Are you ready to upgrade your home entertainment system or soundbar? Or fancy streaming your favourite shows in cinema-like sound? You’ll need Dolby Atmos for that.
Today’s televisions are equipped with a technology that was once reserved for only cinemas and very high-end, very expensive headphones. That’s not the case anymore. Dolby Atmos makes sounds more natural by eliminating noise barriers that once existed with home theatre systems. And thanks to this new tech, some of your favourite movies can be experienced all a new.
Dolby Atmos explained
If you’re in the market for a new TV or already own a newer one, chances are it comes equipped with Dolby Atmos technology. Dolby Atmos is cutting-edge tech from Dolby Laboratories that takes traditional surround sound systems to the next level by incorporating additional height channels. This feature allows you to experience sound as three-dimensional objects with no positioning limitations. In other words, think of Dolby Atmos as 3D audio.
To enjoy Dolby Atmos in your own home, you need to have a television compatible with Atmos technology. If you have that, then there’s no shortage of wireless speakers designed to work with it. Beyond that, you simply need some movies to watch.
Can I stream in Dolby Atmos?
All the big players in the streaming market can accommodate for Dolby Atmos. On Netflix, a plan that supports streaming in Ultra HD will also work for Dolby Atmos, while Amazon Prime Video offers Dolby Atmos access with a standard subscription. Amazon Prime Video is also producing more of its own films and TV series for Dolby Vision and Atmos. Dolby Atmos is available on Disney+ over a broad range of titles, from cherished classics to brand new content. Finally, all you need for Apple TV+ is a subscription and a device enabled with Dolby Atmos.
A Quiet Place (2018)
A Quiet Place shouldn’t sound like an ideal Dolby Atmos move, but this science fiction horror often pushes Atmos to its limits. Directed by John Krasinski, who also stars with his real-life wife, Emily Blunt, the plot revolves around a family who must remain silent to survive in a world where strange creatures are attracted to sound and hunt accordingly.
An excellent opportunity to experience the Dolby Atmos technology is during the appearance of the mysterious creatures on screen. No spoilers here, but the final fireworks scene will pretty much shake your living room.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Widely considered one of the greatest movies of all time, Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam epic Apocalypse Now is a magnum opus of filmmaking. war film that takes place in Vietnam and is directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola. Starring Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, and Marlon Brando, the film only won two Academy Awards. Thankfully, for this list, one of them was the award for Best Sound.
To fully experience the film with Dolby Atmos, we’d recommend purchasing the Apocalypse Now Final Cut 4K UHD. This six-DVD set was released celebrating its 40th anniversary and features remixed Dolby Atmos sounds for an even more immersive experience.
Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)
After more than twenty years since the original trilogy hit the cinemas, the Lord of the Rings films remain one of the greatest works of cinema we’ve ever seen. That’s down to many a range of elements. The source material ain’t bad to begin with, but throw in some visual effects that still hold up to today’s standards and some of the most epic battle scenes ever filmed, and you’ve got arguably the best trilogy of all time. Another major part of its success is down to its rapturous score and sound mixing, and the only thing that could make it more anthemic is when it’s in Dolby Atmos.
It’s probably the closest you can get to being a Rider of Rohan without leaving the sofa. Thanks to Dolby Atmos, as the Nazgûl’s fly overhead on the screen, you’ll be forgiven for thinking for a split second they’re in the room with you. In short, experiencing LOTR in Dolby Atmos is the best way to do it outside of a cinema.
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Everything about Blade Runner 2049, a sequel to the 1982 classic, is meant to be enjoyed to the max. But given that it was released in 2017, catching it in the cinema is an elusive task, so Dolby Atmos is the next best thing. The movie features fantastic audio mixing and cues, from the opening sequence to the final credits.
The sounds in the film are genuinely remarkable. Ships whirr above your head, and the sound of its futuristic cityscapes teeming with richness and detail. The Hans Zimmer composed score is also perfect, a soundtrack that’s as brooding as it is littered with moments of ambience and bliss.
Another Marvel Comics character that came to life at the cinema, Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds in the title role alongside Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, and Gina Carano. The action-packed nature of Deadpool makes it a perfect fit for Dolby Atmos. One scene that stands out is the highway fight sequence, where the action is turned up to 11 thanks to some very impressive sound editing. Deadpool‘s very sweary dialogue is only made better in Dolby Atmos, too.
