Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Is the LotR 4K remaster a failure?
#1
Was talking about this with @LucasGodzilla recently. Interested to hear your thoughts as well.

Firstly, to set the mood, let me present this: https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=468...&i=16&go=1

This hideous monstrosity is luckily not representative of the general look of the 4K, but it is generally not very impressive in terms of image quality in my opinion. Just click on any other frame in that comparison.

Criterion 1: Sharpness / Image Quality

Some seem to be a very slight improvement in improvement at best, or about the same at worst:
https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=525...0&i=5&go=1
https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=438...0&i=3&go=1
https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=650...0&i=9&go=1

Others (I presume VFX shots) seem to look pretty much exactly the same:
https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=314...0&i=6&go=1

In others you can painfully see the DNR and EE (?) or whatever processing that was applied, and the UHD ends up looking markedly worse than the Blu Ray:
https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=662...&i=13&go=1
https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=503...0&i=7&go=1
https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=215...&i=14&go=1
https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=489...0&i=2&go=1
https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=449...0&i=8&go=1


Interestingly, despite the DNR, a bit of grain seems visible. And weirdly, it doesn't seem as sharp as you'd expect from an actual 4K OCN Scan. I honestly have my doubts that this was an actual rescan, but I could be wrong.

Criterion 2: HDR

I watched a part on my HDR-capable display via madVR passthrough via MPC-HC. The display correctly switched to HDR mode.

Now, some parts really do seem to profit from the HDR. But others ... I don't have pictures to demonstrate this, but for example in the intro sequence with the battle between the alliance against Sauron and his Orcs, it's obviously a VFX sequence and it looks like they just took the highlights and made them superbright, resulting in a weird look where the helmets (with shiny reflections) are ultra bright, and the rest of the image looks kinda muddy grey in contrast. Very weird unnatural look in my opinion.

Criterion 3: Grading

Plus: No more green tint.

Contra:

They tried too hard to give it a new look, specifically it looks like they went for a kind of bleach bypass look with lowered saturation but stronger contrast. Personally I think it works for the grimmer or battle scenes, but looks totally out of place with innocuous scenes like in the Shire or at Rivendell. It also is done in a weird way where, while there are solid blacks, there seems to be a quick transition from strong blacks to what seems like more lower mid-tones. Like the gamma was boosted too much and as a result there are no nice solid dark areas in places like in the Shire.

For example look at the bushes here: https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=489...0&i=2&go=1

In the old grading there is a kind of natural transition from the shadows in the bushes to the brighter areas. In the new one, there is black, and then immediately it jumps up to midtone-ish. It looks very garish/aggressive to my eyes.

Relating to the desaturated look and the Shire, look at the same image with the bushes. Notice how all the greens look ugly and desaturated, not like actual foliage. This isn't some kind of horror-y creepy scene, it's a happy scene, the greens should be lush and deep. Now, I know I'm only linking the caps-a-holic that's tonemapped, but it does actually look like this to me on a HDR display too, that is in fact where I noticed it first. I thought something was set up wrong on my display, wrong gamma or something, but my display doesn't actually offer gamma settings in HDR mode and reviews say that my display's HDR mode is pretty accurate, so I doubt that's the issue.

Overall not a fan of this at all.

Criterion 4: The sound

This is what truly kills it for me, in a negative sense. The remix sounds absolutely atrocious to my ears. The LFE is so f***king loud I had to turn it (my subwoofer) down to half the normal loudness and it still sounds overwhelming and out of place. And it tends to go from nothing to extreme bass swooshes and then back to nothing. There is no natural harmony to it at all, it sounds like all the sounds were just layered but no attention was paid to making it work in the mix. I find it impossible to watch the movie like this. Also, if I put the volume up to something that helps me understand dialogue, the LFE becomes so incredibly loud at times I'm afraid my neighbors would call the police. I get that LFE can get loud in action scenes, but this is just over the top and doesn't harmonize with the mix in any way.

