HD Favourites
December 31, 2007 3:37 AM   Subscribe

Without getting into the old Blu-ray vs HD-DVD debate, which films would you recommend watching, which really benefit from the HD format?
posted by booksprite to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Theoretically, I think David Lynch's "The Elephant Man" would. I saw the movie in the theater recently, and NTSC doesn't do justice to the incredible textures of the film grain.
posted by evil holiday magic at 3:43 AM on December 31, 2007

I've watched a fair bit of HD, and there have been a few standouts:

Planet Earth. It's a documentary series, not a film, but it's the most visually stunning thing I've ever seen on a screen. Ever.

There are a few obvious (and good) choices, like 300, Pan's Labyrinth, and Sin City, but I've found the films I've enjoyed the most in HD are older ones, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing, and 2001.

My new favourite is the Final Cut re-release of Blade Runner, cleaned up and remastered for HD. It's absolutely stunning. Looks like it was made yesterday.
posted by Jairus at 3:53 AM on December 31, 2007

Response by poster: ...would really benefit...
posted by booksprite at 3:58 AM on December 31, 2007

I think 3d animation movies really look better in the HD format, but that could be my imagination. (For example, the first Bluray movie we tested on my PS3 was The Ant Bully; not a great movie, but the detail looked great).

Personally, I think the real benefit of the HD-format is more room for special features, and the ability to have more interactive special features, since I'm a sucker for that stuff.
I would rather have a DVD-quality picture with more extra content, than an HD-quality picture, on most movies.
My dream is for them to release entire seasons of TV shows in standard DVD quality on single discs.
But I know that they won't do it.
posted by jozxyqk at 4:40 AM on December 31, 2007

Well I'm the exact opposite of joz, in that I could care less about most of the extras...I just want the movie to look as good as it can (although I love the whole seasons on one HDDVD idea).

I know The Fifth Element got used by a lot of stores to show off DVD use on HDTVs. I own the "superbit" version of the movie which looks phenomenal, so I can only imagine how nice a hi-def DVD version will be.
posted by JaredSeth at 5:02 AM on December 31, 2007

Beware of the Fifth Element - the initial transfer was AWFUL, and has been recalled and replaced with a much superior one. There's info here on how to tell the difference and how to exchange it if you got a bad one.

I don't always agree with whether they liked the movie or not, but High-def Digest unquestionably has the best reviews with respect to the technical aspects of the movies. They have separate review lists for Blu-ray and HD DVD.

Some movies that I've been particularly impressed with have been:

Dune (HD DVD) - I actually watched this one side by side with the DVD release, and there's no question. The DVD transfer looks muddy, washed out, and generally awful compared to HD.

Hot Fuzz (HD DVD) - this movie actually glistens in HD.

Serentity (HD DVD) - the DVD transfer looks pretty good, but the HD one is noticeably crisper.

Night at the Museum (Blu-ray) - I can't compare it to the DVD release, but the HD one looked very good.

Ditto for Ratatouille and The Simpsons Movie, both on Blu-ray.

For TV, Heroes (HD DVD) and Lost (Blu-ray) both look outstanding.

Also second Planet Earth - it's remarkable to watch.
posted by Caviar at 6:00 AM on December 31, 2007

Seconding Blade Runner.
posted by aerotive at 6:05 AM on December 31, 2007

Seconding Serenity.
posted by Silvertree at 7:15 AM on December 31, 2007

I agree with jozxyqk. Really what you're talking about is the special features and things. If you're talking about quality, then I would compare film to HD, that argument is perceived by the individual, Apparently (though I'd favor film having worked with it).

Regardless, I also agree with 2001, but also any sports and live broadcasts (like the metropolitan opera) are better to see in HD. I'd second most sci fi movies, based on the ontology of the photograph (serenity, blade runner, Terminator 2, A.I.). And conceptually, almost any documentary...Microsoft would probably agree.
posted by codybaldwin at 8:53 AM on December 31, 2007

Absolutely get Planet Earth - it is by far the coolest use of HD that I have seen - its not cheap, but it is incredible.

I watch these on my plasma that my AV boyfriend has with our crazy silly movie-watching experience. People argue on amazon.com about which movies to watch in HD, this has to do with how well the transfer to HD was done. So just read the reviews, but my personal recommendations would be Planet Earth, Batman Begins, The Sting, Transformers, Hot Fuzz and Blade Runner. They all look really cool - have fun!
posted by Carialle at 10:16 AM on December 31, 2007

A genre that REALLY jumps in HD is concert movies. When I got my HD DVD player (though I also have a BD player) I immediately rented Cream at the Royal Albert. The sound and picture are just unbelievable. Concerts really benefit from being on big screens, with the best picture possible (to simulate live attendance) and that unbeatable sound.

Nthing Planet Earth. I rented the BD version and I'm loving it. There are images so detailed and overwhelming that you'll swear your TV is about to explode. But it never does... I think.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 11:34 AM on December 31, 2007

Check out highdefdigest.com for Bluray/HDDVD reviews. Their forums have a lot of discussion about quality of transfers, extras, etc and they even have threads dedicated to rating the picture quality of all the movies released in a specific format. You can find the Bluray rating thread here and the HDDVD rating thread here.

It seems that in both formats the 3D and animated movies look the best.
posted by hummercash at 2:40 PM on December 31, 2007

I'd suggest (a possibly fruitless) search for HD versions of shorts that were shot in high speed film formats (such as IMAX HD), as done properly they will be noticeably better than any feature films, because they can take advantage of the HD's high framerate, not merely it's higher frame resolution. (35mm is shot at only 24fps, and HD can't raise that)
posted by -harlequin- at 3:56 PM on December 31, 2007

Anna and the King would look great in HD because of the extremely detailed backgrounds. I used to use it to show off the difference between regular and progressive scan.
posted by krisak at 6:16 PM on December 31, 2007

4thing planet earth. A religious experience. Get the version with david attenborough's voiceover, NOT sigourney weaver's.
posted by lalochezia at 6:33 AM on January 3, 2008

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