by Aaron Peck
I didn't mean for this whole list to be catalogue titles, but there are so many that are scheduled for the rest of this year, it just turned out that way. There isn't a movie on this list of upcoming titles 2011 that I could leave off. I'm excited to unwrap all of them to see the treasures inside. Will the transfers be handled with care, or will they be ramshackle messes thrown together at the last minute? Will the audio be reproduced with the clarity it deserves (I'm looking at you 'Lion King' and 'The Blues Brothers'), or will the studio skimp on a less than amazing audio presentation? What about the special features? Will we get any new, insightful, high-def features that test the limits of the Blu-ray format, or will we simply get a few extra features ported over from the DVD releases?
The following are the top ten Blu-rays I'm looking forward to for the rest of the year. There may be many more announcements of great movies coming to Blu-ray, but as of right now this is my be all, end all list.
I've met people that swear by 'Dazed and Confused'. That if they only had to watch one movie over and over again for the rest of their lives, this would be it. I've also met people that hated 'Dazed and Confused' and never really got why the movie received so much attention and what can be considered today as a fairly strong cult following. There are just some people that love Richard Linklater's comedy about high school. I for one am a fan, although not a rabid one. What I really want to see is how Universal treats this one. Do they give it a remaster, or do they just use the same transfer they used for the HD DVD release? Better yet, will Criterion release a Blu-ray edition like they did on DVD?
How can you not love John Landis' 'Blues Brothers'? It's an icon of the 80s and features John Belushi (the much better brother) and Dan Aykroyd at the top of their comedic games. This is one of those movies where it could go either way on whether Universal really wants to put the money into giving it a great looking transfer with an equally great sounding audio mix. It's beloved by many, but do enough people love 'The Blues Brothers' that Universal will feel the need to give us a top-notch high-def presentation? I sincerely hope so.
8) 'The Birds'
It's easy to celebrate Hitchcock's films being put on Blu-ray, even if 'The Birds' is one of his cornier works. I'm prepping myself right now for how hokey the special effects will look in HD. With that said, anything of Hitchcock's that receives the Blu-ray treatment I'll be all over. I'm just excited to see his movies slowly coming to the format. Emphasis on slowly.
Ah, the classics. 'To Kill a Mockingbird' should look great on Blu-ray. Russell Harlan's beautiful black and white photography is going to look stunning. I just know it. Well, I hope it anyway. I never cease to be surprised at the clarity Blu-ray affords black and white movies. It's like watching a brand new film. I can't wait to sit down and watch this one in high-def.
This one was an easy pick. I've reviewed the last three 'Twilight Zone' seasons, and Image has really done a bang-up job with them. Not only do they look astounding and sound terrific, the inclusion of a massive amount of extras on each set pleases fans like me to no end. I'm just excited to get this one in the collection next to the others.
A few of these have already been released on Blu-ray, but not all of them. I'm particularly excited with the inclusion of 'Superman the Movie: Expanded Edition' and Richard Donner's cut of 'Superman II'. It'll just be nice to have all these films in a gargantuan set.
You got to love the fact that Monty Python's masterpiece is finally getting a Blu-ray release. Okay, well you don't have to love it, but I certainly do. We already have 'Life of Brian' on the format, which is a good start, but getting 'The Holy Grail' will be wonderful. Again, this is one of those movies that could go either way. We could be staring at a beautiful remaster, or a worn-out master that has been used before. Hopefully some time is put into this one. I can't wait to see what it looks and sounds like.
Finally! It's been a long time coming, but they're finally here. Well, in a few months they will be. At least we're not sitting around in the dark waiting for Lucas to throw us a bone. We know exactly when they'll hit store shelves. I'm a completist so even though I didn't love the prequels I'll still be picking up the 'Complete Saga' edition. If for anything else, there are some fantastic RiffTrax for the 'Star Wars' prequels. For those of you that only love the original three films, then they're releasing them in a separate trilogy just for you. You can also buy the prequels in their own trilogy, but why on earth would you do that?
It was pretty much a resounding agreement when 'Lord of the Rings' fans announced that they were waiting for the Extended Editions. The Theatrical Editions came out not too long ago, but most of us said, “What's the point?” They'll come out with the better versions later, we've just got to be patient. Now our patience is paying off. The extended editions add a tremendous amount of enjoyment to the movies, not to mention the mountains of great extras that come along with them. I'm also holding out hope that the transfers will be just a bit better. We all saw Nate's review, which took 'Fellowship' to task. These movies can and should look better the second time around.
I love Disney's classic animated titles, and if there was one movie in the Disney catalogue that was built for a Blu-ray presentation, 'The Lion King' is definitely it. With its sweeping scope and vividly colored animation, I expect nothing less than demo-quality. It'll be interesting to see how well the early CG that was used in the film translates to a high-def medium. Will it look dated, or will it look just as glorious as when we first saw it? Lastly, I've got to say that 8-Disc 'Lion King Trilogy' edition looks mighty tempting.
Those are the releases I'm excited for as this year moves along. What titles are you excited for? I know my lists are always far from perfect, but I love hearing from our readers. What did I miss? What Blu-rays are you excited to unwrap and dive into in the coming months? Let us know in the forums by clicking the convenient link below.