The best looking 4K Blu-ray I’ve ever seen is definitely not the movie you’re expecting

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
(Image credit: Future/Universal Pictures)

Alright, enough with this “guess the movie” nonsense. It’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The 2018 dino smash hit may not be a great film, but I can honestly say I’ve never seen a better advert for 4K Blu-rays… well, maybe apart from Blade Runner 2049.

If I was reviewing Fallen Kingdom for Tom’s Guide — not that we actually do movie reviews ‘round these parts — I’d probably give it 3.5/5. Of course, Jurassic Park is my favorite movie of all time, so I’m always going to be a little more forgiving when evaluating its sequels. Anyway, it’s a perfectly decent blockbuster with some fun set pieces and a final act that intriguingly tries to turn a Jurassic entry into a horror film for the first time. 

For the purposes of this piece, though, Fallen Kingdom could be worse than Sharknado 5: Global Swarming (yes, that’s an actual movie) and I’d still sing its praises. Why? Because it’s genuinely the best-looking movie I’ve ever seen on a 4K Blu-ray disc.

I’m the sort of dinosaur (see what I did there?), who continues to buy physical media"

By this point, you can clearly tell that I’m the sort of dinosaur (see what I did there?), who continues to buy physical media in an era where the quality of streaming has never been better. I own an Apple TV 4K (2022) and the best Netflix movies and the best Disney Plus shows look sensational on my LG G3 OLED. Then again, pretty much everything looks sensational on the G3.

This next paragraph might come across as a little contradictory, seeing as I’m about to heap so much praise on its sequel’s 4K Blu-ray, but I actually prefer the 4K version of Jurassic World I bought for my Apple TV than its 4K Blu-ray. The disc version of what’s inarguably the best Jurassic sequel is blighted with a lot of film grain, making the picture look somewhat noisy. The digital version on the other hand, produces a far cleaner image, which just goes to show how far the quality of streaming in terms of picture quality has come.

Dino-phwoar

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

(Image credit: Future/Universal Pictures)

But let’s get back to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. While its predecessor can look quite grainy at times, the transfer in its sequel is absolutely immaculate. There’s nary a sign of film grain, and on my LG G3, it looks absolutely pristine.

On that note, it’s a great movie to put the best OLED TVs through their paces. Fallen Kingdom actually has my favorite opening out of any Jurassic movie, and this near pitch black setup involving a seriously ticked off T-rex really lets you revel in the infinite black levels only OLED can provide.

There are other moments that look incredible, too. The scene where Claire and Franklin juuuuust about avoid becoming lunch for a Baryonyx looks phenomenal on an OLED TV. The contrast of the dark underground facility being briefly illuminated by luminous pools of lava is legit eyeball-arousing stuff if you’re as big of a TV nerd as I am.

Yet it’s in the daytime scenes on Isla Nublar that the movie truly shines. Primarily shot on Honolulu’s Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii — a place I was lucky enough to visit on one of the best vacations of my life — Fallen Kingdom looks amazing in the light.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The first Brachiosaurus scene in Fallen Kingdom looks incredible.  (Image credit: Future/Universal Pictures)

The scene where the Brachiosaurus slowly stomps through the streets of the now heavily decayed Jurassic World theme park looks incredible, and is one of the finest pieces of CG I can ever remember being put to film. Again, there’s not a hint of film grain, so you can make out every leathery line on the aging dino’s skin with ease.

Ironically, I don’t actually buy 4K Blu-rays all that often. My general rule of thumb is I’ll buy the disc of a movie only if I absolutely love it — although I’ll clearly make an exception for any Jurassic Park sequel. Currently, I’m scratching my head trying to think of the last 4K Blu-ray I actually bought.

I’m one of these idiots who always upgrades to the latest format. I currently own Jurassic Park on VHS, DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray"

I’ve also had some not so great experiences with the format. I’m one of these idiots who always upgrades to the latest format. That means I currently own Jurassic Park on VHS, DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray. The thing is, with certain films, it can actually be quite hard to tell the difference between the 1080p version and the 4K one.

