New to Blu: December 10-16

Disney included a 7.1 encode for the Region B release of Guardians of the Galaxy but not Planes 2: Fire & Rescue — although the omission may not be worth getting in a flap over, according to some sources.

“The 7.1 DTS-HD track surprisingly lacks a strong surround mix, dynamic range, or much of a surround presence,” DVD Talk said of the US release.

“For a film that’s wall-to-wall plane and helicopter sounds and long set pieces surround firefights, this is a bafflingly subdued audio presentation.”

However, Home Theatre Forum thought the opposite: “The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix is a terrific one filled with a constant array of sweeping, panning effects as the planes, trucks, and copters whoosh across and around the sound field.”

As for the image, “There’s a bit of banding on the radar, but otherwise Fire & Rescue‘s 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation boasts the kind of clear-skies flying a high-scoring animated adventure demands.

“Colours are bold and striking, with flashes of rich color, primary brilliance and deep blacks.”

Fire & Rescue opts for 2.40:1, the wider and more cinematic of today’s two standard aspect ratios, a change from its 1.78:1 predecessor …

“Once or twice, the picture doesn’t look as sharp as it should, but most of the time, it’s appropriately vibrant and agreeably detailed.”

The Expendables 3 comes with an impressive 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio.

“This action film looks mighty impressive on all fronts. This has a crystal clear image with excellent detail and clarity.”

“Digitally shot with Red Epic cameras, the film looks fantastic in high definition, with a deep and burnished palette that exploits some particularly notable amber and sienna hues.

“Close-ups offer excellent fine detail, and well above average detail even in rather dark environments.”

“The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 7.1. The sound is reference quality with just about every type of sound effect utilised. Bullets whiz by as explosions go off in every direction.

“For those with a fancier system, there’s also a Dolby Atmos mix.” (Alas, Roadshow Entertainment says the file to release with Atmos wasn’t received in time for the Australasian release.)

The second sequel’s release coincides with a box set of all three movies.

Also new are:

  • The Hundred Foot Journey
  • Palo Alto
  • Begin Again
  • Killers
  • Begin Again
  • 20,000 Days on Earth
  • Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead
  • Bad Blood
  • These Final Hours
  • Jamesy Boy
  • Imaginaerum
  • Healing
  • Devil’s Tower.

New from the small screen are The 100 (S1), Girls (S3) and Farscape (S2).

The 100: The Complete First Season boasts a crisp, proficient 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation that only falters when the sun goes down and future-Earth is bathed in faux torch-lit, digitally filmed darkness.”

“Atmosphere is the single best aspect of this mix, with numerous instances where the sound field wraps the viewer with an aural experience. All in all, this mix was far better than one might expect from a TV series.”

Farscape arrives on Blu-ray framed at 1.33.1 fullframe in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. As the story goes, the 35mm film elements on which the series was originally shot have been lost and the best remaining source material are PAL master tapes.

“These tapes were upconverted and used for the previous Blu-ray release and appear to have been used for this 15th Anniversary edition as well. As such, detail can’t and doesn’t compete with true HD quality, but it looks better than DVD.”

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4 Responses to “New to Blu: December 10-16”

  1. I have the US version release of Planes 2 Fire and Rescue but haven’t watched it yet. The review of this movie on the website scores the audio 4.5 out of 5.

  2. The local release of Expendables 3 does not come with a 7.1 soundtrack. It only comes with a DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack.

  3. Thanks, Mark. Just another example of a BD spec that all too often local distributors deem to be expendable.

  4. You are right, Philip. I can’t understand why so many local releases come with inferior audio when compared to the UK and US. Malificent was the worst example as it only came with a DTS soundtrack (DVD quality).

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