Conclusion

Overall I'm rather disappointed with this remaster. The HDR aspect (no clipped highlights!) aside, I see very little that redeems it. I'd like to conclude my scathing review with once again linking this screenshot comparison without further comment: https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=468...&i=16&go=1
Reply
#2
If someone trusts blu-ray.com, the new UHD-BD is pretty much perfect...

https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Lord-...76/#Review

I guess that for any casual viewer and/or someone who has not the Blu-ray, it could be "reasonably good"... still, watching the caps-a-holic comparison, despite (as noted by Tom) the lack of clipped highlight, a subjectively (hence, questionable) better (different for sure, still quite similar to HDTV/WEB versions) color grading and few instances of higher resolution, I don't see the point to spend 90 bucks to get only that...
Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash... Sad
Fundamental Collection | Vimeo channel | My blog
Reply
Thanks given by:
#3
(2020-12-21, 06:10 AM)spoRv Wrote: If someone trusts blu-ray.com, the new UHD-BD is pretty much perfect...

https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Lord-...76/#Review

I guess that for any casual viewer and/or someone who has not the Blu-ray, it could be "reasonably good"... still, watching the caps-a-holic comparison, despite (as noted by Tom) the lack of clipped highlight, a subjectively (hence, questionable) better (different for sure, still quite similar to HDTV/WEB versions) color grading and few instances of higher resolution, I don't see the point to spend 90 bucks to get only that...

It's weird with the reviews being so great. In general it seems professional reviewers/critics can be trusted less and less these days. In other contexts, I have heard stories of reviews being basically more of a sponsored ad than an actual review. There's also a movie critic who said that critics are afraid to be critical of some companies because they don't want to lose access to getting nice treatment from the companies like Disney etc.
Reply
Thanks given by:
#4
(2020-12-21, 06:18 AM)TomArrow Wrote: It's weird with the reviews being so great. In general it seems professional reviewers/critics can be trusted less and less these days. In other contexts, I have heard stories of reviews being basically more of a sponsored ad than an actual review. There's also a movie critic who said that critics are afraid to be critical of some companies because they don't want to lose access to getting nice treatment from the companies like Disney etc.

Agree. Usually I read movie reviews AFTER I already watched the movie! Happy

I'd trust more a non-professional review - at least it is "supposed" to be true(ish), as the most it can get is some revenue from a web shop...
Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash... Sad
Fundamental Collection | Vimeo channel | My blog
Reply
Thanks given by: TomArrow
#5
I use to review for a website online and you are correct, There is a pressure of trying to give it a favourable review whilst trying to highlight issues with it.

I reviewed The Hobbit Trilogy - Extended Edition 3D Blu-ray (15 disc set i think) and i had the PR company on my case every day asking for it to up be during release week
Reply
Thanks given by: TomArrow , pipefan413
#6
This release is certainly a failure to create a definitive transfer of these movies. But the pertinent question for me is simply; are they better than what I had before?

Since I have no interest in the EEs I have to compare with the theatrical BDs which have always been pretty poor. To use your parting shot example:
https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=417...&i=16&go=1

On the plus side, the horrendous pink tint is gone. But the level (or lack) of detail seems about the same. In fact the UHD image just looks like the BD sharpened up so no gain but no real loss, I guess. I do like the HDR for the most-part. But for me the new colour grade mostly benefits TT and ROTK as I personally can't stand those 00's digital tints and am glad the UHD has pretty much ditched them completely.

Like everyone else I wish these releases had been better and it's painfully clear that they could have been *way* better. But at least I can finally retire my theatrical BDs in favour of something that (while flawed) I do enjoy watching a lot more.
Reply
Thanks given by: TomArrow
#7
(2020-12-21, 11:13 AM)Turisu Wrote: This release is certainly a failure to create a definitive transfer of these movies. But the pertinent question for me is simply; are they better than what I had before?

