Atmos Immersiveness

STAR TREK (4K UHD BLU-RAY) – ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL

Paramount

4k UHD Blu-Ray • Atmos

I never really got too into Star Trek and its many TV incarnations, or movies, and whatever else that universe spit out commercially. But back in the day, when I heard the nerds that made Lost were doing their own Star Trek, I knew I had to jump on. So I went to the theater and saw this movie and I was hooked. I remember buying the blu-ray as soon as it came out and it was one of the regular demo fixtures in my first 5.1 theater room I had. Now, it’s on beautiful 4K and sports a brand new Atmos track that is sure to blow anyone away. Here are the scenes that really stood out on my first Atmos watch:

• Chapter 2: The car chase has some really cool overhead moments as the cop on the hover bike jumps up and down behind the convertible and Beastie Boys’ Sabotage blasts through each of the speakers behind the action. Spock’s holographic lessons are taught from overhead speakers and the voices drift across the ceiling from every angle

• Chapter 5: Once everyone is finally on the Enterprise, the various bleeps and space bloops from all over the ship are constant and come from all directions. When Vulcan is being destroyed, the beam stretching down to the planet’s surface dances from the front to the back of the stage and crawls across the ceiling. Really cool

• Chapter 7: The sword fight on the Romulan platform has some really cool effects when fireballs erupt from some vents, and the sound follows the flames up the ceiling. Beeps on the Enterprise seem to be getting more frequent as the story gets more tense. When Kirk skydives to save Sulu, the wind whips all across the stage as they descend

• Chapter 9: When the red creature chases Kirk on the snow planet, he jumps around the stage and it kind of feels like the ceiling is caving in. Each roar comes down from right above you. It’s wild. Old Spock shows Kirk what happened in his timeline but it’s narrated through overhead speakers and dances across the ceiling. Easily, the best ‘god voice’ effect I’ve heard since I’ve toyed with Atmos movies at home

• Chapter 12: When Spock and Kirk board a Romulan ship, a firefight breaks out and phaser blasts bounce around the ceiling, sending pieces of wall and metal ricocheting all over

• Chapter 13: The Romulan drill is destroyed by Spock and it falls from Earth’s atmosphere into the water below the Golden Gate Bridge, and the sound cascades downward from the ceiling. The camera moves through red matter aboard the Romulan ship and the sound of the bubbles creeps through all the speakers and you can almost feel it

Overall, this Atmos mix is a leap over the already stellar TrueHD mix I was so used to. It’s got so many cool moments and at times, really immerses you into the movie. That being said, the front mix carries most of the weight throughout. This isn’t a bad thing. This is a big, loud, SPACE movie. It needs those fronts to be throaty and that dialogue needs to be clear amidst all the action. This is a great all around Atmos mix, but it’s not going to get all 5 rated speakers because it won’t really immerse you throughout the entire film.

DOLBY ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS:

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

Pet Sematary (Blu-Ray) – Atmos Immersiveness Level

Paramount

Blu-Ray • Atmos • 1080p Upconverted

Horror films are often discounted by people as not scary or dumb, but when you find out how they watched these movies, you might not be surprised they watched with all the lights on while laying in bed with their laptops. Well, the new version of Pet Sematary definitely deserves the full surround sound treatment.

I saw this unforgivingly mean movie in the theaters one Saturday afternoon after indulging on some magically edible delights, and I’ll tell you right now, that was probably the wrong move. I remember shrinking lower and lower into my chair, and though I didn’t have an Atmos receiver at home yet, I knew this was going to be especially wild in the quiet of my basement when it came out on Blu-Ray. I finally got the chance this week, and it did not disappoint. Here are some moments that stood out:

• Chapters 1-3: Several scenes with ambient bells and whispering voices in the overheads, interrupted a few times by the Orinco trucks blowing by, exciting the sub each time. Really fun jump scare moments

• Chapter 4: Whenever Louis dreams, Atmos and surrounds kick into high gear and there are ghosts whispering, as well as really unsettling wind and knocking effects. They really went for it

• Chapter 5: The infamous dumbwaiter scenes start here. Whispering, walking and things falling from above. Makes the movie that much more terrifying.

• Chapter 7: Another dream sequence with some really cool “god’s voice” narration gives way to some terrifying noises in the attic as Zelda’s dumbwaiter is again teased (strictly from above) and holy shit. Goosebumps 😰

• Chapter 10: Louis enters the Pet Sematary, and whispers, screaming, wood cracking, bugs, wind and more crawl across the ceiling. It’s almost torturous and made me giggle nervously at one point.

