Shazam! (4K Blu-ray) (2019)
|Year Of Production||2019|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||David F Sandberg|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Atmos 7.1
German Dolby Atmos 7.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
German for the Hearing Impaired Dolby Digital 2.0
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
DC has been lagging behind Marvel over the last 10 years in movies, not because they don't have quality properties to exploit but rather because the films produced have not been as good generally and therefore have not done the same sort of business at the box office. The most successful of these films globally has been Aquaman, the first to really post numbers that could rival Marvel, certainly since the Dark Knight films. Even then it only just scrapes into the Top 20 superhero films at the box office (US figures). The latest film to hit the cinemas from the DC Extended Universe is Shazam!
If there has been one consistent criticism of the recent DC films it is that they are dark and humourless. This has been turned around now with Aquaman first and then this film. It is a shame then that this film was the least successful of any of the recent DC films at the box office despite generally getting good press. It is sitting at Number 13 at the US Box Office in 2019 and Number 12 in Australia, miles behind Avengers: Endgame which tops both. Personally, I think this is one of the best recent DC films, maybe even just a shade better than Aquaman because it does not overdo the run time quite as much. Shazam! is certainly the lightest of the recent DC films probably at least partially driven by its main character really being a 14 year old boy. Besides this it has a more general sense of fun rather than angst, which is refreshing. There was a live action TV series made in the 1970s and an animated one from the 1980s that people of my age group remember fondly. Confusingly, this character was also known as Captain Marvel including in the aforementioned live action TV series, with the main character saying Shazam! to change into Captain Marvel. The new Captain Marvel film starring Brie Larsen is not related to this (and there have been lawsuits between Marvel and DC over the years about this).
The story involves a 14 year old orphan, Billy Batson (Asher Angel) who has been searching for his mother since he was a small boy. She abandoned him at a fairground, leaving him to a life of foster care. His constant searching means that he regularly runs away, ending up in another foster family. At the beginning of the film he winds up in a group foster home, presided over by Victor and Rosa Vasquez (Cooper Andrews and Marta Milans). Despite them being good people his only thought is how to get away and continue the search for his mother. At the home, he meets Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer), a crippled boy of the same age, Darla Dudley (Faithe Herman), a younger girl, Pedro Pena (Jovan Armand), Eugene Choi (Ian Chen) and Mary Bromfield (Grace Fulton). Initially, Billy has no interest in getting to know them but over time they become friends. One day whilst being pursued by thugs, he gets magically transported to a mystical temple where a Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) transfers to him the powers of Shazam (an acronym of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury which means that he gets the powers of all of these Gods). He now has the ability to transform into this superhero by saying the word Shazam! The problem is that he has no idea what his powers are or how to use them. So, he transforms into Shazam (Zachary Levi) and after convincing Freddy that he is the same person, gets his help to work out his powers. This leads to some of the funniest sequences in the film.
Meanwhile, the audience has been following a somewhat parallel story of a boy who some 20 or 30 years earlier had a similar experience to Billy, in that he was transported to the same mystical temple; however, he was not given the powers of good like Billy but rather was inhabited by the seven deadly sins after finding his way back to the temple many years later. He has now become Dr Sivana (Mark Strong), an evil genius who is determined to destroy Shazam! and have power over the world. Of course, this sets up an epic battle between the forces of good and evil which drives the rest of the film's action. Billy/Shazam must overcome his childish tendencies to be able to battle against Dr Sivana and save the world!
This is a fun and funny film which is an enjoyable watch for the whole family. It was directed by David F. Sandberg, whose background before this film was mostly horror films like Annabelle: Creation and Lights Out, so it is mildly surprising that he has transitioned so well to light comedic super hero films. The film is not perfect but I certainly enjoyed watching it once at the cinema and again on 4K. My main criticism would be that it runs a little long although does not overstay its welcome as badly as some of the DC films. As always, Mark Strong is an effective baddie and the sheer joy and excitement that exudes from Zachary Levi makes Shazam! very likable even when he is being a bit of a d***. The younger cast members all play their roles well without being annoying. The effects and action sequences are certainly well put together without really adding anything we have not seen before. As I mentioned above the sequences where Freddy is trying to work out what Shazam!'s powers are are probably the highlight of the film and certainly the funniest. The finale feels a little prosaic and could have been better but it is certainly not a big issue.
Overall, this is an enjoyable superhero film that along with Aquaman shows that DC can make better films than they had been showing since the Dark Knight series ended. Definitely worth a shot.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu features music.
This is a motion comic i.e. animated but in the style of a comic book starring Shazam!, of course. Good to have included but the storyline is so lame that you would only watch it once.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This film is available in the US in the same format except for some minor differences in foreign language soundtracks. Buy Local.
The video quality is very good despite being an upscale to 4K.
The audio quality is excellent.The extras are of good quality but some fans will bemoan the lack of a commentary.
|DVD||Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG OLEDC8PTA 55”. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|