Allegiant (itunes download) (2016)
|Year Of Production||2016|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Robert Schwentke|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
So, here we have another first for the site, a review of an iTunes download in HD. The film is the third one in the Divergent series, Allegiant. I will start with some thoughts on this (iTunes download) as a delivery mechanism and then talk about the film itself.
This is the first time I have tried to download and review an iTunes film. The file was about 3.7 Gb and despite having cable broadband it seemed to take forever to download. I sat my family down to watch the film and once realising it was not streaming but download, I worked out pretty quickly that we needed to watch something else as the download indicated it would take 8 hours. So, you certainly need to plan ahead to use this service! Quality wise, I will discuss the specifics of the audio and video later but considering the file is about 10% of the size of a movie on Blu-ray it is immediately obvious that the quality will not be equivalent. It is also fair to point out that these downloads do not include lossless sound like a Blu-ray does which will certainly take up a significant amount of space. I, for one, certainly missed the lossless sound and, for my needs, I would not consider this to be in any way equivalent. Having said that, we need to take it for what it is, a HD download rather than a Blu-ray. Both have their place, I suppose. If you have a high definition television, no surround sound or ability to decode lossless tracks and an Internet connection this may be an option for you to consider. I was interested to see that these download files also include extras, which I was unaware came with iTunes files. It is worth noting however that the extras seem to be streamed (badly) rather than downloaded.
Now, on to the film itself. Personally, I enjoyed the first two films in this series, despite their flaws and should have been pre-disposed to enjoy this one. On balance, although having its moments, this third film in the series was a disappointment for cinema-goers and fans of the books. The film is too long, and has too much talking after a strong start but also takes a huge deviation from the books which was certainly disappointing for book fans in my house. There are certainly some cool ideas and design elements such as the various vehicles, the decontamination machine and the Bureau itself, however, the screenplay and direction are lacking punch. The cast look good and do good work without setting the world on fire. Jeff Daniels is a good addition to the cast of younger stars. This third instalment was directed by the same director as the second film, Robert Schwentke but this one did not hit the same quality. Perhaps the stretching of the series to four films may be partially responsible with Ascendant due in 2017.
It is certainly worth seeing this third instalment of the series but a disappointing addition to a series that has probably promised more than it has delivered to date.
All things considered, I was pretty happy with the video quality of this film as a digital download. It is not Blu-ray quality but is better than DVD. It was 720p with a download file size of 3.7Gb. It lacks the bitrate of a Blu-ray which resulted in some jumpy pans at times but otherwise looks good, with nice colour, good clarity and detail throughout. The landscapes and effects came up well. It was 2.35:1 widescreen which is the OAR.
There are subtitles available in English which can be formatted to your liking using iTunes. This was quite flexible. They were generally clear and easy to read but for my liking too far into the middle of the screen, which did not seem to be adjustable.
The audio quality is decent but certainly not lossless. It was formatted as Dolby Digital 5.1 which I passed from my PC, via HDMI, to my amplifier. In iTunes, the highest quality settings for audio output are 192 Kbps and 24 Bit which is obviously below DVD standard. The sound was quite good considering the technical constraints but those expecting Blu-ray standard on a HD download should adjust their expectations. If you are not a home theatre nut, you will probably not care as the audio sounds pretty good. Those of us who have invested in a great home sound system will be underwhelmed. Dialogue was reasonable but the subtitles proved helpful. There was quite a bit of surround presence and some subwoofer use although nothing too exciting.
|Surround Channel Use|
A good selection of extras are included via a menu, although they seem to be streamed rather than part of the download. I found the streaming performance significantly worse than Netflix with many pauses. Your experience may vary depending on time of day etc.
The menu features music and allows access to the extras and related content on iTunes.
This commentary has some info to get across but they pause quite a bit and seem a little disengaged.
Featurette about taking on the book and making it into 2 films including talk of why the changes from the novel were a good idea.
Making of a specific scene in the film where Four fights soldiers on a transport ship.
Featurette on the new weapons, vehicles, sets and production design for this film.
Featurette on the new characters and new conflicts in this story. Interviews with cast and crew.
Focused on the cast returning for this third instalment and their thoughts on how they work together. Fluffy.
A tour of the sets and discussion of the process to design and build the Bureau building.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
It is not possible to do a region comparison for a download.
A disappointing third film in the series which probably should have only been three films on this evidence.
The video quality is good but not Blu-ray standard.
The audio quality is good for what it is.
The extras are decent but really just a set of promotional videos plus the commentary.
|DVD||Panasonic DMR-PWT500, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|