Will Certain Movies Drive Blu-Ray?
Although I certainly wanted to see Blu-Ray claim victory over HD-DVD, it happened faster than just about anyone had anticipated. However, we've got a long ways to go before Blu-Ray becomes the accepted movie-viewing format, as DVD is fairly well entrenched amongst the mainstream consumers of this country. It will happen eventually, but perhaps it will be certain movies that will expand the Blu-Ray empire early on...
I don't know about you, but when I go to buy a new movie, I don't necessarily look for it on Blu-Ray. I have a PS3 and a 40" Samsung that is capable of full 1080p high-definition resolution, but this doesn't mean I will automatically fork over the extra ten bucks for the Blu-Ray version. These days, I'm looking at the movie itself, and asking one question: "is this the type of movie that would really benefit from Blu-Ray?" Now, I know what you're thinking- all movies benefit from Blu-Ray HD, but in my opinion, it's certainly more impressive for certain films. For example, I don't need old movies - movies that were never initially designed for high-definition - on Blu-Ray. Although it may be cool to have "Top Gun" on Blu-Ray, I just don't think it's necessary. And same goes for something like a comedy or even some dramas. I have "No Country For Old Men" on Blu-Ray now (a purchase I regret, as I basically hated the movie), and I wouldn't have cared if I had seen it on DVD.
On the other hand, I have movies like "Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End," "The Dark Knight," "Pan's Labyrinth," and "Finding Neverland" on Blu-Ray for a damn good reason. It's the scenery; the environments; the unbelievable visuals of such films that burst into high-definition glory on Blu-Ray. I have the feeling I'm not the only person who is going about purchasing their movies in this fashion. However, this entire argument becomes irrelevant if Blu-Ray cost the same as DVD, so perhaps this is only a temporary conundrum that won't become an issue later in 2009. And I'm also well aware of the video freaks out there who will only accept perfect high definition in everything they watch, but I'm not really one of them. For now, I am very selective in which movies I buy on Blu-Ray, even though I buy very few movies in the first place. I simply ask myself if I really need that extra boost, and whether or not the experience will be that much fuller for the added cost incurred.
Anyway, the point is this: I believe there are a lot of people out there who, despite having Blu-Ray capability, aren't automatically shifting their movie focus to 100% Blu-Ray. I think they're debating in much the same way I am. I think that movies like "The Dark Knight" - as holiday sales indicated - really help Sony's cause, while something like "Tropic Thunder" on Blu-Ray won't be a fraction as effective. And remember, I'm not just talking about movies with tons of special effects; "Finding Neverland" is amazing on Blu-Ray simply because it's such a visceral experience, and other movies fall into this category. Get what I mean?
1/2/2009 Ben Dutka