8 DVD's for a new HDTV

So, you decided to plunk down the cash and become an early adopter of HDTV. You also dropped a bit more cash for a progressive scan DVD player. Well, in order to make your purchase seem like it was worth a 3rd mortage, your going to need some discs to show off what that TV can do. Rest assured that not all discs are created equal. These remain the best of the best and probably will stay that way until HD-DVD finally becomes a reality. Make sure to nab these 8 discs when you head out for that new HDTV. In no particular order.... 1. A Bugs Life: All of Pixars discs feature digital-to-digital transfers (right from the computer to the disc..no time for film degradation), from Monsters Inc. to Toy Story. Still, none of them look as good as Bugs Life. The colors here are superb and city sequence about a half hour in is mesmerizing. There are little to no compression problems and the clarity of the picture is stunning. In fact, this is the best looking disc I've ever seen. This disc can be purchased as a single disc or a packed 2-disc set for an added price. Either way, your eyes will never be happier. 2. Star Wars, Episode 2: Regardless of how you feel about George Lucas at this point, you have to admit his DVD's rock. Again, a direct digital tranfser (the first and still the only time it's been done for a live-action movie) that is a pure showcase disc. The corny love sequences are made better by the flawless print which showcases every grain of grass in immaculate detail. The gorgeous CGI vistas look even better thanks to the video quality and your TV will get a major workout when this disc is in place. 3. Texas Chainsaw Massacare (2003): Where did this one come from? This is a very dark movie that has simply incredible contrasts. Up close, you can see every pore on the dimly lit actors faces. From a distance, the rock solid black levels hold together and the flesh tones have never looked better. The complete lack of any grain even when you set the brightness a bit higher on your set is an amazing achievement unlike any other disc on the market. Again, there are 2 seperate editions, a single and 2-disc set. Both feature the same print that must be seen to be fully appreciated. 4. Ice Age: Though never reaching a Pixar level of popularity, this Dreamworks CG flick easily reaches their level of DVD quality. Snow is simply a must on HD. This movie has alot of it. You can almost count the fur on the Mammoths hide and the snowflakes on the ground. I'm not 100% positive if they followed Dinsey's lead with a digital tranfser, but I would be stunned if they didn't. There isn't as much color in this one as say Finding Nemo, but that disc suffers from some severe compression problems. This one doesn't. 5. Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers: Though I'm pretty sure Return of the King will end up surpassing this one, you can't go wrong with this disc for now. Gollum looks even more incredible here than he did in theaters. If anything goes wrong here it's that the extreme clarity of the disc makes some of the special effect shots way too obvious. Some of the sweeping battle sequences are obviously CGI which probably wouldn't be noticeable on a lesser disc. 6. The Wizard of Oz: I know, I know. "But it's from 1939!" Yeah, well it looks like it came out last year. Though the opening sequences in Kansas are a bit grainy, once Dorothy lands in Oz, this miraculous remaster kicks into high gear. You've never seen a yellow brick road this yellow. The only real problem here is that the movie is in the academy ratio of 1.33:1. You'll either have to stretch it or live with the black bars on the side if you bought a widescreen TV (and chances are that you did). Minor issue that hardly detracts from one of the meticulous remasters of all time. 7. Alien: Again, an older movie that looks like it came out last year. I'm referring here to the recent re-release of the film in the Quadrilogy (and available seperately as a 2-disc set), not the ancient "Alien Legacy" set. Though the print was more than serviceable in that box set, this one simply destroys it. Not only have all the scratches and spots been removed, the color has been tweaked and made a bit brighter. Blood doesn't get much redder than this. Those long dark corridors look even lonelier now and it really does add to the film. 8. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms: This 50's classic is here not only because it's one of the greatest 50's movies of all time, but because every HDTV DVD collection needs a black-and-white movie. I was torn between this and "Them," the classic 50's giant ant movie, but the nod goes here (just barely). Ray Harryhausen created an outstanding creature for this film and all the details of his model show through. Grain is always a problem in movies lacking color and this is no exception, but it hardly detracts from this great new print. The contrast level is perfect here and that can end up being a major issue if it's not done right. There are certainly plenty of discs out there that can show off your purchase. Don't think only 8 of them are worthy. These are some of the discs I put in all the time simply to stare in awe. Browsing the shelves will certainly bring up more and I can also recommened the Toy Story series, Terminator 2 (Artisans latest re-release) and Walking with Dinosaurs off the top of my head.

Comments (1)

I don't know how I could watch tv without hdtv set. It was like watching it in b&w.

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