31 Best Movies For Surround Sound

Gravity

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in this sci-fi drama of two astronauts stranded in space. The audio emphasizes the sheer terror and danger of being trapped in such an environment because while there’s plenty of room in space, there’s ultimately nowhere to go.

Like Adrift, Gravity is excellent at capturing the sense of isolation when you’re far from any reasonable hope of rescue. It’s visually stunning, too, and worth watching on the largest screen you can get.

Hellboy (2004)

Hellboy follows the story of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, a secret organization dedicated to fighting unnatural and otherworldly threats. A key player in their efforts is Hellboy, a literal demon prince of Hell who was summoned by the Nazis during World War II but raised by a kind professor after a rescue.

If that all sounds like the makings of a fun action flick, then you’re in the right place. The sound design here is excellent, adding weight to every blow and bullet that flies onscreen. The story has a 2019 reboot, but the older 2004 version is more enjoyable overall.

Inception

Another film by Christopher Nolan, Inception, stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a thief who uses dream-sharing technology to steal business secrets. However, when he’s given a job to redeem himself by planting an idea in someone’s mind, things start to go troublingly wrong as his past and fears start coming back to bite him.

Inception is a fan-favorite for its creative premise and complex, shifting world that takes a deep look into the subconscious. The sound design is just as important as the visuals, though, driving home its key thoughts about memory, dreams, and reality. The whoosh of a spinning top is particularly important, but you’ll have to watch the movie if you want to know why.

Interstellar

Christopher Nolan just doesn’t quit when it comes to amazing sound design. This 2014 film follows a group of astronauts as they’re sent out to try and ensure humanity’s survival in the face of disasters. Hans Zimmer contributed to the score here, driving home the dangerous and dark world the characters find themselves in.

Interstellar is also scientifically notable. Nolan’s team created entire CGI software sets to work with scientific equations and even provided new insights into topics like gravitational lensing. Ultimately, it took more than eight hundred terabytes of processing information for some of the visuals in the movie.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Set in a post-apocalyptic disaster zone, Fury Road continues the story of former cop and current drifter Max as he makes his way through Australia, haunted by the family and friends he failed to save in the past. He’s soon captured by a tribe called the War Boys, who intend to use him as a rare and valuable blood donor for one of their own.

However, Max soon finds that a few of the women who can still have children have escaped and ends up entangled in a violent world where disaster remains only a few moments away. The sound direction adds to all of the wild wasteland's crashes, chaos, and terror, resulting in one of the most thrilling films released yet.

Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World

Set shortly into the 1800s, with Napoleon at war, Master and Commander tells the story of a British ship sent to catch a French vessel near South America. The aggressive captain and his friend, the ship’s surgeon, face a range of challenges as they try to complete their mission in time to make an impact on the war.

The audio is what makes the real difference for this film, as it features no prepackaged or stock sounds. From rain and wind to cannon fire and weapons clashing, Richard King’s skill is at the forefront and makes for a gripping, immersive experience like few others.

Miami Vice (2006)

Based on an older TV drama, Miami Vice follows a team of police investigators as they try to deal with drugs being trafficked into the southern parts of Florida. However, protagonist Ricardo Tubbs finds himself awkwardly entangled with the wife of one of the drug traffickers, and their identities and emotions soon begin to escalate out of control.

The bass sounds are particularly good in this movie, with deep noises and pops rippling through a room when you have at least a 5.1 audio setup. The Blu-ray version of this movie is what proper audio in a movie sounds like, and the tense emotions just amplify things even more.

Real Steel

Real Steel is set in the near future, featuring Hugh Jackman in the leading role at a time when robots have entirely taken over the sport of boxing. Although the film features mechanical competitors, it’s also a nostalgic look at humanity and what it means to find a partner in a sport. The audio design helps emphasize every hit in every match.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Resident Evil: Apocalypse doesn’t have the best plot in films, and it’s hard to recommend on those grounds. However, its sound design is shockingly on-point, with a pulsing soundtrack and tense explosions that lend extra weight to the movie’s horror and action sequences. This is a movie to watch for the experience, not the story, so bring some popcorn.

RoboCop (2014)

The 2014 remake retains the story of Alex Murphy, a husband and police officer who’s injured in the course of his duty and rebuilt into a mechanical protector. However, OmniCorp’s push to advance robotics and (more importantly) increase profits has overlooked the man inside the machine, and even the subtle sounds are brought to life in each scene.

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One Comment

  1. I would add the 2009 BD of AKIRA. AFAIK it’s one of the few BDs with the soundtrack mixed in 24-bit/192khz 5.1 audio. A visual, sonic, and technical marvel all around.

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