Release Date(s)2016 (December 20, 2016)
Studio(s)Village Roadshow/Kennedy-Marshall/Malpaso (Warner Bros.)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: A+
- Audio Grade: A+
- Extras Grade: C+
Based on the real life events surrounding the miraculous safe water landing of United Airlines Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in New York City in 2009, Sully tells the story of Captain Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) as they deal with the incident’s immediate aftermath, including their own personal reactions to it and the subsequent NTSB investigation.
Directed by Clint Eastwood with workmanlike efficiency, Sully is particularly effective at placing you aboard Flight 1549, humanizing the experience of the pilots and their passengers. Watching this film, it’s hard to imagine anyone more suited to playing these roles than Hanks and Eckhart, but the supporting cast is good too, including Laura Linney, Anna Gunn, and Mike O’Malley. The VFX work is well done, creating the necessary realism and tension. The film might be just a hair over-dramatic in terms of magnifying the personal anxiety Sullenberger experienced in the days after the flight, and a bit of early antagonism by the NTSC investigators, but it’s a small criticism.
Warner’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release offers the film in terrific image quality at the 2.39:1 theatrical aspect ratio (not the 1.90:1 IMAX ratio). Sully was shot digitally using Arri Alexa 65 and IMAX cameras in ArriRAW 6.5K resolution format. The DI was finished in full 4K, from which this release was mastered, following an HDR color timing pass. The image is essentially reference quality, with ample detail and texturing, and a very natural range of contrast from deep blacks to bright highlights. Clarity is perfect, colors are natural and accurate, albeit cool befitting the wintertime setting. Primary audio is available in a fantastic English Dolby Atmos mix. It’s not flashy, but it’s incredibly immersive and natural. As the aircraft suffers its failures and starts going down, you can hear subtle cues in the rear channels as the engines wind down. You can hear the wind whistling past the airframe, the control surfaces rattling, cockpit sounds, air traffic control squawks; audio-wise, this is just a study in understated perfection. Additional audio options include English Descriptive Audio, and 5.1 Dolby Digital in French, Italian, Castilian Spanish, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, and Polish voice-over. Subtitles are available in English SDH and many other languages.
There are no extras on the 4K disc, but the regular Blu-ray Disc in the package includes the film in HD, with the following HD extras:
- Moment by Moment: Averting Disaster on the Hudson (15:44)
- Sully Sullenberger: The Man Behind the Miracle (19:49)
- Neck Deep in the Hudson: Shooting Sully (20:17)
Moment by Moment is the best of the lot, and it’s quite good, as the real participants walk you through the actual timeline of events. There are also trailers for other Warner Bros films, though not Sully, and there’s a Digital HD Copy code on a paper insert in the packaging. The “C+” grade for extras listed above really reflects the quantity of the material here, not the quality.
Sully is just a damn solid movie and Warner’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release offers it in terrific A/V quality. I do wish there was more in the way of extras here. I’d love to hear an audio commentary with Hanks and Eckhart, joined by Sully Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles. Maybe we’ll see that on a future 10th Anniversary Edition. In any case, this is definitely a film and a 4K presentation well worth your time.
- Bill Hunt