• Chapter 13: Zelda finally makes her grand appearance. The squeals of the dumbwaiter coming from above, along with the creepy, crawling ghost are insanely detailed across the ceiling. It’ll grind your nerves

Here’s the thing. When this movie decides to get active in the overheads, it goes for it. Possibly more than any other Atmos movie I’ve seen at home yet. That being said, a lot of the movie is really quietly dialogue-driven, as the main characters spend a majority of the movie grief-stricken. So, for that reason, I can’t give Pet Sematary the full 5 speakers. It’s close, but not quite there. I definitely suggest you grab it just for those moments mentioned above, though, because they’ll rattle you.

DOLBY ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS:

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

Cliffhanger (4k UHD Blu-Ray) – Atmos Immersiveness Level

Sony

4k UHD Blu-Ray • Atmos

Helicopters, trickling caves, and explosions galore! I never got to see this classic in theaters, though I was only 8 when it came out, so I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it like I do now anyway. After buying an Atmos receiver, this was one of the first purchases I made, and I knew that I had to dedicate a Saturday afternoon to it so I could savor every second of this new transfer. And wow, as many times as I have seen this movie, this was like a brand new watch all over again. Not only is that 4K transfer simply incredible, the Atmos track is almost dumbfounding. Here are some moments that really stuck out:

• Chapter 1: Helicopter over your head before any credits even begin to roll. Continues throughout scene as a dramatic rescue attempt unfolds

• Chapter 3-5: Scene begins with a jet going right over the middle listening position to the front of the stage. Rain pours over the roof of a ranger’s station. The two planes attempting to tie off on each other features a lot of ambient, overhead noise and talking into headsets. Ends with an insane jet explosion and crash landing that makes use of all the speakers across the stage. Ridiculously fun. Really active Atmos scene that is definitely demo material

• Chapter 7: Wind and snow dance across the ceiling as Stallone begins his first free climb. Makes you feel like you’re there. Bullets and explosions whizz from back to front right over you, causing an incredibly active avalanche that’ll wake your neighbors

• Chapter 10: Stallone and companion are in a cave. Water drips from above all around you before they find some bats who begin to flutter from all directions. Pretty much every scene that is shot in the caves goes insane with the overheads. Really fun use of Atmos

• Chapter 12: After blowing up a mountainside with C4 and debris rains down all around you, a helicopter climbs through the sound field to a windswept peak. Stallone runs across a bridge and you can hear the ropes tearing all around you before another C4 explosion rocks the entire room. Insane

From here until the final credits, the movie is just a full sonic assault. It has to be seen to be believed. Yeah, it’s probably overkill, but so is Atmos anyway, right? Like many 90’s movies that got the 3D Blu-Ray treatment and caused you to think halfway through, “This 3D transfer is insane!,” the Atmos mix on this disc is probably excessive, but it’ll be to the delight of those who really love incredibly active overheads and dramatic explosions every few minutes. Whoever mixed this over at Sony knew what the average Cliffhanger viewer wanted. Buy this one immediately.

ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL:

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

John Wick: Chapter 2 (Blu-Ray) – Atmos Immersiveness Level

Lionsgate

Blu-Ray • Atmos • 1080p Upconverted

This movie is all over the place. Right from the get-go, a motorcyclist has an unfortunate run-in with Wick’s car, and the wreckage is sent in pieces all around your head. Then suddenly, John is quietly whispering with an adversary. The entire movie weaves in and out of near silence then pure chaos, and while this might sound obnoxious, it’s a beautifully immersive experience that doesn’t let up until the credits roll. Here are some of the best scenes:

• Chapter 2: A neverending car chase after a fresh rain. Ridiculously incredible overheads interacting with the music

• Chapter 4: People walking around and talking in a quiet museum makes it feel like people are all around you

• Chapter 7: Sub-killing club scene with crazy, pulsing EDM bullshit overhead

• Chapter 8: Shoot-out in the Roman catacombs. Echoes and bullets bouncing all over your head

• Chapter 9: Super long battle with Common. Fist fights through tunnels, down stairs, shots raining down from everywhere. Really cool scene

• Chapter 13: Another gunfight, accompanied by a bass-thumping classical score that bounces off the ceiling before giving way to a “god’s voice” intercom immersion in a neon-lit hall of mirrors. It’s fucking BONKERS

While not too many people consider this the pinnacle of the Wick saga, this is my first foray into the home-viewed Atmos John Wick movies, and wow, was I impressed. The music is ever-present and interchanging with the action, and even in the quieter dialogue-driven scenes, something is always crawling across the ceiling. They did an amazing job with this mix, and I’d definitely say this is a demo-worthy Atmos title.

ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL:

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

Dolby Atmos Immersiveness

Updated 01/19/2022

Dolby Atmos is the latest in Home Theater right now, and since I finally picked up an Atmos-enabled receiver and have managed to dial everything in just right for the theater room in my basement, I thought I’d share my experiences with just how immersive particular titles get.

