The first person who says it looks grainy gets a good hard slap
Way back last December, back when the ill-fated HD DVD format was still just hanging in there, I was pretty psyched when German distributor Senator Home Entertainment announced high definition releases of Planet Terror and Death Proof, the two instalments of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s ode to the B-movies of yesteryear. With US rights holders The Weinstein Company having disappeared off the face of the HD map, it looked as if Senator were our best chance of seeing these films in full 1080p glory.
Then Bob and Harvey struck. Apparently the Weinsteins didn’t like the idea of these films appearing in HD in Europe before they had been given such a release stateside, so the release date was pushed back and back and back again. Then, of course, the HD DVD ship capsized, with Blu-ray editions remaining on the schedule; however, with the likelihood of them being coded for Region B only, they obviously wouldn’t be of much use to Region A people like myself. Anyway, to this day they still haven’t come out.
Thankfully, The Weinstein Company has finally got off its fat ass and announced US Blu-ray releases of both films. As High-Def Digest reports, they will be released separately on December 16th. No specs have been revealed yet, but I would imagine that they will mirror the currently available standard definition DVDs in terms of content - in other words, they’ll be the longer extended cuts, and Rodriguez’s Planet Terror will be in its home video aspect ratio of 1.78:1 instead of its theatrical 2.39:1 (when paired up with Death Proof, it was reformatted to match the ratio of its stablemate). Currently, the Japanese 6-disc release from BroadMedia is the only way to see both films as they were shown in cinemas, and by the looks of it the picture quality on the theatrical version isn’t too hot.
I’m rather looking forward to seeing these films again. I rented the DVD versions of both earlier this year (these days, I’m rather reluctant to buy standard definition copies of major studio films that stand a good chance of an HD release), and liked Planet Terror considerably better than Death Proof, which was Tarantino at his most annoyingly self-indulgent, with only the killer final half-hour redeeming it. I’m definitely interested to see how the intentionally grubby, scratched-up look translates to 1080p, having only seen them in SD so far.