Ten... best Blu-ray movies of 2011
Round-up If you’ve recently migrated to Blu-ray, or are already a dyed-in-the-wool evangelist, you’ll doubtless have developed an uncontrollable compulsion to build a collection of 1080p platters. But what releases deserve your attention? To provide answers of a sort, I’ve compiled this invaluable (and not at all off-the-cuff) guide to the best Blu-ray discs of 2011. Gongs (shall we call them Reggies?) are distributed in faux BAFTA category style, if only because it allows chalk to be lauded next to cheese. Feel free to concur, debate or disparage in the comments section.
Best Blu-ray picture quality
While there have been some great looking discs this year, edging past them all in terms of unbridled image quality is Tron: Legacy. Best seen flat (but still mighty impressive in 3D) it takes the potentially difficult perpetual night of Disney’s Grid and makes it stunningly beautiful – never more so when the ultra-sharp, shot-for-Imax 16:9 sequences kick in.
Despite deep blacks and gradated shadows, images bristle with fine detail. No matter how hard you look, there are no artefacts, no banded colours or crushed blacks. This is a high definition image of quite exquisite quality.
Best Blu-ray sound quality
From the Daft Punk powered-Tron sequel to The Lord of the Rings Extended Editions (via countless other cookie-cutter blockbusters), you’ll find plenty of bit-perfect soundtracks that take full advantage of the hi-res multichannel capability of Blu-ray. But if you want to hear the best that BD can bring to the table, you need to look way back.
Anime classic Akira arrived on Blu-ray in the UK this year with a soundtrack described by its makers as Hypersonic – in point of fact 24-bit 192kHz Dolby TrueHD. Such clarity pushes the envelope in terms of fidelity and eclipses by a post-apocalyptic mile movie soundtracks mastered at the standard 24bit 48kHz. You’ll need decent kit to appreciate the levels of sonic detail on this platter, but it paints an aural picture that’s more nuanced than anything else available. If only all film soundtracks were so lavishly appointed.