Every time I see DVD Beaver screen captures of 4K Blurays, they always look darker than corresponding Bluray and DVD captures from years past. Which always prompts the same question — “Why shell out good money to watch a darker, more shadowy version in 4K when (a) the 1080p Bluray version is more pleasing to look at plus (b) the naked eye is hard pressed to tell the difference between 4K and 1080p in the first place?”

The latest examples are screen captures of Warner Home Entertainment’s 4K Bluray of Full Metal Jacket, which came out on 9.21.

HE to DVD Beaver’s Gary Tooze: “Why is it that your 4K frame captures are ALWAYS DARKER? Who the hell wants to see a film with inkier images and diminished colors compared to the Bluray versions? Call me a peon but I don’t see the attraction. Not to mention the fact that HBO Max’s “boxy” HD version of Full Metal Jacket, which was sadly removed a few weeks ago, looked beautiful. Please share the upside in buying a cleavered (1.85:1) version with inkier images? Especially compared to the more commonly available versions via HD streaming or previous Blurays.”

Tooze to HE: “Hi, Jeffrey — without going into a long detailed answer, darker is GENERALLY more accurate to the theatrical [presentation]. Also you are probably not looking at this with an HDR monitor. The [DVD Beaver] image is only a simulation. It generally looks better on an HDR TV system. Best, GT.”

HE to DVD Beaver’s Gary Tooze: “I tend to prefer images that (I know this makes me sound like a peasant) look really good over those that are ‘closer to theatrical.’ If ‘closer to theatrical’ means the addition of muddy shadows, I’ll take a pass and stick with the good old 1080p version.”

Competing captures of 1080p Bluray vs. 4K

No Boxy Jacket, No Buy“, posted on 8.15.20.

It would be one thing if WHE’s forthcoming 4K UHD Bluray of Full Metal Jacket (out 9.21) offered the 1.37:1 boxy version as well as the standard 1.85. But it doesn’t.

Please understand there is only one way to re-experience this 1987 war classic, and that’s via the HD boxy version on HBO Max. (Which I happened to watch a portion of only a day or two ago.) It is absolutely the most visually pleasing version anyone will ever see. Perfectly framed. The head room is transporting. Nothing is cleavered or trimmed. Exactly the way Kubrick wanted it.

Same deal with Universal’s forthcoming 4K Psychono boxy version, no buy.