Published at: May 30, 2007, 7:57 p.m. CST by headgeek
Hey folks, Harry here... Sorry about the lack of DVD reports over the last couple of weeks - In some bizarre act of God - both my Bedroom and Living Room DVD units decided to die on me. It was right as I was about to put in my Katharine Hepburn collection...
When equipment dies on you... especially the same kind of equipment... on the same day... well it just makes you think... what am I doing? What's wrong? Is this the time to upgrade?
At the same time - ads began appearing on AICN for Toshiba's HD-A2 HD-DVD Player
So today - I finally went over to Best Buy to pick one up for $299, the advertised price... Of course, they were out of stock - but they did have the display model, which had never actually even been hooked up - and I'd get a $100 gift card - that I'd use to pick up a few titles.
What made me go HD DVD?
The kicker is... that it can play the 9000 or so DVDs I already have, as well as the HD DVDs. That Backwards compatibility feels right. Also - from the demonstrations I've seen, HD DVD looks better than the BLUE RAY discs. I also love that the player has an upconversion that raises the quality of my existing DVD library to 720p and sometimes 1080i. I've already tested it out and DVDs that I watched last time I watched them - look better than they had before.
I also have a habit of picking the winning formats. I could be wrong this time, but most of my filmmaker friends, in fact all of them that I have had a conversation regarding this with... have told me... HD DVD is the format to go with.
So - Curious to hear what my first 3 titles in the new format were that I bought?
The Complete Matrix Trilogy
I just got finished watching the first film projected 10 ft wide in crystal clarity. The sound was awesome and I'm sold. I picked this trilogy because I wanted to see a film series that is stunningly cinematic that never really looked great on my projector before. This is just stunning. But it isn't what I looked at first... or even second.
The first film that I picked up to buy in HD DVD was:
THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938)
Along with the 1933 KING KONG, my favorite film of all time is THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. The Technicolor is unmatched in human history. The score, my favorite score in film history. The adventure, my favorite. The cast, perfection... I put this HD DVD in first. I wanted to see... just how beautiful my co-fave film of all time would look. I've seen it in 35mm countless times and yet, i've never seen it digitally look like anything other than... well a gorgeous dvd. I was wanting something more.
When that Parchment hit the screen, my jaw hit the floor. It was... flawless - by the time I got to the live-action part i was just wanting to lick the screen. The colors were like some living candied cinema for my eyes to love on. There was Flynn, Rathbone, Hale, de Havilland, Claude Rains and the others. They were stunning. They didn't look alive in my living room, they looked like they were simply perfect. Korngold's score lifting me up. This was exactly what I wanted the format to be. Perfection perfectly presented in my living room.
Then, the second HD DVD that I placed in to look at was:
Wow. I haven't seen this film, this beautiful, since I first saw this film back in 1981. The 35mm prints that i've seen since then look like they've been chewed up. I do have a 16mm print, but it has a couple of light lines here and there. But this was PERFECT.
Of the 1980s films, EXCALIBUR is perhaps in my top 5. As I child, my parents took me to see this so many times, I can't even process how many times I've seen it. John Boorman's take on the Arthurian legend, I feel, will never be topped.
I love that this is where I first discovered Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne and Patrick Stewart. But more than that... this is my favorite fantasy. The music is stitched to every image. My first girlfriend's father made Merlin's skull cap and staff... and all of Guenevere's jewelry.
For people that are just now discovering Helen Mirren - run, don't walk, to see this movie - in any and all formats... but this format is the best i've seen it since 1981.
I can remember being 9 years old and watching this at the Highland Theater. I can also remember seeing it at the Drive-Ins. And I can remember every moment. The fog looks so stunning.
I can't wait to rediscover my favorite films. Don't worry though, I'll still be reviewing regular DVDs - but I'm also going to be reviewing HD-DVDs. I'm sold on the format, I just can't wait to see what else is coming up in the format.
So, have I chosen wrong? I don't think so, what do you think?