What We Still Need On Blu-ray (And What Should Never Go HD)

What We Still Need On Blu-ray (And What Should Never Go HD)
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Some movies seem to be made specifically for Blu-ray’s abilities. Some just don’t get anything out of hi-def. So why is Hollywood so COMPLETELY UNABLE to tell the difference between the two? Let’s pull it together, studios. For all our sakes.

Take a look at your Blu-ray library for a minute. See anything missing? If not, you’re not looking hard enough. Because for every high-def release of The Proposal that Hollywood shoves out the door, a Raiders of the Lost Ark stays on the shelf. Right now, whether it’s a rights issue or a matter of strategic timing, a team of highly qualified artists and technicians are putting the finishing touches on Cheaper By the Dozen 2‘s Blu-ray release instead of dreaming up interactive features for Alien.

That’s just scratching the surface. Right now on Amazon you can buy a 20th Century Fox Blu-ray bundle of three genuinely funny comedies – Napoleon Dynamite, Office Space and Young Frankenstein – that have nothing in common other than being completely unnecessary to watch in high-def. You know what three movies Fox hasn’t put on Blu-ray at all? A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

This shouldn’t be so hard, Hollywood. Whatever problems you’re working through right now, get it figured out. You’ve only got like two-and-a-half more years before broadband puts the whole Blu-ray concept completely out of business. To help get you started, here’s a list of 20 movies we need right now, and 10 that you should pass on altogether, before you waste any more time.

Twenty Movies That Should Be On Blu-ray

1. The Big Lebowski: The dude abides, but not on Blu-ray. This is also the last time all of Tara Reid’s parts looked human, so I’m sure she’d appreciate the memento. We know it’s already been transferred; it was already on HD DVD. So who’s letting this aggression stand?[imgclear]

2. Star Wars Trilogy: There’s no argument here, is there? If there is, you might be in the wrong place.[imgclear]

3. Lord of the Rings Extended Version: The theatrical release is available, but for the true LOTR fan there’s no substitute for the 683-minute extended version. That’s almost 130 extra minutes of orc-smashing![imgclear]

4. Indiana Jones Trilogy: This pretty much sums up the entire problem: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has been out on Blu-ray for over a year while the original trilogy gets passed over. At least give us Raiders and Last Crusade – pretty sure no one would notice if you slipped in a DVD of Temple of Doom. [imgclear]

5. Saving Private Ryan: The most realistic war movie ever made, and Blu-ray features can help fill in the historical context to the mayhem. [imgclear]

6. Conan the Barbarian: Arnold’s first leading role (unless you count the Schwarzeneggeriffic documentary Pumping Iron, which could use an upgrade of its own) deserves better than a little girly man DVD release. [imgclear]

7. Spirited Away: Ghibli Studio, which made Spirited Away as well as Howl’s Moving Castle and more recently Ponyo, is woefully underrepresented on Blu-ray in most countries.[imgclear]

8. Alien Quadrilogy: Alien and Aliens, mostly, but us Charles S. Dutton fans have a soft spot for the third as well. [imgclear]

9. Back to the Future Trilogy: 1.21 gigawatts, 140km/h, 1080 lines? [imgclear]

10. Finding Nemo: Come on, Pixar. Cars is on Blu-ray but this isn’t? The Incredibles, too.[imgclear]

11. Jurassic Park: For some people it was the velociraptors. For others it was the T-Rex. But Jeff Goldblum making it out alive is the thing that really gave me nightmares. [imgclear]

12. Lawrence of Arabia: This was one of the movies Sony chose to demonstrate the power of Blu-ray with way back in 2006. So why not release it already?[imgclear]

13. Singin’ in the Rain: They don’t all have to be action and adventure. There’s plenty of upbeat classics that deserve the Blu-ray treatment as well.[imgclear]

14. The Royal Tenenbaums: So far Bottle Rocket is the only Wes Anderson on Blu-ray, and I’d argue this would translate the best of what’s left.[imgclear]

15. Mad Max/Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: Three movies enter, one movie lives (on Blu): Road Warrior is available, but the original Mad Max and Beyond Thunderdome are languishing in standard def.[imgclear]

16. Miller’s Crossing: There’s a lot of Coen brothers missing from the Blu-ray catalogue (including our #1 pick), but this is them at their must coherent and visually lush.[imgclear]

16. Time Bandits: This is available in Europe and Australia, but has yet to reach the US. Honestly, put this and Brazil on the list; I just want more Terry Gilliam on Blu-ray. [imgclear]

18. The Ten Commandments: Moses can part the Red friggin Sea, but Paramount can’t handle this one simple film-to-digital transfer? [imgclear]

19. Bad News Bears: The best sports comedy not available on Blu-ray. Also, anyone else keep forgetting how un-PC this movie can be? That Tanner Boyle’s got some mouth on him.[imgclear]

20. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Everybody needs a seasonal pick, and mine’s this Burl Ives classic. [imgclear]

And 10 That Really Shouldn’t

1. Cocoon: I think the picture pretty much says it.[imgclear]

2. The Bad News Bears Go to Japan: The worst sports comedy not available on Blu-ray. Also known as Tony Curtis Needs a Paycheck.[imgclear]

3. Jaws: The shark looks fake enough already, guys.[imgclear]

4. The Darjeeling Limited: So far, Bottle Rocket is the only Wes Anderson on Blu-ray, which in this case is a positive. [imgclear]

5. It Happened One Night: No argument here about the movie’s quality. But from the DVDs we’ve seen of this, the Marx Brothers and other pre-war classics, it’s clear that for many older films the celluloid really doesn’t deliver a clear enough picture for an HD transfer to matter, especially celluloid that hasn’t been stored very carefully. [imgclear]

6. Titanic: Sure, people want it, but I want Cameron to work on Aliens and The Abyss first. [imgclear]

7. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace No amount of image enhancement is going to make Nuclear Man a worthwhile bad guy. [imgclear]

8. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: Blu-ray is our chance to excise George Lazenby from the Bond records once and for all. [imgclear]

9. The Breakfast Club: A library’s a library, and nobody needs to see that much more of Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald’s awkward years. [imgclear]

10. Plan 9 From Outer Space: Widely regarded as the worst movie of all time, any enhancement would surely detract from its kitsch factor – the only thing that makes it worth seeing at all.