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Contagion

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    88
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Contagion's 4K UHD is a must-see prescient pandemic thriller with stellar quality.

    Contagion 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    97
  • Warner Bros.' Ultra HD presentation of Contagion offers a reference-quality visual upgrade, boasting vivid details, accurate colors enhanced by HDR, and a faithful yet polished aesthetic, delivering an immersive viewing experience.

  • Audio
    89
  • The DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix delivers clear, full-bodied dialogue and atmospheric sounds with superior clarity, subtly enhancing suspense in various scenes without overwhelming dynamics.

  • Extra
    65
  • Contagion's UHD Blu-ray release disappoints with old extras and no new content post-COVID; it includes the same three featurettes as before, in a basic MOD package without a slipcover.

  • Movie
    88
  • Steven Soderbergh's 'Contagion' chillingly predicts a pandemic's impact with alarming accuracy, blending drama and medical realism in a prescient narrative.

    Video: 97

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "Contagion" is a remarkable showcase of ultra-high-definition viewing, delivering an exceptionally sharp and detailed picture that leverages the capabilities of the format to the fullest. Warner Bros.' 2160p/HDR10 transfer is a significant step up from the previous Blu-ray release, offering a more polished and visually faithful representation. This is achieved through a meticulous all-digital 4K workflow, which ensures a clean and precise presentation of the film's meticulously-shot source material. The resulting image detail is striking on a large display, revealing every nuance of the film’s diverse environments and character features with unparalleled clarity. The HDR enhancement contributes to perfectly saturated colors and smooth contrast levels, enhancing the viewing experience without deviating from director Steven Soderbergh's original vision, particularly his trademark use of color filters which are preserved albeit with slightly more distinct levels due to HDR grading.

    The film’s HEVC H.265 encode originates from a 4K digital intermediate linked to the RED One MX camera strain, attributing to the native 4K transfer's razor-sharp details. This encode exposes the intricacies of urban and interior spaces with exceptional definition, highlighting individual hairs, fabric textures, and the smallest blemishes with striking visibility. Thanks to a well-balanced contrast and brightness, the cinematography benefits from clean, vivid whites and rich, accurate blacks across the 1.85:1 image. Specular highlights, though understated, provide a crisp radiance to reflective surfaces enhancing the realism of metal objects and other surfaces. The HDR10 presentation also improves saturation in primary colors, bringing a fuller and more vibrant palette to the screen while ensuring facial complexions appear natural and true-to-life.

    Moreover, "Contagion" distinguishes itself with a carefully calibrated color grading that reflects its thematic elements—the muted and flat color palette serves an artistic purpose, enhancing the film’s dramatic tension without compromising on clarity or detail. Outdoor scenes in particular benefit from this treatment, offering depth and maintaining focus with remarkable clarity. Despite its darker tonal choice, black levels are solid without any loss to detail or viewing pleasure. The use of blue and grey hues, alongside occasional richer tones in specific locations, adds a layer of visual storytelling matching the film’s narrative ambiance. In essence, this 4K UHD Blu-ray edition of "Contagion" sets a high standard for home cinema presentations, balancing technical excellence with artistic integrity.

    Audio: 89

    The 4K UHD Blu-Ray audio presentation of "Contagion" showcases the exemplary DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mix, which effectively crafts a vividly immersive auditory environment. Dialogue remains the star of the show, full-bodied, with each line delivered with remarkable clarity and precise soundstage positioning, ensuring characters' voices are both engaging and distinct across various scenes. Subtle audio details — from the rustle of clothing to the bustling ambiance of crowded city streets or the tense quiet of a hospital room — are rendered with an impressive depth and finesse, enhancing the overall sensory experience without overwhelming the narrative's focus.

    The soundtrack's dynamics might not aggressively explore the full range of cinematic sounds, but they shine in their restraint, creating an atmosphere ripe with tension through subtle environmental cues and Cliff Martinez’s score that gracefully expands into the surround channels and occasionally into low-frequency effects for added depth. The design is intentional in its subtle approach, adept at drawing listeners into the film’s suspenseful fold. Despite being primarily front-loaded due to its dialogue-driven nature, the audio mix skillfully employs ambient noise and directional sound effects, making use of the entire soundscape to simulate real-world environments convincingly – from the chaotic clatter of casinos to the unnerving hush of quarantined zones.

    Moreover, this edition ups the ante with a richer rear-channel presence and an extended selection of subtitles, catering to a global audience while preserving every nuance of the original mix. Although this track closely mirrors its Blu-ray predecessor in structural essence, nuances like enhanced volume levels and more palpable dynamics in the music score denote meticulous reengineering. Utilizing Dolby Surround or DTS: Neural:X up-mixing features further immerses listeners, expanding atmospheric sounds across an even broader plane for an enveloping experience. Vital in its subtlety yet impactful in execution, the audio presentation of "Contagion" on 4K UHD is a masterclass in how less can indeed be more, engaging its audience with meticulously balanced sound design.

