Want the best possible home viewing experience? FinalBoss selects the top 5 4K discs available right now.
Blade Runner 2049
Denis Villeneuve has created one of the best sequels that has ever appeared on the silver screen with Blade Runner 2049. Blade Runner K discovers a secret that leads him to track down former Blade Runner Rick Deckard. Blade Runner 2049 is a masterpiece both in visuals and in sound thanks to Roger Deakins (director of photography) and Mark A. Mangini (sound editor). The lighting and varied range of colours is fantastic, and the finer details really stand out compared to the standard HD Blu-ray disc. The image is high in clarity, with distinct lighting that highlights and refines details, particularly on the subject’s faces. It doesn’t come with Dolby Vision but I don’t think it needs it. The picture is so crisp already it might make the perfections become imperfections and not realistic. The disc does come with Dolby Atmos, however, complementing the visuals amazingly and the overall mix of the film is superb. Throughout K’s journey, we hear the finer details of the world of Blade Runner 2049 but also, within the characters voices as well. The soundscape is massive and really builds on the visuals, the bass throughout is expansive, providing a menacing soundscape. Blade Runner 2049 is rich in both visuals and sound and is the perfect film for your 4K player.
1917 is an incredible technical achievement that follows two soldiers who have to deliver an urgent message in the First World War. The film gives the illusion that it is all one shot, and is more about the cinematic experience than making leaps and bounds narratively. What the 4K version of 1917 does fantastically, is make the world even more realistic which at times, feels too realistic. This works well with the theme of the film, however, bringing you face to face with the horrors of war. Rarely have I ever watched a film so realistic, particularly in this age of Computer Generated Imagery, that it makes me feel that I am truly there with these characters. The details within the shots are purely immense. Supported by both Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, the 4K edition makes everything feel real. Even the backgrounds within the shots have so much detail and with the team behind 1917 actually building the sets, this adds to this realism factor and the 4K picks up on all these intricate details. Particularly during the night time sequence, the colours and shadows within the scene are so impressive, that we feel the fires on our own skin. Dolby Atmos adds dynamic range, as it is able to handle and contrast between Thomas Newman’s emphatic and at times beautiful score, with the chaotic, atmospheric sound design. 1917 is the ideal 4K film, displaying what the technology has to offer.
The Lord of the Rings: Extended Trilogy
When the Lord of the Rings trilogy was initially released, it was revolutionary. Peter Jackson and his team managed to transport and captivate audiences into JRR Tolkien’s world. Even to this day the trilogy still holds up, and these new 4K HDR transfers take the viewing experience a step further. Peter Jackson himself oversaw the project, making sure that the transfer itself wasn’t butchered. Jackson wanted to make the trilogy look and sound consistent, as he felt that the trilogy was inconsistent due to “how The Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot.” (The trilogy was shot on 35mm but different forms of colour grading were used across the trilogy. The Fellowship of the Ring used mechanical colour grading, whilst in the other two films the team used digital colour grading. This gave them more control of the hues and saturations of the shot.) The trilogy itself has both Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision to give you the ultimate viewing experience. The colours and depth of each shot is astonishing, really making the experience feel like it was made today and not twenty years ago. As you follow the Fellowship on their journey to destroy the one ring, you are treated to some of the most beautiful shots in the history of cinema. The Mines of Moria sequence was a real standout, as the sequence was able to showcase the range of shadows and colours that this transfer entails. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is timeless. The films have created a legacy within popular culture and these 4K additions further cement their status.
Tenet is a cinematic experience that doesn’t hold anything back. Christopher Nolan takes us on another mind-bending journey, about international espionage and the end of the world. When I saw Tenet in cinema, I was blown away by the sheer scope of the film and the 4K disc doesn’t disappoint. Even though it doesn’t have Dolby Atmos or Dolby Vision, the sound and visuals are monumental. This is because, in typical Nolan fashion, he used IMAX cameras and no green screen to film Tenet. This adds gravitas to the film and just like 1917, Nolan uses reality to build the world of Tenet. The details within each shot are first-class thanks to HDR10, improving the overall colours and textures of the film. The scenes that benefit from this are by far the action sequences, this is most notable in the final action set-piece. The scene is so detailed you can see all the textures and minute details of the fallen rubble, dust and bullets impacts. In terms of audio, Tenet is probably the loudest soundscape I have ever listened to. This did cause a problem in cinema, as some of the dialogue was lost within the mix and the cinema’s speaker system struggled to keep up. However, the majority of these audio problems have been fixed for the 4K release and the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio truly brings the cinema experience to your front room. On 4K, Tenet is purely cinematic. Thanks to the latest technology and Nolan’s approach to filmmaking, these provide for a realistic film experience that has rarely seen before.
Blue Planet II
David Attenborough documentaries are probably the most iconic documentaries in recent memory. Due to his inviting vocal tones and the incredible camera work by the production teams, they surround the viewing in the beauty of the natural world. Blue Planet II is no exception and is probably the best in terms of visuals and sound. Four years in the making, the documentary was shot on 4K cameras, allowing for pristine picture quality. Viewing Blue Planet II in 4K provides for a captivating experience. Accompanied by HDR10, the ocean has never looked so rich in both colour and textures. The sound is particularly captivating and is a real treat. With 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, it allows us to hear even the smallest of background sounds with great clarity. Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack feels epic and graceful throughout and is accompanied by Attenborough’s voice which has never been so comforting. Blue Planet II acts as an environmental call to arms and sound plays a key part. The ocean itself has never sounded so alive one moment and eerie in the next. Hearing the isolated cries of a mother pilot whale, grieving over her dead calf due to the carelessness of humans, is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to watch. Blue Planet II is an amazing entertainment package with probably the best HDR that I have ever seen. The range of colours and textures are astonishing, allowing us to see the smallest details in the animals, rocks, plants etc. Blue Planet II in 4K is the ultimate viewing experience and one of, if not the best of 4K discs around.
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