Everyone is rightfully excited for the Christopher Nolan collection to finally arrive on 4K, but the collection has been shrouded in controversy, whether it be the price tag or the fact the 7-film collection has some frustrating packaging. Some fans might avoid the 7-film collection and instead opt for individual titles or just pick up The Dark Knight trilogy on 4K. The set is fantastic and if you can find it competitively priced, picking it up is a no-brainer.
BATMAN BEGINS 4K ULTRA HD VIDEO REVIEW
The oldest film in the trilogy is of course going to feature the worst video quality and subsequently receive the most scrutiny. Of all of the Nolan films arriving on 4K, this is easily the worst looking, but it still looks pretty good. The problem I think people are having is they’re comparing it to THE DARK KNIGHT RISES or DUNKIRK, which look stunning on 4K. By comparison, BATMAN BEGINS just looks okay. The training scenes in the mountain early on look nice and show some clear upgrades in detail and color depth and that’s true for any brightly lit scene. But this is a dark movie and there are times when the black levels blend in to each other, much like they do on the Blu-ray. But rather than using that as a complaint, I’m more convinced that that’s intentional from Nolan to make Batman blend into his surroundings. Either way, black levels don’t look as sharp as I would have liked in a 4K upgrade and as a whole, the transfer isn’t very consistent. Aside from that, the transfer has some standard upgrades, but it doesn’t feel like that’s going to be enough to silence its critics.
THE DARK KNIGHT 4K ULTRA HD VIDEO REVIEW
BATMAN BEGINS clearly has the worst transfer and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES clearly has the best, so THE DARK KNIGHT falls somewhere in the middle. And actually, that’s not fair because THE DARK KNIGHT looks fantastic on 4K. But like BATMAN BEGINS, I think this one will come under scrutiny because of high fan expectations. For me, this falls more in line with some of the “normal” 4K UHD releases we see, where you get the standard upgrades during close-ups and in settings, but nothing necessarily stands out as being exceptional. And like BATMAN BEGINS, the problems with the disc come with the black levels during the dark scenes. We know Nolan supervised these releases, so I have to assume the darker blacks are intentional, but the inconsistency is once again an issue. There are some scenes where the lack of detail in the black levels is clearly intentional, such as the interrogation scene with the Joker, and others where it would have been nice to have more color depth, such as in the bat cave. With that said, TDK looks much better on this 4K than we’ve ever seen it, but given how much passion there is around Nolan’s Batman trilogy, I think fans were expecting perfection.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES 4K ULTRA HD VIDEO REVIEW
Predictably, the newest film in the trilogy also has the best video transfer. I put THE DARK KNIGHT RISES on the same level as DUNKIRK as far as video quality. The film looks fantastic all the way through, giving noticeable upgrades in every measurable facet. You can analyze every scene and pick out the upgrades, but for me, the differences popped in any scene in the cave/hole Bruce Wayne was trapped in. The 4K gives that scene almost a 3D effect, thanks to the increased detail in the setting. Of course, when the transfer switches to the IMAX scenes, the video transfer looks even better. I actually like the aspect ratio switching, but there were times I almost wished the whole film was shot with the IMAX camera. Like some of the other films in the Nolan collection, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES could easily become your new reference quality video disc.
THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY AUDIO REVIEW
I’m lumping all of these together because they all feature a DTS-MA track and this is where I have some frustrations with the entire Nolan collection. Nolan has said that’s his preferred audio choice, but all of his films could have used a Dolby Atmos upgrade. The DTS-MA track is efficient, but I can’t help but feel this was a lost opportunity.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.