Westworld-Season 2 : The Door (4K Blu-ray) (2018)

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Released 5-Dec-2018

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Featurette-Many (see details below)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2018
Running Time 637:22 (Case: 636)
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Anthony Hopkins
Jeffrey Wright
Thandie Newton
Evan Rachel Wood
Luke Hemsworth
Case Slip Case
RPI $49.95 Music Ramin Djawadi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Atmos 7.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio Varies
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 2160p
Original Aspect Ratio Varies Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Portuguese
Chinese
Czech
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
German for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Korean
Norwegian
French
Polish
Spanish
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

Back in 1973, Michael Crichton wrote and directed a science fiction film called Westworld starring Yul Brynner which did well at the box office and influenced many subsequent films such as The Terminator. It was set in the future (1983!) and told the story of an adult theme park which featured animatronic people who could be interacted with but also shot, stabbed, raped, etc., without fighting back. For its time it included some interesting technical achievements such as the first onscreen use of computer generated graphics. Jump forward to 2017 and Westworld has been reimagined as a big budget television series, made by HBO. It was created and is run episode by episode by Jonathan Nolan (Christopher's brother and regular collaborator) and Lisa Joy, his wife. It could have been a fizzer taking such iconic source material, however the show is smashingly good, the first season only leaving the viewer wanting more. And now, HBO have delivered with the second season now being available in 4K, Blu-ray and DVD. This review is of the 4K only 3 disc set. It is also available in a combined 4K and standard Blu-ray set and a steelbook.

This second season has received criticism in some circles, however to me it is an excellent extension taking the show in new directions, adding complexity and more intrigue as the various characters' motivations are revealed. It certainly requires the viewer to concentrate to keep track of the various timelines, crossing over character groupings, etc. The viewer also needs to accept that not all of their questions will be answered, certainly not just in the space of one season. It is compelling viewing that requires its audience to think, not for those who just want easy entertainment.

The concept is similar to the original film, an adult oriented theme park based on high tech recreation of human intelligence with true artificial intelligence and providing the so-called 'hosts' the ability to interact in complex ways with human visitors. Humans visit the park to act out all their fantasies whether they be benign, violent or sexually oriented. The hosts are designed and programmed to go along with the various storylines, like searching for a fugitive, a gunfight in the streets or a bank robbery. They are also prohibited from hurting any human being. When they get killed, they are repaired, their memories wiped and they are reset into the park either in their previous character or sometimes as someone new. There is a depth and complexity to this series which outstrips the original becoming a deep and thoughtful examination into what it means to be human and whether it is possible for an android to become or act as human. This second season explores those themes but also starts to look at the morality of big business and how marketing impacts our lives. This season also introduces two other worlds within the park in addition to the titular Westworld, being The Raj and Shogun World. The Raj only features briefly but Shogun World is the focus of one episode. Compared to Season 1, this season certainly steps up the violence and blood which earns the MA15+ rating.

Characters include hosts, staff and guests and the following are the most critical to the story of the two seasons to date. The descriptions below reflect how they started Season 1 but things change for these characters across the two seasons, and I am sure will continue to as the seasons progress. The show is currently planned for 5 seasons.

There are 10 episodes spread across three Ultra HD discs, with 4 on each of the first 2 discs, followed by 2 episodes plus extras on the last disc.

Great television!

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Transfer Quality

Video

The video quality is excellent for television without quite hitting the heights of some 4K movie releases.

The series is presented in a varying aspect ratio, mostly 1.78:1 but 2.35:1 in some scenes. This is in accordance with the creators' wishes but I struggle to understanding the reasoning behind it. It is 2160p and includes Dolby Vision if your equipment can decode it. Otherwise it plays in HDR10. Most sources indicate this is a 2K digital intermediate but IMDB suggests a 4K intermediate was used. I cannot be categorical on this point.

The picture was wonderfully sharp and clear throughout with incredible detail and texture. Ed Harris' face is craggy, lined and wizened which can be seen in incredible detail. Shadow detail was excellent. Colour is excellent generally, however, especially considering the Dolby Vision encode, does not have the pop of other titles. Another thing which keeps this from reference quality is that camera pans are somewhat shimmery and blurry compared to other 4K discs. It does not seem to be a bitrate issue but could possibly be in the source material.