Below, you’ll find a running list of Atmos (and in some cases, DTS-X) titles from both streaming and physical media that I’ve watched. I’ll be ranking each title out of 5 “speakers” (1 being not very immersive at all, 5 being insanely immersive) and will point out any scenes that stood out, so you can fast-forward to your ears’ delight!

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT (4K UHD BLU-RAY – 01/18/22)

Paramount

This is the kind of movie that was made for Atmos. And while the sound more than shines throughout the film, the Atmos effects often take a backseat to the more-than-well rounded out mix of the movie itself. Dialogue is often whispered, and tense conversations through gritted teeth pop up in almost every scene. However, there are some Atmos-heavy scenes that are worth mentioning:

• Chapter 1: Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg are talking beneath an overpass where cars are driving overhead in both directions

• Chapter 3: Skydiving is a workout for every speaker

• Chapter 6: Police bike chase is wild. Stuff going on everywhere

• Chapter 7: Really tense scene with a traincar going right overhead then right into another chase scene with some wild alternating between left and right heights

• Chapter 10: Gun battle in a sewer has some really fun overheads

• Chapters 12 – 14: Helicopters just live overhead for minutes straight. Absolute helicopter porn that ends with a Cliffhangeresque scene that is almost exclusively overheads

This is a really cool movie and the sound is more than excellent. But if you’re looking for a movie full of demo-worthy scenes to show off those Atmos muscles, you might look elsewhere unless you’re really into helicopters.

ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL:

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

THE CONJURING 2 (BLU-RAY – 01/18/22)

Warner Brothers

Blu-Ray • Atmos • 1080p Upconverted

I’ve seen this movie my fair share of times, but this is my first time in Atmos, and fucking hell, what a difference. The overhead effects are put to full use throughout its run time. Rain pours almost the entire movie, British pop invasion tunes are crawling across the ceiling almost as much as whispers of demons, and it makes the jump scares that much more effective. Here are some moments that stood out:

• Chapter 5: Footsteps overhead when cops are poking around

• Chapter 6: Bells ringing all over the soundstage, house being torn apart chaotically in every speaker

• Chapter 8: Persistent rainstorm with thunder and lightning

• Chapter 10: Sounds of a flooded basement, water everywhere, kids running around upstairs. This scene was actually one of the coolest I’ve heard with an Atmos movie so far

• Ch 12 to the end of the movie: Downpour & Ed’s breathing in overheads. Demon begins grunting and breathing, and it bounces all over the ceiling

As far as Horror films are concerned, I think this is what Atmos was built for: another thing to scare the living shit out of the audience. I already really liked this movie, but this brought a whole new element to the table. This might be my go-to demo for now 🤘

ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL:

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

DOCTOR SLEEP: DIRECTOR’S CUT (BLU-RAY – 01/17/22)

Warner Brothers

Blu-Ray • Atmos • 1080p Upconverted

Since I can remember, The Shining has been my favorite movie – a go-to every Halloween, I get sucked in by Kubrick’s magic touch and cinematic trickery. It’s an incredible movie experience that gets better with every viewing. Lucky for us, Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House, Bly Manor, etc.) was given the reins to the adaptation of Stephen King’s Shining sequel, and I’m happy to say that this is everything I hoped for and more. Now, I’ve seen both versions, and while the Director’s Cut doesn’t change too much, I would still definitely recommend getting your hands on that version.

There are too many scenes of overhead sonic excellence to mention in this release, that I’m just going to have to suggest that you experience it yourself. There’s a persistent heartbeat pouring through the overheads and surrounds throughout the entire film that will rattle your nerves by the time the characters arrive back at the iconic Overlook, and then the Atmos effects take center stage, and you’ll be smiling from ear-to-ear until the credits roll. If you’re not too sure about Atmos yet, Doctor Sleep will definitely get you on the train.

ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

OVERLORD (BLU-RAY – 01/17/22)

Paramount

Blu-Ray • Dolby Atmos • 1080p Upconverted

Superhuman Nazi Zombies aside, the sound design on this movie is fun as hell. From the get-go, nervous soldiers on a plane rattle through the air, and we’re right in the middle of every bullet and explosion from there on out. There’s a scene where the main character falls out of said plane, and the wind whooshing around him covers the entire overhead landscape. There are a few other standout scenes, including footsteps over creaking boards that might convince you someone is upstairs, and great water trickling in tunnels throughout. This was a really fun one.

ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

ARCHIVE 81 (NETFLIX – 01/17/22)

Netflix

Netflix • Dolby Atmos • 4K

This show is really fun. It goes off the rails in the last two episodes or so, but that’s also when the Atmos effects really kick in. Without spoiling anything for you, there’s a scene in the last episode where a particular structure begins crumbling all around a couple characters and it really feels like the stonework is crashing down over your head. Add in some really cool overhead music effects throughout the entire show, and this makes for one really fun immersive viewing experience. Definitely would recommend this show (especially in the last few episodes) for Atmos demo.

ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL:

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5