One of 2022’s most surprising successes, All Quiet on the Western Front scored with audiences and critics alike. We praised the film in our review, and it seems destined to enter the War films canon. The German production was released on Netflix in the Fall of 2022. It went on to score seven BAFTA wins and four Oscars. Surprisingly, Netflix released the film on physical media, releasing a 4K and Blu-Ray edition. Overall, the presentation remains stunning, but a lack of behind-the-scenes footage left us wanting more.
The Video Quality
Both the 4K edition and the Blu-Ray editions are excellent in their production. The 4K really generates the same terror as the theatrical release, and it stuns on that front. Few images have ever represented the dark and grimy world so meticulously.
The Blu-Ray takes a little step down but remains superior to Netflix’s streaming options, even their 4K stream. The frames do not suffer from compression, and the colors pop more. Compared to most Blu-rays, It’s All Quiet on the Western Front would astound.
The Atmos mix on these discs might be one of the best ever released. The sound mix stuns, and the roar of the score rattles in your bones. Frankly, my neighbors were probably upset because I could not help but turn up my system. It was an astounding experience in both formats.
The only thing one might knock the transfer for is the dubbed version. The mix is superior to the Netflix stream (again). While I personally would not watch in English, those viewers will catch the occasional poorly mixed moments.
The Special Features
The audio on the director’s commentary is well-balanced as well. We hear some of the effects going off in the background, but it never overpowers Berger’s dialogue. Getting Berger’s stream of consciousness helps put the ideology of the film into context. Berger’s commentary track on this release is in English, and he walks us through the various setpieces of the film. There are many great tidbits about little details (an address was Berger’s best friend’s growing up, the French soldier in the pit had edible clay in his mouth, etc.). For a film of this scale, these details can be extremely helpful for future filmmakers.
However, that makes the lack of behind-the-scenes footage even more frustrating. The entire BTS featurette is less than 20 minutes long. For a film with so much makeup work, practical design, and unique sound work, you could easily pack this full of extras.
In terms of the quality of the film and the sound work, this version of All Quiet on the Western Front far exceeds most other releases. However, with a lack of special features, this edition feels less like a must-have and more like a should-have. All Quiet on the Western Front earned its place as one of the best films of 2022, and this edition should make any fan of the film a happy Blu-Ray owner.