2012 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review

2012, Sony Pictures, Ultra HD Blu-ray & All-Region BD, £20

Movie: Unlike last year, 2012 was actually rather uneventful, unless you count the London Olympics. But thanks to dodgy interpretations of the ancient Mayan calendar, some people believed 2012 would herald a world-ending cataclysm. In 2009, master of filmic disaster Roland Emmerich was more than happy to jump 
on the doomsayer’s bandwagon, producing this ridiculous but fun movie.

A talented cast helps sell the bonkers premise, which requires disbelief to be willingly cancelled rather than simply suspended. But it’s the destruction that’s the real star of the film, and whether it’s a super volcano erupting in Yellowstone, Los Angeles being levelled by a monstrous earthquake or a mega-tsunami wiping out Washington D.C., the action is always dialled up 
to 11 on the Richter Scale.
Movie rating: 3.5/5

Picture: The film was primarily shot in Super 35 (some scenes used 1080p digital cameras), and was finished as a 2K DI due to the effects-heavy nature 
of the production. As a result there’s not much uptick in resolution when comparing the 4K disc to the included Blu-ray, although there’s plenty of fine detail in the close-ups. Presented in 2.40:1, the upscaled image not only benefits from an increased bit-rate, but also a pristine and artefact-free transfer.

Real improvements stem from the 10-bit data and HDR10, affording colours a wider palette and greater nuance. The glorious yellows, reds and oranges that accompany the super volcano are eye-popping, and the lava’s likely to burn your carpet thanks to the increased peak brightness. The benefits are also evident in terms of contrast, with inky blacks and plenty of detail as a plane flies along the shadowy canyons created by the San Andreas fault.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: While the improvements in image fidelity are limited due to the nature of the original production, the same is definitely not true when it comes to 
the audio. Sony's new Atmos soundtrack delivers earth-shattering sonics that are sure to please object-based obsessives. The force of the super volcano’s cloud hits with a visceral impact, utilising every channel for full spatial affect.

Fans of overhead action will also be delighted 
by the San Andreas earthquake sequence, with a light aircraft weaving between debris and dodging buildings falling from above. This updated mix also retains all the original LFE energy, frequently dipping below 20Hz. The eruption of Yellowstone, and the low-end rumble that accompanies the mega-tsunami, are genuinely unnerving. But it's a well-balanced track too, with dialogue always clear 
and solid fidelity.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: 2012's UHD disc includes two new extras: 
a Discovery Channel documentary about the 2012 prophecies that hasn’t aged well in retrospect; and 
a set of six theatrical trailers. The original 1080p platter includes a commentary track with Emmerich and co-writer Harald Kloser, a picture-in-picture feature, and an alternate ending. A second Blu-ray boasts deleted scenes and a host of Making of... featurettes that round out a solid extras package.
Extras rating: 4.5/5


We say: It’s utter nonsense, but HDR gives Roland Emmericah's well-executed action greater nuance, and the Atmos sonics hit like a pyroclastic cloud.

2012, Sony Pictures, Ultra HD Blu-ray & All-Region BD, £20