New to Blu: March 5-11

Being under the hammer with my day job means this post is later than it should be given the quality of the latest releases on Blu-ray.

The biggest of the big guns is Thor: The Dark World, which is out in both 2D and 3D.

Thor: The Dark World’s 1080p/MVC-encoded 3D experience is notably better than the less-than-impressive 3D presentation that dragged down the 2011 3D Blu-ray release of Thor.

“So with that said, on to the Bad News portion of the review. The bulk of the 3D experience is serviceable but wholly unremarkable, without any dazzling examples of 3D to speak of.”

Otherwise, it’s the “expected flawless presentation of 2013’s big Marvel attraction … The extras will not disappoint the fans.”

“The imagery is consistently sharp and clear with pleasing colour depth and flesh tones that appear completely natural.

“Black levels are superb with outstanding details in shadows and marvellous uniformity in the application of contrast.”

“Provided with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, Thor: The Dark World uses every single bit of audio real estate possible.

“This is an enveloping track. This is one of those 7.1 tracks where you’ll wonder how you ever lived without those side channels feeding you extra information.”

Another theatrical 3D release that is only 2D on disc is the Sir Edmund Hillary docudrama, Beyond the Edge.

But kudos to the filmmakers for offering it in HD, complete with a DTS Master HD Dolby 5.1 track and sundry extras (including 40 minutes of bonus footage).

No such thumbs up for Paramount’s overdue local release of Deadwood.

Whereas HBO released the western series in the US as a lavish three-season box set with numerous commentaries and documentaries, Paramount has carved it up into separate seasons without any extras.

Unfortunately for fans, the HBO edition is Region A-locked, so you’ll need a multi-region player to view it, and Paramount’s licensing of the series from HBO means it won’t be saddling up in HD on Sky’s SoHo channel in a hurry.

The fourth and final season of Treme fares slightly better: the only extras are two commentaries involving creator David Simon but their “thorough, thoughtful and even poignant” quality is compensation.

The week’s only other fresh-from the-multiplex release is Prisoners.

“Framed at 1.78:1 (a slight modification from its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio) and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the transfer features strong, inky blacks and excellent shadow detail.

“The colour palette is firmly entrenched in the drab tones of winter, but hues are effectively saturated and flesh tones look true to life.”

“The lossless 5.1 surround mix is subtle but effective, much more about creating a mood than about showcase moments.

“Dialogue is consistently clear and the music is balanced well enough to create just the kind of spell the filmmakers are after. The technical aspects of the disc are first-rate.”

Going direct to disc is the motor racing documentary 1: “Although it uses a mixture of archival footage from several decades ago, as well as interviews shot for the sole purpose of this documentary, 1 makes excellent use of both and comes away with a nice, even-looking image that is great to look at.”

New on the back catalogue front are: Stalag 17 (“a finely grained image, superb detail and only an occasional (very occasional) soft shot to suggest any generational loss”); Sliver (“consistently detailed, finely resolved and film-like”); Internal Affairs (“something of a mixed bag“); and Witness.

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