Blu-ray: Highly Recommended
3.5 Stars out of 5
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List Price 39.99
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Release Date: October 1st, 2019
Movie Release Year: 2019
Release Country: United States
COLLAPSE INFO -

Chernobyl

Review Date December 7th, 2020 by
Overview -

Chernobyl tells the story of the nuclear meltdown of 1986 and follows the devastating aftermath that followed through the eyes of a few people and the citizens of the world. It's an intense and emotional rollercoaster, to say the least, with top-notch directing and acting on all accounts. This 1080p Blu-ray release comes with a very good HD image, a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix, and several very short bonus features. Highly Recommended!

 

OVERALL
Highly Recommended
  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs: Blu-ray + Digital Copy
    Video Resolution/Codec: 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
    Length:300
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):2.00:1
    English Descriptive Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
    French: DTS 5.1
    Spanish: DTS 5.1
    Czech: DTS 5.1
    Subtitles/Captions: English SDH, French, Spanish, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
    Special Features: Inside The Episodes
    What Is Chernobyl
    Meet The Key Players
    Behind The Curtain
    Script To Screen
    Pivotal Moment: The Trial
    Movie Studio: HBO
    Release Date: October 1st, 2019

Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

5 Stars out of 5

HBO tackles the unfathomable tragedy of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 through five episodes that follow the initial nuclear meltdown and explosion, followed by the many weeks and months of the aftermath that contributed to the numerous deaths and sickness of many people due to radiation poisoning. Not only is that element covered in this amazing miniseries, but the main focal point is that of the Soviet government trying to keep things under wraps and convince the public that it wasn't as big a deal as it was while trying to blame anybody but themselves - which is just as relevant today in the United States of America and hits all too close to home.

Read Our 4K UHD Blu-ray Coverage For A Full Review

 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Chernobyl explodes to Blu-ray + Digital copy in the form of a two-disc set from HBO/Warner Bros. Both discs are housed in a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve featuring minimal artwork of a photograph of someone in a hazmat suit set against a black backdrop. There are inserts for the digital copy for Vudu and an episode list.

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    Blu-ray + Digital Copy
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    1080p/AVC MPEG-4
    Length:300
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    2.00:1
    Audio Formats:
    English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
    French: DTS 5.1
    Spanish: DTS 5.1
    Czech: DTS 5.1
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English SDH, French, Spanish, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
    Special Features:
    Inside The Episodes
    What Is Chernobyl
    Meet The Key Players
    Behind The Curtain
    Script To Screen
    Pivotal Moment: The Trial
    Movie Studio: HBO
    Release Date: October 1st, 2019

Video Review

4 Stars out of 5

Chernobyl comes with a 1080p HD transfer with a 2.00:1 aspect ratio from HBO/Warner Bros. The miniseries was shot digitally and finished in 4K, but has been placed on these two 1080p HD Blu-ray discs that look great.  The color scheme of this show is dour and grim for most of its runtime. There are a ton of greyish-blues, and greens that riddle the screen at all times. There are some smaller moments where a clear blue sky brightest up the exterior shots, complete with some formal suits and some quick flashes of red wardrobe and blood, but other than those few instances, the color palette is rather dismal by style and design. 

The detail is sharp and vivid though in brother sequences, such as in interior rooms where men are meeting about the tragedy, however, a lot of the show is shot in low light settings or in darkness, which hinders the detail at times. Still, some great facial features and costume textures do show up in closeups under good lighting, as do the gory makeup effects of the melting citizens. There is some added digital grain for nostalgic and filmic effect too.  The black levels are mostly deep and inky and the skin tones are on the cooler side of things if not a bit paler by realistic comparisons. Lastly, there are no big issues with any aliasing and banding of any sort. 

Audio Review

4 Stars out of 5

This Blu-ray release comes with the same lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix that the 4K UHD version has. It would have been nice to have a new Dolby Atmos track included given some of the scenes are begging for height atmospherics, but this 5.1 option is just fine.

The beginning of the series has some of the largest sound effects, being the big nuclear meltdown and explosions. These sounds are boisterous, robust, and very loud that is packed with the dynamic low end of bass. Each sound effect of debris exploding in the air and hitting other metal is well-balanced and powerful with great directionality. The nuanced noises of people screaming, yelling, and alarms going off are also quite haunting and perfect on the rear speakers. There are some sequences with helicopters flying overhead that bring a natural rotation blade effect that sounds good too. Other than that, most of the series is a dialogue-driven drama that makes expert use of the large room settings, hospitals, and quieter locations with the necessary reverb and ambient noises.

It all sounds fantastic, although a better Dolby Atmos track could have enhanced this track a little bit. The score always adds to the suspense and drama of each situation without taking anything away from the other audio elements and the dialogue is clean, clear, and easy to follow along with, void of any audio problems.

Special Features

1.5 Stars out of 5

  • Inside The Episodes (HD, 13 Mins.) - Quick behind the scenes EPK-style vignettes that discuss making the show, the history of this tragedy, cast and crew interviews, and on-set footage.
  • What Is Chernobyl (HD, 2 Mins.) - An extras short history briefing on what happened in Chernobyl.
  • Meet The Key Players (HD, 6 Mins.) - Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgard, and Emily Watson talk about their characters and bringing these people to life.
  • Behind The Curtain (HD, 2 Mins.) - This focuses on Director Johan Renck, which is all too short that has a few interviews and clips of the show.
  • Script To Screen (HD, 2 Mins.) - A brief look at some of the smaller roles and characters in the film, along with some of the writers.
  • Pivotal Moment: The Trial (HD, 2 Mins.) - A very short glimpse at the trial and degree of hope this tragedy had.

Final Thoughts

Chernobyl is a pitch-perfect miniseries from HBO that not only educates about one of the biggest disasters in the history of the world, but also tells a captivating and enthralling story about a few people trying to do the right thing by informing the public that they are in danger, but are met by the government with roadblocks. It's a tale as old as time that is still relevant today. This 1080p HD image and the same DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix are both excellent. The bonus features are too short to be anything real informative or fun though. Highly Recommended!

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    Blu-ray + Digital Copy
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    1080p/AVC MPEG-4
    Length:300
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    2.00:1
    Audio Formats:
    English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
    French: DTS 5.1
    Spanish: DTS 5.1
    Czech: DTS 5.1
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English SDH, French, Spanish, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
    Special Features:
    Inside The Episodes
    What Is Chernobyl
    Meet The Key Players
    Behind The Curtain
    Script To Screen
    Pivotal Moment: The Trial
    Movie Studio: HBO
    Release Date: October 1st, 2019