Blu-ray Highlights for 6/28/11 – Must Have the Precious

Why does it seem like the most awaited Blu-ray catalog titles so often arrive on the format surrounded by controversy? Is it really that hard to do a film-to-video transfer without messing around with the essential look of a famous film? Apparently, it is.

First off, here’s the week’s release list:

Let’s dispense with the day-and-date titles quickly, since there’s so little of interest here. The week is dominated by box office bombs from earlier in the year, such as ‘Sucker Punch‘, ‘Season of the Witch‘, ‘Beastly‘, ‘Barney’s Version‘ and ‘The Warrior’s Way‘. These should all safely fall into the “Maybe I’ll rent it” category for most viewers. If you really want to watch ‘Sucker Punch’, enter our contest and we might just give you a copy for free. There’s no sense in wasting money on stuff like this, after all.

Now then, the biggest title of the week is certainly the ‘Lord of the Rings‘ trilogy extended versions box set. When the ‘Rings’ trilogy first arrived on Blu-ray last year, fans were disappointed both by the lack of the extended cuts for each film, and also by the dated and mediocre video transfers that the studio recycled for Blu-ray. This new box set would seem like an opportunity to rectify both complaints. All three films have been remastered in their full extended versions, and the box is chocked to the gills with bonus features.

So, what’s the problem? Early reports claim that the new transfer for the first movie, while a big improvement in terms of sharpness and detail, has been greatly teal-ified (much like the ‘Alien Anthology’). Supposedly, the second and third films have not been affected. How severe this problem is has been the subject of much debate. Some viewers claim that the entire movie looks like it’s covered in puke, while others say that the weird green-blue tint is hardly noticeable for the most part. I have not seen the disc for myself yet. Also unclear is whether this was an artistic decision made by Peter Jackson, or an authoring screw-up at the studio. If it was Jackson’s call, this unfortunately would not be the first time a filmmaker has intentionally screwed around with the colors of his old movie. (That’s right, William Friedkin and James Cameron; I’m talking about the both of you.)

In other news, Universal seems to be reissuing practically every title it ever released on Blu-ray in new Blu-ray + DVD combo packs for some reason. Also notable: the early Julia Roberts breakout hit ‘Sleeping with the Enemy‘, both ‘Stuart Little‘ family flicks, and the anime feature film spin-off ‘Cowboy Bebop: The Movie‘.

The Criterion Collection offers up two Louis Malle classics, ‘Black Moon‘ and ‘Zazie dans le métro‘. These should make a good pairing with the already-available ‘Au revoir les enfants‘. I believe that the 1930 ‘People on Sunday‘ (written by Billy Wilder) marks the first silent classic Criterion has issued on Blu-ray.


  1. Josh, Dragonball Z Kai Part 5 is also being released today. It was originally scheduled to be released a few weeks ago, but got pushed back to today.

    I already own Mamma Mia on Blu and Serenity on HD-DVD, and I sold my 40 Year Old Virgin on HD-DVD, unopened (was a Christmas present one year, but I hate that movie).

    Arriving today, I have LOTR Extended and Dragonball Z Kai Part 5 coming in. I haven’t decided yet which one I am watching first – I have been eagerly awaiting both, and both will take me several days to get through. I think I am leaning toward Dragonball, as my friend is getting his copy in today as well, and we like to watch it and then get on the phone and have conversations about how awesome the Kai series is.

    I also have coming in T2 Skynet Edition (just now picking it up – I picked up the original T2 release when I bought my PS3 in January 2007), and I am double dipping on Phantom of the Opera as well, getting it on HD-DVD (I bought my HD-DVD player in January 2008, and already had Phantom on Blu, otherwise I would have bought it on HD-DVD in the first place).

    So, big movie week for me. Been saving up for weeks!

  2. besch64

    “I believe that the 1930 ‘People on Sunday‘ (written by Billy Wilder) marks the first silent film Criterion has issued on Blu-ray.”

    The Brakhage anthologies.

