Well, they can’t all be winners. After a damned impressive stretch of critically and financially successful films, Marvel’s The Eternals is a notable stumble. With Oscar-winning director and co-writer Chloé Zhao at the helm, this often grand and visually stunning film suffers from lopsided storytelling, rough character development, and a chunky runtime. Now The Eternals arrives on Blu-ray with a solid 1080p video transfer but a lackluster DTS 7.1 track kicks the audio down. Some decent bonus features are worth picking through, but this really isn’t a great movie and with a middling A/V presentation it’s hard to recommend. For Fans Only
[Excerpt from our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review]
"Equal parts too much and not enough, the film is most frustrating because you can feel that Chloé Zhao has a grand story to tell with her first big-budget franchise film, but it just didn’t come together. Visually it’s amazing to look at and the final thirty-forty minutes show some sign of life and excitement, but it’s too little too late. There’s entirely too much history, too many characters, and far too many major events for a two-hour and thirty-seven-minute movie. When entire characters are forgotten for over half the film or outright die and you don’t have any kind of emotional resonance enough to care - you have a big problem with your movie.
And that there may just be the issue at hand. This is a movie. Not only is Eternals introducing so many new characters (and a few more in the post-credits sequences), but it’s also rewriting the history of the galaxy and humanity on top of setting up events that will play out through other MCU franchise shows, films, and possibly more Eternals solo adventures. This film should have been a limited series event on Disney+, not a film that has to struggle to cram in so much material inside a set runtime. This story needed room to introduce these characters, key events, intergalactic stakes, and how they all connected to everything else we’ve seen."
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
The Eternals comes to save Blu-ray in a single disc Blu-ray + Digital set. Pressed on a BD-50 disc, the disc is housed in a standard case. The disc loads to Disney’s typical language menu followed by the option to go to the main menu or skip right into the film.
Well, here’s an odd day but I'm finding this 1080p Blu-ray transfer is actually a better overall viewing experience than the 4K disc. While the 2160p disc transfer provides much better finely-tuned details, and for some big sequences a more nuanced color palette, this disc doesn’t have to contend with a frustratingly dark HDR10 grade. Popping this disc in and seeing that first shot of the bright orange glowing sun as the Domo passes over and then the cut to the inside of the ship with the ruby red statue of Arishem and the individual Eternals suiting up - the whole sequence looks great. There's a natural color presence with lovely primaries, deep inky blacks, and fine costume details without it looking just oppressively dark. The Bollywood dance sequence is another example where color just seems more lively here. Black levels are overall even and approaching that nice inky tone we want to see, but a sequence midway through in South Dakota was a tad on the gray side, but not bad. Depth is appreciable throughout and details are often very striking - if maybe not as refined as its 4K counterpart.
While the 4K disc contents with a middling Dolby Atmos track, this 1080p Blu-ray has to contend with a dodgy DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix. Like its Atmos sibling, there’s a pretty severe lack of impact with this track. When big punches or action-packed sequences happen you want to feel it. You want the score to grab you in the guts. That just doesn’t really happen here. And it's a shame because it's some great stuff from Ramin Djawadi. This track lacks the low rumble bass of the Atmos mix (what there is on that track anyway) so what power some big action sequences had just doesn’t really connect. Quiet scenes play better but not much. I'll give credit for the imaging. For big action sequences, the mix really opens up with some welcome directional activity throughout the channels. Dialog is at least clean but overall the mix is more or less a get the job done effort.
As one of the most critically and financially successful franchises ever, Marvel was due for a stumble. Unfortunately that hit with Chloé Zhao’s Eternals. A sprawling mess of a movie with big universe-changing events and too many characters without nearly enough time to do any of them justice, this should have been a series, not a film. Instead, it's merely something we have to get through to enjoy later MCU adventures. Eternals lands on Blu-ray from Disney/Marvel with a respectable video transfer but is hampered by a lackluster DTS 7.1 mix. Bonus features while somewhat informative aren’t really anything to highlight either. At the end of the day, this really is For Fans Only