I know you’re probably thinking that I’m running this piece just a few weeks too late, but I’ve had one heck of a month and would feel completely useless if I couldn’t provide SOME information in regards to the latest 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays that I’ve been watching.
I had hoped that I could publish full reviews of both titles, but time hasn’t been on my side — so you’ll have to settle for some brief overviews!
Without further ado, let’s dive into the films…
A lot of people have already wrote up their think pieces on Paramount’s attempted Baywatch reboot. It didn’t do so hot this summer, yet studios are blaming the likes of Rotten Tomatoes and critical lashing, instead of just admitting that they didn’t market it good enough and that the overall film just wasn’t on par with something as creative and clever like 21 Jump Street, despite the star power of Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron and despite the R-rated raunchy comedy approach.
I’ll admit that I’m guilty of trying to come around to the film. My theatrical viewing left me at a crossroads. I wanted it to be funnier than it ever was and because of that I never really had much of a desire to want to re-visit it on the big screen.
Yet, the 4K UHD disc was something I wanted to add to my collection, partly because the format is still new and I’m trying to support it in any way possible and the other part being that the film is mostly a bright and sun-drenched feature, so why not showoff those colors in HDR on my 4K set?
I’ve watched the disc several times, viewing both the original theatrical cut and the unrated extended cut and I can safely say that the 4K disc shines. As I assumed, the daylight content (which is most of the film) soars in 4K, with clarity becoming absolutely beautiful and colors popping off the screen and into my eye sockets. Specifically, pay close attention to the red swimsuits and the blue skies and ocean. There’s a lot of life and color to this film’s presentation and quick references to the 1080p Blu-ray reinforce the noticeable improvement of 4K UHD.
Those looking to beef up their 4K collection with an R-rated comedy will want to pickup Baywatch, because while it’s not the most original or funny film of the year, it definitely works its magic between the two stars and their supporting cast. It tries a little too hard to be more than it truly is and that is where the film starts to crack.
Moving onto Disney’s first 4K UHD title brings us to James Gunn‘s widely successful Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I’ve watched this film about four times now and I can still confirm what I said in my original review, which is that it is a good film, but a far cry from the first one and definitely not one of my favorite Marvel flicks.
That being said, Disney’s 4K disc is a knockout in every way that counts. The film’s use of HDR is demo worthy in almost every scene, with golds, blues and generally bright colors making strong use of the increased resolution and presentation. Black levels are consistently milky and smooth, while the ATMOS track bangs the film’s memorable soundtrack on high blast.
Disney has also bundled the 4K disc with a 1080p Blu-ray and a digital copy, which is sort of the trend for 4K combo packs. It’s nice to see them taking clues from other studios, but some are complaining that their digital copy only redeems in 1080p, while Disney has a digital only version of the film available for purchase, which includes the Dolby Vision version. Those of you with Dolby Vison-capable TVs may want to read into the comparisons between the 4K UHD disc and the Dolby Vision version, to see which one will give you the best bang for your buck.
I personally always prefer physical discs, because they generally have higher bit rates and don’t require an internet connection. Also, physically owning something is just so much more rewarding.
I’m glad Disney has joined the 4K arena and I surely hope they continue to pump out reference titles like this from here on out.
Would it hurt them to release the first film while they’re at it?