Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) | 4K Blu-ray Review


A new remaster for this spy drama makes its way to the premium format. But that older BR release really wasn’t all that bad, so let’s see how this one stacks up and if its worth the extra money to upgrade.


If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Buy it here!

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 4K Blu-ray cover art

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-100)
Blu-ray (BD-50)
Released By:Kino Lorber
Release Date:February 22nd, 2022
Video Format / Codec:4K: H.265 (HEVC)
BR: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Resolution:4K: Native 4K, 2160/24p
BR: Full HD, 1080/24p
Digital Intermediate (DI):4K (from digital source master)
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):Dolby Vision (FEL), HDR10
Aspect Ratio:2.39:1
Audio Format(s):English (4K/BR):: 
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Subtitles:English SDH
Packaging:Dual-disc snapcase with slipcover*

*Slipcover may be limited to initial pressings
Region Coding:4K: Region-free
BR: Region A (locked)

Video Review:

Diving into the video on this release, it’s a very solid transfer and encode. The first that jumps out is the grain structure. This movie has a very heavy layer of grain as part of the aesthetic of the film, and the look and quality of the grain is very good. There were little signs of blotching, smearing or otherwise distracting aspects of the grain, unless you only like that digital clean look in which case you may not be as pleased at its presence.

Underlying that grain is a nicely presented picture with fine details, textures and refinement which does supersede the older Universal release, but its not by much. That’s not a big knock on this Ultra HD presentation, but more a testament to the quality of that 10 year old Blu-ray. That said, it does look better in almost every way, just not night and day in terms of the difference. The pore structures on closeup look a bit sharper, hair looks more defined yet not unnatural, clothing textures all present with more definition and environment details, such as the tile floors in the opening sequence of the film looks more lifelike and tactile while revealing a sharper look at the patterning. That said, there were intermittent areas of softness, and s

On the color front, this is not an overly colorful film, taking place under relatively dreary weather and dimly lit interiors, back in the 1970s where the myriad of browns were abundant. Though this muted color palette does not give colors a chance to leap off the screen, each color presented does present with a bit more richness that results in a bit more depth and nuance on close examination. That said if casually watching it likely will not jump out at you, but it is superior. The Dolby Vision enabled disc also does handle whites, blacks, shadows and highlights better than the older Blu-ray with black getting deeper, whites looking crisp and shadows being dark yet detailed. Much like the presentation of the colors on the wider gamut, the dynamic range’s impact is subtle and nuanced but again still exceeding the older transfer in every category. And similarly to the detail side of things, its not perfect. We did lose a bit of detail in the shadows and overall the impact of the wider range felt a bit subdued.

The included Blu-ray does come from this same transfer and it’s also very good. Due to its lack of the wider color gamut and dynamic range that make the higher resolution disc a noticeable improvement over the older disc, I would say you would be hard pressed to find a whole lot here that would make me say this Blu-ray is noticeably better. It is, just not in a meaningful way.

Video Score (4K): 4.2 / 5 (Very Good)

Video Score (BR): 4.2 / 5 (Very Good)



Comparisons

Audio Review:

The included mixes onboard both discs are excellent for their respective layouts. The 5.1 mix here is truly a well mixed and reproduced audio presentation that suits this film very well. The ambiance created in the larger soundscape creates a much more engaging experience for the listener and demonstrates well the capabilities of the surround format. The dialog heavy movie comes through clean and clear through the front stage and the bass and LFE effects are present creating a fullness to the sound and some impact when called for, but nothing demo worthy. The included 2.0 mix is also good, but the benefits of the surround format for this movie result in the 6-channel track getting the pick from me.

For those who may upmix, this does upmix well enough, but I don’t think you are gaining a ton over the native experience in the process. The ambiance created does not require a ton of overhead of discrete moving objects to come across and deliver on its purpose, but there certainly were not noticeable issues if you prefer to maximize your systems speaker layout.

Audio Score (4K/BR): 4.4 / 5 (Very Good)

Special Features and Packaging:

Kino licensed everything that already existed from Universal for this release, nothing more, nothing less. What was there was good and enjoyable but other than the audio commentary I did not find much of it deep enough to want to revisit in the future. I understand Kino’s current model, but it would be nice to have gotten at least something new in this package.

For packaging, this is pretty standard issue Kino Lorber, and I am getting a little tired of saying that in my Kino Lorber reviews. It’s standard movie art on the slipcover and case and everything else is the well tried Kino Lorber aesthetic. It’s certainly not bad, but if you are looking for something extra to show off on your collection, this release is definitely not it.

Features Score: 3.0 / 5 (Average)

Buy/Upgrade-worthiness:

In general this is a solid release and well worth picking up for a fan of the movie who may not own the existing Blu-ray as this is the superior version. But I’m not sure it’s so much better that it is worth upgrading if you already own that disc, at least not on the current pricing. I’d probably hold off for a sale on this one, but if you find it down in that $15 range or under, then it’s worth picking up.

Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: YES*, but only at a lower price.

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Buy it here!

Summary and Overall Scores:

This is overall a very solid release and certainly not one I regret picking up, but I don’t think this is a world ahead of the older Blu-ray. That said, it is still better so if the circumstances align this does belong on a fan or collector’s shelf.

Experience Score**: 4.0 / 5  (Good)

** Experience score does not take into account the quality of the film itself, just the technical presentation, packaging and included features.

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