The best example I can think of this is with Chris Nolan’s astounding Dark Knight trilogy. I own these movies on both Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray, and outside of the scenes that were filmed for IMAX, I genuinely struggle to tell the difference between them. I literally played both versions of The Dark Knight at the same time on two different OLED TVs one day — yes, I really am that much of an AV dork — and the 4K version basically looked identical to the regular Blu-ray.

If nothing else, this is absolutely the only time I’ll ever write an article where I say more nice things about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom than I do The Dark Knight.

If you want to give your eyes a real treat, though, and you own an OLED TV and a half decent 4K Blu-ray player (I actually use my PS5 as my player), Fallen Kingdom is an exceptionally good looking movie.

More from Tom's Guide

Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal. 

  • Downhuman74
    You lost me when you started talking about film grain being noise. Film grain literally IS the picture for movies shot on film (like the original Jurassic World). You never want to get rid of that.
    Reply
  • RobFisher11
    Downhuman74 said:
    You lost me when you started talking about film grain being noise. Film grain literally IS the picture for movies shot on film (like the original Jurassic World). You never want to get rid of that.
    I was thinking the same thing. If it was shot on film, you should see grain unless it was removed somehow, which smoothing process has deleterious and often unpleasant-looking effects.

    I like the way film looks. I can understand people preferring a clean, digital image (I like this, too), but it's not worth the cost to fake it.

    It's also possible the author has mistaken some other unpleasant artefact for film grain.
    Reply
  • Downhuman74
    RobFisher11 said:
    I was thinking the same thing. If it was shot on film, you should see grain unless it was removed somehow, which smoothing process has deleterious and often unpleasant-looking effects.

    I like the way film looks. I can understand people preferring a clean, digital image (I like this, too), but it's not worth the cost to fake it.

    It's also possible the author has mistaken some other unpleasant artefact for film grain.
    Definitely possible that he was seeing something else. The Jurassic World 4K isn't overly grain heavy (it was pulled from a 2.4K DI). Grain is definitely visible but very soft due to the limited resolution of the DI -- I could see the overly aggressive compression of streaming making that grain invisible. A rescan would do wonders, actually. The 4K is barely an upgrade from the standard Blu-ray. It looks dated already.
    Reply
  • Darian Starfrog
    You loose all atmosphere with 4K, I much prefer the old vhs tbh, unless it's Sci fi, then it makes sense.. the grainy texture makes everything feel alive, like even the shadows could come alive.. best example is Texas Chainsaw Massacre, when they gave that the Blu ray treatment, it's lost all its grit, it's gloomy atmosphere, 4k just makes movies look like sets, like a theatre play..I'm not here for that..it's not called movie magic for nothing..
    Reply
  • Downhuman74
    Darian Starfrog said:
    You loose all atmosphere with 4K, I much prefer the old vhs tbh, unless it's Sci fi, then it makes sense.. the grainy texture makes everything feel alive, like even the shadows could come alive.. best example is Texas Chainsaw Massacre, when they gave that the Blu ray treatment, it's lost all its grit, it's gloomy atmosphere, 4k just makes movies look like sets, like a theatre play..I'm not here for that..it's not called movie magic for nothing..
    Nothing to argue with there. It really depends on the movie. I marathon horror movies every October. And the last few years, I've taken to viewing some of the classics on VHS just for grins. And you're right. Some of those movies just hit a bit harder filtered through the analog graininess of videotape - especially TCM. I watch the 4K to take in the craft and filmmaking elements (which are actually considerable for such a low-budget affair). But on VHS, that movie feels downright filthy. Like it should come with a dose of antibiotics or something. The same with The Exorcist -- the VHS color is so washed-out in spots that it feels almost monochrome but it really adds to the grim tone of that movie in a way the blu-ray doesn't.
    Reply
  • ElZedHaitch
    I came here for a laugh and you didn't disappoint. A 4K disc is always going to outperform a streaming movie. That's a fact. You're playing a 4K movie on a PS5....get a legitimate 4K player.
    Reply