Originally Posted by gooki
It really feels like very little personal effort is going into these.
I think this particular point really cuts to the heart of the matter. Not so much personal effort, but budgeted scale of the project. With the exception of the most high-profile restorations, a lot of these older movies are just not going to justify the nth degree of tlc (from the standpoint of whatever beancounter ok's the project). It's on a skeleton budget to push the project out the door with the least amount of investment/effort. I'm not trying to say this is "ok", though. I'm just saying it is the pragmatic reality. The foremost goal, unfortunately, is to simply make the title available on br, rather than make the best release of the title that is technically possible from the master.
I guess that would be one of the most poignant catch-22's of a brand new hi-def format. It was devised to facilitate the highest possible resolution for video and sound, wide open bitrates, and the best codecs of the day, but if the material, itself, is not up to the task, its not going to even come close to exploiting the technical specs of the format. The premium looking hd doesn't just happen by accident or incidentally. It is a concerted effort/expertise to ensure the quality of the material is optimally expressed through the entire workflow. When things are left to "autopilot", the shortcomings of the result become only that much more apparent on a high-performance medium.