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Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Salt's UHD offers minor improvements, lacks extras, and its plot defies logic despite strong A/V upgrades.

    Salt Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Salt's UHD Blu-ray impresses with HDR's enhanced contrast and deeper blacks, boasting clearer, more detailed visuals over Blu-ray, despite restrained color and subtle overall upgrades.

  • Audio
  • Salt's UHD Blu-ray release elevates its audio experience with a Dolby Atmos track that enhances realism and immersion, despite debates on its substantial improvement over the robust original 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix.

  • Extra
  • MGM and Sony's trend of skimming on Blu-ray extras continues with 'Salt' UHD, offering mere commentary vs. the rich, varied features of the 2010 Blu-ray, affecting the viewer experience and overall rating.

  • Movie
  • Despite an engaging Jolie and high action, 'Salt's story falls flat, hindered by clichés and a struggle for realistic tension, evoking more chuckles than thrills.

    Video: 77

    The Ultra HD Blu-ray release of "Salt," a film shot on traditional 35mm film by the acclaimed Robert Elswit and later finished on a 4K digital intermediate, anticipated to showcase the technological advancements of UHD, delivers an impressive, though not revolutionary, upgrade from its Blu-ray counterpart. The transition from the high standard set by the Blu-ray release to UHD, particularly in motion, reveals subtle enhancements rather than dramatic alterations. The immediate benefits are notable in terms of definition and clarity, with sharper lines and more distinguishable details across a myriad of scenes, from the intricate stitching on characters’ clothing to the distinct textures of office interiors and urban landscapes. This is despite some sequences exhibiting softer visuals, which slightly detract from an otherwise consistent uplift in picture quality.

    High Dynamic Range (HDR) encoding brings modest yet appreciable improvements, with deeper blacks and enhanced contrast contributing to the film's visual dynamism and helping accentuate its realistic color palette. Sony has commendably preserved the film's original hues, avoiding an overemphasis for unwarranted vibrancy and instead, opting for a faithful enhancement that suits the film's aesthetic. This results in a presentation that retains the authentic feel of the cinematography while offering a touch of additional clarity, particularly beneficial during rapid editing sequences and contributing to the overall thriller mood.

    Facial complexions and textures gain a noticeable boost in realism, with every pore, wrinkle, and blemish visible in both close-ups and medium shots. Poorly-lit scenes maintain their detail integrity, illustrating the efficacy of HDR10 in rendering visibility across dark and light areas seamlessly. Although "Salt" does not exhibit the exotic color saturation of other UHD titles, its controlled use of the teal-orange palette still provides depth and warmth to the visuals. Overall, "Salt" on UHD Blu-ray showcases significant video quality improvements, offering viewers an enhanced viewing experience that underscores both the potential and current limitations of UHD technology in revitalizing non-digitally shot films.

    Audio: 79

    The UHD Blu-ray release of "Salt" boasts a newly minted Dolby Atmos soundtrack that, while not a revolutionary departure from its already vigorous DTS-HD MA 5.1 predecessor, noticeably enhances the auditory experience. The original track’s notable features, such as its wide dynamic range, deep bass extension, and intense surround activity, find themselves not only preserved but subtly expanded upon in this Atmos version. The upgrade introduces a slight increase in aural spaciousness, with perhaps a bit more air around the sound elements and a mildly expanded soundstage. However, as the transition from the robust 5.1 mix to Atmos may not reinvent the experience, it certainly enriches it, offering an incremental but appreciable improvement in how the film's sonorous battles and ambient environments are conveyed.

    From the very opening scenes, the Atmos track announces its presence by immersing viewers into Salt’s gritty world with enhanced realism. Notable scenes, such as the interrogation in a damp basement and a tense meeting at a shipyard, showcase the soundtrack’s ability to fill the listening space with meticulously placed ambient sounds - from water droplets to the echo of voices off concrete walls, achieving an enveloping dome effect. This is especially evident in action sequences where the combination of overhead channels and an expanded front soundstage create a more cohesive and engaging audio field. The sound of debris and metallic clashes not only envelops but also elevates the viewer’s sense of immersion within the film’s chaotic spectacles.

    Furthermore, James Newton Howard's score benefits significantly from the Atmos upgrade, with instrumentation spread into the front overheads yielding a half-dome effect that is both immersive and enchanting. The mix skillfully maintains balance and clarity across channels even amidst the frenetic action sequences, ensuring dialogue remains intelligible and integrated within the expansive soundfield. This is complemented by a responsive low-end that adds depth and intensity to action scenes with authoritative explosions and gunshots. Overall, while the Atmos track might not dramatically transform the audio experience of "Salt," it undeniably refines and enhances it, making for a more dynamic and enveloping auditory journey.

