This year started off fairly slow for Ultra HD Blu-ray with several re-releases and boxed collections hitting stores in the first few months. But late March things started to pick up with some great titles to add to your home theater collection. And, the summer months have also brought some must-have movies. Here are our favorite 4k Blu-rays so far in 2021 (in no particular order).
Best 4k Blu-rays in 2021 (So Far)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – Ultimate Edition – Warner Bros.
One of the more anticipated releases of the year, and certainly the most talked about on social media, the 182-minute cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice packs 30 more minutes of the story that was never seen in theaters, and the new 4k disc features “enhanced color” and variable aspect ratios (much of the film is in square format but provides a new experience for fans of the genre). The 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray edition presents the film in 4k/HDR10 with Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1 surround sound. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition has so much great-looking imagery and audio moments that it’s a must have for your home theater collection.
My Fair Lady (1964) – Paramount
A masterpiece of screenwriting and musical composition, My Fair Lady (1964) won a total of 8 Oscars and was nominated for another 4 at the Academy Awards in 1965. The new 4k presentation was derived from an 8k scan of the original film negatives and other existing 65mm elements, and the audio has been upgraded to Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channels. This is one of the most impressive improvements to a film that’s over 55 years old. Hats off to the restoration crew that started the project for the 50th anniversary Blu-ray release in 2014 and continued with this Ultra HD Blu-ray edition. Full Review
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection) – Paramount
This movie looks just like you would have imagined it would have been projected in theaters in 1981, with rich color and deep black levels that accentuate the exotic locations and antiquities that Indiana Jones comes across. Of course, the projected film likely wasn’t as clean as this newly remastered 4k presentation from Paramount that features Dolby Vision/HDR10 and a Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack. ‘Raiders’ in 4k is only available in the Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection, although a newly remastered Blu-ray edition of the film was also released simultaneously with the collection. Full Review
Gattaca (1997) – Sony
Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman star in this biopunk thriller from Andrew Niccol about the perfection of the human species through DNA manipulation. The movie was restored for Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation with HDR10 and a new Dolby Atmos soundtrack. If you like the look of film, Gattaca has got grain to spare on 4k Blu-ray. But the grain is at least consistent and does not deter from the overall home theater experience. And, the musical composition from Michael Nyman (The Piano) gets a new level of appreciation in this 7-channel remix. Full Review
Super 8 (2011) – Paramount
J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 celebrates the art of filmmaking through the imagination of a group of kids who accidentally come across a discreet military operation. Produced by Steven Spielberg, the movie has an incredible visual quality envisioned by world-renowned cinematographer Larry Fong that looks great in 4k with HDR. For home theaters, the train crash towards the beginning of the film is one you will never forget as the audio explodes in 48kHz Dolby TrueHD 7.1. Full Review
The release of Godzilla (2014) on 4k Blu-ray coincided with the premiere of Godzilla vs. Kong in late March, so it was fun to revisit this contemporary monster film directed by Gareth Edwards. The movie, in our opinion, has a much better story than the newest Godzilla flick, but why it’s mentioned in this article is its home theater value. Remastered to 4k from a 2k master, Godzilla (2014) is one film that really looks great in 2160p resolution with Dolby Vision. The audio, however, provides an incredible home theater experience. And, as far as we know, the only way to watch Godzilla (2014) in Dolby Atmos is on 4k Blu-ray. Details
Soul (2020) – Disney
Although released in late 2020, Soul didn’t arrive on 4k Blu-ray and Blu-ray until 2021. This film looks incredible both streaming and on Ultra HD Blu-ray. It’s just a great movie supported by an award-winning soundtrack that is fun for all ages. On 4k Blu-ray, Soul is presented in 2160p with HDR and Dolby Atmos audio that really makes use of multiple-channel speaker systems. Details
Chaos Walking (2021) – Lionsgate
In the futuristic world presented in Chaos Walking everything men think can be heard by others. The “noise” as it’s called creates a rift between men and women — who cannot be heard. But when Viola (Daisy Ridley) crash lands on the planet, things get even more chaotic. Chaos Walking has some great visual moments that are enhanced by the benefits of HDR color depth. The soundtrack also provides a good experience on multi-channel systems. Details
The Ten Commandments (1956) – Paramount
Recognized by AFI in their list of Top 10 epic films of all time, The Ten Commandments (1956) provides a great home theater experience both audibly and visually. The new 4k Blu-ray edition (derived from a 6k scan in 2010) is the best the movie has even been presented in terms of sharpness and color, providing even more reason why the movie won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects in 1957. Full Review