Star Trek Into Darkness 4K UltraHD

Featured In Issue 212, December 2016

WSR Score4.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Paramount Home Entertainment
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Intense sequences of sc-fi action and violence
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Not Indicated
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J.J. Abrams
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Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
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Star Trek Into Darkness follows the crew of the Enterprise as a shocking act of terror on Earth sends them on a manhunt to capture an unstoppable force of destruction and bring those responsible to justice. (Gary Reber)

Special features include the following featurettes shot on the Red Epic HD digital camera system and created entirely at Bad Robot Productions: Creating The Red Planet (HD 08:28), Attack On Starfleet (HD 05:25), The Klingon Home World (HD 07:30), The Enemy Of My Enemy (HD 07:03), Ship To Ship (HD 06:03), Brawl By The Bay (HD 05:44), and Continuing The Mission (HD 01:57); and an UltraViolet digital copy.

With the primary source asset being a 2K digital intermediate, most of the movie appears to be HDR-enhanced images with slightly-better-than HD resolution. Some scenes, including the opening sequence that takes place on the planet of gray men with a volcano about to explode and a chase through a red forest are full-screen format, presumably shot in digital IMAX format. Those scenes appear to be higher resolution than the wide aspect content, though, not full UHD resolution. While the widescreen images are excellent, the caveat “for a 2K movie released in the 4K Ultra HD format” must be applied. HDR does make images look crisper and more detailed than the SDR HD Blu-ray, but this alone may not be enough to satisfy those with higher expectations for this high-res disc format. It’s nice to have at least some scenes with the higher-resolution appearance of the IMAX format, but it’s not enough to raise the overall picture quality rating. (Doug Blackburn)

The previously released soundtrack has been remixed into Dolby Atmos for the UHD disc release. The ear-level sound is excellent, as we have come to expect from blockbusters with the budget to pay for the SOTA sound crew, equipment, effects, and mixing. Running the movie with the ear-level loudspeakers and subwoofers disabled revealed a lack of realistic ambience in the height channels, leading to minimal immersive character. For instance, when onboard Enterprise, the height channels are entirely silent, until Kirk makes an announcement over the PA or when a ship-wide alarm sounds—and you only hear Kirk’s voice or the alarm in the height channels. None of the other ambient sounds, like footsteps, doors opening, echoes of dialogue in hallways, ship’s engines thrumming, etc. are carried into the height channels. An entire combat scene on the “deserted” planet has no weapon sounds in the height channels. Aircraft that crash produce no sound in the height channels, you only hear the music track in the height channels, punctuated with only occasional and minor/brief sounds from the battle. Late in this scene there is thunder and lightning, and you do hear some thunder in the height channels. While Kirk pounds ineffectively on Khan, there’s not a sound of that fight in the height channels. When Scotty is in an alien club, you do hear Scotty’s voice in the height channels, slightly, as well as reverberation of Kirk’s voice (on the Enterprise) on the other end of the communicator conversation. But there’s no ambient sound from the club in the height channels at all. This club scene was one of the few times any voice sounds appeared in the height channels. If you had been in the various spaces portrayed in the movie, you would have heard a lot more overhead ambient sound, they simply did not mix ambience into the height channels, except for more “extreme” cases, like some of those described here. When sounds do exist in the height channels, the effect is excellent, whether ambient or specific/directional. A damaged ship swirling in a circle while traveling diagonally overhead produced an extremely convincing aural image, as did several shuttlecraft flyovers and fly-bys. (Doug Blackburn)