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Zero Dark Thirty

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 3 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Zero Dark Thirty's UHD enhances its intense watch; a top film with sharp quality but sparse extras.

    Zero Dark Thirty 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Zero Dark Thirty's UHD version significantly enhances clarity, detail, and colors over its 1080p Blu-ray, with notable HDR quality, despite being an upscale from a 2K DI.

  • Audio
  • Zero Dark Thirty's Dolby Atmos upgrade impressively enhances realism with detailed sounds, from intense gunfire to subtle whispers, for an immersive audio experience.

  • Extra
  • Zero Dark Thirty's UHD release lacks depth, offering only standard EPK extras and no new content or insightful bonus features, with a fresh digital copy code included.

  • Movie
  • Sony's UHD release of 'Zero Dark Thirty' features 4K/HDR, Dolby Atmos but no new extras, underscoring the film's unflinching take on the bin Laden hunt and its standout execution by Bigelow and Boal.

    Video: 86

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Zero Dark Thirty" presents an impressive leap in visual fidelity over its already applauded 1080p predecessor, primarily achieved through an upscale from its original 2.8K capture and 2K digital intermediate. This edition, utilizing the ARRIRAW codec, amplifies sharpness, textural details, and color depth significantly. In the very first scenes, an immediate enhancement in clarity is observed, with facial features, environments, and even minute elements such as sweat and wounds displaying a heightened level of intricacy. This heightened detail remains consistent across various lighting conditions, from the sun-drenched markets of Pakistan to the shadowy confines of the Bin Laden compound, showcasing an appreciably richer texture. The HDR enhancement subtly but effectively enriches the color palette, adhering closely to the film's original aesthetic intent without altering core hues, thereby imbuing scenes with added vibrancy and realism.

    The HDR application plays a pivotal role in this 4K presentation, opting for a restrained but impactful enhancement that stays true to the film’s naturalistic visual style. The HDR10 format, while lacking dynamic metadata, avoids over-saturation on displays and lends scenes—especially those set in daylight—a crisp contrast and depth that was less pronounced in the Blu-ray release. Colors are more vibrant and nuanced, particularly in daylit desert sequences which benefit from an increased emphasis on yellow-brown hues. Moreover, black levels are deep yet finely detailed, preserving fidelity in low-light scenes without succumbing to crush.

    Despite not claiming to be reference quality, this upscaled 4K UHD version stands out for its notable detail refinement and effective use of HDR10 to enrich visuals without overwhelming them. Night sequences, and specifically the climactic raid, display an improved contrast allowing for better visibility and depth, despite a minor critique about shadow gradience potentially flattening the image. Ultimately, "Zero Dark Thirty's" 4K UHD presentation significantly enhances viewer immersion with its well-judged balance of clarity, color fidelity, and contrast management, making it a commendable upgrade from its HD counterpart.

    Audio: 89

    The Zero Dark Thirty Dolby Atmos soundtrack is an exemplary showcase of how audio can transform the home cinema experience, offering significant enhancements that make it a worthy upgrade for owners of the previous Blu-ray version. The precision and depth of the audio are instantly recognizable, with emergency calls at the opening scene demonstrating haunting positioning and clarity. The Atmos mix excels in creating an immersive environment, particularly in scenes of high tension such as the interrogation room and the climactic Seal Team raid. The use of overhead channels not only adds to the feeling of being enclosed in the sound field but also amplifies the realism of helicopter rotors and explosions, enveloping the audience in a cocoon of detailed sound that ranges from the subtle whispers of dialogues to the full-bodied and detailed score by Alexander Desplat. This mix doesn't rely solely on loudness to impress but utilizes subtlety and atmospheric cues, enhancing the sense of immersion in both quiet conversational moments and intense action sequences.

    Dialogue clarity is consistently excellent throughout, maintaining a natural presence that anchors the soundscape. The Dolby Atmos track introduces a new layer of audio depth, with sound effects offering rich surround activity that ensures a dynamic listening experience. Environmental effects and the precise staging of sounds contribute to an authentic sense of space, whether in cavernous interrogation rooms or the near-silence of a tense nighttime raid. The audio mix's ability to balance explosive moments with quiet tension highlights its dynamic range.

    Importantly, this Dolby Atmos mix supports a seamless integration of vertical and surround channels, adding a layer of directional nuance previously unachievable. Scenes like the unexpected explosion at a dinner showcase the mix’s prowess in juggling atmospheric background activity with sudden, sharp sound effects, creating moments that are as startling as they are expertly crafted. The overall audio presentation of Zero Dark Thirty in its 4K UHD Blu Ray release sets a new benchmark for home video releases, pushing the boundaries of what audiences can expect from home theater audio quality.

