Starring a phenomenal, Oscar-worthy performance by Joaquin Phoenix, Todd Phillips' Joker is a captivatingly brilliant character study of the infamous, iconic Batman villain, making it one of the best comic book adaptations along with one of the best films of the year. The clowns smile on Blu-ray with a gorgeous HD presentation, a highly satisfying Dolby Atmos soundtrack but a disappointingly set of supplements. Nevertheless, the overall package is Highly Recommended and a must-have for fans of the character.
You can read our full thoughts on Todd Phillips' Joker in our review of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray HERE.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Warner Home Video brings Todd Phillips' Joker on Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with a Digital Copy code. The Region Free, BD50 disc sits comfortably opposite a DVD copy of the movie, and both are housed in a blue, eco-vortex case with a slipcover. At startup, viewers are taken to a generic static screen with the usual options along the bottom and music playing in the background.
The slow descent into madness ascends on Blu-ray in a heavily-stylized but nonetheless visually captivating 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode, perfectly expressing the dark, brooding moodiness intended by director Todd Phillips and cinematographer Lawrence Sher.
Straight from a digital source, the freshly-minted transfer flaunts about in a beautiful, vivid array of colors, a distinct orange-teal palette that favors more earth-tones with lots of ambers and warmer yellow hues, be it from the lights or Arthur's maroon and gold two-piece suit. Nevertheless, primaries come through with abundant vibrancy, especially the spirited cobalt blues and the animated crimson reds. Likewise, black levels are rich and opulent throughout, bathing the 1.85:1 image in inky shadows that penetrate deep into the screen without sacrificing the finer aspect within the darkest corners.
True to the filmmakers' aesthetic design, the video presentation also debuts on the HD stage with a somewhat restrained and controlled contrast balance, making the drama moderately but deliberately flat while slightly falling on the duller side. Whites are, for the most part, crisp and energetic while highlights mildly bloom, but still, the picture is pretty dynamic and energetic. Fine lines and objects are very well-defined with distinct clarity in the costumes, various furniture pieces and the busy city streets, and the wrinkles, pores and negligible blemishes in the faces are plainly visible. However, most of the action is noticeably softer than expected with a couple marginally blurry sections here and there, but such sequences are all intentional as part of a larger effect and for recreating a gritty 1970's feel.
All in all, this is a gorgeous release that fans will surely gush over. (Video Rating: 88/100)
Joker debuts on Blu-ray with the same exceptionally awesome Dolby Atmos soundtrack as its Ultra HD counterpart. For a more in-depth take on the audio quality, you can read our review of the 4K Ultra HD HERE. (Dolby Atmos Audio Rating: 94/100)
Joker: Vision & Fury (HD, 23 min)
Joker: A Chronicle of Chaos (HD, 3 min)
Please Welcome . . . Joker! (HD, 3 min)
Becoming Joker (HD, 1 min)
Right from the start, Todd Phillips' Joker drowns the audience in an atmosphere of poverty and hopelessness, made to witness the disturbingly, gut-wrenching misery of Arthur Fleck, an aspiring comedian destined to become the infamous, iconic comic book villain. Starring a phenomenal Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role, the film is less the rise of a criminal mastermind than it is the spiraling descent into a violent counter-cultural symbol. The clown puts on a smile for Blu-ray fanatics with a stunningly beautiful HD presentation and a highly satisfying Dolby Atmos soundtrack, but the release features a rather disappointingly small assortment of supplements. Nevertheless, the overall package is highly recommended.