me of the “cut scenes” that play between levels in first person shooter games. My wife hated the look from the outset and commented that it looked like a corporate training video or some half-baked documentary! Granted, it is crystal clear, vibrant, and lifelike—just too much so.
4K Video 10/10 (HEVC)
Blu-ray Video 5/5 (AVC)
3D Video 4.5/5 (MVC)
Audio 9/10 (Dolby Atmos)
· 4K Exclusive Featurette – Technology as Art: Changing The Language of Cinema
· 5 Deleted Scenes
· 4 Production Featurettes
· 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray + UV Digital Copy
Maybe the novel was better than the film, but it definitely didn’t translate well to the big screen with an underwhelming script, poor dialog, and miscast actors. Throw in the high frame rate presentation that certainly looks unique, but is too damn distracting, and you have a movie that I really can’t recommend unless you’re curious about how a high framerate film looks in UHD. I’ll give Sony some props for value though considering you get the UHD, Blu-ray, and 3D all in one package.David Vaughn
Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
Sound and Vision Magazine