It’s that time of the year where we all sit back and take stock on the year that just went by. I have to say this has been a pretty, ok year personally and professionally. Entertainment wise, I think it goes down as one of the worst years in a long time – bad movies, bad tv, and no-talent reality tv “stars” behaving badly. I’m going to look on the bright side and give you the best Blu-rays of the year. All are available in stores now, so this list also doubles as a Holiday buyer’s guide. With limited verbiage on my part and in no particular order here are the best Blu-ray’s of 2009.
Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collection
The Wizard of Oz Deluxe Set could have easily been the best Disk of 2009; it’s an absolutely gorgeous transfer for one of the greatest movies of all time. And this set is feature packed. Warner Home Video cheaped out in two ways 1) They included a horrible print of the Dreamer of Oz TV movie with John Ritter and 2) Most of the extras are in Standard Def. But there’s hours of good stuff wade through.
Lost Seasons 1 – 5
This year Disney released Lost on Blu-ray. The picture quality is so clear, deep, and rich that you feel like you can reach out and touch the sandy beaches of the Island. The set also uses Disney’s cool new SeasonPlay feature, which keeps track of where you are in season. So if you stop watching for awhile and put in the wrong disk, it’ll tell you exactly where you left off and which disk to put in.
JJ Abrams Star Trek is not only the best film of the year, but the Blu-ray is a nice set that includes a beautiful reference quality transfer, great features that are in HD and a trial version of the Star Trek DAC game.
Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
I wish the movie was actually good, but I can’t argue with the quality of the Blu-ray. It’s a nice balance of reference quality transfer and extras that are all in HD.
If I had to select the best Blu-ray of the year, UP would certainly be in the top 4. The opening 10 minutes of this movie is the best I’ve seen all year, unfortunately the rest of the movie doesn’t live up to the amazing first 15 minutes. The Blu-ray transfer is stunning, all the extras are in HD and it includes a DVD and Digital copy. What more can you ask for?
Kevin Smith Collection
This Collection is on the list because while the movies aren’t visual marvels, this collection is a nice balance of features and movies and it’s nice that each film is a self-contained full-featured disk.
James Bond Sets
I’m officially tired of purchasing James Bond sets it feels like I’ve been buying them for 15 years now. I finally have all of the DVD Ultimate editions and I’m fine with those. Or so I thought. MGM has done a great job on these Blu-ray sets. I put in Dr. No and it was like I was watching an entirely different movie. The colors sing in HD and it’s real hard to take Sean Connery seriously when you can see the lipstick smeared all over his lips.
Not only is Death Race 2000 an surprisingly fun movie, but the Blu-ray is amazing. Paul W.S. Anderson really loves the Blu-ray format and almost all of his films on Blu-ray are reference quality work. The Death Race 2000 print is beautiful, the extras are all in HD, the way BD-Live is used is pretty neat, he even convinced the studio to let him shoot an extended chase scene with 8 cameras, so you can literally edit and create your own Chase sequence with multiple viewpoints – very, very cool and I wish more action directors included this.
Star Trilogy Movie Set
The Star Trek Trilogy movie set contains the three best Star Trek movies II, III, and IV. The new HD transfer breathes new life into these three films.
Watchmen The Complete Experience/Ultimate Cut
I’m a sucker I was sent Watchmen: The Complete Collection Blu-ray in the Spring and I still went out and bought the Ultimate Cut Blu-ray in the fall and I don’t particularly like the movie – it’s ok and watchable, but not wow. In Warner’s defense they did clearly state the Ultimate Cut was coming. The Ultimate Cut includes a nearly 4 hour version of the movie and the full Watchmen Motion Comic (almost 7 hours), but it sacrifices the Maximum Movie Mode. While the Complete Experience includes the Director’s Cut of the Movie, Maximum Movie Mode and they throw in the 2 Watchmen Video Games on a PS3 Disk. I like the Complete Experience set more because the movie is an hour shorter and I know a lot of people don’t like the games, but I really dug them.
One of my favorite films of 2009 gets a beautiful transfer and some nice bonus features.
Rocky: The Undisputed Collection
This set isn’t reference quality and the bonus features are yawn worthy, but come on it’s the complete Rocky Experience.
Other Strong Blu-rays of 2009
- Superman/Batman Public Enemies
- Green Lantern
- Angels and Demons
- Monsters, Inc.
- HSM 3
- Terminator Salvation
- Snow White
- Gone With the Wind
- Harry Potter Deluxe Edition 1 & 2
- The International
- Most disappointing Blu-ray of 2009 – G.I. Joe
- Best Blu-ray Company – Disney Home Video. Disney gets the format and almost every one of their releases are Video and Audio Reference Quality
- The Phoning it in Award – Fox Home Video and Paramount. Both studios spent this year putting out a lot of their back catalog, which is all well and good but usually these releases included the movie only and if we’re lucky maybe one 3 minute featurette in SD. Even their current releases barely had any features on them – I’m looking at you G.I. Joe! Yet they have the gall to try and charge full Blu-ray prices for these half hearted releases. I also acknowledge the irony that three titles on my list are from Paramount Home Video.
- The Double Dipp Award – Warner Brothers for both the Harry potter Deluxe Editions and their numerous editions of Watchmen
- Hypocrite Award – Sony Home Video. Blu-ray is Sony’s baby, but they don’t do a very good job of putting out Showcase Releases. They recently announced that they are going to stop putting TV Sets on Blu-ray.
Raise your Fist and Commit Award – Michelle’s Top 3 Blu-rays of 2009
3. Lost Season 1 – 5
2. Inglourious Basterds
1. Star Trek
EM Best Blu-rays of 2009
By Michelle Alexandria
Originally Posted 12.13.09