28 October 2018

Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray: uncovering a multitude of sins

28 October 2018

Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray: uncovering a multitude of sins

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: What is that swinging from a tree?

The DVD's days appear to be numbered. Department store John Lewis has announced it won't put any more devices on shelves when stocks run out.

At the turn of the millennium, Generation X willingly updated the VHS cassettes that adorned their shelves to DVD.

Then came the constant DVD re-releases: the ultimate edition release, which was a re-release of the anniversary edition release, which was a re-release two-disc special release. How many releases can a film company milk out of one film?

They know there are enough cinephiles out there who have to have it. They fork out on the latest release despite already owning the re-release of the re-release of the first release.

Just when you thought your guests were in awe of your 100+ DVD collection, the bottom began to fall out of the DVD market. Gen X and millennials reluctantly took their DVDs to the charity shop and slowly started to upgrade to Blu-ray. Now, once again, it's time to upgrade to Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray.

Just as VHS blew away Betamax, DVD blew away VHS, and Blu-ray technology has blown away DVD. Be it dodgy rear projection, the join on Spock's pointy ears, or a lady's nipple and pubic hair in a Bond film title sequence, Blu-ray has uncovered a multitude of sins. Now, the mask has slipped.

Bond title sequence stalwart Maurice Binder later admitted smearing Vaseline petroleum jelly on models' pubic hair to flatten the "70s bush".

Ladies' grooming habits have since evolved. I doubt current Bond title sequence director Daniel Kleinman faces the same challenge.

The make-up plastered on Sean Connery's arms to cover his now 'Scotland forever' tattoo momentarily ruins the illusion he is James Bond. As do the individual weaves of his hairpiece above his forehead. The wires that lifted Christopher Reeve into the sky ruin the illusion he is Superman.

The jowls on the eating machine in Jaws — fondly named 'Bruce' by Spielberg and crew — now resemble your nan's. Bruce's mechanical munching of Quint aboard the deck of the Orca has become slightly noticeable. Bruce still looks phenomenal, especially in the close-up scenes with Chief Brody.

Richard Dreyfuss thinks Jaws could be improved by replacing Bruce with a CGI shark. Duel (Jaws on land) and the Amity Island tale are masterclasses in directing a taut thriller with compelling characters. Jaws is a masterpiece and a brilliant demonstration of cinema. It should never be tampered with.

George Lucas hasn't been able to resist making the odd nip and tuck to the original Star Wars trilogy: much-maligned among fans. I'd welcome a few CGI retouches to Bruce, but not the head, the tail, the whole damn thing.

A grim tale emerged in the late 1980s when The Wizard of Oz was released on VHS. An actor playing a munchkin supposedly hung himself on set over his unrequited love for a fellow munchkin-playing dwarf.

It's been said that his body is swinging from a tree as the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and Dorothy gleefully sing and dance their way up the Yellow Brick Road.

This old chestnut has been debunked, thanks to HD. It turns out it was an exotic stray bird or something. HD swings and roundabouts.

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