New to Blu: February 8-14 > Movies

The Blu-ray 3D of Transformers: Dark of the Moon eclipses the rest of this week’s new releases.

While it’s a lesser movie than The Help, 13 Assassins or Submarine, it’s meant to be one of the best 3D HD transfers yet.

Michael Bay shot Transformers 3 in 35mm, HD digital and, where warranted, 3D digital.

“The results are actually quite amazing as the 1080p/MVC MPEG-4 encode alternates between standard 2D to 3D flawlessly.

“You barely even notice the change because the whole thing almost feels natural and places viewers in a state of awe when the screen suddenly leaps with dimension.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is the best use of the new technology in a live-action feature yet!”

“The film’s previous Blu-ray release remains a standard for video and audio excellence, so the question is whether the 3D presentation can improve on perfection?

“The answer is, not surprisingly, ‘no,’ but the added 3D goodness certainly doesn’t hurt the Dark of the Moon experience, either.

“Unlike some Blu-ray discs that see a slight, but noticeable, drop-off in general quality on the way to 3D, Dark of the Moon’s general attributes remain as slick and eye-catching as ever.”

Even better, the 3D version comes with spectacular extras that were left off the 2D pressing, including a two-hour making-of documentary that explores the challenges of filming in 3D.

Civil rights drama The Help has a “glorious encoding … it’s a handsome presentation all around” – “colours are warm but lifelike, skin tones are lovely, contrast never fails, and shadows are deep and enveloping”.

Warner Bros’ 13 Assassins release is 16 minutes shorter than the original 141-minute cut on the Japanese Region A Blu-ray (which lacks English subtitles), and while there are US and UK editions with varying extras, “I see no reason not to purchase the local version …

“The video transfer is very good, although some minor issues deny it unqualified reference status.”

Coming-of-age comedy/drama Submarine’s “picture is a little rough, sporting robust colours and solid blacks but without a high level of detail.

“Given the film’s low-budget origins and fuzzy, almost home video filming style, this isn’t a criticism so much as a warning to viewers expecting a crystal clear viewing experience.”

Crazy, Stupid, Love’s transfer “isn’t the sharpest presentation or the most striking, but it’s attractive enough to turn a head or two” while the pick of the week’s direct-to-disc releases would be Beautiful Boy, a drama about the parents of a teenage mass murderer who try to move on with their lives.

“The Blu-ray release is hardly beautiful, due to some of the very off-putting aesthetics of the film, but the 1080p transfer does do the film some great justice.”

Also new are Trespass (“terrifically detailed with sharply defined lines”), Kill List (“a very decent transfer with super detail”), The Beaver (“image sharpness and detail are both notably good while colour fidelity looks strong throughout”) and Tanner Hall (“a flawless 1080p Blu-ray transfer … yields breathtaking clarity”).

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