June 23, 2009
| by Arlen Schweiger
What makes the best Blu-ray releases—is it the film itself, the prospects of incredible and improved audio/video, or the boatloads of extras?
If you checked all of the above, sounds like you’ll be bolstering your collection when Paramount starts letting loose its “Sapphire Series” of Blu-ray releases in September that will receive special treatment for the format.
From the looks of it, this series of releases will cover all the bases with Blu-ray discs that may be worth owning over just renting, as top jaw-droppers and demo material out there. And with this week’s Blu-ray releases about hitting an all-time low (we could point to just one offering remotely worth checking out for June 23), we’re looking forward to packing some better punch into our dedicated home theaters.
Paramount’s Sapphire Series will begin with a bang on September 1 when it unleashes Oscar-winners Braveheart and Gladiator—yup, two testosterone-infused epics that are sure to endure many repeat viewings in 1080p video, full CinemaScope 2.39:1 aspect ratio and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel lossless surround sound.
It’s also slated to release another Oscar-winner, Forrest Gump, in November as the next in the Sapphire lineup.
While Gump will undoubtedly look and sound great (especially with its phenomenal soundtrack), Mel Gibson’s Braveheart and Russell Crowe’s Gladiator characters were among the 11 films that immediately sprung to mind late last year when we offered our list of those we’d like to see released on Blu-ray.
We’re still holding our breath waiting for more than half of that list to arrive on high-def disc (Glory is also out this month, while Lord of the Rings is coming later this year), and we can only hope that the studios put as much effort into them as appears to be going into Braveheart and Gladiator—which will include more than two hours of new extras each of on the two-disc releases.
So the only question for home theater buffs would be, will you rent these or are they worth the $39.99 to purchase (or wait until you can find deals on Amazon)? And while we’re at it, what other movies are you still waiting for?
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.