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Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: December 31st, 1969 Movie Release Year: 2006

Volver - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Sony Pictures Classics Collection)

Overview -

Pedro Almodóvar’s hit 2006 comedy-drama Volver comes out of the freezer to score a fantastically beautiful 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release. As part of the 11-film Sony Pictures Classics 30th Anniversary Collection, this wild, dramatic, and often funny film scores with this new 4K disc featuring a stunning Dolby Vision transfer with a new excellent DTS Spanish audio and a fair assortment of bonus features. Highly Recommended

Academy Award®-winner Pedro Almodóvar (2003, Best Original Screenplay, Talk to Her) comes VOLVER, a comedic and compassionate tribute to women and their resilience in the face of life's most outrageous tribulations. A luminous Penélope Cruz leads an ensemble of gifted actresses, including Carmen Maura (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown). Raimunda (Cruz) and her sister Sole lost their parents in a tragic fire years ago...or did they? Superstitious villagers claim that the girls' departed mother, Irene (Maura), has been seen wandering around their Aunt Paula's home. When Irene appears to Sole, she explains that she has returned to set right her daughters' troubled lives and reveal shocking secrets that will impact everyone!

VOLVER 4K UHD Disc Breakdown

·         Feature presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision

·         Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

·         Special Features:

o   Audio Commentary: Director Pedro Almodóvar and Actor Penélope Cruz

o   Making of Volver Featurette

o   Interview With Pedro Almodóvar

o   Interview with Penélope Cruz

o   Interview With Carmen Maura

o   Tribute to Penélope Cruz

o   Theatrical Trailer

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
Length:
121
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.39:1
Audio Formats:
Spanish: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles/Captions:
English, English SDH
Release Date:
December 31st, 1969

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Normally this is where I would do a quick overview of the movie, who Penélope Cruz plays, and recap some of the happenings to give you folks a tease of what’s to come. But in the case of Volver, it’s a damn hard one to summarize without spilling a lot of plot beans. And I don’t mean that cryptically as if it’s a difficult film to follow - it isn’t - but it’s sprawling enough that three to four sentences aren’t enough and anything more would be too much. 

We last covered Volver on Blu-ray in the bleak early days before we had credited authors and was simply labeled “Staff Writer.” While I see the mystery writer’s points of view about this odd and absurd little adventure, I also feel they missed the boat. The absurdity is the point. As each plot point unfolds the film balances on the razor’s edge of melodramatic tragedy and farcical comedy. Somehow Almodóvar manages to keep everything in check. As the film explores dark and serious themes of sexual abuse and victim shame, it also plays a game of whimsical magical comedy. One moment you’re almost pushed to tears, the next you’re crying because it’s so damn funny.

If I have a dig against the film is that it may be almost too sprawling. While all of the side stories and extra characters pull together at the end and it does all make sense, it takes a long time to get there. At two hours it feels its length in various places and some of the plot points are so thin you question the need for them. Again, it all makes sense in the end, but I can see why some people were put off or found the film a task at times. I had a friend who described Volver as if it were an open-world video game, you have to complete all the side quests that don’t seem to make sense or need to exist but they all pull pieces of the main plot (no matter how seemingly inconsequential) together.

For my money, I’ve always found this film to be absolutely delightful. It’s got heart and drama without overworking itself into a three-hanky tearjerker. It’s silly and fun without being overly moronic or too oddball. I got to see an advanced screening in school with a theater full of film students and it was a great experience. Some loved it, some hated it, but we all had different takeaways making it a pretty lively discussion. The number of people who tried to ape this film for their screenwriting or short film projects was pretty entertaining. 

I personally wouldn’t call Volver Pedro Almodóvar’s best work, but I would say it’s probably his most accessible. He churns out so many films and not all of them are winners. He’s a filmmaker with a lot to say and finds interesting stories to tell, but sometimes the story isn’t always right for a particular theme. The Skin I Live In is a perfect psychological horror film about beauty and obsession that’s still chilling to this day. I’m So Excited was a fun-ish dark comedy about enjoying the prospect of impending death that just isn’t memorable. Volver is very memorable and well worth each visit. 

Read our 2007 Volver Blu-ray Review

 

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
It’s been a long time coming but Volver finally gets a worthy disc upgrade to 4K as part of the 11-Film Sony Pictures Classics 30th Anniversary Collection. As with other entries in the set, it’s a single-disc release, the film is pressed on a BD-66 disc and housed in a standard case with theatrical artwork with a new slipcover. The disc loads to a static image main menu with standard navigation options and the bonus features panel along the right side of the screen.

Video Review

Ranking:

Sony continues its winning streak for back catalog titles with another beautiful 2160p 2.35:1 Dolby Vision transfer for Volver. Way back in the early days of Blu-ray, this film scored one heck of a then-qualifying demo disc transfer. But, that was 2007, and the technology for scanning, restoring, and color correcting has obviously improved by leaps and bounds. Again, for its day that disc was pretty great, but this new 4k transfer is an obvious and clear improvement. From the first close-up of Penélope Cruz to the restaurant freezer, the details are splendid allowing for a full appreciation of the clothing, locations, and facial features. Film grain is intact, it may appear a little thin, but no way has it been hit by the DNR ugly stick and I didn’t see anything resembling edge enhancement to make those fine lines and details appear crunchy and unattractive. 

The Dolby Vision grading does exactly what it should do and enhance the film’s natural beauty without overblowing the colors, whites, or black levels. Blacks and shadows are nice and inky giving this tight little intimately composed film a renewed feeling of depth. Colors are lush and vivid - as they always have been - with natural hues for reds, yellows, and blues. Skin tones are healthy without appearing too hot or pushed to orange. Whites are brilliantly crisp without blooming. From film to disc, Volver has always looked amazing so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that this 4K presentation is a winner and another standout for this set.

Audio Review

Ranking:

For this release of Volver Sony has opted for a new Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix instead of the LPCM 5.1 track from the 2007 Blu-ray - which is honestly fine because I couldn’t tell much difference. Dialog is clean and clear throughout and there’s plenty of atmosphere and ambient background sounds to keep the surround channels engaged. It may not always be the most immersive track ever but it works well for this film. Scoring by Alberto Iglesias is some beautiful material and fills in the soundscape nicely. My only tiny slight gripe is I felt like this track is just a tad softer than the LPCM track - but not by a lot. You shouldn’t have to over-crank your volume to compensate, but I felt like I had to give it a little extra pop. If I wasn’t flipping discs I honestly doubt I would have noticed the difference it's so slight.

Special Features

Ranking:

Again Sony ports over all of the archival bonus features from the past disc without adding anything new to the stew. Which is fine. Most of these extras are pretty good. The commentary is a bit gushy but there are some interesting bits and pieces to pick up. It’s the meatiest piece as the interviews and making of are pretty basic and not very deep. 

  • Audio Commentary featuring Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz
  • Interview with Pedro Almodóvar
  • Interview with Penélope Cruz
  • Interview with Carmen Maura
  • Making of Volver
  • Tribute to Penélope Cruz
  • Photo Gallery
  • Trailer

Volver was a darling of a release when it hit theaters and it still holds up as a wonderful character-driven comedy/drama. The cast is perfect giving this material everything they’ve got. The film may be a bit stretched in places, but that’s easy to forgive. Now on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the first time, the film scores a gorgeous Dolby Vision transfer with a nice new audio mix, but the same set of older bonus features. Exclusive to the 11-film Sony Pictures Classics 30th Anniversary Collection, Volver proves to be one of the big standout releases of the set. Highly Recommended