In last month’s feature I recommended 20 live action Blu-ray Discs to show off your HD display. This month I decided to take a look at 15 animated Blu-ray titles that I like to use for demonstration material. I will reiterate some of the pertinent comments from my original article as they are applicable here as well. Since the advent of high definition media, we as enthusiasts have strived to seek out the titles that would satisfy our insatiable thirst for the type of high quality presentations that give us that special thrill when we see them on our displays at home. When I pop in a Blu-ray disc that sparkles with enriching clarity, vivid color fidelity, emboldened dynamic range and inky blacks I must admit to getting a little giddy. With that in mind, I decided to offer those who might be looking for a few titles to bring out the best in their displays these animated Blu-ray titles that I have found to be exceptional. This following list isn’t meant to be a “top” fifteen compilation -- these titles got high marks from me for video quality when I reviewed them, however there are many on the list that scored pretty well on the audio front too. I have included a few comments from my reviews for frame of reference. If you want to read my full reviews, simply click on the film title.
How to Train Your Dragon
The film’s low level sequences (there are many) look just as stunning as the dark and shadow filled backgrounds exhibit a near infinite level of dimension, with superb contrast and visible shading that draws out lots of detail.
Legends of the Guardians: The owls of the Ga'Hoole
This is a reference quality high definition video presentation that among the best that I have seen. Images are painted with incredible three dimensional perspective that imparts a near infinite sense of depth. Intricate details such as the separation of individual strands of hair or the flowing of feathers as they blow in the breeze are incredibly lifelike.
Kung Fu Panda
This is a reference quality presentation that has garnered the first perfect overall technical score that I have given. The video quality was nothing short of mesmerizing in its depiction of the film’s animated images.
Cloudy with a chance of meatballs
This is a pristine quality digital transfer that looks stunning.
Colors are breathtaking as they leap of off the screen with exuberant depth and a dazzling array that stimulates the senses.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Fantastic Mr. Fox on Blu-ray offers beautifully crafted stop motion animation that exhibits eye catching resolution and refined clarity.
Beauty and the Beast
Images have excellent visual depth with deep, rich, color fidelity and stable contrast that enhances dimension. I can fully appreciate the attention to detail that went into design of each of the animated characters.
This is a reference quality high definition presentation that delivers superlative imagery. When it was first released the DVD it was the go to for reference/demonstration purposes as it exhibited incredible depth, lush color and clear delineation. This high definition presentation literally takes it to another level entirely. The quality of the images onscreen can be visually arresting.
Detail and definition is impeccably rendered as images have a luminous and sparkling clarity that is appreciably three dimensional. It never left me wanting for fine degrees of subtle delineation and texture.
Detail is superlative as the video has definitive three dimensional quality with crisp texture and excellent fine articulation. Contrast is strong and well balanced so that whites are crisp and colors pop without distortion or loss of detail.
Puss in Boots
Contrast is exemplary and blacks are inky with extended dynamic range and deep gradational highlights. The film’s low level sequences look terrific as the dark and shadow filled backgrounds exhibit a near infinite level of dimension, with superb contrast and visible shading that draws out lots of detail.
The attention to detail in the construction of the animated characters features and objects within each frame is fascinating. Looking at Bob’s Mr. Incredible costume I could easily make out the pattern of the fabric in the blue “mega mesh” material or the textures on walls and cloth covered furniture in E’s house. The scenes that take place on the island look amazing. I could see the subtle shades of green in the jungle foliage, the uneven and rough surfaces on rock formations and the suppleness of standing water.
Toy Story 3
couldn't get over the depth of the beautifully rendered colors. Colors are deeply saturated with lustrous vibrancy and succulent textures that literally leap off of the screen. Primaries are particularly striking and exhibit visible gradational stages that bring out subtle degrees of separation.
Lady and the Tramp
On several occasions I found myself marveling at just how good this 50 plus year old animated feature looked. Fidelity is intact and images have excellent visual depth with deep, rich, color fidelity and stable contrast that enhances dimension.
There is a pristine quality to the video that brings out the small intricacies inherent, in the film's animated design. Images are razor sharp with defining clarity and lucid resolution that is notably discerning.
Now Let's Hear Yours
There you have it -- 15 Blu-ray discs that come highly recommended for your HD display. But this list is by no means supposed to be definitive. I'd love to hear from you what you consider are great showpieces. Please post some suggestions in the comments below, or feel free to create your own list on AVS!
Ralph Potts has been a member of AVS for ten years and has been reviewing audio/video hardware and digital home media for even longer. He has been AVS’ official Blu-ray reviewer for the last four years and has provided over nine hundred Blu-ray reviews for the AVS Community. You can follow Ralph along with AVS’ other official Blu-ray reviewer Lee Weber HERE).
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