Locked in the Trenches

A soldier crosses a seemingly benign springtime field with a letter from his wife in hand. Scanning the background, two biplanes engage their enemy, one catches fire, and crashes. The soldier never saw it, nor did he care to.

That brief walk, all toward an outdoor bathroom (just a tree trunk over a puddle of infested waste) is the only respite for these men. The war is behind them, over there, and not their problem. All Quiet on the Western Front uses this imagery to decry warfare’s pointlessness. Generals eat fresh fruit and meat in towering mansions; the soldiers they command might earn a watery stew, or they’ll steal from locals, risking the chance to be shot for sustenance. The contrast is infuriating.

All Quiet on the Western Front is better than the original 1930 version

All Quiet on the Western Front is better than the original 1930 version, or the ‘70s adaptation. That’s partly on the changing standards toward showing screen violence. Where the ‘30s were locked in black and white, this remake uses limited color, but powerfully. White smoke and haze from explosives drifts across the screen but with a blood red tinge, sent into the air from the bodies impacted by bombs. Germans watch helplessly as French roll over their troops with tanks, in full camera view. Puddles in impact craters don’t hold water from the rains, rather the blood seeping from the dead.

Following new recruit Paul Baumer (Felix Kammerer) before enlistment, during the war, and after Germany’s surrender, All Quiet on the Western Front sees Baumer smiling as he receives his uniform, excitedly entering the barracks, fueled by propaganda. That’s soon lost. Innocence disappears the first time a bullet strikes down an unnamed squad mate, then further as Baumer collects countless dog tags from the fallen. Some men scream and cry about going home; Baumer, saying little, appears immediately numbed by a brutality hidden from him by the state.

In this modern era, with war treated as both gruesome and exciting entertainment in various media, it’s different. World War I had no such outlets to inform potential soldiers of their likely end, certainly not in such an unflinching way. They went in blind, not for their country, but for their superiors who worried more about their rank and career than the men they sent to their death. All Quiet on the Western Front captures how this blindsided an entire generation with regards to conflict’s reality. It’s a tragedy, but one no one learned from.


While war scenes soak up a bland, dry orange/teal palette, the rest shows a pleasing saturation with a sepia tinge. Warmth and comfort, purposeful, separates the homeland scenes. Warm flesh tones and crisp color look great.

Finished at full 4K, sharpness proves unwavering. Simply stellar scenery utilizes the fullest possible definition, and those close-ups deliver facial texture in droves. Wool uniforms sport dazzling definition, making All Quiet on the Western Front a worthy upgrade from its streaming counterpart.

In Dolby Vision, the limited sunlight piercing cloudy skies drives a heavy contrast. Black levels push the teal tint during the day, but at night, there’s a reasonable drop toward near total black, if still elevated slightly.


A record setting 17 audio tracks line this disc, the main one being German Atmos. And that mix is a pure Atmos spectacle. Dirt debris from mortars and gunfire work through every available channel, the heights used here more than or equal to any other disc on the market. Rain sounds absolutely real. Accuracy is astonishing, and the soundfield brilliantly wide.

Throbbing, thick bass accentuates every explosion. The punchiness is a show stealing aspect of this track. Thunder adds its own boomy jolts. Tank treads make an appearance past the hour mark via a stellar, deep rumble.


Director Edward Berger handles the commentary. A making-of follows that lasts a decent 18-minutes. From there, it’s trailers only.

All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


That rare better-than-the-original remake, All Quiet on the Western Front is a brutal unflinching contrast on war’s multiple fronts.

User Review
3.67 (3 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 52 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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