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Movies That Need To Come Out on Blu-ray

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.

Schindler’s List

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

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.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Blog, Film, Movies

 

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Epic Movie Scenes: Stampede from The Lion King (SPOILER)

Here we have the first of many posts that I’ve decided to simply call “Epic Movie Scenes.”  Is this original or creative?  Not in the least bit.  But this is less about what I’m pointing to and more about what these sequences offer.  These are often the scenes that you almost have to see in theaters to truly experience.  But even if the scene doesn’t necessarily mandate that, they’re guaranteed to catch and keep your attention.  And given the post I made teasing this new feature, I figured why not start with one of the most iconic scenes from many of our childhoods?

Unfortunately, the poster of this video has disabled video embedding, but here’s the link to the video on YouTube itself.  And if you actually haven’t seen The Lion King yet, I beg you to just rent or buy the movie and watch it all yourself before seeing this specific clip (or reading ahead):

Why is it so epic?

Now rather than just touting and posting videos, I also want to set some space aside to talk about just what makes the scenes I post so great, spectacular and memorable.

Right from the first part of this clip we’re given an idea of just how big the scene will be with a shot of the steep gorge.  Then we have a nice, slow panning shot out of the gorge and showing the amount of wildebeest that will soon flock and dominate the scene.  And for one last touch of build up (and convenience to work in Scar’s favor), we hear Simba’s roar echo off the walls, immediately followed by the trembling stampede and easily one of the best “oh, ****” reactions on film.

So much is packed into this scene that it really makes for a better high point than the film’s (intended) climax at Pride Rock.  We see the villain’s plan come into play as the scene literally heads toward and ultimately around us.  There’s a perfect mix of tension and suspense as Simba clings to the weak tree which ultimately snaps as Mufasa heads into the quaking gorge.  And of course we have the gasp-inducing betrayal at the end by Scar, topped off with Jeremy Irons’ perfect, demonic delivery of the line “long live the king.”  It’s one thing to get a fast-paced action or chase scene, but to get one that legitimately brings emotion and investment in like this is something else entirely.

Another part that definitely helps sell this scene is Hans Zimmer’s composition, which was nicely handled and mostly untouched in the sound mixing.  I’m always of the belief that something as simple as a film score can make an ordinary scene come off as epic.  In this case we have an epic scene matched with epic music, and the results are staggering.

And if we needed any more reason to prove how monumental this scene remains, it apparently took 2-3 years just for the three minutes of footage.  Now THAT is dedication!

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Film, Movies

 

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Quote Review: Mulan (1998)

“Just because I look like a man doesn’t mean I have to smell like one.”

Mulan is hardly Disney’s most compelling release, but its entertainment value holds up even after nearly 15 years.  A few clever edits, transitions in animation and one awe-inducing action scene barely nudge the film over merely average territory.

 
 

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Quote Review: The Lion King (1994)

” A king’s time as ruler rises and falls like the sun.”

It’s been 17 years and The Lion King still holds up well, like most (if not all) of Disney’s other, older films. The coming-of-age and self-acceptance tale still gives us a terrific balance of comedic and serious moments. In regards to the recent 3D release, there are a few excellent shots that any avid viewer or fan of the film is bound to appreciate, but it hardly does more than give the film more visual depth. Regardless, The Lion King remains a Disney staple which is bound to continue entrancing viewers of all ages.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Film Review, Movie Review

 

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Quote Review: The Princess and the Frog (2009)

“This is gonna be good!”

A bit of a return to form for Disney, The Princess and the Frog gives us a nostalgic yet surprisingly modern-looking 2D animated film. Thanks to a slew of charming characters, a twist or two on the familiar story in its title and excellent, colorful imagery, this actually turns out to be one of the better films Disney has brought us recently (possibly their best non-Pixar release since The Lion King). And with a few small visual throwbacks to previous efforts, any faithful Disney enthusiast is bound to appreciate it as well.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Film Review, Movie Review

 

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