Since I have no interest in the EEs I have to compare with the theatrical BDs which have always been pretty poor. To use your parting shot example:
https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=417...&i=16&go=1

On the plus side, the horrendous pink tint is gone. But the level (or lack) of detail seems about the same. In fact the UHD image just looks like the BD sharpened up so no gain but no real loss, I guess. I do like the HDR for the most-part. But for me the new colour grade mostly benefits TT and ROTK as I personally can't stand those 00's digital tints and am glad the UHD has pretty much ditched them completely.

Like everyone else I wish these releases had been better and it's painfully clear that they could have been *way* better. But at least I can finally retire my theatrical BDs in favour of something that (while flawed) I do enjoy watching a lot more.

Very interesting that comparison with the theatrical. So, which of the shot versions is the original one from the actual theatrical release? The ugly low quality one or the slightly better one from the EE? If the ugly, then I actually have to applaud them for going back to the original I suppose.

Edit: I agree, some scenes the regrade (whether accurate or not) actually looks nice. Has kind of a grim tone to it. But in the Shire etc it just doesnt fit imo.
Reply
Thanks given by:
#8
It makes me wonder if the EE BD for Fellowship was based on a scan of the negative while the Theatrical BD and UHD were based on some 2K DI.  Undecided

(2020-12-21, 02:19 AM)TomArrow Wrote: Criterion 4: The sound

This is what truly kills it for me, in a negative sense. The remix sounds absolutely atrocious to my ears. The LFE is so f***king loud I had to turn it (my subwoofer) down to half the normal loudness and it still sounds overwhelming and out of place. And it tends to go from nothing to extreme bass swooshes and then back to nothing. There is no natural harmony to it at all, it sounds like all the sounds were just layered but no attention was paid to making it work in the mix. I find it impossible to watch the movie like this. Also, if I put the volume up to something that helps me understand dialogue, the LFE becomes so incredibly loud at times I'm afraid my neighbors would call the police. I get that LFE can get loud in action scenes, but this is just over the top and doesn't harmonize with the mix in any way.

Agreed. Fortunately the DTS-HD MA tracks from the theatrical BDs sync perfectly to the UHDs. So that's an easy fix. Smile
Reply
Thanks given by:
#9
Well, there's two simple things to understand about these new 4K releases, in my opinion.

1) The DNR was there all the time, baked in the print during the DI stage - as a result of PJ flirting (disasterously) with the new technologies when working on FX. It is obvious he likes his image to look clean, that's why he so praised The Hobbit, shot on digital, and rolled back a lot of grain on this 4K UHD release so that LOTR would be a sort of continuation to The Hobbit saga (which of course he also tempered with for the 4K - but that's another story). And thus, they had a dilemma, what to do with the DNR'd VFX shots, when you don't have money/will/time to go back to film elements and redo the FX shots from scratch with new, more advanced technologies applied, and they decided - let's slap more DNR on top of it! And that is their biggest mistake/ fuck up. It is most visible in the beginning of The Two Towers, where those scenes look completely outrageous - smeary as balls and lifeless. On the other hand, film fragments without FX look better on these new releases - even with the grained rolled out - they have enough film texture to look filmic and of course are nowhere near T2 disaster. So, to sum it all up, what looked bad on the BDs, look worse on the UHDs (meh...). But what looked good on the BDs look better on the UHD.

2) And so it all comes to one question - does the good outweight the bad? You have to answer this question for yourself, and then you'll know. Smile Is it a perfect release? Far from it. But to me, this is a certain improvement over the old BD's - especially FOTR, which was DNRd to hell and back on the theatrical BD, and had a green tint on the EE BD.
Reply
Thanks given by: pipefan413 , farerb , jonno
#10
Now all I can think about is what smeary balls might look like.

(2020-12-21, 03:56 PM)allldu Wrote: smeary as balls

Thanks. Big Grin
Reply
Thanks given by: allldu , TomArrow


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Silence of the Lambs gets a 4K Remaster by Criterion TomArrow 73 29,289 2019-03-16, 09:49 PM
Last Post: dvdmike
  Murder on the Orient Express 1974 "Classics Remastered" - is it an actual remaster? TomArrow 11 6,770 2017-12-15, 08:17 AM
Last Post: SpaceBlackKnight

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)