  3. EM

    I’ve never seen Zazie dans le métro but have wanted to for many years. I’m on the waiting list for the copy my public library is getting. I’ll have to wait a little bit longer before I finally get to watch it, but after all this time a little bit longer will be OK.

  4. vihdeeohfieuhl

    Lord of the Rings of course! I’m picking it up in spite of Nate’s review of the video quality for Fellowship of the Ring. He was all over the place during that marathon chapter he used for his video rating. I read it three times, and came away feeling differently each time. I’ve heard some really good things about the video quality from a friend that I trust when it comes to such information. I’m hoping that most of the positives that Nate discusses are accurate, while most of the negatives he discusses are at least slightly exaggerated.

    I was originally planning on picking up Sucker Punch, but I’m hoping (probably foolishly) to win the Sucker Punch contest.

    I absolutely can’t wait for Jurassic Park! I almost started hyperventilating when I read the announcement! I feel like I don’t even care what comes out between now and October 25 anymore! Just give me Jurassic Park! It’s been at the top of my most wanted list since the dawn of the format!

      • vihdeeohfieuhl

        Believe me, I know! But I’m so excited for Jurassic Park, I don’t know if I even care anymore!

        Put me in a time machine and send me to October 25th!

        • vihdeeohfieuhl

          With Jurassic Park, I know I am getting The Real McCoy! I’m not getting some fucked with trilogy where Jeff Goldblum has been replaced with Vince Vaughn in the original because Spielberg, “always wanted it that way.”

          I’m not getting some altered film where the T-Rex only starts wreaking havoc on their jeep when they are on their maiden tour because, “they shoot at him first.”

          Okay, okay. I am still through the roof about Star Wars on blu-ray. I’ll own it as soon as it is humanly possible to do so, and I’ll probably watch all six in a row immediately. However, I am so effing excited about JP and October 25th, I am now anticipating it even more than I am Star Wars!

          • Yeah, I will have a Star Wars marathon myself probably the weekend after it arrives (why do movies have to come out on Tuesdays). As for Jurassic Park, yeah, I’m excited, but finally made my own Blu-Ray (AVCHD). I have a 1080i of Jurassic Park and a 720p of the Lost World, both with DTS soundtracks. Hmmm, I may watch Jurassic Park tonight in HD. Oh wait, Dragonball came out today!

          • vihdeeohfieuhl


            Good news!

            Star Wars actually comes out on a Sunday! You might just be able to pick it up early enough in the morning to spend all day Sunday doing a marathon. That’s what I’m hoping for! 😉

            As for Jurassic Park, that’s great that you made your own blu-ray, but C’MON! I’ve seen them on HBO in HD. I imagine that the quality of the HBO broadcast is probably similar to the blu-ray that you made, for both video and audio. And even if yours is of higher quality, no offense, but…1080P AND 7.1 LOSSLESS AUDIO!

            I know you’re a huge JP fan! I’ll say it again… 1080P AND 7.1 LOSSLESS AUDIO!


          • @vihdeeohfieuhl

            So if Star Wars comes out on a Sunday, then the question is, will Amazon deliver on Saturday or Monday. Like the Gettysburg collectors set comes out on July 4th, but Amazon is promising delivery on July 5th. 🙁

            I don’t think my JP came from HBO. I think it came from Russia. They then took the DD track that was on it and replaced it with the DTS track from the DVD. So it looks and sounds amazing – much better than HBO, and for sure better than the compressed crap that comes through on Dish Network. Yeah, I got JP and Star Wars on the DVR, and I also have JP on DVD, Laserdisc and VHS.

            The point I was trying to make is, I got a sweet version of the movie that I can enjoy up until October. You can probably pull it off of a site as well if you want something to tide you over and wet your whistle until October.

          • vihdeeohfieuhl


            I would take my chances, and say that Amazon will almost certainly deliver it on Saturday. 90% of my pre-orders from them arrive the day before the scheduled release date.

            I hate to encourage this, but you could go ahead and pre-order Star Wars from them, and if it doesn’t arrive on Saturday, you could always go to any local retailer at midnight, or early Sunday morning and pick it up. Once your Amazon edition arrives on Monday, you could just take it back to the store to get your money back. I don’t think there is technically anything wrong with that. You would still be returning unopened merchandise identical to what you purchased, with your receipt.

