Blu-ray
Must Own
4.5 stars
Amazon
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Overall Grade
4.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
4.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
4.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4.5 Stars
Supplements
0 Stars
High-Def Extras
4 Stars
Bottom Line
Must Own

The Walking Dead: The Complete Seventh Season

Street Date:
August 22nd, 2017
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
August 23rd, 2017
Movie Release Year:
2016
Studio:
Starz/Anchor Bay
Length:
797 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Season 7 of The Walking Dead took the life out of both the audience and some of its characters. I know a lot of people who have stopped watching the larger-than-life zombie series this season, due to the cheap tactics the show creators used in the final moments of season 6. When season 7 opened, we saw two main characters killed off in a horribly brutal way by Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) barb-wired bat, Lucille. After this episode, we see Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his new family of survivors like we've never seen them before. They are all helpless, hopeless, and very submissive in every way possible to the rule of Negan. I think this aspect and with how the filmmakers handled the opening episode really turned a lot of people off from the show. We are so used to seeing Rick and the other survivors overcome any obstacle, but with this seventh season, there is only pain, sorrow, and death at every corner, which is upsetting to see your main, strong protagonist in such a pitiful state.

In my opinion, though, I think it was all necessary to grow and develop just how horrible, yet charismatic Negan really is. One of the big problems I had with this season was its premiere with the two deaths that happened within a couple of minutes of each other. It didn't give you time to grieve or mourn these two vital characters, which I guess can be seen as realistic in this apocalyptic world The Walking Dead has created, but with how important those characters were, it felt just brushed off to the side and not given its due time. The rest of the season, however, is quite impressive and introduces a slew of new factions and people. We get to see the inner workings and living conditions of Negan and his followers, along with their brutality and ironic rules.

In addition to this, season seven introduces us to a new group of survivors called the Kingdom, which is led by a good man named King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and his pet tiger, who become allies with Rick and are basically in the same boat as Rick's survivors. There are some great set pieces that feature a zombie filled carnival and junkyard with yet another group that is reminiscent of characters from a Mad Max film, along with a quiet hidden village that only consists of women. The first half of the season splits up our group for most episodes, as they are trying to survive in their different locales and coming to terms with Negan. During the final few episodes of this season though, reunions are more abundant and we see Rick gain his confidence back and start to lead a revolt against Negan and his people the Saviors, which sets up this upcoming 8th season.

What Season 7 does so well here is establish that Rick and his family are not always going to win the day and that they may lose all hope. It's a rough few episodes to get through and see your favorite people break down for so long. The other great aspect of this season is Negan himself. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays this amazing and very layered villain perfectly. On one hand, this is the worst person imaginable who is capable of killing kids at the blink of an eye or torturing anyone who gives him lip. On the other hand, he has a point worth debating in his thinking and has standards and ethics that he abides by, making him somewhat likable.

Then, of course, there are a ton of new zombie kills with buckets of blood, guts, brains, and gooey innards to satisfy the gore-hound inside you. Despite a laughable and horribly rendered CGI deer in the carnival episode, visual effects are still top notch, making this seventh season one of the most brutal yet.  

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

This release comes with five 50GB Blu-ray Discs with all episodes spread across four of the discs and all of the bonus features included on the fifth disc that is Region A Locked. There is an insert for a digital download along with a multi-page booklet/catalog of al the cool merchandise you can buy in The Walking Dead department. The discs are housed in a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

The Walking Dead Season 7 comes with a 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Much like the past seasons, this video presentation looks great from top to bottom. Detail is sharp and vivid in all lighting conditions, from the sun drenched days to the darkest of nights. Practical effects are stunning, to say the least, with every bloody wound, gash, decaying body, and intestine showing all the imperfections and gooey textures to a realistic degree. No detail is left unturned here, which is fun and gross all at the same time.

Wider shots never go soft either where practical effects are on screen. When bigger moments of CGI is the main effect, whether it be a big zombie horde or a fake deer eating grass, the detail looks softer, but it's not a major disappointment at all. In fact, the scene where the two cars mow down thousands of zombies with a metal cable looks impressive with every body part and ounce of blood and guts showing up easily and well detailed. I'd also like to point out the CGI tiger, which was given a lot of love here. Every hair on its body can be seen flowing in the breeze and always has the right lighting conditions on it. There was never a time it looked fake, unlike that deer. The show has a good layer of grain, giving it a filmic quality and not the overt digital look, which is always nice.

