The Blu-ray format’s only been with us for six years, but it’s already facing stiff competition from on-demand services. But if you want to revisit the growing number of beautifully-restored classics, it’s impossible to beat.
For many, Blu-ray is a format with the axe-man’s shadow looming large. Despite a rise in Blu-ray sales, technology is rapidly moving-on, with downloads and streaming services jostling for position as our new favourite way to watch movies at home.
Why bother buying expensive Blu-ray discs when you can click and watch the film of your choice in an instant? So is it time to call-time on Blu-ray?
Not quite yet. If there’s one thing Blu-ray can deliver that video on-demand can’t yet match, it’s the ramped-up picture quality. But it’s not the latest blockbusters which make Blu-ray worth the bother; it’s the chance to re-visit some old classics that should make every film fan sit up and reach for the play button.
Classic films restored on Blu-ray
There’s a growing body of classic movies being re-mastered and lovingly transferred on to the high-definition format. The restored colour and detail make some classic films look so good, it’s like watching a familiar favourite for the first time.
The dystopian visuals of Bladerunner (a film that’s, let’s face it, all about the visuals) have simply never looked better. Zulu, the Michael Caine & Stanley Baker classic, is nothing sort of a revelation. This is a movie that’s half a century old that simply bursts with detail and colour, making it look like it could have been filmed yesterday – especially satisfying if you’re used to the washed-out broadcast version.
Into that same ‘filmed yesterday’ bracket I’d pop a sumptuous transfer of 2001: A Space Odyssey and a breathtaking 50th anniversary re-master of the epic Lawrence of Arabia. If you didn’t manage to catch this re-release at the cinema, then the Blu-ray version is a stunning rendition of the David Lean classic. Amadeus, Jaws, Wizard of Oz and Sean Connery era Bond films are all well worth a Blu-ray re-visit too.
Tracking down the best Blu-ray restorations
There is a fly in the ointment, however. Not every movie will get the transfer treatment it deserves. The quality of the source material plays an enormous part, as well as the time and effort that’s gone into the transfer.
So, in the absence of any reliable guidance from the film studios, it’s worth spending a bit of time surfing the net to sort the wheat from the chaff… and also posting your recommendations (or ones to avoid) below. That’s if you’ve jumped on the Blu-ray bandwagon yet – and if you haven’t, why not?
So what am I going to spend the Christmas tokens on? I can hear the Francis Ford Coppola restored Godfather collection calling…
How do you watch films? You can pick multiple answers:
I watch movies shown on free TV (eg BBC, ITV) (22%, 662 Votes)
On DVDs (bought or rented) (18%, 522 Votes)
At the cinema (17%, 501 Votes)
On Blu-rays (bought or rented) (11%, 323 Votes)
Streamed online via free on-demand services (eg BBC iPlayer) (8%, 245 Votes)
I don't really watch movies (8%, 224 Votes)
Via subscription TV services (eg Sky movies) (6%, 184 Votes)
Streamed online via subscription on-demand services (eg LoveFilm) (4%, 123 Votes)
Pirated downloads (3%, 98 Votes)
Bought or pay-per-view downloads (eg Apple TV) (2%, 66 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,129