We know Blu-ray users have probably been asking themselves, “Why doesn’t this site have any reviews for ME?” We’ve had boatloads of HD DVD reviews, but the spattering of Blu-ray reviews have been uncommon to say the least.
Not anymore. Starting now (like, right now as you’re reading this), Blu-ray reviews are being written. We’ll get caught up and get you up to speed in no time. All month long, we’ll be putting up a ridiculous amount of Blu-ray reviews for your reading pleasure. Old releases, new releases, and maybe even an editorial or two.
Oh, but what about the faithful HD DVD readers? Never fear. You’re still covered, and we’ll still give the format plenty of reviews. Even with the recent announcement of Warner heading over to the Blu-ray camp, we still feel the format is a wonderful way to watch movies, and in some ways superior. There is a place for both formats, and we’ll continue coverage as such.
So, what’s on tap for this Blu-ray blowout? Here’s what you can look forward to in terms of reviews for the coming week, not including what’s already been posted:
- Die Hard
- Die Hard – With a Vengeance
- Die Hard 3 – Die Harder
- Spider-man 3
- Ghost Rider
- Dragon Wars
That’s only the start. Coverage will now be regular, with new releases covered as soon as possible. As said previously, HD DVD and Blu-ray will co-exist for a while, and both are worthy our coverage. It’s simply due time to give credit to Blu.
Ray Haryhausen made every movie he touched what they are, and one of this earliest efforts, 20 Million Miles to Earth, stands as one of his more memorable. While pedestrian in its scripting, the creature design, animation, and other visual wizardy bring the film up to classic status. Nathan Juran’s direction leads to a few memorable human sequences (including wonderful work during the finale at the Roman Coliseum). Classic sci-fi is rarely better than this.
Read the full movie review.
Coming to Blu-ray just a few months after the 50th anniversary DVD, the format does justice to the film. Extensive grain and dirt are noticeable throughout, but expected. The black and white version offers stunning clarity and sharpness. The colorized edition suffers from a digital look, making details flat, though the boldness of the color will make up for it for some. This is a definite upgrade from the DVD edition, though hardly the HD experience we’ve come to expect from modern films.
Remixed into 5.1 for Blu-ray, the Dolby TrueHD mix lacks fidelity, and the explosions of rockets sound strained. There is no bass to speak of. Dialogue is clear and mixes nicely with the action. Mild surround speaker use can be heard clearly, even if it has a rather unnatural split from the front channels.
The Blu-ray release comes on one disc, and contains all of the extras from the 50th anniversary DVD. Sadly, these are all in standard definition.
A crowded commentary begins the features set on disc one with Dennis Muren, Phil Tippett, Arnold Kunert, and of course Ray Harryhausen. Harryhausen speaks most of the time, as the others ask questions as to how things were done. It’s highly informative in terms of the industry at the time and how the effects were done on a shot by shot basis.
Remembering 20 Million Miles to Earth begins the second disc. It runs close to a half hour, with interviews and comments from people around the film industry. Harryhausen is featured extensively. The Colorization Process is a great look at how the new version came to be, though it feels like an extended infomercial. It also addresses why it was done, and how Harryhausen feels about this new edition.
Tim Burton Sits with Ray Harryhausen is an extended face-to-face meeting between the two men. Their chat is informative and fun, including some showcasing of props from Earth vs. The Flying Saucers. It runs quite long at 27 minutes.
A Joan Taylor interview catches up with the lead actress today, and she discusses her career at length. There is very little mention until the end of this 17-minute talking head piece about the Harryhausen films she was in, and even bobbles recalling the term stop motion animation.
Film Music’s Unsung Hero is a retrospective hosted by David Schechter. This is another long one, looking at the stock or only slightly altered stock tracks crafted by Mischa Bakalenikoff. His familiar themes would be used in countless films.
A digital comic serves as a sequel to the film, and is filled with solid art, though it’s a shame the physical version wasn’t in the case. Instead, they provide the first few pages which don’t do much to make the content interesting, and turn it into an advertisement for the series.
Four photo galleries contain enough pieces of material for any fan. Finally, an 18-minute featurette looks as the advertising from the era, from lobby cards to detailed press kits. This is tons of material for a movie of this age.
Both It Came From Beneath the Sea and Earth vs. the Flying Saucers are due for release in their own re-release on DVD. However, there is no indication these are coming to Blu-ray, which is a shame. They both equally deserve a hi-def presentation as much as 20 Million.