Originally Posted by Bill Hunt
ORIGINAL POST - 7/20/10 - 11AM PDT - UPDATED 4 PM PDT)
We've got some AWESOME news for you Gladiator fans today, folks! More on that in a minute...
First, we're pleased today to bring you a new High-Definition Matters column from our very own Barrie Maxwell. In this edition, Barrie reviews 8 new and recent titles on Blu-ray, including Sony's The Last Station, Alliance Canada's In Bruges and Shakespeare in Love, Warner's Absolute Power and Where Eagles Dare/Kelly's Heroes double feature, Paramount's Shutter Island, Fox's Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and E1 Entertainment's The Greatest. Enjoy!
Also here at the site today, our own Russell Hammond has posted his weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section, featuring all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover scans, and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits, and we really appreciate it.
All right... now for that awesome Gladiator news. If you've been reading any of the A/V enthusiast forums in the last 24 hours or so, you may now be aware that Universal has just released the new remastered Gladiator Blu-ray in Holland. Fans will know that the previous U.S. Blu-ray release - a DreamWorks title distributed by Paramount, with elements provided by Universal - featured a (shall we say) somewhat disappointing and recycled high-def transfer. Let me rephrase that: It was an extremely disappointing transfer. Well... the good news is that a brand new 4K transfer of the film was done several months ago with fresh elements, and the title has been re-authored to include it. It's this new transfer that's now available on Blu-ray in Europe, and early word is it's spectacular. Here's a link to a good online screenshot comparison of the new and old Blu-rays. (The first image that appears is the old Blu-ray - roll your cursor over it to see the same shot on the new Blu-ray). As expected, the difference is pretty shocking. You see? There IS a real quality difference when a studio spends a little extra money on the A/V presentation of a Blu-ray to get it right.
Anyway, word (and visual proof of) the new transfer appearing on Blu-ray in Holland has resulted in hundreds of concerned U.S. Gladiator fans e-mailing us in the last day or so, understandably hoping/pleading/begging for any information as to when they might be able to get their hands on the new disc here in the States. So here's the AWESOME news: Paramount Home Entertainment is about to initiate an exchange program for anyone who would like to swap their previous Gladiator Blu-ray for an otherwise identical disc with the new transfer. Here's their official statement:
"We are implementing a limited exchange program. This program is only for those consumers that may have preferential issues with some of the technical DVNR (digital video noise reduction) and EE (edge enhancement) choices made in the original source transfer, and so would prefer to exchange it for one that addresses those preferences in a different manner.
While the version that we originally distributed was of the highest quality, some enthusiasts may prefer to view it without the Edge Enhancement and DVNR implemented as standard process in bringing the film to hi-def. This new master resolves those issues."
[Editor's Note: You can call Paramount Home Entertainment's REVISED customer service hotline number (323-956-3010 - give them a couple days to get things together) to arrange the swap. Replacement discs will be available soon. For those in the U.S. and Canada who don't yet own the disc, a running production change has been initiated, so future copies shipped to retailers will include the new transfer. Rest assured, we'll post details as to exactly how you'll be able to identify the new discs (likely via some kind of packaging marking) when they start becoming available in stores in the coming weeks. And for those of you in other countries around the world, the new disc is being gradually rolled out in each region, so contact your local distributor for the details.
On behalf of Gladiator and Blu-ray fans everywhere, I'd like to send out a big Bits THANK YOU to everyone involved in the decision to do the new transfer, to those talented mastering wizards involved in the actual work (for a job well done!), and to the folks at Paramount for implementing their exchange program. THAT'S how you do right by your customers, and it's very much appreciated.]
In other new release news today, Anchor Bay has set Dolph Lundgren's The Killing Machine for release on DVD on 10/19 (SRP $26.98). Bevare... he vill break you!
And for those of you who like a good catfight, Vivendi Entertainment has set Sorority Wars for release on DVD on 8/17.