Colors are natural and well balanced here with blood running with different shades of red along with the lush greens of the trees and grass. Other than that, the blue skies and the orange on the tiger are more or less the only real primary colors here. The rest are dull and decaying browns and grays, which always gives a sense of dread in this show. Black levels are always deep and inky without any crush an d the skin tones are natural. There were no issues with major banding or aliasing either, leaving this video presentation with great marks.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

This release comes with a lossless Dolby TrueHD MA 7.1 mix and sounds excellent, immersive, and quite scary. Sound effects of zombie growls and moans are full and robust. They pack a good gurgle and low end that has a bit of bass to it that makes you feel uneasy. Their rustling and bumbling through the grass, fences, and woods all bring realistic noses to the surrounds and their environments.

There are also tons of gun blasts, hits, kicks, take downs, and explosions this seasons that all pack a good punch with heft and great dynamics and directionality. Distances of gun blasts all sound in sync and well balanced and provide a chaotic ambiance. Other zombie growls, nature noises, and people talking or screaming all sound great in the rear speakers too. The sound effects of Michonne's sword as it slices its victims sounds wonderful as well.

The score to the show always adds that sense of tension and dread and adds that extra layer of entertainment to each scene. The bass kicks in during the bigger action sequences or when cars drive by without crossing into rocky territory either. Dialogue is always cleanly presented and easy to follow along with and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills. 

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

Audio Commentary - There are six episodes with optional commentary from selected cast and crew where they talk about making that particular episode, the characters, storylines, anecdotes from the set, and technical aspects. All of these are worth listening to if you're a fan of the show.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 19 Mins.) - There are six deleted scenes here, all of which are worth watching that include more character development and dialogue between the survivors and a dream sequence that shows the survivors in a happy place.

Inside The Walking Dead (HD, 61 Mins.) - Each of the 16 episodes has its own 3 or 4-minute recap where the cast and crew talk about the major story points, themes, and character actions in each episode. A ton of insight and information is given here on each episode.

The Making of The Walking Dead (HD, 52 Mins.) - Each of the 16 episodes has its own 3 or 4 minute behind the scenes with cast and crew discussing how they shot one or two of the big scenes in each episode with a ton of set building, makeup effects, on-set footage, and more. A lot of fun to watch.

In Memoriam (HD, 8 Mins.) - This a tribute to all of the characters who were killed off this season with cast and crew interviews, discussing how their characters died.

A Larger World (HD, 10 Mins.) - The crew of the show talk about building all the new big sets, how they accomplished it with some behind the scenes footage of the building the sets.

Breaking and Rebuilding (HD, 5 Mins.) - The cast and crew discuss the big emotional moments and impacts of this season and how it affected them personally.

A New Chapter of Fear (HD, 5 Mins.) - Again, cast and crew interviews focus on the new direction, characters, and storyline in this season. 

Top Walkers (HD, 9 Mins.) - An awesome look at all of the coolest and grossest zombies, kills, and blood and guts that went into each episode of the season. So much fun with a ton of interviews and on set footage of makeup applications. 

Warrior Women (HD, 8 Mins.) - Cast and crew interviews discuss the major women of season 7. Their skills, motivations, emotions, and character traits are all discussed with their evolutions through the seasons. 

The Writers of The Walking Dead (HD, 4 Mins.) - Some of the writers and producers talk about why they love working on the show and how much fun it is.

Final Thoughts

The Walking Dead Season 7 is the most bleak and rough season yet as we see our group of survivors lose all hope and become slaves to Negan. Fan favorites perish while others break down and succumb to their nasty nature. It's hard to watch, but also it's more redeeming to see when Rick and his family decide to step up and do something about their dire situation. It's a great season for sure. The video and audio presentations are both top notch and there are a ton of excellent extras, all of which are worth watching. Again, this season is a Must-Own!

Technical Specs

  • Five 50GB Blu-ray Disc Set + Digital Copy

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p MPEG-4 AVC

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
  • French Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles/Captions

  • English SDH, Spanish

Supplements

  • Audio Commentaries
  • Deleted & Alternate Scenes
  • Featurettes

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