Well, I now have 14 Blu-ray movies. A variety of current and past releases. Since getting my PS3, and purchasaing movies on Blu-ray, it has become apparent that some movies definitely benefit from the blu-ray treatment, while others gain nothing, or in a few cases, lose something.
So let’s take a movie by movie review of what I’ve got so far…
The Fifth Element: This one should be the poster child for Blu-Ray. I saw this in the theatres when it came out. I bought it on DVD. I got it on Blu-Ray for Christmas. As my brother said, “It looks better on Blu-Ray than it did in the theatre.” And I have to agree. Pop this one in on a Blu-Ray player, with a surround sound system, on a good sized HDTV, and you will see what we mean. The effects are supremely sharp, and some of the flight scenes will induce a sense of motion sickness if you’re prone to it. This is a must have for anyone with a Blu-Ray player and HDTV.
Blazing Saddles: This Mel Brooks classic is one of those movies that just doesn’t get much from being on Blu-Ray. Perhpas in part because the original print is not all that, the video portion isn’t any sharper or more defined. The sound is improved over standard DVD though, but this is not a rush out and get movie for Blu-Ray. The one aspect worth having is the specials, including the pilot episode of the still born TV series.
Blade Runner (5 disc collection): This is another candidate for being a Blu-Ray poster child. Ridley Scott’s film-noir SciFi masterpiece does benefit from being on Blu-Ray, especially his “final cut” version. The earlier prints don’t gain all that much, from the theatrical version to the later edits, but are improved over the DVD versions, and light years over the now ancient VHS version. The Final Cut is truly impressive, as Ridley Scott went back over the movie once again, and enhanced not only the print quality, but the effects, and the sound has been reworked. No self respecting Blu-Ray owner should be with out this one.
Kingdom of Heaven: Another entry from Ridley Scott. While not on a par with Blade Runner (or Alien), this is a solid movie, and does gain from being on Blu-Ray. Due to the movie having a lot of dark settings, a good amount of detail is lost on standard format. The Blu-Ray format, combined with an HDTV, brings out all the glorious details of this historical drama. Not one for the squeamish, the blood spatter in the fight scenes is very graphic, it’s amazing exactly how much detail is captured. If you add in surround sound, you get a very immersive experience.
Justice League: The New Frontier: Animated features, especially those done in “traditional,” that is non-cgi animation, could be problematic on Blu-Ray. Older titles, just about anything not made since 2000, may actually “degrade” in Blu-Ray, as the lack of detail in the animation will show more readily in this format. That said, new releases like New Frontier, done with current animation techniques lose nothing. The real benefit to be had here will be in the Blu-Ray disc’s increased capacity, which can be filled up with all sorts of special features.
30 Days of Night: Much like “Kingdom of Heaven,” it’s all about the details. As this movie is very dark, standard definition DVD’s just can’t bring out all the details that abound in this one. This was a very refreshing vampire movie, where the vampires are monsters, and not some emo-Eurotrash. Blu-Ray brings out the monstrous appearances of the vampires, and the setting details are amazing. As ana example, look at the details of the attic where the survivors hide.
Spiderman 3: This was the first movie we got on Blu-Ray. It was simply incredible, and hooked me on the Blu-Ray format. Just the opening credits alone on this one are worth watching in Blu-Ray. The effects are definitely sharper in Blu-Ray, from the Sandman’s transformation to the Venom suit. A definite must buy for Blu-Ray owners.
Pirates of the Carribean 3: At World’s End: Just about any current release movie with lots of CGI effects greatly benefit on Blu-Ray. Pirates is no different. Every thing is sharper, with all the details coming through. This really shines through in scenes where the ambient lighting is dark, like caves and cabins. If you like this series, then this should be on your get list, along with the first two.
The Brother’s Grimm: We got this one on a whim, having not previously seen it. Over all it’s not bad, and has a lot that gets enhanced from being on Blu-Ray. This one has a lot of CGI special effects, that come through in very impressive fashion in HD format. If you want to see what modern CGI effects can achieve, and not have to pay too close attention to the movie, then this is a good candidate. If you can get it for $20 or less, it’s worth while.
Superman-The Movie: I thought this one would be better on Blu-ray than on standard defintion. I was wrong. If anything, being on Blu-Ray makes this one seem dated. It’s still a good movie, but the effects look lesser with enhanced resolution. Fans are better served by watching the standard DVD version on an upconverting DVD player.
Goodfellas: Really, there wasn’t much to be enhanced here. Yet somehow, the over all effect is improved. I can’t put any specifics as to why though. Yes, the picture is sharper, the sound is improved, but it doesn’t show through. Not like the movies with special effects. Comparing this to the regular DVD edition, and you can see improvement, moticable improvement. But this is not a showcase title. Even so, worth getting if you like it. You will not be disappointed.
The Departed: This is one of the best movies I have seen in a very long while. It’s Scorcese’s best since perhaps “Taxi Driver.” Again, it’s in the details where Blu-Ray improves things. All the little things that get lost in lesser formats are easily seen in Blu-Ray, from Matt Damon’s aprtment to the tenements, to Jack Nicholson’s hide outs. While the movie itself blew me away, watching this in Blu-Ray really blew me away.
Dragonball Z-Broly: I haven’t watched this one. But my wife and duaghter have. They were suitably impressed with it over standard DVD, even in upconvert players. From what I’ve been told, the biggest thing was getting used to the surround sound format, not present on the standard DVD releases. The other advantage here is that both movies fit on 1 disc, as opposed to two regular DVDs.
Black Hawk Down: Continuing with my mini Ridley Scott film fest (by accident I assure you), comes a more recent entry. Based on the actual events that happened in Somalia, this one is a must see IMO. The cast is terrific (Josh Hartnett, Orlando Bloom, Tom Sizemore, Ewan Macgreggor), the sets spectacular, the cinematography superb, sound, effects, it all adds up. Blu-Ray really brings it all together in a way that surpasses the standard DVD release. Pop this one in, turn on the surround sound, and turn off the lights. It will be one heck of a ride.
I’m now looking forward to seeing several other things on Blu-Ray. The Star Wars movies top the list of course. Star Trek is not far behind, more so with the reworked special effects on the original series, and the movies. I’d love see to the old Disney SciFi film “The Black Hole” on Blu-Ray. I have it on regular DVD, and it does not look dated at all. A reork of it for Blu-Ray would be awesome. Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy should also be impressive in Blu-Ray. The wealth of details to be seen should become outstanding on Blu-ray. Recent releases such as “Iron Man” are also going to be “must haves” for me on Blu-Ray.