There aresubtitles available in English for the hearing impaired which are clear and easy to read. Subtitles are also available in Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German for the hearing impaired, Italian for the hearing impaired, Korean, Norwegian, French, Polish, Spanish (Castilian and Latin) and Swedish.



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

Audio

The audio quality is excellent.

The discs contain an English soundtrack in Dolby Atmos which resolves as True HD 7.1 if you are not Atmos compatible. There are also Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in a variety of languages (see specs above). The sound quality jump from the previous season's Blu-ray (DTS HD-MA 5.1) to this Atmos track is amazing. The music especially fills the room and jumps from your speakers. Action scenes are also well represented, filling the surround soundstage. The subwoofer is well used for music and action.

Dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout.

The music by Ramin Djawadi is excellent as it was in the previous season and in many of his other projects.

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

Extras

A good collection of extras which are presented in 1080p HD.

Menu

The menufeatures various locations from the series and music from the show.

Disc 3

The Truth Behind Delos (12:47)

Featurette focused on the themes of the second season, human focused rather than host focused, the reveal of the actual reason the park exists, privacy,marketing, humanity, etc. Interesting extra featuring interviews with the creators and more.

The Violent Delights Have Violent Ends (11:16)

Another interesting featurette which focuses on the use of more violence in the second season. It discusses how the humans interact with the violence.

Bring Yourself Back Online - Reflections on Season 2 (14:49)

A group discussion hosted by two of the actors in Season 2, Leonardo Lam and Ptolemy Slocum and featuring Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood and James Marsden. They discuss the challenges of filming, what they found the most interesting and their favourite moments. A bit too chatty and silly at times but worth a watch.

Bring Yourself Back Online - Of Love and Shogun (15:26)

A group discussion hosted by two of the actors in Season 2, Leonardo Lam and Ptolemy Slocum and featuring Thandie Newton, Simon Quarterman and Rodrigo Santoro. More interesting than the first one they discuss their characters, the story lines, Japanese language scenes and the experience of Shogun World. Good Stuff.

Bring Yourself Back Online - Journeys and Technology (15:26)

A group discussion hosted by two of the actors in Season 2, Leonardo Lam and Ptolemy Slocum and featuring Ben Barnes, Luke Hemsworth and Angela Sarafyan. Another worthwhile extra, they discuss the separated story lines in Season 2, privacy, data mining, whether human consciousness can be owned and their character arcs.

Creating Westworld's Reality - The Drone Hosts (3:23)

Making the costumes and acting in them to create the all white drone hosts.

Creating Westworld's Reality - An Evocative Location (3:23)

Location scouting and shooting at the house used as James Delos' mansion.

Creating Westworld's Reality - Fort Forlorn Hope (5:32)

Making of the battle sequences at the fort including Delores' character changes, set construction, extras, explosives and the challenges involved.

Creating Westworld's Reality - The Delos Experiment (5:59)

The set used for the experiments on James Delos, construction and filming.

Creating Westworld's Reality - Shogun World (12:58)

Extended featurette on the details of Shogun World, thinking behind the design, the Japanese actors involved, Kurosawa influence, costumes, sets, wigs, etc. Worthwhile.

Creating Westworld's Reality - Inside the Cradle (4:48)

Set design for The Cradle, a more interesting server room.

Creating Westworld's Reality - Chaos in the Mesa (5:29)

The challenges of doing action sequences in the Mesa set, gun fights, breaking glass, etc.

Creating Westworld's Reality - Ghost Nation (3:19)

Making of the episode which focused on the Indian tribe including the actors and the romantic subplot.

Creating Westworld's Reality - Deconstructing Maeve (3:31)

Featurette on the makeup effects and prosthetics used on Thandie Newton to show wounds, etc.

Creating Westworld's Reality - The Valley Beyond (11:42)

Making of the sequences in the final episode, including choosing the location, different acting required, special effects, etc.

R4 vs R1

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

Thisseason is available globally seemingly in the same format, with a variety of retailer options but generally very similar to our local release. As I mentioned above you can get this either with just the 4K discs (the version reviewed here) or with the content repeated on Blu-rays. Draw.

Summary

A complex and compelling second season on a great show.

The video quality is excellent.

The audio quality is excellent.

The extras are a large selection of mostlyworthwhile content.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, January 07, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLEDC8PTA 55. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5012
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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