Ultra HD
Highly Recommended
4 stars
List Price
$18.89 (6%)
3rd Party
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Overall Grade
4 stars

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

The Movie Itself
4 Stars
HD Video Quality
5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4 Stars
0 Stars
High-Def Extras
2 Stars
Bottom Line
Highly Recommended

IMAX: Mysteries of China - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Street Date:
December 12th, 2017
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
December 6th, 2017
Movie Release Year:
Shout Factory
40 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Mysteries of China is part of the IMAX movie series that was filmed specifically for IMAX and big screens. With a runtime of only 40 minutes, this documentary takes a beautiful look at how China became the big powerhouse country it is today. Narrated by former Star Trek captain, Avery Brooks, who sounds a lot like James Earl Jones here, the film gives us a glimpse at how ancient China turned into the modern, technological society it is today.

Mixed with documentary footage, re-enactments on a big scale, and vintage photos, Mysteries of China shows how several archeologists have uncovered a massive amount of artifacts dating back thousands of years that bridge great gaps between the old world and this new one. With the many old weapons and six foot clay statues that were found, the archeologists realized they discovered the old Terracotta Warriors and the actual Tomb of the First Emperor.

As Brooks narrates, we see re-enacted footage of wars in both animated and live-action form, as well as the ancient artists making the six foot statues -- each with a unique face in look and form. It's a magnificent looking documentary that shows how these ancient Chinese rulers provided the foundation of how China operates still to this day. It's quite a fascinating and quick watch. 


The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

Mysteries of China comes with a 4K UHD Disc in HDR as well as a standard 50GB Blu-ray Disc from Shout! Factory and is Region A Locked. There is an insert for the digital download code as well. The discs are housed in a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Mysteries of China appears on 4K UHD with an optional HDR encode that is simply fantastic in 2160p, along with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. When you have a brand new 4K UHD Television or Digital Projector and you want to show your friends and family just how excellent 4K and HDR can be, you're going to want to pop in Mysteries of China -- because it's the perfect 4K UHD advertisement in just how great detail and color can look nowadays. Yes, I'm saying this is high-end reference quality video that will blow you away, which isn't that surprising since this comes from IMAX.

Colors are incredibly bright and illuminate the entire screen and even room you're in at all times. There is even several examples of when the screen will show a very rustic looking image of all the sandy and worn-out six foot tall clay statues sitting in a pit, but then overlays the real colors of the uniforms and their skin, which is simply outstanding. You'll get a first-hand look to see just how bright and deep these colors can go. When the camera is set in modern day China with all of its neon lights, fireworks, and other colorful billboards, the screen shows every nuanced color to a tee. Nothing is washed out or muted. It's as if you are actually there and can reach out and touch these objects. Even the older re-enacted footage looks incredible here.

Details show up in the dirt pits and detailed clay statues. Even the ancient wardrobe shows delicate textures and every thread. The individual scraggly hairs in the long beards can be seen easily, too. There are some fireworks on screen as well, with each spark being showcased without any halo effect. Black levels are deep and inky, devoid of any crush and skin tones are very natural. There are no issues with this video presentation whatsoever. This release is reference quality for sure.  

The Audio: Rating the Sound

This disc comes with a good Dolby Atmos mix that provides some great atmospherics throughout the short run-time. There are no big action sequences or big explosions here, but the track does a good job for a documentary. There are quick flashes of sound that come from the height speakers in the form of ambient noises, but other than that, it's a front-heavy audio mix. Sound effects are excellent during the wartime scenes, and the score is presented well, too. There is a bit of heft with bass that gives the audio track a lot of depth and the narration by Avery Brooks is deep and powerful -- free of any pops, cracks, hiss, and shrills. 

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff


HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

Behind the Scenes (HD, 10 Mins.) - Director Keith Melton talks about how he and the crew made this IMAX documentary and all that went into it. He is funny and engaging, which makes this extra well worth the watch. 

4K Trailers (HD 9 Mins.) - Trailers in 4K for other IMAX movies.

Final Thoughts

Mysteries of China is a fascinating and informative documentary from IMAX that shows the old world China up close and personal through ancient findings and re-enactments and how it laid the foundation for the modern world. The film is only 40 minutes long and is fun to watch. The video presentation in HDR is out of this world and reference quality. This is the disc you'll want to show off to friends and family for sure. The Dolby Atmos track sounds good, but is no big-budget action movie audio track. There is one extra that is worth watching if you want to see how they filmed the re-enactments and how close they came to all of the artifacts. Highly Recommended!

Technical Specs

  • Ultra HD/Blu-ray/Digital HD

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 2160p HEVC/H.265

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English: Dolby Atmos
  • French: DTS-HS 5.1 MA
  • Spanish: DTS-HS 5.1 MA


  • English

Exclusive HD Content

  • Behind the Scenes
  • 4K Trailers

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List Price
$18.89 (6%)
3rd Party
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»