Almost entirely bypassing a theatrical release due to the nature of our planet and in the exhibition, almost everyone saw WONDER WOMAN 1984 in some digital form or another. While I did quickly review the movie back in its Virtual Theatrical release (and on HBO Max for a few weeks in the US) as all movie theatres in my neck of the world was closed, I did want to see the movie in a much higher quality…and here we are with a newly-released 4k edition now available to purchase!
This solid sequel, which is quite a departure from the, first where our hero Diana (Gal Gadot) come in to save, WONDER WOMAN 1984 is more of a wish-fulfillment odyssey that has a precious stone that can grant the wish of anyone who comes across it. This comes across the path of Diana, now working at the Smithsonian and gets to work with just-hired Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) who has some wishes of her own. The stone then gets into the hands of Maxwell Lord (a wonderful Pedro Pascal in full on 80’s Capitalism mode). Even further complicating things are the re-arrival of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) as part of Diana’s wishes…and also a good way to get Chris Pine into the sequel.
Even at a VERY long 151 minutes I was engrossed and having a lot of fun with this should-have-seen-on-the-big-screen adventure, and I seemed to have liked WW84 more than most from the internet community and even despite big criticisms, which I fully understand (one particular comment about what happens after Diana brings back a particular character is a VERY valid comment); it’s a significantly different picture than the first one and I really appreciated the story going in another direction than just being more of the same, which seemed to have plagued some of the latter-year Marvel Cinematic Universe. As a kid of the 80s, too, I loved the look and design here and filmmaker Patty Jenkins clearly loves this era too, and it shows.
About the 4k release:
Like with the first WONDER WOMAN, the sequel is shot on 35mm film stock and this sequel also has the bonus of the opening and closing sequences shot on IMAX film. This full on 2160P, Dolby Vision and HDR-10 transfer beautifully showcases the 80s era with a gorgeous mix of color, crushing black levels and a nice amount of film grain. Like with the recent 4k releases I have reviewed for the site, I am gobsmacked in just how gorgeous home video content can be, sometimes even surpassing the theatrical experience depending on the cinema setup. In addition, I seemed MORE impressed with the standard 35mm footage than the IMAX footage, which fills the screen to the 1.90:1 digital IMAX ratio. The opening sequence features a lot of height-oriented stunt work so I appreciated the taller framing, and yet the grainier 35mm footage which is the majority of the picture was the standout for me in conveying the look and feel of the era.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack is loud, aggressive and as always backwards compatible to whatever sound system you are working with. There is some great surround use here (including the “Invisible Jet” sequence) and some deep, thunderous bass. Also presented well here is legendary Hans Zimmer’s score, which gets some nice punch at times but doesn’t overwhelm the action.
As the 4k disc utilizes all of the space for the feature only, the special features are all available on the Blu Ray and it’s a near complete experience that nicely rounds out the film presentation. The main stars are the production featurettes which are far from the standard quick docs I have seen. Two in particular stand out; the main behind the scenes feature which features many cast & crew interviews including a LOT of wonderful footage of an always-smiling, confident Patty Jenkins standing behind her vision and sharing some fun moments behind the scenes. I greatly admired one shot where you see Gadot and Jenkins sharing a laugh after a take, and you can really feel the enthusiasm on set. The other standout feature here is a quick but memorable featurette on actress Lilly Aspell, who played the Young Diana in the opening sequence and it’s revealed here that she did all of her own stunts. At only 10 years of age. We get to see some fun interviews and a LOT of praise from Gadot, Jenkins and everyone who worked around her and is labelled as an inspiration to many. It’s a lot of fun to see the BTS footage here from such an enthusiastic young performer who I am sure we will see a lot more of in the future.
While there is no screen specific commentary track (always a favourite of mine), it’s made up for in a couple of “Anatomy of a Scene” type featurettes. One in particular is an open-road action sequence, a highlight of the picture, and it was great to see the footage here along with several key interviews on how it was put together. Rounding out the release are some fun gag reels and a retro WW84 trailer that I wish had that old-school Warner logo to round it out. Still, it’s a lot of fun as a nice complement to the home video presentation.
Overall, this is an outstanding home video release and an easy recommendation for supporters of the format. I quite enjoyed this sequel and I’m curious to see where the series goes next, and it’s great to see this represented in a nice package with a stunning 4k transfer and enough features to satisfy DC fans.
WONDER WOMAN 1984 is now available on 4k Ultra HD/Blu Ray Combo and is also available on Blu Ray, DVD and all digital platforms like Apple TV, Google Play & Cineplex Store.