Random HD update
There have been several big announcements in HD-land over the last couple of days, and, for your viewing pleasure, I’ve summarised them all in one post.
First up, Warner have unveiled special editions of several Stanley Kubrick films, due to debut on both HD DVD and Blu-ray on October 23rd. Released separately rather than as a box set, the titles on offer are 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut, The Shining, and a new deluxe edition (presumably with a non-bobbed transfer) of Full Metal Jacket.
All titles have been restored and remastered and will offer both archive and new bonus features. Exact specs are to be confirmed, but initial details suggest all titles will use dual-layer BD50 and HD30 discs (potentially 2xHD30s on A Clockwork Orange if the early details are correct) and boast 1080P Widescreen transfers, English Dolby True HD 5.1 Surround audio on both formats (though the Blu-ray Disc listing for 2001 suggests Blu-ray owners will get a PCM 5.1 offering instead) and of course regular Dolby Digital/Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 tracks in English, French and Spanish languages.
Unfortunately, it would seem that the version of Eyes Wide Shut being released is the American R-rated cut, complete with superimposed CGI figures to obscure some of the more intimate details of the orgy scene. As such, you can probably guess that I won’t be buying it. Instead, I’ll be holding out for a non-American, uncut release.
Warner have also announced Blade Runner: The Final Cut for release on both formats on December 18th. With specs suggesting that this release will topple The Ultimate Matrix Collection from its “most feature-packed HD release” throne, this deluxe set will feature a whopping five discs, and will feature four different cuts of the film, including the all-new “final cut” and the fabled work-print version. For the true obsessive, an Ultimate Collector’s Edition will also be available:
The Ultimate Collector’s Edition will be presented in a unique 5-disc digi-package with handle which is a stylish version of Rick Deckard’s own briefcase, in addition each briefcase will be individually numbered and in limited supply. Included is a lenticular motion film clip from the original feature, miniature origami unicorn figurine, miniature replica spinner car, collector’s photographs as well as a signed personal letter from Sir Ridley Scott.
See a picture of the goodies here.
Finally, Highlight will be releasing the director’s cut of Zhang Yimou’s Hero on HD DVD in Germany on October 11th. No word yet on the specs (I’m a little worried that English subtitles won’t be in the offing), but I’ll definitely be keeping track of this one, especially as there currently isn’t anything approaching a half-decent release of the director’s cut on DVD.
Update, July 27st, 2007 07:10 PM: A Warner representative has just confirmed that the Eyes Wide Shut HD DVD and Blu-ray releases will include both the censored R-rated and uncut unrated versions. Thank god for that!