I have a lot of friends that ask me about the deal with Blu-Ray and whether it is worth switching over formats or is it all a big money grab by the companies? Well let’s get one thing strait IT’S ALL A MONEY GRAB. But saying that, if you are a serious film enthusiast and are in search for the best looking, highest quality video media available then Blu-Ray is probably worth investing in starting now with new release movies or old stuff you’ve wanted to own. I’ve viewed over 400 Blu-Rays at this point and they are all superior quality to any DVD prints.
You still must be choosy as a consumer. Some studios have released Blu-Rays with 5 year old HD masters ( Ridley Scott’ s Gladiator is a serious offender in this category. it looks terrible and unlike the theater viewing of the film. Where the visuals were much more detailed) HD mastering has improved so much in the last 5 years. which is why companies are already “double dipping” ( putting out an early cheaper transferred version of a film with no extras for a low price, then a few years later releasing a upgraded new transferred extra special edition and putting a $30 price tag on it. Usually coinciding with release of a remake or sequel in the theater)
The 15 Blu-Ray Discs on this list are all of superior quality and far surpass the view experience of any DVD versions or old theater prints (I’ve seen almost all of these multiple times on 35mm prints at midnight shows and I was blown away by the visual quality of the discs versus those viewings) . If you lucky enough you might catch a viewing of these on a new printed digitally cleaned 35mm or 70mm print, but that is probably unlikely unless you like in L.A. Or New York. Each Blu-Ray after viewing I had to immediately play again to soak up the viewing ecstasy of seeing some of my favorite fiction and non-fiction jump off the screen as if I was seeing it for the first time. I WAS SOLD.
- 15. SIN CITY:Special Edition (Director Robert Rodriguez) 2005- Make sure you get the one with the extended scenes, it has both the theater and separate cut stories. as well as all the extras. For $15 it’s well worth another viewing on HD. The fact that it was shot on HD cameras against green screens, makes it a great candidate to show of the full range of depth in the black and white levels on your HDTV. For those of us who got the point and ideas that the movie embodied and loved the source material from once it came we will all be anticipating a sequel delving farther into Frank Miller’s twisted noir universe, if it ever gets made.
- 14. THE FOUNTAIN (Director Darren Aronofsky) 2006- Whatever you think about the love story aspect of the film. Aronofsky brings an engaging film to the screen even if you just watch it for the visual experience, everyone will take away something different from this (somewhat like watching a Kubrick film, in the way that “the experience is the film” not just the ridged confines of the traditional story telling and expectation). With the help of Director of Photography Matthew Libatique’s deep and rich cinematography Aronofsky brings another engaging Film to the screen with great performances, an epic love story and visuals that show much more maturity and understanding than most directors 15 years his elder. The trick to really enjoying this movie is don’t go into it with a ridged sense of expecting strait reality. There is heavy use of visual metaphor and dramatic character portrayal. All the talent in the film understands the fine line they are walking and stay away from the traditional pit falls that would make this a typical over played mellow drama. The visuals on the Blu-Ray pop of the screen with great clarity showing off super detailed wardrobe and art direction as it should be seen. Even though it did very poorly at the box office, in time The Fountain will be looked upon as a Film Classic. I promise you
- 13-WATCHMEN:ULTIMATE EDITION (Director Zack Snyder) 2009- This is a endless debate on comic/film comparison. I’ve been a huge fan of the trade issue of Watchmen for many years now and realized that the movie is the best movie version we could have ever gotten under a studio system. I still can’t believe Snyder got $150 million to do an alternate universe, cold war political drama, superhero deconstruction film. If you are going to view the Blu Ray you must view the 215 min version with the Black Freighter Animation put back in among other scene inserted and changed around. The original Nite owl mugging by a topknot gang is worth the price of admission for fans of the source material alone. The visuals and audio mix are top notch on the Blu-Ray, as are the special features. Even though we didn’t get the 15 hours trilogy version all die hard fan were wishing for, just thanks the powers that be that someone like Brett Ratner didn’t get a go at it. I think Zack Snyder did a great job considering the budget and scope he was aloud to work with.
The next part will be up soon. Stay Tuned