Christopher Nolan‘s Tenet has been one of the biggest films of the year since before it was even released. Everyone remembers the hype surrounding this film since its initial announcement and, later, the teaser that debuted at the end of 2019. Nolan fans were quick to prowl the teaser for clues (in addition to subsequent trailers) and the film’s release was further faced with problems as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but was eventually given a theatrical release at the end of August. It’s hard to go into the plot of Tenet without giving away any explicit spoilers, but for fans of Nolan, it’s nothing new from the king of cinematic and artistic maximalism. Needless to say, every second of it is indescribably astounding in typical Nolan fashion.
For both fans of the film who saw it in theaters and viewers who wanted to wait until they could view it in the safety of their own homes, Warner Bros. has finally made Tenet available to purchase on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-Ray. The studio was kind enough to send me a copy to review and I can assure you that both the film and the physical release are both worth every minute of the wait.
Tenet is presented on 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray in a hybrid aspect ratio of 2:20:1, in addition to 1:78:1 for the sequences that Nolan shot on IMAX film. This is not unlike previous releases of his films (The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar, and Dunkirk all can be viewed in this format on their respective Blu-Ray releases), but Tenet takes these expectations to new heights. I had the pleasure of viewing Tenet in IMAX during its initial theatrical run and while obviously nothing can replicate such an experience, this release does its best and succeeds.
Every frame of Tenet is filled to the brim with jaw-dropping, extraordinary action. This film is the definition of cinematic adrenaline, packed with specific energy and excitement unmatched in modern blockbusters. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray conveys all of this and more within the contents of its presentation. Right from the opening siege at a Kiev opera house, the viewer immediately garners a sense of how spectacular this transfer is. Color intensity is at an absolute high with the HDR presentation adding an immeasurable depth and realism to the image that the traditional 1080p Blu-Ray simply cannot convey. That being said, the 1080p transfer is also quite excellent and if you haven’t yet made the upgrade to 4K, the standard Blu-Ray is still top-notch.
All in all, this is a terrific visual presentation of one of the year’s finest cinematic achievements. The image is crisp with a very fine, distinguishable amount of grain that adds to the overall experience. From the very first sequence all the way to the monumentally epic climax, this is a stunning home media release and one of the best ways possible to view this film. Tenet is a truly spellbinding movie that continues to deliver layer upon layer of visual innovation and this 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray only adds to that vivid prestige.
This release of Tenet comes equipped with a shattering DTS-HD 5.1 mix that adds to the spectacle just as much as one would expect. Nolan‘s films always command the viewer’s presence and his latest is no exception, with the 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray further confirming this. There’s really nothing that needs to be said about the director’s method of storytelling at this point, but it’s worth mentioning that one of the frequent complaints during the film’s theatrical run was its rip-roaring sound mixing. Personally, I had no issue hearing the actors and ultimately chalked this choice up to Nolan’s technique, but for viewers who did have trouble distinguishing the dialogue, this audio track should provide a bit of a breath of fresh air.
Make no mistake, Tenet is still the loud cinematic thrill that it always was, but the audio mix on the disc does provide a semblance of clarity that allows the dialogue to be heard more easily. It provides a perfectly sharp pleasure to the ears that deepen the resoundingly complex sensory core of Nolan‘s latest outing. One of the most notable features in Tenet is Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson‘s staggering score that remains an astonishing accomplishment and will only get better with age. Its presence on this mix is highly welcome and never feels out-of-place: it holds a delicate balance with the dialogue and never rubs off as overbearing, despite how it dominates many of the film’s most pivotal sequences.
Special Features: 4/5
Special features for this release are housed on a separate Blu-Ray disc instead of on either the 4K or standard Blu-Ray discs. Contained within the disc is a small assortment of bonuses that don’t look like much on paper but reveal themselves as the viewer watches them. The main standout is a group of thirteen featurettes titled Looking at the World in a New Way: The Making of Tenet. The thirteen featurettes (which range from around four to ten minutes each) add up to a combined total of a little over an hour, and it’s safe to say that they undeniably add to a greater appreciation of the film as a whole. Aside from these, the disc doesn’t include much else; just a compilation of the film’s trailers, but the main documentary is a wonderful watch and will certainly heighten viewers’ respect for everything that Nolan and his team did with Tenet.
Overall Score: 5/5
Is Tenet Nolan‘s best film? It’s hard to really say for sure as of right now, but having seen the film four times now, I can assure you that it’s one that stays in the viewer’s mind for long after the first bout. With Tenet, Nolan has perfected the intense immersion of narrative and visual flair that each of his subsequent films has also proven to do in marvelous fashion. Say what you want about the film, but there’s no denying how tremendously magnificent every sequence is and thankfully this 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray release ensures that viewers will be coming back to revisit Tenet even more than they initially would’ve been. Warner Bros.’ 4K presentation of Nolan‘s latest is unparalleled. It’s undoubtedly one of the most remarkable home media releases of 2020, and one of Warner Bros.’s finest to date. The crystal-clear visual spectacle is on full display, complete with an equally immersive audio mix that rounds out the disc as a top pick for end-of-year releases. This 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray of Tenet comes highly recommended.
What’s your favorite Christopher Nolan film? Will you be picking up Tenet on 4K UHD or Blu-Ray this holiday season? Let us know in the comments!
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