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Star Trek remastered for High Definition

By John Sinnott     September 03, 2006


Pitch Black HD DVD
© Sony
STAR TREK in High Definition: Good and bad news for STAR TREK fans. Paramount has confirmed that it gearing up to release the TREK franchise again, this time in high definition. The studio is remastering the original series in HD (and rumors claim that the entire catalog is scheduled to get the HD treatment including all of the movies as well as the other four live-action series and the cartoon show too.) The bad news for purists (and I fall into that category) is that, according to their press release, they "will be redoing many of the special effects... with 21st century computer-generated imagery." These include the exterior shot of the Enterprise, the matte paintings used for backgrounds when the crew beamed down to a planet, and the entire opening sequence. The opening song has also been re-recorded. No word on price or release date yet, but we'll keep you posted.

Fox jumps on the Blu-Ray Wagon: The last major studio to announce support for one of the HD formats has just gotten off the fence. Fox has announced that it will start releasing Blu-Ray discs on November 14th. That first wave will include THE FANTASTIC FOUR, KISS OF THE DRAGON, THE LEAGUE OF EXTRODINARY GENTLEMAN, SPEED, THE TRANSPORTER, THE OMEN (2006), and THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (the director's cut.) In the following weeks Fox has announced that it will also be releasing ICE AGE: MELTDOWN, ROCKY, BULLETPROOF MONK, THE USUAL SUSPECTS, and WINDTALKERS.

Dolby TrueHD Sound Arrives: Promising to deliver lossless audio, Toshiba's newest firmware upgrade for their HD-A1 and HD-XA1 HD DVD players will enable playback of disc with a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. This encoding offers a "sound that is bit-for-bit identical to the studio master, unlocking the true high-definition entertainment experience on next-generation discs." (According to the Dolby web site.) Though many Blu-Ray discs have an uncompressed PCM track, that method eats up a lot of room on the 25GB discs. It looks like HD DVD is staying in the lead.

Spotlight of the week:

PITCH BLACK on HD DVD:

Fry: Is [Riddick] really that dangerous?

Johns: Only around humans.

When a transport ship carrying both passengers and a very dangerous criminal is forced to crash land on an out-of-the-way planet, the survivors think that their biggest problem is the escaped murderer, Riddick. They are dead wrong. When the sun sets on this planet, ravenous creatures emerge from the caves and subterranean tunnels that riddle the planet and eat anything they can find. Like giant flying army ants, they devour and destroy everything they encounter. Their only weakness is light. With only a small amount of energy to power the lights though, the survivors have to learn to trust Riddick. Not only is he a capable fighter, but he is the only one who can see in the dark.

After some of writer/director David Twohy's previous scripts, he wrote both the WATERWORLD and G. I. JANE, people might pass this by sight unseen. After all it sounds a lot like a retelling of ALIENS, which it is heavily influenced by, but there is enough new material to make this a fun and exciting film. The horror elements work well creating some suspenseful moments, and though I'll admit that there are a lot of SF cliché's included in the movie, this film stands up on its own. Vin Diesel is impressive as the murderous Riddick who cares for no one but himself. Physically he fits the part, and his quiet delivery makes the character seem all the more menacing. While this isn't a classic, it is a movie worth watching and much better than the big budget sequel that had three times the budget and one half of the entertainment value.

The HD DVD release of this film looks absolutely wonderful. Popping this disc in will remind viewers why they spent all that money on a HD set up in the first place. The images pop off the screen with razor sharp clarity. The level of detail is fantastic and the colors are nice and solid. Digital defects are no where to be seen (and neither is the dreaded edge enhancement) and the only flaws that are present are a bit of grain in a few scenes. The video is partnered with a clean Dolby Digital + 5.1 audio track that fits the movie well making this is a reference quality disc.



Upcoming High Definition Discs:

September 5, 2006

BLAZING SADDLES (Warner) Blu-Ray

FIREWALL (Warner) Blu-Ray

FULL METAL JACKET (Warner) Blu-Ray

LETHAL WEAPON (Warner) Blu-Ray

September 12, 2006

HOUSE OF WAX (2005) (Warner) HD DVD

LETHAL WEAPON 2 (Warner) HD DVD

RED DRAGON (Universal) HD DVD

SEABISCUIT (Universal) HD DVD

SPACE COWBOYS (Warner) HD DVD

THAT'S THE WAY OF THE WORLD (BCI) HD DVD

TRAFFIC (Universal) HD DVD

TROY (Warner) HD DVD

September 19, 2006

BACKDRAFT (Universal) HD DVD

THE BIG HIT (Sony) Blu-Ray

DAZED & CONFUSED (Universal) HD DVD

DINOSAUR (Buena Vista) Blu-Ray

EIGHT BELOW (Buena Vista) Blu-Ray

END OF DAYS (Universal) HD DVD

FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS (Universal) HD DVD

GALAXINA (BCI) HD DVD

GOLGO 13 (BCI) HD DVD

THE GREAT RAID (Buena Vista) Blu-Ray

JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK (Buena Vista) Blu-Ray

A KNIGHT'S TALE (Sony) Blu-Ray

LAND OF THE DEAD (Universal) HD DVD

S.W.A.T. (Sony) Blu-Ray

TEARS OF THE SUN (Sony) Blu-Ray

September 26, 2006

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD/ (1938) (Warner) HD DVD

THE DIRTY DOZEN (Warner) HD DVD

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (Universal) HD DVD

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT (Universal) HD DVD

FOUR BROTHERS (Paramount) Blu-Ray

THE FUGITIVE (Warner) Blu-Ray

GRAND PRIX (Warner) HD DVD

HOUSE OF WAX (2005) (Warner) Blu-Ray

LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (Paramount) Blu-Ray

LEATHAL WEAPON 2 (Warner) Blu-Ray

SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW (Paramount) Blu-Ray

SLEEPY HOLLOW (Paramount) Blu-Ray

SPACE COWBOYS (Warner) Blu-Ray

SWORDFISH (Warner) Blu-Ray

TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES (Warner) HD DVD

TIM BURTON'S CORPSE BRIDE (Warner) Blu-Ray

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (Universal) HD DVD

October 3, 2006

THE PAT METHENY GROUP: THE WAY UP (Eagle Rock) HD DVD and Blu-Ray

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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alphan 9/4/2006 12:13:03 AM
>No word on price or release date yet, >but we’ll keep you posted. Try Sept. 16th for TOS beginning with Balance Of Terror. I am not a purist. And so I'm afraid the CGI Effects aren't going far enough. They're just redoing the sequences in CGI without changing them a bit. According to this link... http://trekmovie.com/2006/08/31/trek-movie-report-talks-to-edenfx-about-hdtv-treksee-their-test-footage/ ...viewers won't see a difference. Just a change in quality.
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