New to Blu: March 14-20, Part One
It’s the battle of the Blu-ray blockbusters this week, with Game of Thrones and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part I going on sale a day apart.
In the US, where Thursday’s Breaking Dawn was released a month ago, disc sales topped five million units in its first 10 days – or 13% more than predecessor Eclipse did over the same period.
Game of Thrones, which went on sale a week ago in the US, was projected to be the top-selling disc after Immortals for the week ending March 11.
Critics were ecstatic about Thrones’ Blu-ray presentation, from the picture quality to the calibre of the extras.
“Though often uttered and often written (quite liberally I might add), there simply isn’t a more succinct and accurate way to convey the quality of HBO’s 1080p/AVC-encoded image than the word, ‘wow’.
“It’s frightening how easy it is to lose yourself in the high definition world of Westeros.
“Colours are immaculate, primaries are bold and visceral, black levels are dark and ominous, skintones are dead on (pale in the frosty north, lovely in the summery south), and contrast and clarity are nothing short of impeccable.”
“Put quite simply, Westeros lives and breathes its way out of the screen … one of the very best video transfers around.”
The Blu-ray of Breaking Dawn “shines and glistens with spot-on contrast and showing some of the most brilliant whites we’ve seen of the format.”
“Certainly, there are a handful of ever-so-soft shots and blacks that are deep and dark but sometimes border on crush, but the image is nearly otherwise blemish-free.”
Also new this week is another HBO production, Mildred Pierce, which was shot on 16mm for period authenticity.
“The 1.78:1 Blu-ray image is really good-looking considering the filmed source – 16mm, intended to help recreate a 1930s feel to the production’s look.
“There is some occasional softness as a result and at those times, the image lacks the sharpness one associates with Blu-ray.
“Placed in the context of the filmmakers’ intent, though, the Blu-ray recreates the original broadcast look admirably. Film grain is pleasingly evident, but never intrusive.”