          • @vihdeeohfieuhl

            Yeah, probably won’t be doing that – partly because I don’t think I can come up with the money to buy TWO copies of the set in the same weekend. I’ll just be at Amazon’s mercy.

            Man did we get off track on today’s topic. LOTR EE and Dragonball FTW!

    • well, my editor seemed fine with my direction on the video, and i’ve not seen many complaints. you have to take the good with the bad, and i can’t harp on one and not the other when there are such polar extremes cohabiting the same picture, often the same frame.

      judge for yourself. nothing wrong w/ that. i like free thinkers! if you’re happier than i was with it, great! if you’re upset with it more than i was, then i tried to give the warning signs!

      • Its LOTR on Blu-Ray, and the reviews say it was better than the previous release, which I got from Netflix and was hiddious. I got the box setting in my living room (went home for lunch and it was there), but hadn’t opened it yet. Dragonball Z Kai took priority. 🙂

        • So I finally plopped in Disc one of FOTR last night, and truthfully don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Yeah, the color has been tinkered with – SLIGHTLY. Its actually really similar shades to how I color correct photographs in Photoshop and videos in Premiere. Truthfully, all I could think about while watching it is how GREAT it looked! The only thing that, well, it didn’t bother me, but I could see it annoying Josh, is that the subtitles were one line in the picture, one line out. No, this movie looks INCREDIBLE with its new transfer, and there are no complaints here!

      • vihdeeohfieuhl

        I’m glad that your editor was fine with your encyclopedia sized chapter about the video quality of Fellowship. 😉

        I was only saying that it lacked structure, and thus it was difficult to judge just how bad (or good) you were saying the video quality was.

        Many of your comments were highly negative, and then you would seem to back pedal and act like it was a superb video transfer. After remaining highly positive for a moment, it seemed you would reneg and once again say something that made it seem truly atrocious.

        Perhaps, that is just the helter-skelter nature of the video quality on Fellowship. I guess I will find out tonight.

  5. vihdeeohfieuhl


    Have you seen Barney’s Version? Is it any good?

    Actually I throw that question out to anyone reading.

    Barney’s Version anyone? How is it?

    • no that’s the beauty of this blog. every Tuesday when there is a new release he says all new releases are crap or then he goes through the ones he has seen and give it a paragraph or he has a friend that has told him the movie was either good or bad. it’s a great read. 🙂

    • Barney’s Version was enjoyable, but along the lines of realistic “love” stories like Blue Valentine that came out around the same time…kind of depressing, but less so than the Ryan Gosling flick. Excellent acting (I always love Paul Giamatti; in fact, I’m rewatching John Adams right now). But a buy? I liked it, but I’m not sure it’s something I’d rewatch enough to warrant owning it. A solid rental at the very least.

  6. i don’t watch films with a fine tooth comb like a lot of people but wasn’t a lot of scenes in the LOTR in teal anyway? i haven’t seen them in a while just what i remember.

  7. Jane Morgan

    Peter Jackson had Andrew Lesnie look into the “green tint” rumors.

    ‘Fellowship’ was the only film of the trilogy that did not go through the extensive and expensive Digital Color Grading process. Which they did for this extended edition blu-ray.

    Peter has seen the new mastering. In his opinion, the film has never looked better, including theatrically, because this new digital color grading was something that he wanted from the very beginning.

    • Josh Zyber

      Yup, just like William Friedkin always wanted The French Connection to be tinted purple, and George Lucas always wanted Hayden Christensen to appear at the end of Return of the Jedi. That was absolutely his intention from the very beginning, but this newfangled “teal tint” technology just didn’t exist way back in the dark ages of 2001. 🙂

      Funny how neither of the other Rings movies is teal. Hmmmm…

      • Jane Morgan

        Peter Jackson shot all three movies together. He didn’t pull a Lucas.

        Digital color grading arrived in 2000, special thanks to the Coen brothers.