Dune: Part One (2021)
Another science fiction epic, Dune: Part One originated with the 1965 Frank Herbert novel by the same name, and stars Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, and Josh Brolin. The film, available with Dolby Atmos across various platforms, presents an impressive blend of breathtaking visuals and exceptional music. The latter is produced by the acclaimed composer Hans Zimmer.
For the ultimate Dolby Atmos experience, watch the thrilling sandstorm scene featuring monstrous noises, desert gusts, and mystical vocals. It won six Academy Awards, including Best Sound, Best Original Score, and Best Visual Effects.
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in this nail-biting thriller that follows two American astronauts stranded in space. Primarily set immediately above the Earth in space, the Alfonso Cuarón directed film makes terrific use of sound (and silence) throughout. Its brilliance is why the film won seven Academy Awards, including those for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score, and Best Visual Effects.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road is an award-winning post-apocalyptic film that features a captivating soundtrack and takes place in a barren desert landscape. This fast-paced and frenetic madness of a film features a thrilling combination of car and engine sounds, blended with rock music score that pulls no punches.
Ready Player One (2018)
Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One is based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel of the same name. In this futuristic dystopia, life on Earth has become so awful that citizens find solace in a virtual world populated by…pretty much every intellectual property that can be crammed into a 140 minute run time.
For the ultimate Dolby Atmos exerience, focus on the action scenes in the film, particularly the many battles and car chases which add an extra special touch to this 80s nostalgia movie.
For something completely different, consider Roma. Another Alfonso Cuarón film, Roma, revolves around social and political turmoil in 1960s and 1970s Mexico City. Considered both intimate and epic, the film includes stunning cinematography that’s shot only in black and white.
The film Roma features outstanding performances by Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira, and while it’s a far cry from Gravity, its anthemic score is particularly intense and memorable. For the full experience, make sure to watch it through the Roma (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray].
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Twenty-five years after its release, Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan still packs an emotional punch. The World War II-based drama is even more impactful thanks to its 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release, which features a Dolby Atmos soundtrack for the first time.
Undoubtedly, the D-Day invasion scene is the best scene to experience Dolby Atmos. Featuring a terrifying soundscape of rapid gunfire and explosions, the scene pops when the sound is coming from all directions.
Saving Private Ryan stars an incredible cast that includes Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward, Burns, and Tom Sizemore, among others. It also won numerous Academy Awards, including Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Sound, and Best Cinematography.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse changed the world of animation upon its original release in 2018. The bright, comic book-esque animation style made the awe-inspiring set pieces pop in beautiful, fluorescent colour. With such a distinctive visual identity, it’s easy to overlook the sound design and amazing soundtrack that really makes the film what it is. The film runs to a beat of hip-hop, funk, and electronic music, interspersed with all the web swinging antics one would come to expect in a Spider-Man epic.
The Batman (2022)
2022’s The Batman is a reboot of the famous film franchise and stars Robert Pattinson in the title role, and also features Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell. While The Batman‘s star power is impressive, the film has a Dolby Atmos soundtrack that completely immerses you in the action. It’s like being in the middle of the action scenes, almost as if you’re fighting through the Gotham City underworld yourself. During these scenes is where Dolby Atmos truly comes alive.
Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
Like its predecessor, Top Gun: Maverick is known for its stunning overhead scenes and a fantastic soundtrack that draws from 80s pop music and epic ballads. In this sequel, Tom Cruise is tasked with training a new group of fighter pilots for a dangerous mission. But who watches Top Gun for the plot? As long as we see and hear fighter jets zooming across the sky, nail biting dog fights and a few snappy one liners, we don’t really care if the film makes little sense.
The sound design for Top Gun: Maverick was helmed by Al Nelson, who’s probably most famous for Jurassic Park. While there’s not a T-Rex roar to be found, Top Gun: Maverick is a stunning experience for all the senses.
One of the most scary movies on this list is Us, an American psychological horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele. The story depicts a family enjoying a beach vacation, but are soon pursued and tormented by their lookalikes. Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker, Dolby Atmos turns Us from a good movie, to a great one. When paired with the film’s incredible visuals, the result is creepy and atmospheric horror that broods with tension over its two hour run time.
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