Friday, November 28, 2008

Blu Christmas

I've made the decision.  This is the Christmas that I hope to jump on the Blu-Ray bandwagon.  Now, in the two years that it's been around, I've made it known just how pointless I find the whole hi-definition craze.  As far as I'm concerned, HD/Blu-Ray looks marginally better than standard definition, and that's it.  No need for me to make the upgrade unless I could go whole-hog and get a huge TV with 7.1 Surround Sound.  I've maintained the conspiracy theory that since hi-def popped onto the scene, the film and TV industries have been bringing the quality of standard definition significantly down instead of making HD significantly better.

No matter what direction the quality goes, HD and digital is the wave of the future, and I'd better get on the bandwagon sooner or later.  And with Blu-Ray finally becoming affordable (not to mention titles like Speed Racer and Wall-E finally on DVD), I figure now's the time.  If anything, it'll be a good excuse to upgrade my TV setup.

So the first question becomes: Blu-Ray player or Playstation 3?  Well, all the games that interest me on the PS3 are also available for the XBox 350, so what's the point in getting yet another gaming console?  Also, now that we're in the holiday season, players are available for as cheap as $130.  That's not bad.  Hundreds cheaper than a PS3.

Next comes the DVD selection.  Is having a Blu-Ray player enough to make me toss out my DVD collection and start all over?  Hell no.  I've spent too long building my collection to just start all over again.  And since Blu-Ray is backwards compatible, there's no need to throw standard DVDs out anyway.  Plus, as far as I'm concerned, there are really only certain movies that I'd want on Blu-Ray anyway.

Which brings me to my big issue in considering Blu-Ray.  Not every movie truly needs to be in high definition to be fully experienced.  Top of the line definition and sound clarity won't make a good line delivery sound any better.  1080i won't make an expertly lit and photographed scene play any better.  There's only so much that high-definition will do for a film.  My point is, the only films that truly benefit from Blu-Ray are action films, animation, space operas, basically anything that relies on CG (or practical) special effects.  

What would I want on Blu-Ray?  Iron Man, Wall-E, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Terminator 2, The Road Warrior, The Fifth Element... You get the idea.  The spectacles.  

What wouldn't I want on Blu-Ray?  The Departed, Talladega Nights, Superbad, Coming to America, Christmas Vacation... You get the idea.  The dramas and comedies.

Prime example: Burn After Reading.  There is nothing in that film that I feel truly warrants high definition to truly be enjoyed.  Higher definition isn't going to make Chad any funnier than he already is.  So I'll spare myself the extra $10 and pick this one up on standard DVD.

It'll be a game of pick and choose.  That is, of course, if I wake Christmas morning to a shiny new Blu-Ray player under the tree...

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