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King Richard - 4K UHD + Blu-ray Review

King Richard

Achieving the impossible is easy. All one needs is a clear vision, a lofty dream, and a brazen plan to make it come true, right?

At least that’s what Richard Williams would have us believe. After all, Williams – father of tennis greats Venus and Serena – had a vision in the late ‘70s that two of his yet unborn daughters would become world class tennis athletes. He had also written a 78-page coaching/life plan on how he would make it all come true. But the craziest thing of all was that it worked, as depicted in the new biopic called King Richard, a well-acted, astutely-written story about achieving the American Dream.

"It may sound like a huge risk to center the story about two of the greatest female athletes in the world on their father, but that’s largely why it works."


However, more than King Richard is about the Williams sisters’ rise to the top of the tennis world, it is a story about importance of family and the dynamics of family members working together to manifest a shared dream.

The story picks up as Richard (Will Smith) works the night shift as a security guard, while nurse mother Oracene “Brandy” Williams (Aunjanue Ellis, If Beale Street Could Talk) works two jobs to keep food on the table for their family of seven. We don’t get into the career of the Williams sisters as the film is over way before then, but rather pick up early on in gang-ridden Compton, California as mom and dad stress school work and household chores before hitting the dilapidated tennis courts with their two youngest daughters. The entire family is by their side, picking up balls and hanging signs until the lights go out. It is a true family affair, orchestrated by the unusual antics of an unconventional dad.

It may sound like a huge risk to center the story about two of the greatest female athletes in the world on their father, but that’s largely why it works. Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green and written by Zach Baylin, King Richard does nothing to break the mold of the traditional sports biography. In fact, it is a fairly-straightforward, broad-scoped crowd pleaser sure to score big with wide audiences. However, its ace in the hole is the performance from Smith as the hard-driven Richard Williams. Smith delivers one of his best, and don’t be surprised if his name shows up on the short list at this year’s Oscars. He is that good here.King Richard

Not to be outdone by Smith is Ellis as Richard’s wife Brandy as well as Saniyya Sidney as Venus, and Demi Singleton as younger sister Serena. They lock in on their characters and Ellis is particularly strong and resolute while holding down the emotional center of the film. Jon Bernthal is also memorable with his energetic turn as tennis coach Rick Macci, to whom Richard reluctantly turns over the tutelage of his two young prodigies when the family moves to Florida.

There is hardly an aspect of the film that doesn’t work. In addition to the extraordinary performances from all, there’s the whip smart script that has plenty of unflattering things to say about the tennis world, all the while, heralding the adventures of an unorthodox father who chooses to do things his own way.

King Richard may be a sports film through and through, but, more importantly, it is the resonant story about a man’s family and the love he has for his daughters. If we are to believe what the film is preaching, Richard isn’t as concerned with fame and riches for himself or his daughters as much as he is for providing them a path for getting ahead in life. How’s that for a giant feel-good story as we head into the holiday season. King Richard is now playing in theaters and on HBO Max.

5/5 stars

King Richard

4k details divider

4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray Edition + Digital Code

Home Video Distributor: Warner Bros.
Available on Blu-ray
- February 8, 2022
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH; French; Spanish; Cantonese; Danish; Finnish; Mandarin; Norwegian; Swedish
Audio:
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K region-free; blu-ray locked to Region A

King Richard, Reinaldo Marcus Green's biographical drama about the famous tennis playing Williams family hits 4k with Warner's 4K UHD + blu-ray + Digital edition that absolutely aces the presentation.

The black eco-case comes housed in a cardboard slip cover featuring the film'a artwork. inside are a 4K UHD disc, a blu-ray disc and a digital redemption code coupon.

With less than 30 minutes of bonus material, the special features section may be the only thing lacking in this wonderful home video package.

VIDEO

Though King Richard's 2160p 4K UHD transfer is upscaled from the 2K master, you'd really be hard-pressed to notice any deficiencies with the 4K presentation. This simply isn't the type of movie to benefit from a native 4K presentation. Yes, the HDR enhancement always proves bright, clear, crisp, and clean, and the colors remain true throughout, but there are no sweeping vistas or natural beauty shots to show off the format. It is not a monumental upgrade from the 1080p blu-ray version.

AUDIO

Included are a Dolby Atmos, a Dolby Atmos-TrueHD, and a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks in English language. Also included are a French language Dolby Digital 5.1 and a Spanish language Dolby Digital 5.1 track.

As is the case with the video, this isn't the perfect specimen to test the limits of your home theater system. However, there are some good things going on in the Atmos vertical heights, particularly during the professional matches in the film's final act. Crowd noise hums from above, and tennis balls bounce across the room, while the grunts and groans of the players put us right in the middle of the action.

Supplements:

Here's where it feels as if Warner should have paid closer attention to the end product. Included on the blu-ray disc is just a handful of bonus features that are absent from the 4K disc.

We get a trio of cast and crew conversations and two deleted scenes. And that's it.

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • Following the Plan: The Making of King Richard (9:07)
  • Becoming Richard (6:26)
  • Champions on Screen (5:51)
  • Deleted Scenes (3:03)

4k rating divider

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite 4K UHD Grade

4/5 stars

Film Details

King Richard

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence, strong language, a sexual reference and brief drug references.
Runtime:
144 mins
Director
: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Writer:
Zach Baylin
Cast:
Will Smith; Aunjanue Ellis; Jon Bernthal
Genre
: Drama | Biopic
Tagline:
Based on the true story that will inspire the world.
Memorable Movie Quote: "No, brother, I got the next two Michael Jordans."
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site: https://www.kingrichardfilm.com/
Release Date:
November 19, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: 
February 8, 2022
Synopsis: A look at how tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams became who they are after the coaching from their father Richard Williams.

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King Richard

 

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