The Best 4K Blu-Ray Discs to Show off your UHD System
We take a look at the 4K discs you MUST have in your collection.
If you’re an early adopter of 4K or thinking about taking the plunge by upgrading to a UHD home cinema system, you’ll no doubt be on the lookout for the latest 4K content to put your setup through its paces. Well don’t worry, we’ve done some of the leg work for you… Here are the best movies on 4K UHD discs you can currently own that demonstrate stunning picture quality, amazing sound and are also pretty good films too.
The Martian (2015)
The film: A team of astronauts return from Mars and leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon) who’s presumed dead. This isn’t the case however and NASA soon begin concocting a plan to rescue him. Yes that’s right, another film where Matt Damon needs saving!
Why 4K: The rolling sands of Mars look very nice in 4K and you’ll instantly notice the intricate details you missed out on before, especially on Matt Damons spacesuit. Although there aren’t particularly many scenes where the audio stands out significantly, the mix sounds great, especially toward the end of the film (we’re trying to avoid spoilers here!)
Léon: The Professional (1994)
The film: Léon Montana (Jean Reno) is a hitman for hire living in New York who meets Mathilda (played by an 11 year old Natalie Portman) in his apartment block, after her dysfunctional and abusive family are brutally murdered by a gang led by crooked DEA agent Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman, in arguably one of his greatest roles) As she longs for revenge, she is taken under Leons wing to go after the crooked cops that killed her parents.
Why 4K: This 90’s cult classic was shot mainly using practical effects, so thanks to the 4K mastering and HDR facelift, its gritty visuals look better than ever. Everything looks natural, from the dull plastered walls to beading sweat from Jean Renos face. Whether you’ve seen it or not, Leon is a must have in your collection.
The film: Partly based on the true story of flight ‘Cactus 1549’, Sulley sees the story of how Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) safely landed in the Hudson River after suffering catastrophic engine failure. First half thriller and second half courtroom drama, this was one of last year’s hidden gems you may have missed out on.
Why 4K: Filmed using Arri Alexa 65 cameras in 6.5K and finished in 4K, the picture quality is absolutely gorgeous. Ok, it’s not as flashy as the latest sci-fi movie but that’s actually where it shines. It’s as close to real life as it gets and because of this, every splash from the Hudson looks incredibly lifelike. The soundtrack and great sound design matches this perfectly, especially during scenes that emulate the panic in the cockpit during the crash.
Jason Bourne (2016)
The film: Matt Damon makes our list again with the latest instalment in the Bourne franchise, seeing Jason Bourne still on the run from the CIA trying to uncover the hidden truths about his father. If you’re familiar with the rest of the series, you can expect much of the same thrilling action from the previous five movies.
Why 4K: Although the Blu-Ray version is great, the HDR on the 4K disc really helps to bring out the mood of the film. The dimly lit locations and dark blacks are given extra detail that look simply amazing. The DTS track also helps the soundtrack improve significantly. A good example is during some of the crowd scenes where the rear speakers are utilised to make it feel like you’re really there.
The film: Does this one really need an introduction?...
Why 4K?: Although the effects in the film are quite dated now, each home re-release of the 80’s classic has significantly improved the visuals and this 4K version is no different. The use of HDR helps the colours of supernatural effects pop out from the drab yet detailed backdrops of the city. The Dolby Atmos mix of the soundtrack delivers a great dynamic range and during ghost busting scenes, the soundstage helps expand them to feel truly massive. Hands down the best Ghostbusters has ever looked outside of the cinema.
Upcoming releases to look out for…
We obviously can’t judge how the picture and sound quality is going to be on some of these titles but going on the films just generally being great, here are some titles to keep an eye on:
- Blade Runner (1982) – The Sci-Fi classic is getting a 4K remaster, so it’s the perfect time to revisit it!
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) – Disney’s first stab at a UHD disc could be a game changer!
- Baby Driver (2017) – This year’s smash from Edgar Wright will look a treat on your 4K screen, especially with its perfectly curated soundtrack.
- Heat (1995) – Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro in 4K? Not sure we really need to justify ourselves with this one…
Did we miss any out? What UHD discs are in your collection? Make sure you let us know in the comments below!