Michael Scott

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National Parks Adventure 4K/3D



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Movie: :4stars:
Video: :5stars:

3D: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :3stars:
Final Score: :4.5stars:



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Movie

I actually was just thinking a few weeks ago that it had been a while since Shout Factory had regaled us with these short little nature documentaries in 4K, and then two of them showed up on my doorstep! This time it’s a pair of films regarding the National Parks of the U.S., and one about modern engineering. Being an outdoor hobbyist since I was a child, I naturally sat down with National Parks Adventures first.

First off, I really love these 30-45 minute documentaries from Shout Factory. They’re not wildly in depth, and not designed to give us nitty gritty details about the subject matter, but really show off the 4K format with these IMAX beauties. I like to just sit back and relax with them, as I can literally turn my brain off (not meant as a negative in this case) and just relax in front of a beautiful array of sparkling colors and gorgeous nature back drops. In this case, it’s a cornucopia of lovely natural parks narrated by Robert Redford (with a few nature enthusiasts as subject matter chiming in throughout the short film.

National Parks Adventures is the latest works from director Greg MacGillivray and his team use their IMAX cameras to full effect to portray the majesty and splendor our our national parks. Going back to Teddy Roosevelt, Redford croons on about the initial issues that nature was facing in the United States, and how there was a need to regulate and preserve these natural beauties for the next generations in the face of hunting, poaching and resource stripping outpacing the ability for nature to re heal itself.
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While it’s informative and urgent in its nature, National Parks Adventures keeps from being overly preachy and pushy, like so many other nature shows. Redford imparts a sense of respect and urgency in keeping our parks pristine and protected, but he doesn’t dive into propaganda against hunters, or try to instill fear in the viewer as to the future of these great monuments. Instead he promotes a love of the land and inspires the viewers to take part in enjoying and protecting them for OUR children and grand children, just as our ancestors did for us.

While this is not some in depth 4 hour long documentary like Planet Earth and Planet Earth II, National Parks Adventures is gorgeous piece of film making that really does highlight the awe inspiring nature of 4K UHD discs and the IMAX cameras that have been used so frequently over the years. While I wasn’t expecting something horrible, I was actually really impressed with how fun and exciting the documentary is and have no qualms about recommending the disc as the perfect piece of demo material for your home theater.




Rating:

Not Rated by the MPAA




Video: :5stars:
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Shout Factory has a unique little feature on their 4K UHD discs that ask whether you want to watch the disc with HDR, or without it in SDR. A feature which is kind of a neat legacy feature for those people who are still holding onto older 1080p TVs and pairing with a 4K player (4K players and discs don’t pair with non HDR enabled TVs if they are forced HDR), or a 4K tv that was purchased during the beginning of the format when HDR wasn’t available, or implemented properly. It also allowed me to flip back and forth between HDR and SDR just to see how BIG of an improvement that HDR makes to the picture. In this case, HDR is VERY important and really brings out the colors and black levels of the film. The outdoor shots range from neutral looking NY City shots, to the red tinged desert areas of Death Valley and Monument valley. Faces tend to look a bit bronzed due to the heavy daylight shots, but the details are there in spades. You can actually see the little individual cracks and creases in the giant redwood trees, or the ripples and waves that are formed in the natural ice formations during the giant climb. Blacks are deep and inky, showing no signs of banding, haloing, or any digital imperfections to my eyes at ALL. Simply put, this is pure demo candy.




3D: :4.5stars:
With 3D GREATLY on the decline these days, it’s always refreshing to see Shout Factory (and a few other studios) continuing the dying format as long as possible. Especially considering how amazing these IMAX films look in 3D, with National Parks Adventures being no different. The glossy and picture perfect images from the 2D release look razor sharp and fully dimensional in the 3D MVC encoded Blu-ray. Colors are warm and inviting still, with bright and shiny edges that don’t show any signs of ghosting or shimmering. Nature has ALWAYS looked great in 3D, and the 3D demonstrated here is sure to please fans of the format.





Audio: :4.5stars:
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I’ve always thought that the use of Atmos on these documentaries is a bit overkill for the MOST part, but here in a nature documentary, it’s a huge boon. The film’s score really throbs with power and energy right from the opening few moments, and really doesn’t amp down until the credits roll. Despite some strong narration from Robert Redford, I was expecting much more quiet, front heavy, points to the film than there were. The track has a spacious sounding mix, allowing us to hear the crashing of waves coming down on top of you, or the pinpoint precise sounds of an ice formation cracking under the pressure of an ice pick. LFE is tight and clean, adding punch to the score, as well as some deep impactful rumbling with regards to some of the nature encounters. Overheads actually get a really impressive use as they showcase falling water, cracking ice, and the whistling of wind overhead in a forest. Overall this is a film that makes much better use of the next gen audio formats than expected, and is another welcome addition to my collection of high tier Atmos tracks.

.




Extras: :3stars:
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• Bears Catching Salmon in Alaska
• The Most Important Camping Trip in US History
• Biking in Moab
• Climbing Penguins
• Filming with Greg MacGilivray
• Making of Featurette
• Pictured Rocks Michigan
• Robert Redford on the Parks
• GoUSA TV Trailer
• National Parks Adventure Trailer
• 4K Trailers








Final Score: :4.5stars:


A travelogue documentary, National Parks Adventures is a neat little entry into Shout Factory’s array of 4K UHD nature documentaries, and a gorgeous piece of 4K cinema. I had a great time relaxing on the couch, with a beer in hand, watching some of the most awe inspiring footage set pieces of our natural history in park form. The 4K UHD disc from Shout Factory is incredible, with amazing video and audio that almost matches it. The extras are in the middle of the road, but the whole package (complete with 3D) is a great addition to your documentary collection. Highly recommended.




Technical Specifications:

Starring: Robert Redford (narration)
Directed by: Greg MacGillivray
Aspect Ratio
: 1.78:1 HEVC / MVC
Audio: English: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1), English, French, Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Studio: Shout Factory
Rated: NR
Runtime: 43 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: July 24th, 2018







Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 
Last edited:

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. I will check this out. Love the national parks.
 

Todd Anderson

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Hmm. Interesting. I typically would rather visit these places in person. But this does look interesting!
 
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