All Quiet on the Western Front tells the gripping story of a young German soldier on the Western Front of World War I. Paul and his comrades experience first-hand how the initial euphoria of war turns into desperation and fear as they fight for their lives, and each other, in the trenches. The film from director Edward Berger is based on the world renowned bestseller of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque.
For in-depth thoughts on All Quiet On The Western Front (2022), please see my colleague Brandon Lewis’ review from its original release here.
All Quiet On The Western Front (2022) comes to 4K UHD Blu-Ray in an AVC encoded transfer from a 4K master in 2.39:1 with Dolby Vision HDR courtesy of MPI Media Group which provides a miraculous presentation that presents this film nearly flawlessly. This transfer captures the Oscar-winning cinematography of James Friend effortlessly for a visually rich experience. There are some unforgettable shots of vast expanses and war-torn landscapes which really wow on this format. Yet it is not just the muddy battlefields that impress, as you get a dynamic experience within some of the lavish interiors with some rich texture in the production design. Skin tones look natural to the color grading with fine detail such as sweat and scrapes standing out. There is so much character given to every craft that you will be left in awe.
The muted color palette is brilliantly realized thanks to the Dolby Vision presentation which captures the most subtle nuances within the environmental changes. The color palette is used for grand thematic effect, and this transfer delivers that vision with great authenticity. Nothing is candy colored or artificially boosted, just captured with precision and motivation. From the opening moments, you will notice the deep, inky blacks show no signs of the compression artifacts or crush which plague the streaming version. Highlights are similarly more stable with blooming never popping up as a problem. There is no evidence of any digital nuisances outside of a bit of digital noise in some of the tricky fog on the battlefield. The included Blu-Ray is very capable, but the 4K UHD Blu-Ray does allow the film to achieve the best version of what it should be at home. MPI has delivered something special for fans.
The 4K UHD Blu-Ray disc comes with a showstopping Dolby Atmos track in the original German that delivers what you need from a wartime picture. There is also an English dub included in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio which we would avoid for artistic purity. The Oscar-nominated sound work is layered and is a force of nature as soon as it begins. One of the most rewarding aspects of this audio track is the atypical score from Volker Bertelmann which permeates the room in the surround speakers that maintains precise fidelity. Every element is crisply defined and never muddled or distorted even under the most intense circumstances.
Environmental sounds and other such elements make this world feel visceral and lived-in. The overhead speakers complement the standard surround speakers quite well for a more spacious experience. The exploding bombs and cries of soldiers running into battle make for a really textured soundscape. The track is more than just constant sound, as the creative team plays with the absence of sound in really inventive ways. Dialogue comes through clearly with no words ever suppressed by a competing element. Low end response is robust and keeps you fully immersed in the action. This is a stellar audio presentation that does not falter in the slightest. There are optional English, English SDH and a ton of other subtitles provided.
The 4K UHD Blu-Ray of All Quiet On The Western Front (2022) comes in a Mediabook packaging which includes a booklet featuring a conversation with DIrector Edward Berger and an essay by historian Daniel Schonpflug which provides a great amount of insight into and analysis of the film that helps highlight the deeper themes on display, the source material and more. The on-disc special features are as follows:
- Audio Commentary: Writer-director Edward Berger provides a steady commentary track in English in which he reflects on the making of the film with great details about the origins of various shots including working with foxes, the tricks of the cinematography, the editing, finding the perfect cast members and more.
- Making-Of Featurette: A nearly 19-minute featurette which gives you a unique look at the production including Berger discussing the narrative, storyboarding the film, looking over the costumes, creating the trenches, working with the performers to bring the vision to life, explaining the importances of certain moments and so much more that allows you to understand how passionate the team is about this material.
- Trailers: This disc includes the Original Trailer (2:19), the U.S. Trailer (2:19), the International Trailer (2:16) and the Teaser Trailer (1:52).
All Quiet On The Western Front (2022) is a very impactful adaptation of the classic novel which puts a personal face on the atrocities of war. While the battles themselves are viscerally realized, the story is more focused on why these young men are being sent to their deaths. The thematic weight builds with every sequence until you reach the gut-wrenching conclusion. Director Edward Berger achieved something truly astounding on a relatively reserved budget. Newcomer Felix Kammerer gives an unbelievable performance that would be impressive even if he was not so new to performing. MPI Media Group has released a 5-star new 4K UHD Blu-Ray with a tremendous A/V presentation and some solid special features. This is what a modern war picture should aspire to be. Highly Recommended
All Quiet On The Western Front (2022) will be available to purchase on March 28, 2023 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray + Blu-Ray Combo Pack.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the 4K UHD Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: MPI Media Group has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.