        ‘Fellowship’ was released in 2001. They graded it old school, to rush it into theaters on schedule, even though Jackson wanted the whole trilogy done with the new process, which seduced his perfectionism.

        These kinds of compromises are common in Hollywood. Blu-ray gives the director the opportunity to fulfill, good or bad, his intent.

        In terms of personal taste, is it possible to adjust the calibration of a TV/projector to minimize the teal issue, or even erase it?

        • Josh Zyber

          If I sound cynical about this, Jane, that’s because the details of this story just don’t add up.

          The Two Towers and Return of the King WERE digitally color graded. There’s a featurette in the DVD/Blu-ray features (made prior to the new Blu-ray transfer) that shows how Jackson graded those two films to individually adjust the colors of objects in the frame.

          Those two movies are NOT teal. They weren’t in theaters or DVD, and not on Blu-ray either.

          If Jackson is merely “fixing” Fellowship of the Ring to use the same color grading as the two sequels, why does it not look anything like those movies? And if he always wanted the Rings trilogy to be teal, why didn’t he “fix” The Two Towers and Return of the King to match the new Fellowship transfer?

          As it is, we have one teal movie, and two movies that aren’t teal at all. And the new teal transfer appears to directly contradict the original intention that Jackson had for the films as he explained in the old color timing featurette.

          There are only two possible explanations here. Either this is a mistake, or it’s revisionism.

          William Friedkin claims that he “always wanted” The French Connection to have “pastel” colors like the recent Blu-ray transfer. The movie’s cinematographer publicly outed him as a liar.

          • I wish I had a link to this, and even now, I am not 100% sure this is true or not, but let me take a shot.

            If I remember correctly, the color timing on Fellowship was SUPPOSED to be different than the other two movies. The idea was that the begining of the movie, every thing is peachy, almost kind of blinded to all the bad stuff out there. Evil starts to gather its forces, but hasn’t actually gone all out yet until about the end of the first movie. So the idea was that Fellowship was to be color timed different than the other two movies.

            Like I said, I wish I had a link to this. I honestly do not know if I am making this up, or if I had really heard this.

            I’ll probably crack open LOTR Friday. Last night I started Dragonball Z, and I plan to finish it tonight or tomorrow.

          • Josh Zyber

            If that’s the case, William, then the new color timing that makes Fellowship look sickly green throughout makes even less sense.

            I think we’ll find that the truth of the matter here is that Jackson has really graded the movie to look like his in-production Hobbit prequels, which will no doubt be all teal and orange – not to match his original intention or to sync with Two Towers or Return of the King.

    • JoeRo

      Due you have a link to that Jane? I’ve tried finding that article, checked and a bunch of google searches, and I can’t come up with anything. I’d love to read that if you can remember where you saw this posted. Thanks!

    • ain’t it funny that he gets the set before anyone else, and gets responses where others don’t? it’s almost as if he’s being favored because he wrote a studio speak “review” that was about as in depth as a dixie cup.

      • There is another site that posts their review like ridicoulously early. They went off on the teal thing as well. Truthfully, I don’t know how they got their review up so fast. IF he really got his copy that early, he must have randomly gone through the disc, grabbed a couple of screenshots, and wrote the article while watching a few minutes of the movie. Seriously, you guys work your butts off to get the reviews out, I really don’t know how these “other sites” manage to get theirs out so much earlier. I am aiming for the possibility that they don’t actually have the movies half the time.

        • vihdeeohfieuhl

          I think you’re right William. I’m fairly certain I know which sites you’re referring to, and I’ve come to the conclusion that they don’t even have the disc, and haven’t even watched it when they post their review a lot of the time.

          I think they scour the internet for feedback regarding certain releases, and then just post reviews that falsely elaborate on what they’ve read about the disc.

          Yet another reason why HDD is the only site that I trust when it comes to these types of things.

          • i used to think that also with the whole blu/HD-DVD fight but i think he knows people and asks for favors of movies he loves and watches them then post a review of it.

          • Well, I wasn’t refering to Digital Bits. I respect them – and a great source for looking up information on DVDs. I am talking about another review site that covers Blu-Rays exclusively.