11.2 C
New York
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Advertisement

Manhattan: Season One Blu-ray Review

manhattan-s1-bluray-coverU.S. Release

– –

The Series

[Rating:4/5]

Manhattan-S1-BD_17

If you’ve never heard of The Manhattan Project, then you’re either too young or have just been living under a rock. During World War II, the United States government undertook a massive, top secret project to beat the Nazis to building an atomic bomb, gathering together some of the country’s and the worlds most brilliant scientific minds to get their. WGN’s latest series, Manhattan is a fictional account of this undertaking.

While on paper this may not sound like the most interesting of dramatic subjects, Manhattan is far from just pencil-necks and chalkboards. The series actually follows the group of scientists and their unwitting families gathered together in the middle of the desert at ‘P.O. Box 1663’ or what they call ‘The Hill’ and shows the stresses it puts on their marriages, friendships, and their physical and mental health.

Under the ever-watchful eye of Uncle Sam, two separate groups of physicists and engineers square off against each other to come up with a design for ‘the gadget’. The secondary group, led by grizzled, older physicist Frank Winter (John Benjamin Hickey) wants to use implosion, an idea that no one thinks will work. They are stuck in an old shed, even stuck, at one point, sharing space with the janitorial staff.

The prime team, headed by Reed Akley (David Harbour) is working on a design they call ‘Thin Man’ based on thousands of years of ballistic science. They get the most resources, the primo office space, and the respect from head of the entire project, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer (portrayed by Daniel London, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the real man).

Another primary character is hot shot physicist Charlie Isaacs (Ashley Zukerman) who works for Reed Akley and is immediately at odds with Frank Winter over a peer-reviewed paper of his Frank rejected. Isaacs role will become increasingly critical as it becomes clear that one of these two programs is guaranteed to fail due to the physics.

A thrilling and complex story not only of personal struggle (each of the scientists has to deal with the thought of building a killing machine), but one of intrigue. The constant threat of being labelled a spy or ‘commie’, being under 24-hour surveillance, and lying constantly to spouses and friends takes it toll.

These personal fights are what really help keep the series afloat as it becomes increasingly complex and wanders into a thicket of conspiracies, unexpected twists, alliances, betrayals, and the inevitable cable TV sexual dalliances.

Through it all, Hickey’s performance keeps the whole ensemble together, although honorable mention should also go to Olivia Williams, who is tragically underused throughout the whole series. Playing the unstable wife of Frank Winter, a PHD in her own right, Williams balances the idea of the oppressive and secretive circumstances with a character desperately seeking a way to find some form of freedom and independence.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Manhattan-S1-BD_01

Manhattan comes to Blu-ray with an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement from Lionsgate. The overall image has a lot of texture and detail with strong shadow detail. Some slight banding is present, but hardly enough to take away from the overall presentation. The colors are not bold, but rather seem to have a bit of a period patina to lend some old-timey authenticity. Occasionally, for dramatic effect, the picture can be a little gritty, but it still does not take away from what is a pleasurable presentation that is free from the compression noise, motion artifacts, and crushing of the broadcasts of this series.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Manhattan-S1-BD_02

Manhattan gets an excellent lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack as the sole audio option (Engish SDH and Spanish subtitles are supplied) on Blu-ray. There is very good balance between all the channels and a lot (but not excessive) directional panning, including panning between the surrounds and fronts. Dialogue is clear and dynamic range is very good. Some brief scenes of World War I offer really deep low end extension.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Manhattan-S1-BD_03

  • Digital HD UltraViolet
  • “You Always Hurt the One You Love” Audio Commentary with Thomas Schlammer and Sam Shaw
  • “The Second Coming” Audio Commentary with Daniel Stern and Dustin Thomason
  • “Perestroika” Audio Commentary with Thomas Schlammer and Sam Shaw
  • Ground Zero: Bringing the Bomb to Screen (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:14:45)
  • P.O. Box 1663: Creating a City That Didn’t Exist (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:10:09)
  • “Now I Am Become Death” : J. Robert Oppenheimer (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:09:57)
  • Recreating an Era: “Manhattan” Costume Design (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:10:01)


The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Manhattan-S1-BD_04

Manhattan will be back for a second season in autumn of 2015 and given the wild cliffhanger it ended on, it will be interesting to see where it goes and how it grows as a show. What I can say is, I was hooked on it pretty quickly and found that it made fantastic binge viewing material.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B00SWFM7W4[/amazon-product]

Manhattan-S1-BD_05

Manhattan-S1-BD_06

Manhattan-S1-BD_07

Manhattan-S1-BD_08

Manhattan-S1-BD_09

Manhattan-S1-BD_10

Manhattan-S1-BD_11

Manhattan-S1-BD_12

Manhattan-S1-BD_13

Manhattan-S1-BD_14

Manhattan-S1-BD_15

Manhattan-S1-BD_16

Manhattan-S1-BD_18

Manhattan-S1-BD_19

Manhattan-S1-BD_20

Manhattan-S1-BD_21

Manhattan-S1-BD_22

Manhattan-S1-BD_23

Manhattan-S1-BD_24

Manhattan-S1-BD_25

Manhattan-S1-BD_26

Manhattan-S1-BD_27

Manhattan-S1-BD_28

Manhattan-S1-BD_29

Manhattan-S1-BD_30

[amazon-product]B00SWFM7W4[/amazon-product]

Advertisement

Related Articles

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent entry (or farewell?) for this beloved franchise with lots of action and great animation.

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (Blu-ray Review)

This is an uneven but still fun to watch sequel to the 2016 smash hit zombie/action movie lands on Blu-ray with a rollicking Atmos mix.

Chernobyl (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The account of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Ukraine, Soviet Union, and the subsequent health and political fallout is told in five gripping episodes.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

300FansLike
0FollowersFollow
723FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment “screeners” and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent entry (or farewell?) for this beloved franchise with lots of action and great animation.

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (Blu-ray Review)

This is an uneven but still fun to watch sequel to the 2016 smash hit zombie/action movie lands on Blu-ray with a rollicking Atmos mix.

Chernobyl (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The account of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Ukraine, Soviet Union, and the subsequent health and political fallout is told in five gripping episodes.

2067 (Blu-ray Review)

With the world deforested and people dying from a deadly disease caused by synthetic oxygen, a quiet tunnel worker receives a message from the future and must save humanity in this uneven but watchable dystopian Aussie indie sci-fi thriller.

The Irishman (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray Review)

Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-nominated (Best Director) late career crime world epic gets the Criterion Collection treatment it deserves.
%d bloggers like this: