Blu-ray seems to be finally, though slowly, making its way up as the definitive at-home film-watching format. While its technology wasn’t initially impressive (further worsened by alarming price points), it’s since become a go-to for most film enthusiasts. Truth be told, many films have never looked better until hitting Blu-ray. It’s been a bit of a long haul that, though still incomplete, continues to bring apparent upgrades.
This is why I’m here to vouch for films that have yet to receive the attention to detail which (good) Blu-ray releases have received. By this, I’m referring to movies that don’t even have an announced release date. Having a general idea of when a film comes out is far more comforting than not knowing if it will be bestowed on us at all. So film studios, if you want to generate a little bit more revenue, get these treasures out on the big blue already!
The Abyss (Director’s Cut)
James Cameron continually establishes himself as the definition of a cinematic director. Even the original, low-budget Terminator has plenty of vision to offer in its dark, dismal scenes of the future. So it’s a bit surprising then that even one of his lesser known releases doesn’t so much as have an announced Blu-ray release. The film wasn’t a huge hit in theaters, not even gaining back its budget domestically and going on to make less than $100 million worldwide. Since then, however, it seems to have grown in popularity, especially with the superb Special Edition. This is where I must emphasize the fact that, when The Abyss does come out on Blu-ray, it has to be the Special Edition, not the comparatively sloppy theatrical cut. Taking that version into account, it’s a bit understandable why the film didn’t make that big of a splash (pun totally intended). But thanks to the Special Edition, we were able to get the true version of a film that has since worked its way into many people’s favorite lists, including my own.
SPOILER ALERT for those who haven’t seen the movie!
Various Disney Movies (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Tarzan, Mulan, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book)
Oh Disney, how you continue to toy with us like the little kids we still are. When you’re not pointlessly locking up movies in the “Disney Vault” you’re leaving us hungry for movies that should’ve already received top priority for a Blu-ray release. Of course most of the big names have gotten their (overpriced) release, such as The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. However, we still don’t have so much as a release date for The Little Mermaid. That film really brought the visual overhaul Disney lost back to base, and we’re probably left waiting until well after the scheduled 3D re-release. In other words: this time next year. But until that release date is officially announced, its mentioning isn’t going anywhere. Other movies that deserve the HD treatment include Mulan and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Even if they weren’t as big a hit with critics or the box office, they still brought the dough, and I can assure Disney they’ll have my pre-order when the latter is officiallyannounced.
Live Free or Die Hard (Unrated)
This one’s a bit trickier to ask for since the film is technically available on Blu-ray. However, the superior, unrated version is nowhere to be found, which leaves me clinging to the DVD version until its true successor arises. What’s sad is that we’re probably going to see A Good Day to Die Hard hit Blu-ray before the true version of this film does. If so then even a lifetime supply of yippee-ki-yay’s won’t bring justice nor condolence.
I feel a bit odd wishing for a movie like this to be released on Blu-ray since it’s essentially 3 hours of Holocaust footage. Trust me, I’m not a sadist, I’m just constantly hungry for more! But in all honesty, Schindler’s List is a movie that just begs true, complete treatment, and putting it on Blu-ray only seems fitting. Besides, it’d take flipping over my DVD to the other side a lot easier, since no one likes having to get up to resume their movie, even for a precious, golden ring.
Hayao Miyazaki Collection (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle)
Seriously, how have NONE OF THESE FILMS made it to Blu-ray yet? If I was in charge of the first wave of Blu-rays, a Miyazaki collection would be among my very first picks. Because of their sheer absence, I feel we deserve a box set or collection, and we deserve it ASAP. That is, assuming the transfers are good and not like, say,The Fugitive. But they’re beautiful animated movies, how can a studio not make a good transfer? If nothing else then at least give us Spirited Away, since that’s the one most people will jump at. Then you’ll have people clamoring for the other mentioned films and we’re likely to be stuck playing the Disney game all over again. I guess there’s something to this twisted waiting game I just don’t get. Most of us will buy the movies regardless, it’s not like releasing it earlier makes me less likely to break down and buy something. But I digress.
Star Wars (The Original Cuts)
Yes, this is an old, tiring one to ask for, but many people like to have their favorite movies as they originally were; especially when the changes have gotten to the point that you might as well add gravy to your ice cream. Now I’ll admit some of the changes and improvements made to the original trilogy were good and even welcoming. But after the late 90’s, things just got out of hand. Jabba looks even worse now than he did in the original cuts, and not in a way that’s consistent with his character’s ugly design. How bad would I describe it? I’d say the original Jabba looked like a doll while the current Jabba looks like a blurry, distorted, cell-shaded pile of mud. Or something else. Something worse.
The Iron Giant
What is with all the great animated movies not getting so much as a Blu-ray announcement? The Iron Giant has become a bit of a cult classic in that its popularity has slowly grown with time but still isn’t at that truly famous level. It’s a shame too, because there are plenty of people who would jump at the chance to see it on Blu-ray. A great film with terrific animation and one of those perfect, retro, nostalgic vibes for many of us, The Iron Giant deserves a Blu-ray as big as his body and his heart.
The Prince of Egypt
I have a confession to make: I’ve never seen The Prince of Egypt from start to finish. But Ken, how can you request a movie you haven’t truly seen? Well, just watch the trailers or any montage clip you can find online. The film definitely has its share of fans which, again, is only growing. Not only that, but even in standard definition the movie looks incredible. This is reference and demo quality material for your HDTV/home theater set-up. Plus, if I’m going to watch a great-looking movie for the first time then I want it to be as beautiful as possible. That’s how I enjoyed Earth by Disney and let’s just say there were a couple stretches where my jaw dropped so hard I had to seriously consider house insurance.
Munich seems to be a bit of an unsung release for Spielberg. I don’t even remember hearing about it during the initial release and only know a few people who are aware of its existence. Like Schindler’s List, this is a more serious and less conventional piece of Spielberg’s filmography. But like most unorthodox releases, this one is well worth watching and deserving of a high-def transfer. Watching it on DVD, there were a few parts I thought to myself “imagine that given a proper transfer on Blu-ray.” It’s really that simple: when a movie leaves you hungry for a prettier version of itself, you know something has to be done. I don’t anticipate Munich getting a Blu-ray release any time soon, but the longer it takes, the longer this list will persist. Internal rhyming aside, I believe it’s a (somewhat) decent argument.
So there’s my current/first(?) list of movies that need a Blu-ray already or, if not soon-to-be-released, then at least some sort of official announcement. How about you? Are there any movies I left out–any classics, showcases for audio and/or video? If there are, leave it below in the comments section, I’d like to know what I myself am looking over.
UPDATE: It’s recently been announced that The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Mulan (and Who Framed Roger Rabbit) will be released on Blu-ray in March. Now Disney have made waiting for the Spring even tougher. Still, I’m a man of my word and have already pre-ordered my copy of Hunchback on Amazon.