Due on Blu: Free Solo (and Other Oscar Winners)


The Blu-ray of Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo will be released on April 11 as a JB Hi-Fi exclusive.

Everywhere else it will be for sale on DVD only — and that won’t be the optimal way to view it at home.

The movie is a visually exquisite — and exhilarating — portrait of free solo climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: scaling the face of the world’s most famous rock, the 975-metre El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, without a rope.

Said Blu-ray Authority of the DVD, the only disc format on which it was distributed in the US:

National Geographic’s DVD is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic image that looks good, but if you really want the best experience, a streaming (iTunes, Amazon) is your best option. I realise that National Geographic isn’t a studio that specialises in DVDs and Blu-rays, but with their subject matter (they’re synonymous with photography), there really should be a higher resolution option available. That being said, some of the shots provide an almost dizzying 360 degree look at the climb, El Capitan and the surrounding areas. Some of the trees and detail is lost in the inferior DVD format.

Extras will include an interview with Honnold and co-directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, and the behind-the-scenes short, What If He Falls?.

Other 2019 Oscar-winners pending on Blu-ray include:

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (April 17)

  • Best animated feature film

The Favourite (May 1)

  • Best actress: Olivia Colman

Green Book (May 8)

  • Best supporting actor: Mahershala Ali
  • Best original screenplay: Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga
  • Best picture

Vice (May 22)

  • Best makeup and hair

If Beale Street Could Talk (June)

  • Best supporting actress: Regina King

Other than Spider-Man, 4K-UHD releases of these titles have still to be confirmed but based on the US and UK schedules, only Green Book seems likely.

Said Blu-ray.com: “Green Book‘s UHD may not offer a wholly revelatory viewing experience in comparison to Universal’s excellent day-and-date companion 1080p Blu-ray release, but this 2160p/HDR presentation is certainly a clear step forward in terms of both clarity and, in particular, colour.”

Concurred Hugh-Def Digest: “The 4K image isn’t a huge, leaps-and-bounds improvement over the 1080p Blu-ray, but that’s not so much a knock on the 4K disc as it is a reflection of the fact that the Blu-ray looks pretty darn good.”

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