    Extra: 65

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Contagion" preserves the legacy of its 2012 extras, comprising three featurettes that delve into the reality and science behind pandemics, reflective of the film's thematic essence. While the inclusion of a Digital Copy code is appreciated, the package overall feels underwhelmed by the lack of updated content post-COVID, missing a significant opportunity to enhance its relevance with contemporary insights. The physical presentation mimics an MOD (Manufacture On Demand) approach, consistent with Warner's quality in similar releases, yet lacks noticeably in newer aesthetic elements or packaging extras such as a slipcover. The three preserved featurettes—The Reality of Contagion, The Contagion Detectives, and How a Virus Changes the World—offer valuable albeit dated insights into the mechanics of viral spread and societal impacts, underscoring a lost chance for a more enriched supplementary content set that could have bridged the narrative with more recent global health crises.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • The Reality of Contagion: Brief description.
    • The Contagion Detectives: Brief description.
    • How a Virus Changes the World: Brief description.

    Movie: 88

    Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion," a film eerily prescient of global events that unfolded nearly a decade after its release, receives a prestigious upgrade in its 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation. Originally debuting in 2011 with a narrative that explored the rapid spread of a lethal virus, the movie's depiction of societal and global upheaval feels almost prophetic in hindsight. Not just a medical drama, but a multifaceted exploration of human response to crisis, the film navigates through themes of panic, misinformation, and the scientific pursuit for answers with a chilling resonance. Its narrative, rich in detail and sceptically optimistic in tone, weaves together multiple storylines without losing coherence, highlighting both the strengths and flaws of its ensemble cast.

    The 4K presentation accentuates the film's grittier elements, from the visceral depiction of the virus's effects to the stark realism of a society in turmoil. Soderbergh's commitment to a visually immersive experience is evident, overseeing an outstanding 2160p/HDR transfer that sharpens the already palpable tension and dread. Yet, it is not just the technical enhancements that demand attention but also the renewed cultural significance of the film’s content. In an era marked by the real-world pandemic, "Contagion" serves as both a mirror and a cautionary tale, reflecting our vulnerabilities and the sometimes controversial reactions to them. The inclusion of concepts like social distancing, the scramble for a vaccine, and the proliferation of conspiracy theories underscores the film's unnerving accuracy and foresight.

    Amidst this backdrop, the characters—anchored by performances from Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, and others—bring a human dimension to the clinical and sometimes cold analysis of pandemic response. While some storylines feel disconnected or underdeveloped, the overall ensemble delivers powerful performances that capture a range of emotions — from fear and despair to resilience. Specifically, Damon's portrayal offers a grounded perspective that keeps the film’s speculative elements firmly tied to personal loss and perseverance. In sum, "Contagion" in 4K UHD is not merely a technical upgrade but a necessary reevaluation of its narrative through the lens of recent history, making it a compelling watch for both new audiences and those returning to its all-too-relevant story.

    Total: 88

    Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion," a film that eerily presaged real-world events with its pandemic storyline, demonstrates its staying power and relevance in Warner Bros.' 4K UHD Blu-ray release. This edition is lauded for its superb 2160p/HDR transfer, personally supervised by Soderbergh, presenting the movie's tense narrative and striking visuals with stunning clarity and depth. Though the movie's script is identified as somewhat fragmented, it doesn't detract from the overall effectiveness and engrossment of the storyline. The ensemble cast, direction, and subject matter collectively impress, offering a viewing experience that is both engaging and eerily prescient given recent global events. The audio experience is consistently high-quality, delivered via the carried-over DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, which, alongside the existing set of supplements from the Blu-ray release, rounds out the technical merits of this Ultra HD package.

    Amidst a backdrop of a world recently wracked by pandemic fears and realities, "Contagion" strikes a chord with its alarmingly accurate depiction of societal and individual responses to a fast-spreading virus. Recognized for this newfound relevance, the film oscillates between being seen as a medical drama and a thrilling portrayal of disaster response, hitting hard emotionally for viewers in a changed world. Those discovering the movie for the first time on 4K UHD or revisiting it will find the experience enhanced by the first-rate video quality and the enduringly effective audio, making this release not only pertinent but also a highly recommended addition to any collection.

    In conclusion, Warner Bros.' 4K UHD release of "Contagion" stands as a testament to the film's powerful and prescient narrative, magnified by stellar technical presentation and the emotional resonance it harbors in a post-pandemic world. Despite its cinematic imperfections and the unchanged set of bonus content, this edition is a compelling acquisition for fans and newcomers alike, offering the best visual and auditory experience of this chillingly prophetic thriller. Whether viewed as a gripping entertainment piece or a striking cautionary tale, "Contagion" in Ultra HD Blu-ray is an essential exploration of human resilience and vulnerability in the face of unseen threats.