New to Blu: February 2-8 (Movies)

If you give a hoot about Blu-ray 3D, snap up Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.

Blu-ray.com rated it 4.5/5 for HD video and 5/5 for its audio: “The picture dazzles right out of the gate as viewers are flown around the sky and past various titles that hover in space, each one perfectly realised in three dimensions and the viewer feeling like he or she is zipping around the clouds and through the lettering. Depth is fantastic throughout.”

High-Def Digest was even more impressed, scoring the video 5/5: “It’s one of those amazing, pick-your-jaw-up-off-the-floor flawless presentations that only comes around once in a while (and mostly in conjunction with a direct-from-the-digital source computer animated movie).

“Still, we can recount the basics: absolute clarity, dynamic amount of detail, colours that pop (again: look at those streaks of blue paint on the echidna – love it!) and deep, dark blacks. Not a spot of grain or anything else even remotely filmic for that matter, but still deep and textured and not too phony. There aren’t any technical glitches to speak of, either.”

The other major new release, the odd-couple cops action-comedy, The Other Guys, also ranked highly with some critics for its HD specs — “image clarity, sharpness, depth and detail all garner high marks”  (The Cinema Laser); “a strong presentation” (DVD Movie Guide) – but not others: “There’s more grain than there should be, and colours aren’t consistently alive and thriving as Blu-ray can deliver. Sure, the transfer is a notch above standard definition, but with a $100 million budget, I anticipated more” (DVDTown).

The week’s other newcomers range from horror (2003 re-make of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, direct-to-video Frozen) to animation (special editions of the original Fantasia and Fantasia 2000) to classical (Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 4/Ruckert-Lieder, Jurowski conducts Strauss & Ravel).

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2 Responses to “New to Blu: February 2-8 (Movies)”

  1. Disappointing that Fantasia & Fantasia 2000 are being released individually here in NZ – they come together as a single combo-pack in the States. Region-free. Think I might just have to order it from Amazon.

  2. I bought Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 from Amazon UK a few months ago, and can attest to the quality of the discs. The animation is simply beautiful and striking. The long-standing censorship of the title is still an issue, but we’re never going to get an uncensored Fantasia, and they’ve done a good job in removing the difficult characters from the full image frame, rather than just awkwardly zooming in on the parts on the screen that don’t have those characters. I’m also disappointed they’ve continued to remove all of Deems Taylor’s voice in the in-between segments, replacing his voice with a generic 1940s voice just so that they can have consistency for the few seconds of additional footage they dropped in to create the roadshow version. I’m also annoyed that all the earlier special features are only available by BD-Live, rather than being on the disc. But those minor quibbles aside, the film itself looks and sounds phenomenal.
    Fantasia 2000 is also worth a purchase, if only for Destino, this great short film that’s presented as a special feature. It’s a project that was originally developed as a collaboration between Disney and Salvador Dali, but only a couple of seconds were ever animated, until Disney Animation decided to make the film about five years ago. It doesn’t have a plot in the conventional sense, but the Dali-esque images are incredible to watch, especially in HD. There’s also a very good one-hour documentary about Disney and Dali’s collaboration together that I really enjoyed.

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