Blu-ray Importing: Aug 2008 Buying Guide #1
Based on the mail through my inbox, it seems many of you enjoyed my recent article; "Guide to Buying Blu-rays from Overseas". With that in mind, I thought you guys might be interested in a regular article series based on it, rounding up the best new release Blu-ray titles that will work on Region B (Australian and European) Blu-ray players. So, welcome to the first instalment, covering some of the best import titles to be be released in July and August.
The Mummy and The Mummy Returns
Country of Origin: United States
Region: A, B, C
The first two releases from Universal studios; after turning their back on recently deceased rival HD-DVD, these two titles mark a turning point in Universal Pictures high-definition titles. That is, a commitment to lossless DTS HD Master Audio on all releases, and so far, in movie 'U-Control' features.
I am pretty sure most cinema-goers will be familiar with The Mummy franchise, the re-imagining of the original 1932 classic. A surprise hit in 1999, starring Brendan Fraser, the inevitable sequel in 2001 featured a lot more eye candy, and played out with a lot more confidence, along with a knowing wink to the audience. Unfortunately, much less attention was paid to the script, a horrible introduction to the Scorpion King, and unnecessary introduction of a small child to ensure Mummy movies are made for the next millennia.
The Blu-ray versions are far superior than their HD-DVD counterparts, with a new video encode (with just a hint of edge enhancement and noise reduction) and lossless audio compared to lossy Dolby Digital due to lack of disc space.
Batman: The Movie
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
As I write this, the newest Batman film The Dark Knight has just surpassed Star Wars: A New Hope (in both 1977 and 1997 iterations), to become the second highest grossing film of all time, just behind Titanic. So, it's fairly obvious that Batman is just as popular as ever, even after all these years. Which brings us to the original Batman movie. No, not the Tim Burton 1989 film with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson...I'm talking about the 1966 TV series spin off starring Adam West and Burt Ward. No two movies could be any less similar in tone than the 1966 vs. 2008. It's high camp all the way; from the ridiculous, over the top acting, to the laughable script. A case in point:
Batman: "If only I could reverse the polarity...send out waves of super energy!"
Still, it's a classic. An absolute classic; It's more cheesy than Bega, kitschier than Kath and Kim and funnier than your average episode of Family Guy (also frequently featuring Adam West as the voice of the Mayor), but it's all in the name of fun, and for a film well over 40 years old, it looks amazing.
Fox have seen fit to produce an abundance of extra features for the release, with multiple commentaries, interviews with comic book luminaries, and documentaries placing the original series in the context of the world, as it once was. A must have addition to any comic book fans growing Blu-ray collection.