The Blu-ray Files #015
The Lion King (3D Diamond Edition) – After watching Wall*E on blu-ray, I was blown away by how great animation can look on blu-ray. Well, now I have a chance to check out classic animation through Disney’s new release of The Lion King. It really looks great, even though the art isn’t quite as detailed as the recent modern Pixar triumphs. Looking at the characters there’s not much too then other than their basic outlines. The African landscapes however seem very rich and detailed, a feature which is brought out deliciously well in high definition.
Another big bonus of this release is the eye-popping colours brought alive through the blu-ray quality picture. I wasn’t as blown away by the sound as I was expecting it to blow me away during the Wildebeast scene, but it didn’t so much.
Now, The Lion King is available in many different version, including a revamped 3D version, which I bought just for the heck of it. I watch the film in regular 2D, but I did check out some of the key scenes, like the opening scene, the wildebeast scene and the elephant graveyard, on the 3D disc. It was actually done rather well, especially in making the scenery come to lie by having rocks or leaves in the foreground. The action, with with the stampede, becomes a little muddled in 3D (as it always does), but the immersion through the landscapes does work well.
The Social Network – David Fincher has a real eye for movie photography, and in The Social Network, Fincher’s best movie thus far, this visual style is brought out amazingly well through blu-ray video and audio quality. The colours of Social Network are dimmed and tinted, but not through a mistake of the transfer but through the choice of the director, and it looks very crisp on blu-ray. It really makes the Harvard campus come to life.
Now, that’s the video. What about the audio? The audio of the Social Network is really an experience to behold. Two scenes in particular really showcase this idea of immersion; using sound to surround the audience and immerse them directly into the scene. These two scenes are the opening pub scene, where the pub noise is very prevalent and provides the perfect atmosphere, and the night club scene where Mark and Shaun are barely audiable but in a way which works. And on blu-ray with its lossless audio quality, this works practically as well as it did in the theater.
Jurassic Park – Finally, one of my all-time favourite movies in on blu-ray. Yes! First, I’m going to get my rant out of the way. It drives me crazy when movies like this are ONLY available in their trilogy package. I really wish that each of the three JP films were also available separately. Why? Because I don’t really care much about the mediocre second and third films. So to me, this release is all about the first movie. Therefore, I won’t be reviewing the other two films as they’re just add-ons for this release as far as I’m concerned.
So, moving on, what do I think about the blu-ray release? I must admit that at first I wasn’t blown away. The visuals weren’t eye-popping and in some scenes grain was more than apparent. But then, I reached the T-Rex scene. Wow, did it look amazing. It really was great to watch. And in fact, as it turned out most of the exterior scenes and the important interior scenes (like the kitchen scene) looked equally great. And of course the dinosaurs looks great too.
Jurassic Park is another movie well known for their sound, and of course the blu-ray lossless audio does not disappoint. The roar of the Tyrannosaur and the shrieks of the Velociraptors sound full and real, not muted like previous home video versions do. Also, one thing I noticed through watching in such great quality high definition is just how great Spielberg’s lighting is in Jurassic Park, an aspect I never really noticed much even though Ive seen this movie countless times. But this new presentation as really brought it to my attention, Seriously, watch for the lighting, its spectacular. I love that blu-ray has made me appreciate anew a movie which I know inside out and has been a part of my movie going life for almost two decades.