    Extra: 70

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Zero Dark Thirty" offers a rather sparse collection of supplemental materials, focusing predominantly on the 2013 Blu-ray extras which have been carried over to this format. Notably lacking are in-depth analyses or audio commentaries which might have enriched viewers' understanding of the film's complex themes and production challenges. Instead, the 4K edition features Sony's standard still photo tab and a selection of "Moments," categorized under headings like Maya, Award Worthy, Military Action, and The CIA. Also included is a digital copy code. While the physical and promotional aspects like the paper insert and digital code align with industry standards, the overall package feels lacking for those seeking a deeper dive into the cinematic and historical intricacies of "Zero Dark Thirty."

    Extras included in this disc:

    • No Small Feat: Brief description.
    • The Compound: Brief description.
    • Geared Up: Brief description.
    • Targeting Jessica Chastain: Brief description.

    Movie: 89

    Sony's release of Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar-winning "Zero Dark Thirty" on 4K UHD Blu-ray elevates the viewing experience significantly over its well-received 2013 Blu-ray predecessor. The 4K/HDR video and the new Dolby Atmos soundtrack bring a remarkable improvement in visual depth and audio clarity, immersing viewers in the intense and intricate hunt for Osama bin Laden. Despite the absence of new extras, the technical upgrades alone make this a worthy addition to any collection. The film, acclaimed for its handling of a sensitive historical narrative without resorting to politicization or sensationalism, stands out not only for Bigelow’s directorial prowess but also for Mark Boal’s screenplay and Jessica Chastain’s powerful performance, reaffirming its place as a significant cinematic achievement.

    Observing the film after several years and considering its portrayal of American foreign policy and counterterrorism efforts, "Zero Dark Thirty" retains its relevance and impact. Its unflinching depiction of the complexities and moral ambiguities in the search for bin Laden is as engrossing as ever. Bigelow and Boal’s approach, focusing purely on the mission devoid of personal backstories or political bias, allows the movie to function effectively as a procedural drama, culminating in a gripping reenactment of the Seal Team 6 raid. This sequence, notable for its masterful use of lighting and sound design, exemplifies the high-quality production values enhanced by the 4K/HDR presentation.

    In comparison with other politically-themed dramas of 2012 like "Argo" and "Lincoln," "Zero Dark Thirty" emerges as a standout for its compelling narrative and technical execution. Its revisit, particularly in the 4K format, confirms its enduring appeal and superiority within the genre. The UHD release, albeit lacking new bonus content, underscores the film’s technical and storytelling prowess, making it a significant addition for enthusiasts eager to experience this pivotal moment in recent history with unprecedented clarity and immersion.

    Total: 74

    Sony's 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Zero Dark Thirty" elevates an already intensive and absorbing film to new heights, ensuring an immersive viewing experience that appeals to both cinephiles and tech enthusiasts alike. The film's razor-sharp picture quality, thanks to an upscale 4K transfer with smart use of HDR10, enhances details, colors, and contrasts significantly, while the reference Atmos sound mix puts viewers in the heart of the action, making it feel as if they are part of the narrative. Despite the sparse supplements, the technical achievements of this release cannot be understated, offering a visual and auditory feast that substantially enriches the storytelling.

    Kathryn Bigelow’s direction is subtly masterful, presenting a no-nonsense portrayal of the decade-long hunt for the mastermind behind 9/11, without delving into politics. Instead, it focuses on the procedural aspect, showcasing the relentless pursuit that law enforcement and intelligence agencies undertook. This approach makes "Zero Dark Thirty" stand out as a significant achievement in cinema, particularly within the intelligence procedural genre. Its realism and lack of cinematic flash, preferring instead to let the story and performances shine, add a layer of authenticity that’s rare and compelling.

    In conclusion, the 4K UHD release of "Zero Dark Thirty" by Sony Pictures is undeniably a superior viewing option over its standard Blu-ray counterpart, especially for those who have not previously purchased the film. With its meticulous attention to detail in both visual and audio upgrades, it serves as a definitive edition for fans and newcomers alike. Although the absence of new bonus features might deter double-dipping for existing Blu-ray owners, the enhanced viewing experience offered by this release makes it highly recommended for those looking for the ultimate version of a film that remains as relevant and powerful today as it was upon its initial release.