    Extra: 77

    The Blu-ray release of "Salt" notably endeavors to enhance the viewing experience with a varied array of extras, albeit with a complex approach to accessibility. While the packaging integrates commendable features like three distinct film cuts—each offering an enriched narrative through alternative endings and scene modifications—the catch lies in navigating between formats, as these versions are confined to the Blu-ray, compelling a switch from UHD for full engagement. Complementing the film variations, a standout is the director's commentary, providing deep insights into the filmmaking process, influenced by historical events and personal anecdotes from Phillip Noyce. The commentary is enriched with contributions from key production members, adding layers to the understanding of "Salt's" creation. Additional materials span a robust selection, from behind-the-scenes featurettes discussing stunts, costumes, and casting adaptations necessary for transforming the script to accommodate a female lead, to in-depth discussions on digital effects and character disguises. This amalgam of content rightfully addresses any enthusiast craving a comprehensive dive into "Salt's" production intricacies, though the split access may dampen user experience for those favoring seamless exploration.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary: Director Phillip Noyce offers an in-depth look into the making of "Salt."
    • Two Alternate Versions of the Film: Unrated director's cut and extended version with differences from the theatrical release.
    • Spy Cam: A picture-in-picture track showcasing interviews, sketches, storyboards, and behind-the-scenes footage.
    • SALT: Declassified: A making-of featurette covering production aspects like casting and set design.
    • The Treatment: An interview with director Phillip Noyce discussing his approach to "Salt."
    • The Real Agents: Insights from former CIA and KGB agents on the reality of espionage work.
    • The Modern Master of the Political Thriller: Praise and analysis of Noyce's direction and filmmaking style.
    • The Ultimate Female Action Hero: A tribute to Jolie's dedication to her role and action sequences.
    • False Identity: Creating a New Reality: Exploration of special effects and digital technology used in the film.
    • Spy Disguise: Examination of Jolie's character transformations through makeup and styling.
    • Trailers: Collection of "Salt" trailers.

    Movie: 67

    "Salt," a 2010 action thriller directed by Phillip Noyce and headlined by the inimitable Angelina Jolie, melds high-octane sequences with the glossy sheen of a big-budget production. Despite its embrace of genre clichés and a narrative that leans heavily into the preposterous, the film distinguishes itself through adept direction and Jolie's magnetic presence. As the titular character, Jolie traverses a by-the-numbers plot with commendable physicality, yet is hampered by a script that prioritizes spectacle over substance. The screenplay, penned by Kurt Wimmer, juggles predictable plot twists and an array of superhuman stunts that tend to undermine rather than uplift the protagonist's journey. While Jolie's foray into the male-dominated action sphere is laudable, her character's depth and development suffer, rendering "Salt" more a showcase of stunts than a narrative-driven cinematic experience.

    The film's technical aspects, especially its UHD 4K presentation, undergo scrutiny for both their pioneering ambition and the technical challenges they present. Early adopters of the format may encounter compatibility and playback issues, as noted with the Samsung UBD-K8500 player's vexing interface with compliant devices. Yet, these technical hiccups do little to detract from the principal allure of "Salt" as a visually arresting endeavor. The allure of seeing Jolie assume myriad disguises and tackle death-defying feats with gusto is undeniably appealing, albeit occasionally veering into the realm of implausibility.

    Despite Noyce's polished directorial touch and a supporting cast that includes talents like Liev Schreiber, "Salt" struggles to transcend its formulaic roots. The film oscillates between striving for high-stakes espionage drama and succumbing to the gravitational pull of action thriller tropes. Its ambition to seed a franchise around Evelyn Salt, akin to the James Bonds and Jason Bournes of the cinematic world, falters amid a mire of underutilization and narrative inconsistency. Ultimately, "Salt" captures the imagination with its kinetic energy and Jolie's star power but lacks the narrative cohesiveness and emotional resonance required to solidify its standing within the annals of action film history.

    Total: 67

    "Salt," starring Angelina Jolie as a high-octane espionage hero, achieves a mixed reception in its Ultra HD Blu-ray release. On the one hand, the 4K video presentation garners praise for its clear visual upgrade over the standard Blu-ray version, revealing finer details and a more vibrant color palette that enhances the viewing experience. The Dolby Atmos audio track also stands out, offering an immersive auditory experience that complements the film’s dynamic action sequences. This should attract fans seeking the ultimate home theater rendition of the movie, as well as enthusiasts eager to expand their 4K collection.

    However, the Ultra HD version does not come without its caveats. Despite the technical enhancements in video and audio quality, the movie itself remains polarizing due to its far-fetched plot and over-the-top action that tests the bounds of believability. Furthermore, those interested in extra content might find the UHD release lacking. The inclusion of alternate cuts and special features falls short when compared to its Blu-ray counterpart, which might dissuade some collectors and fans of the film's additional content from investing in this edition.

    In conclusion, while the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of "Salt" offers a visually and sonically superior experience that showcases the capabilities of the format, it does not entirely justify an upgrade for owners of the previous Blu-ray edition, especially for those valuing special features and alternate movie cuts. Its appeal is likely limited to new adopters of 4K technology eager to witness Angelina Jolie’s action-packed performance in unparalleled clarity, or to die-hard fans of the film willing to overlook its narrative shortcomings for a technically impressive home viewing experience.