Knowing Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

M.I.T. professor John Koestler links a mysterious list of numbers from a time capsule to past and future disasters and sets out to prevent the ultimate catastrophe.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

91

Details:

Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 121 minutes
Genre: Sci-fi/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Rose Bryne, Chandler Canterbury, Ben Mendelsohn, Lara Robinson
Directed by: Alex Proyas
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Written by: Ryne Douglas Pearson, Juliet Snowden, Stiles White
Region Code: A

Release Date: April 10, 2018

“Knowing is Everything”

My Take:

Fifty years after it was buried in a time capsule, a schoolgirl’s cryptic document falls into the hands of Caleb Koestler, the son of professor John Koestler (Nicolas Cage). John figures out that the encoded message accurately lists every major disaster from the past five decades and predicts three future calamities — one a global cataclysm. When his warnings fall on deaf ears, John enlists the help of the prophetic author’s daughter and granddaughter to try to avert the ultimate disaster.

Knowing is far from critically acclaimed status, but, I find its metaphysical plot, cataclysmic foreboding, and melodramatic tone to make for a fair bit of escapism. Yes, it throws a lot at the wall, and not all of it sticks, but, there is some spooky mystery, and close encounter campiness that offer a few solid moments. Nicholas Cage has become passe, but, I still like to watch him work. Knowing is a guilty pleasure that I have owned since it came to home video. I have seen it a number of times now and enjoyed this excuse to revisit it again.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for disaster sequences, disturbing images, and brief strong language.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color & WCG:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color & WCG:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

Knowing comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Knowing were rendered from a 4K source and finished on a 2K Digital Intermediate. From a cinematic perspective, this film was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind, and that comes through in this presentation. This easily best the 1080p version, offering imagery that lifts the vail. I wouldn’t describe Knowing as overtly colorful, however, the palate of autumn-based hues, sepia tones and variants of blue/red/green benefited from UHD’s wider color gamut, appearing slightly warmer and pleasing to the eye. Resolution gets a noticeable boost as well. Close-ups and mid-level shots offer improved refinement and deeper resolvable texture on surfaces and physical features when compared to the Blu-ray.

There is intermittent use of visual elements that utilize high dynamic range. There were instances where bright elements looked appreciably vibrant, such as Caleb’s nightmare/vision, the plane crash, or the subway crash, where fiery elements and/or arcs of light looked terrific. The film contains daytime segments which appeared more vibrant and tonally gradational in Ultra HD. Low level sequences, such as those that take place in area around Lucinda’s trailer, or in the bowels of the school, had excellent depth of field and emboldened contrast. I think that Knowing benefitted from the Ultra HD treatment. The improvement is a discernible one that elevated the experience of watching the film.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Forum Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Watching select scenes from Knowing I saw no discernible difference in the rendition of color. Specular highlights similarly appeared equal, but, I did find that the DV rendering handled low-level transitions and delineation in shadows a bit better. This was noteworthy given the film’s plethora of scenes shot in low lighting. This film looks quite good in either HDR-10 or DV, but, I did find that the latter made for the more gratifying viewing experience.

Like the video presentations the new Dolby Atmos mix improves upon the previous 5.1 channel offering, which was excellent in its own right. The track run the gamut between subtle passages of spoken dialog to dynamically charged sequences that deliver opulent surround sound. As an enthusiast, I appreciate a well-crafted sound mix that draws me into the onscreen elements, regardless of where the sounds are emanating from. Audio object placement from both above and in the listening plane at ear level, are put to effective use.

The plane and subway crashes have long since been in my list of favorite scenes to demo and this mix makes them even better, generating a correlated, and broad soundstage where effects swirl, shift and traverse the listening area. I also appreciated the effectiveness of the added dimension during sequences where subtle special cues replicated the environments contained in the scene. Overall, I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere and integration of discrete object placement. I think that this immersive sound mix complimented the source material and made for an entertaining listening experience.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Knowing Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Knowing Blu-ray
  • Audio Commentary with Director Alex Proyas
  • “Knowing All: The Making of a Futuristic Thriller” Featurette
  • “Visions of the Apocalypse” Featurette
  • NEW“5 Things Worth Knowing About Knowing” Featurette (4K Only)

Final Thoughts:

Knowing isn’t high on the lists of film critics as a creative work, but, I have always found it to be an enjoyable bit of escapism that I don’t mind revisiting. It is making its Ultra HD Blu-ray debut in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, featuring a faithful video rendering (which includes Dolby Vision HDR) that makes the most of the source material, a complimentary Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix, and middling supplemental package, that includes legacy material and a new featurette. If you’re a fan and are set up for Ultra HD Blu-ray/Dolby Atmos this is a no brainer.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems 

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