New to Blu: December 2 – 8

It’s a fantastic week for 4K-UHD releases, with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies landing on the format, along with The New Mutants and the original Home Alone.

There’s also plenty on offer for Blu-ray buyers, ranging from thrillers Unhinged and Force of Nature to a re-issue of Sid & Nancy, the first two seasons of Yellowstone and a Lonesome Dove collection.

Fans of one of Peter Jackson’s heroes, special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, can buy a seven-disc collection of his movies on Blu-ray that teems with extras.

Critics have been unanimous in their praise of the Middle Earth trilogies’ 4K upgrades.

“Does this new 4K remaster really make that big of a difference? Is the image and sound really improved over the previous Blu-ray release? The answer to that is: HELL yes,”  Bill Hunt said.

I’ve been reviewing Blu-ray and DVD quality professionally now for twenty-three years on The Digital Bits, and 4K Ultra HD quality for the last four of those years. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 4K remaster that made quite this much of a difference over a previous Blu-ray release before.

The catch, of course, is these trilogies don’t have any of the extras on the previous Blu-ray editions. They include the theatrical and extended cuts but if you want all the supplements, you’ll have to wait for the deluxe 20th anniversary box sets due next year.

Home Alone’s 4K-UHD spruce-up offers “a notable overall visual improvement over the previous Blu-ray release,” High-Def Digest said while hailed it as “a natural, filmic, picture-perfect UHD that will assuredly delight fans”.

“Stylistically speaking, The New Mutants isn’t the type of film that is going to dazzle with its use of visual dynamism or vivid colour,” AVS Forum said.

“There is no question that its Ultra HD presentation appears faithful and makes for a distinct improvement when compared to the 1080p Blu-ray rendering.”

“The 4K UHD presentation is pretty great, with a video transfer that truly shines and a small number of extras to round it all out,” WhySoBlu said.

“Each episode of Yellowstone has been shot digitally on Arri Alexa cameras, and as television shows go, this one looks pretty good, with lots of colour and detail and very little in the way of glitches,” Hi-Def Digest said.

“The settings look fantastic, and everything is sharp and rich in natural colours and blacks be it day or night scenes,” Inside Pulse said.

“The audio transfer is just as strong, with great dialogue coming through clearly alongside the sound effects, which can be packed at times with action sequences or just the natural sounds on a ranch.”

Also new are Better Call Saul: The Complete Fifth SeasonTaken: The Complete SeriesThe Expanse: Seasons 1-3, Timeless: The Complete Series and a re-issue of The World at War that restores the original 4:3 aspect ratio.

New on the anime front are:

  • Human Lost
  • Ride Your Wave
  • Charlotte:The Complete Series
  • Dragon Ball Super: Complete Collection
  • Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Complete Epic
  • Radiant: Season 2, Part 1
  • Ensemble Starts: Part 1
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