In a year that's seen a massive amount of quality Blu-ray products come to market, including a new line of Blu-ray 3D movies and an abundance of special collector's edition box sets and other high quality merchandise, it's very difficult to pick just one of these releases from each category to highlight.
But I'm always up for a challenge, so at the dawn of 2011, I thought it was high time to award the releases of 2010 and the distributors that produced them.
Best Image Quality
Criteria: Most impressive image quality based on quality of materials, devoid of sloppy DNR or other digital nasties, and with most efficient image encoding.
Winner: Avatar: Collectors Edition (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Why: Despite cramming three different cuts of the film on the same dual layer Blu-ray, the crystal clear, direct digital transfer of Avatar looks a million bucks, and is now my demonstration Blu-ray of choice. Full of appealing bright bold colours, with heavily saturated tones and compressed to perfection, one look is easy to see why it takes our award for this category.
Runner Up: Iron Man 2 (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Best Audio Quality
Criteria: Most immersive use of sound, with lossless audio being a must.
Winner: Beauty and the Beast (Disney)
Why: For a Disney musical, much rides on the quality of the audio track for Beauty and the Beast, but it doesn't disappoint at all. Disney sound engineers have crafted a sonically beautiful track, full of subtlety, bombast and throughout, crystal clear perfection. Simply put, it's a joy to experience.
Runner Up: Inception (Warner Home Entertainment)
Best Special Features Collection
Criteria: Based on quality and quantity of extra features, including audio commentaries, picture in picture video tracks and providing more than basic behind the scenes information.
Winner: The Alien Anthology (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Why: Disc producer Charlie de Lauzarika has once again excelled himself, producing another Alien boxset that's even more spectacular than the last. No stone is left unturned on the production of the four films, and by the end of it all you feel like you could have made it yourself. If only you had a fraction of the talent.
Runner Up: Avatar: Collector's Edition (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Best New Release Movie
Criteria: Best overall movie for a new release title released over the course of the year.
Winner: Avatar: Collector's Edition (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Why: It's certainly not a perfect film, and it does lose out in the transition to a smaller, non-3D home screen, but there is something special and endearing about the experience of James Cameron's Avatar and as the newly crowned highest grossing motion picture of all time, it clearly means a lot to many movie-goers, hardcore and casual alike. The hard working, and notoriously demanding director poured his heart and soul into the picture, and it's obvious in every frame.
Runner Up: Toy Story 3 (Disney Home Entertainment)
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