The Buzz on Blu: ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’, ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Titanic’
As the Toronto International Film Festival heralds which films will dominate discussions in Hollywood in the coming weeks, the home video market celebrates the ones that we should be paying attention to right now.
With the holiday season slowly creeping up on consumers, a handful of high-profile catalogue releases are now becoming available. Check out our picks for the week of September 11, 2012.
Which classic is available to watch in another dimension?
Beyond the Black Rainbow (Magnolia)
The One-Liner: Panos Cosmatos’ psychedelic odyssey arrives on home video, ensuring that those who want to watch it while using mind-altering substances do so in a safe environment. (Not that we encourage that.)
Picture Perfect? A terrific transfer beautifully preserves Cosmatos’ trippy visuals.
What Else Is There? Extended scenes add plenty of visual splendor, while a commentary track by Cosmatos unearths some of the creative and conceptual foundations for the film’s unique storytelling.
How Badly Do I Want It? Not a movie for everybody, but by now our description probably convinced you that it's either definitely for you or definitely not.
Ghosts of the Abyss (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: James Cameron followed up his trip to Titanic with this 3D documentary about the ocean’s great mysteries.
Picture Perfect? Although the film utilized 3D technology that predates (a little) the cameras that are now an industry standard, the high-definition transfer offers a clean, clear and engaging visual landscape.
What Else Is There? A single featurette, “Reflections of the Deep” offers additional historical and technical perspective on Cameron’s undersea voyage, even as a 90-minute version expands the journey.
How Badly Do I Want It? Certainly not as exciting as Titanic, but it might be a bonus featurette if you heart goes on after watching his 1997 Oscar winner.
The Harry Potter 8-Film Collection (Warner Home Video)
The One-Liner: Fans of the Harry Potter franchise can get a comprehensive fix (if not an overdose) with this expansive collection that includes all of the films.
Picture Perfect? Most of the transfers have existed in one release or another so there’s no significant improvement, but most of the films looked terrific to begin with so there’s nothing here to disappoint.
What Else Is There? There are enough bonus materials to choke a hippogriff. A bonus disc featuring shorts such as “When Harry Left Hogwarts” and “The Harry Potters You Never Met” gives fans new insights into the creative process and legacy of the series.
How Badly Do I Want It? Really, really bad – especially since the last few films won’t be released in “Ultimate Edition” versions – but if you’ve waited until now this is a great holiday request.
Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Off-screen controversy notwithstanding, Kristen Stewart’s was the more serious of this spring’s dueling Snow White projects, featuring Chris Hemsworth as her titular companion.
Picture Perfect? Strong contrasts and rich colors bring the film to life on the small screen thanks to a detailed and well-rendered high-definition transfer.
What Else Is There? An extended version adds a few minutes of footage and even fewer real moments of value, while a commentary track gives director Rupert Sanders an opportunity to champion his rendition of the iconic fantasy figure.
How Badly Do I Want It? It’s definitely worth a rental but unless you’re a huge K-Stew fan this may or may not be a must-own.
Titanic 3D (Paramount Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: James Cameron’s award-winning epic arrives on Blu-ray in 2- and 3D versions, giving fans an even more immersive experience.
Picture Perfect? In any dimension this film is a stunner, thanks to a painstaking restoration that beautifully augments Russell Carpenter’s incredible cinematography.
What Else Is There? Two spanking-new documentaries and an hour of deleted scenes allow your experience with the film to (seemingly) never end, but all of the new content is smart and insightful.
How Badly Do I Want It? Honestly? Really badly, because the movie holds up like gangbusters, the presentation is reference-quality and the special features are immersive.
Watch a clip from Titanic where the giant ship finally snaps in half under its own weight: