By Eric Podolsky, 10/12/12
As the Blu-ray format slowly pushes DVDs into yesterday’s news, us videophiles couldn’t be happier with the ever-growing plethora of old films getting remastered and released in a pristine HD format. We are very grateful to live in a time when we’re able to experience film at a cinematic level in our own homes -- Blu-ray has truly improved the quality of home theater in ways that none of us could fathom a decade ago.
But there are still a massive number of classic films that, for whatever reason, have yet to get the proper HD treatment. The causes for these delays are varied: there are legal issues, print quality issues, or just annoying marketing schemes where studios hold back titles just because they can. Though the number of yet-to-be-released-on-Blu-ray films is through the roof (and thankfully shrinking every year), AVS has got some favorites that we feel should be of the highest priority for release. Here are a bunch of great titles that AVS members would most like to see get a Blu-ray remaster. And if you find yourself saying, “Really?! They haven’t released that one yet?” you’re not alone, we’re saying the same thing. Some of these titiles are obvious and some are obscure, but all are excellent films that AVS feels deserve a lovingly restored transfer. So get on it, studio execs! We’re on to you...
James Cameron really likes to keep his fans waiting when it comes to Blu-ray releases of his movies, and True Lies is at the very top of the list for us. It’s got everything a guy could want in a film -- scene after scene of great action, plenty of comic relief, and what is probably the best on-screen strip-tease of all time by Jamie Lee Curtis. Though nothing is confirmed, we’ve heard rumors that 20th Century Fox is planning on a Blu-ray release of True Lies in 2013 that could be tied into a promotion. Here’s hoping it’s true...
There has been word spreading around the interwebs that James Cameron is about to start working on a new high-def transfer and master of The Abyss. Seeing as this mysterious, awe-inspiring film has never even had a proper widescreen DVD release (nor has True Lies), this is much welcome news.
Bad Boys II
Why this 2003 Michael Bay action film hasn’t been released on Blu-ray yet is one of the great mysteries of our time. Luckily, a fan wrote Sony Entertainment asking this very question, and received this answer: “Because Michael Bay wanted to be more involved in the product that is going to be released. Taking the fact that Michael Bay now has other projects going on, and the fact that there has been talk about making Bad Boys 3, we believe that the Bad Boys 2 Blu-ray will most likely be released when Bad Boys 3 premiers at the movies." Good luck waiting around for that to happen...
This Leonardo DiCaprio thriller is a wicked good time, and long overdue for a Blu-ray release. If you’ve been waiting for this one, you’re in luck! Our sources tell us that The Beach is currently slated for an August 2013 release.
Though Universal has announced that this iconic film is being restored as a part of the studio’s 100th anniversary “celebration,” no release date date has been given. We can only assume that it will see a 20th anniversary Blu-ray release in 2013.
Terry Zwigoff’s adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel has been a cult favorite since its 2001 release, but we see no current signs of Blu-ray in its horizon. We do know that it will get the Criterion Collection treatment when it is finally released, but there are no clues as to when.
This psychedelic mind-bender from Cameron Crowe is a visual marvel, but it’s being held back by Paramount for reasons unknown for us. We do know that the lack of a Vanilla Sky Blu-ray has nothing to do with director Cameron Crowe, who has made clear his desire to release it. According to Crowe, “I think ultimately it will come down to Paramount hearing from the fans, so feel free to write ‘em and tell ‘em you’re interested.”
After a number of lawsuits, the rights to Dick Tracy are finally in the hands of director and producer Warren Beatty, who made the film a loving homage to the comic books and noir films of the 30’s and 40’s. Happily, a release date has been set: Dick Tracy will hit Blu-ray on December 11, right in time for the holidays.
Frustratingly enough, an announcement was made back in 2008 that this film would see a Blu-ray release very soon. Well, it’s four years later, and there’s nothing to report. Dan Aykroyd did tweet a while back saying, "GB2 on Blu-ray - it's definitely coming out (with some extras/commentary)," but no official announcement has been made yet. Who knows what the cause of this is, as the first film saw release over three years ago. The waiting game continues...
Considering this film was an absolute box office smash when it hit theaters in 1982, its surprising to see Tootsie left behind in the Blu-ray market. This may be due to the fact that it saw an anniversary DVD release as recently as 2008, so they may be holding back the Blu-ray so as to not get in the way of that release. Whatever the reason, we’ll just have to wait to see a cross-dressing Dustin Hoffman in HD.
The Right Stuff
There had been rumors floating around that this 1983 film about the birth of the U.S. Space Program would see a Blu-ray release as early as 2011, but sadly, this has still not come to pass. There may have been problems with the master, but it seems like Warner Bros. has been holding on to it for a 30th Anniversary release -- word has recently come out that the film is slated for a Q4 2013 release.
Pink Floyd’s The Wall
Unfortunately, there’s not much news about this one. Seeing as The Wall album was just released in a deluxe format, and that 2012 is the film 30th anniversary, it seems like this crazy-bad-trip of a movie should be out on Blu-ray by now. There was a report from Pink Floyd engineer James Guthrie back in February that he was currently working on bringing the film to Blu-ray, but the process is clearly taking a while. This may be due to a poor film print: recent screenings of the film on Palladia HD revealed many scratches, tears, and other flaws. Hopefully the delay of this release is due to the addressing of these issues.
Oh, Disney. Why must you torture us with your frustrating marketing schemes? The studio has been keeping this all-time animated classic locked in the vaults, though all sources point to an Aladdin Blu-ray seeing the light of day in spring of 2013 for its 20th anniversary. The wild animation and color in this film have no equal, and should look stunning in a remastered HD format.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Remember this one? Roger Rabbit has to be the best mix of live-action and 2D animation of any film, and it will finally see Blu-ray release in 2013 for its 25th anniversary. The official Disney announcement says the disc will include three remastered animated shorts featuring Roger and Baby Herman.
Speaking of live-action and animation hybrids, this 1964 Disney musical truly set the bar for how it should be done. There is absolutely no word on a release for this one, though we would put our money on Disney it holding back ‘till 2014 for a 50th anniversary release (they’re all about those anniversaries).
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
This underrated 1974 Clint Eastwood film features an Oscar-nominated performance by a very young Jeff Bridges, though it has somehow been forgotten by many. The lack of a Blu-ray release (and an out-of-print DVD) may have something to do with Eastwood’s longtime feud with United Artists -- he vowed to never work with them again due to their lack of promotion for this film when it was released. Due to this grudge, a Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Blu-ray may be in limbo for quite some time...
Talk about a truly lost film. This creepy, polarizing Michael Mann-directed horror film holds its share of cult followers, but is largely unknown to most due to the fact that it was never even released on DVD. It is thought that this is due to copyright issues stemming from the Tangerine Dream-penned soundtrack, so folks hoping to see The Keep on Blu-ray may not want to hold their breath -- this one’s got slim hopes (thankfully, it is available on Netflix streaming).
Here’s another forgotten classic that features a Tangerine Dream soundtrack. This 1977 action adventure film is a white-knuckled good time, but sadly has only seen a less-than-adequate, full-screen DVD release thus far. Director William Friedkin has expressed interest in bringing Sorcerer to Blu-ray (possibly as a Criterion Collection release), though there are plenty of legal issues to work out first -- apparently Universal and Paramount don’t even know who owns the rights to the film. Here’s hoping they work this out ASAP.
The Great Escape
This thrilling 1963 Steve McQueen film about a prisoners’ escape from a German POW camp is currently in the queue for a 50th anniversary 2013 release, according to the PR dept. of Fox Home Entertainment. We expect it to look fantastic -- those motorcycle chase scenes through the European countryside are on a grand scale.
The Wicker Man (1973)
Unlike the 2006 Nic Cage re-make and the 2006 sequel, The Wicker Tree (both awful films), this creepy 1973 original has rightfully earned its cult status as a bizarre horror classic. And while those two lesser films have both seen Blu-ray releases, this far superior original has no release date on the horizon -- looks like fans will have to keep waiting blindly on this one.
The Big Sleep
Though The Big Sleep is considered the ultimate Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall collaboration, there’s no telling when Warner Bros. will finally release this thrilling 1946 noir. It has seen a few DVD releases, so it’s certainly on their radar, but we have no idea when the Blu-ray will see the light of day.
This one’s quite a shot in the dark, but we’d love to see this campy, very trippy 1974 sci-fi starring Sean Connery get a proper Blu-ray release. It features: a floating, talking stone head-god (named Zardoz, of course), psychic babes, 70’s retro-future sets, and Sean Connery prancing around half-naked in a diaper and a ponytail. What’s not to love? This awful/amazing movie probably isn’t on any studio exec’s radar, and will probably never see an HD release, but we can dream, can’t we?
For more unreleased Blu-ray titles, check out the Official AVS Blu-ray Wishlist Thread