Panel Picks Top 10 Blu-rays3 Apr, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold
The Tastemakers have spoken. Asked to pick 10 essential Blu-ray Discs from a total inventory of more than 1,000 titles currently in release, the Tastemakers Forum has selected a mixture of blockbuster theatricals, family classics and an award-winning documentary produced for British television.
The picks from the Home Media Tastemakers Forum include one of the oldest Walt Disney animated classics, Sleeping Beauty, and one of the newest, Wall-E, as well as Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner and the BBC documentary Planet Earth, both distributed by Warner Home Video.
Also making the cut were a trio of trilogies: The Bourne Trilogy, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment; The Godfather Trilogy, from Paramount Home Entertainment; and the Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy, from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.
Rounding out the top 10: Warner’s The Dark Knight and 300, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
The Home Media Tastemakers Forum is a small, private group of academics, technology experts, bloggers and families from select cities around the country. Members — carefully screened by an outside agency — get to experience new products, concepts and technologies in home entertainment before anyone else. They will be used as something of an industry sounding board, both by Home Media Magazine and other media outlets and by studios and suppliers.
Forum members said they had a hard time narrowing down the choices, although in the final tally several clear winners emerged. Blade Runner, Wall-E and Planet Earth, for example, were cited by more than half the respondents.
Member Gary Collier, an IT technician in Santa Ana, Calif., praised Wall-E for its “perfect animation” and also for being “a touching film.”
Ken Sweeney, program coordinator of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, called Blade Runner’s digital transfer to Blu-ray “eye candy of the highest order.” He had similar praise for The Godfather Trilogy, saying “the 4K digital image rendering available on this Blu-ray creates a seamless new visual experience.”
And blogger Scott Hettrick said Sleeping Beauty “benefits perhaps more than any other Disney animated classic from this first-ever high-def Blu-ray treatment because the result is stunning colors and detail, plus terrific and insightful audio commentary by Pixar’s John Lasseter, fascinating retrospective documentaries, and a fun assortment of innovative interactive bonus features.”