Nolan 4K Ultra HD
Blu-ray w/Blu-ray Sets: Batman
Dark Knight (2008)/The
Dark Knight Rises (2012)
(2010/all Warner Home Video)
Ultra HD Picture: A-/A/A/B+ 1080p Picture: A-/A/A/B+ Sound:
A-/A-/A-/B+ Extras: B Films: B
of the big new events for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray releases comes in the
form of the last seven Christopher Nolan films being issued in the
format. We started with the latest hit, Dunkirk
(see more below) and continue with four big hits at his home movie
studio: Warner Bros. Most of these are revisitings of these films,
but they continue to age well with much rewatchability.
(2005) was his much-needed revival of the all-time popular DC Comics
superhero after the previous series became a spoof of itself by its
fourth installment. We looked at it twice before, starting with the
previous Blu-ray edition here; a demo at the time...
later, the film still holds up, is interesting to look at again since
Nolan and Director of Photography Wally Pfister, A.S.C., succeeded in
going for the Blade
look (interesting now that the sequel finally arrived) and though it
has also been discussed a bit that the film has more than a few
things in common with Russell Mulcahy's 1995 revival of The
that did not do well, but had its moments. Turns out that was a
transitional work in the genre before Blade
(1999) arrived and the genre exploded into what it has become today.
are a few little bits here that don't work or hold up, but this
succeeded the Burton/Batman films as a model for the genre to come
and the cast is better here than they got credit for.
thought the same look would be retained for all the sequels, but
Nolan, Pfister, DC Comics and Warner took a step into large frame
format filmmaking that lost some of the look of that first film
permanently, yet the move to make the Joker the main character a film
early for The
(2008) was a lucky one as Heath Ledger delivered the breakthrough
performance of his career and an amazing film resulted. We looked at
it back when it arrived on Blu-ray here...
any changes from the first film, the two fit well together and the
makers went all out in great form. They all also knew there was not
much more to say or do, so The
Dark Knight Rises
(2012) was announced as their final Batman film and the DC Universe
on the big screen would be a wreck until Wonder
(2017, reviewed on 4K Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) arrived, so
that's quiet a dry spell when Marvel/Disney (et al) are on a roll.
time out, the film asks what if the main hero is older, but not a
senior citizen (thus, no return of the father hero like Sean
Connery's James Bond in Never
Say Never Again)
but out of commission being tired of trying to save a world that
might not even care to be saved, that one man can only do so much,
that it takes huge effort to come back after being out of the fight
for many years, that maybe the people will rise up in his stead and
even a new hero could possibly wait in the wings. The film has what
worked in the previous film suddenly hit snags, potency in decline is
an issue, as is the meaning of manhood and we even get two strong
female characters (one a villain who does not seem like one at first,
the other a classic villain (Anne Hathaway a great Catwoman, though
she is never called that in the film) and a new supervillain who is
his own henchman, Bane (an amazing Tom Hardy) who is a parallel to
Batman in a odd way, a variant of what Batman could have easily
become under depraved circumstances.
is a bit long and a few bits don't work, but it is spectacular
filmmaking on the highest level as usual for Nolan and when it is all
over, the whole superhero and action genre was better for it.
we have the very, smart, more complex and even still-underrated
(2010) that shows Nolan can deliver original, clever concepts (i.e.,
despite constant blockbuster feature film success accompanied by
critical accolades. We reviewed that film as well when it hit
Blu-ray at this link...
a few pieces are ines we've seen from other films, this is still
remarkable filmmaking that delivers and one to look at again now that
Nolan's brother Jonathan has created such an impressive revival of
on cable (also reviewed on 4K Blu-ray elsewhere on this site). Like
all his films, Nolan's feature films are built to last, which is more
impressive in an era when most so-called filmmakers only seem
interested in ego and disposability.
the possibility of 4K Nolan films surfaced with the arrival of the
format, word was he'd be personally going back to remaster the films.
We don't know if that happened, but to do it well, al the films
would really need 8K or 10K scans with at least 16-bit color to do
justice to them. That has not happened here, but the 2160p
HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition
image on each 4K version of these films is better enough that they
are improvements, yet more like what we would see with some Blu-rays
where the same video master was used years apart, but it was obvious
the new transfer caught color., detail and depth the older disc
missed out on. In this case, it is just the 4K versions are better,
though not enough for any of them to earn a higher letter grade
is still softness and some flaws on the 4K versions that hold them
back, though it should be noted that the Blu-rays were so good,
it was going to be hard to improve on them unless they went all out.
They did not, though I thought Inception might improve a bit.
on Rises, while the 1080p 2.35 X 1 (with IMAX 70mm in 1.78 X
1) digital High Definition image looks fine on the Blu-ray, looks
even better enough on the 4K edition that I would still watch it over
the regular Blu-ray. That also means none of them match the 4K
Dunkirk in playback, but offer enough demo moments for any
serious home theater system.
12-track sound upgrades (DTS: X, Dolby Atmos 11.1) are offered for
these films, though even 12-track sound Dunkirk
is not even on 4K with 12-track, so these four films are only offered
with DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes from their previous
was originally Dolby TrueHD 5.1 on Blu-ray, so that's the only
change, but the tracks are identical) so you get fine sound, but not
the sonic upgrades one might have expected.
on all four films include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC
portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-rays
add the maximum amount of extras from their most loaded previous
retain all their extras from the previous Blu-rays, though Inception
adds a few more featurettes.
adds four Original Theatrical Trailers, then we get multi-part
featurettes in HKD of the Production, Batmobile, Characters,
Cinematography and last look by the makers at the world of Batman.
more on Nolan, try our Dunkirk 4K
get to the Interstellar and The Prestige 4K sets next;
soon we hope, to round up all seven 4K Nolan releases.