Skyscraper (Blu-ray) (2018)

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Released 3-Oct-2018

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Audio Commentary-director Rawson Marshall Thurber
Deleted Scenes-(12:07) with oprional commentary
More…-Extended Scenes (10:17) with optional commentary
Featurette-six short EPK type featurettes
Trailer-Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2018
Running Time 102:24
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Rawson Marshall Thurber
Studio
Distributor
Universal Sony Starring Dwayne Johnson
Neve Campbell
Chin Han
Roland Moller
Hannah Quinlivan
McKenna Roberts
Noah Cottrell
Pablo Schreiber
Byron Mann
Elfina Luk
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Steve Jablonsky


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Atmos 7.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Italian Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
French Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Portuguese
Arabic
Greek
Icelandic
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

"If you can’t fix it with duct tape . . .
you ain’t using enough duct tape"
: Will Sawyer

     Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) leads an FBI hostage rescue team but is badly injured when a bomb explodes during an attempted rescue, losing his left leg below the knee. Ten years later he runs a consultancy business assessing the safety of buildings and is married to Sarah (Neve Campbell) and they have twin children Georgina and Henry (McKenna Roberts / Noah Cottrell). Although Will’s is only a small operation an old FBI friend Ben (Pablo Schreiber) uses his influence to get Will hired to assess the security and safety of the Pearl Tower, a 3,500 foot high skyscraper with over 200 floors built in Hong Kong by wealthy businessman Zhao (Chin Han).

     Will and his family travel to Hong Kong and are accommodated in an upper floor of the tower. But, this being a disaster film, while Will is assessing the building’s safety from another location a group of underworld thugs with a secret agenda led by Botha (Roland Moller) set a fire on the 96th floor while his associate, the murderous Xia (Hannah Quinlivan), disables the building’s fire suppression measures, which sends the flames rapidly towards the upper floors trapping Will’s family. Will has to find a way to evade the Hong Kong police led by Inspector Wu (Byron Mann) and Sergeant Han (Elfina Luk) who think he may be involved, get into the building above the level of the fire, rescue his family and defeat the bad guys. Stunts, fire, explosions and shootouts ensue.

     Skyscraper is written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, whose first feature film back in 2004 was Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; he has directed Johnson previously in Central Intelligence (2016). It must be said that he brings nothing new or innovative to Skyscraper; indeed, everything in the plot is either obvious or clichéd (except there is no family pet – they missed that one) and there are no surprises. However, the film does not take its preposterous plot seriously and there are some stunning and intense set pieces including the leap from the crane into the burning building (which featured in the trailer and other promotional material) and the sequence on the side of the building that are heart stopping. There are also lots and lots of fire effects, explosions, hand to hand fights and gun battles, including a wonderful climax in a sphere of mirrors. And, of course, the film stars Dwayne Johnson; Johnson is one of the most charismatic action heroes going around, matching his impressive physical presence and fighting ability with a cheeky smile and a humorous persona.

     Indeed, Johnson is a very family friendly action hero; like here in Skyscraper there is lots of blood and dirt on faces but no decapitations or spurting blood with bullet hits, no swear words, smoking or drugs, no sex scenes, while there is deadpan humour, such as the dialogue at the top of this plot summary, and you just know that in a Johnson action film that no matter how dire the circumstances the hero and family are going to come through and survive. And all will be well; at least until the next disaster film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Skyscraper is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The film was shot digitally using Arri Alexa cameras; close-ups and city scapes have that glossy digital look while every detail of the dirt, sweat and soot on Johnson’s face is crystal clear. There are a lot of orange / red fire effects and fire explosions in the film; some were done practically and enhanced with CGI, others are pure CGI. Like water, fire is difficult to make look realistic and that shows here in some of the effects. As well, the flame effects, smoke and embers floating about do result in a softer looking picture in some sequences, such as when Sarah and the children are caught by fire in the garden area. Elsewhere CGI backgrounds are firm, blacks are solid, shadow detail fine, skin tones good, including scenes in which the fire is reflected on faces, contrast and brightness consistent. Marks and artefacts were absent.

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available plus a wide range of European languages and Arabic.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice of English Atmos (which defaults to Dolby TrueHD 7.1), English and French descriptive audio (Dolby Digital 2.0) and French, Spanish and Italian Dolby Digital Plus 7.1. The English commentary is Dolby Digital 2.0.

     I do not have a 7.1 set-up but this film still sounds as one would expect a recent disaster / action film to sound. Once the fire gets going, of course, there is always its roar in all speakers as well as explosions, engines, gunshots, impacts and the crash of the destruction of furniture and fittings. In the non-action scenes there always seems to be a helicopter circling overhead or the murmur or cries of the crowd watching on the street. The sound design in the climax in the sphere of mirrors is spectacular with breaking glass, shots and voices all across the sound stage. Dialogue was not always clear and easy to understand, which may be because I am listening to the film in 5.1; the 7.1 may fix that. The subwoofer was used very effectively to add depth and rumble to the fire, explosions, shots and impacts.

     The score by Steve Jablonsky, who provides the music for the Transformer films, was okay but rather generic.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Start-up Trailer

     A trailer for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (0:32) plays on start-up. It cannot be selected from the menu.

Deleted Scenes (12:07)

     Five deleted scenes with optional commentary by Rawson Marshall Thurber who explains they were deleted for reasons of pacing, tone or rhythm. There is a Play All option. The scenes are:

Extended Scenes (10:17)

     Five extended scenes with optional commentary by Rawson Marshall Thurber who again explains why they were cut. The most interesting is an extended opening. There is a Play All option. The scenes are:

Featurettes

     There are six short EPK type featurettes, but sadly no Play All option so each has to be selected in turn. They consist of on-set footage, often with green screens in the background, some film clips and sound bites, at various places, with writer / director Rawson Marshall Thurber, cast Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, McKenna Roberts, Noah Cottrell, Hannah Quinlivan, Pablo Schreiber, two producers, the stunt coordinator and Jeff Glasbrenner, the amputee who inspired Johnson. The separate sections are:

Audio Commentary by Rawson Marshall Thurber

     Parts of this commentary are decent as Thurber discusses the origins of the idea for the film, getting the project green-lit, films that influenced him, creating a different, vulnerable hero character for Johnson, shooting in Vancouver, differences in direction action and comedy films, the design of the Pearl, ILM and visual effects, plot points, the cast, the cinematographer and the score. There are however pauses and the commentary is not technical as he mostly just praises ILM for how good the effects shots are.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Except for some language and subtitle options this release of Skyscraper is the same as the US Region Free Blu-ray

Summary

     Skyscraper is The Towering Inferno meets Die Hard but without the bad language. This is family friendly popcorn entertainment with some stunning and intense set pieces, lots and lots of fire effects, explosions, fights and gun battles, cruel and murderous villains and, of course, charismatic all time good guy Dwayne Johnson. It may not be anything new or profound, but it is fun non-stop action entertainment.

     The video is fine, the audio outstanding, the extras are light weight but we get what is available elsewhere so cannot complain.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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