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post #1 of 15 Old 10-23-2015, 07:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Trilogy Blu-ray Review



Join Marty McFly, Doc Brown and a time traveling DeLorean for the adventure of a lifetime as they travel to the past, present and future, setting off a time-shattering chain reaction that disrupts the space time continuum!



The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

87



Details:

Studio and Year: Universal – 1985, 1989, 1990
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 116 minutes, 109 minutes, 119 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Comedy/Adventure

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson, Crispin Glover, Claudia Wells, Marc McClure, Mary Steenburgen, Billy Zane, Casey Siemaszko
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Written by: Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 20, 2015


"The future is NOW!"


My Take:



Great Scott! In 1985 Director Robert Zemeckis, Executive Producer Steven Spielberg and Producer/Screenwriter Bob Gale embarked on a three-part journey through time that broke box-office records worldwide and catapulted Back to the Future into one of the most beloved trilogies in motion picture history. In 1989, the filmmakers gave us a glimpse of the future in Back to the Future Part II as Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled to 2015…or, if our calculations are correct, October 21, 2015, to be exact. “The Future” has finally arrived.

Now, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment celebrates this once-in-a-lifetime date, as well as the 30th Anniversary of the groundbreaking first film, with three new releases debuting on October 20, 2015. Available on Blu-ray™ & DVD, the Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Trilogy will include all three movies plus a new bonus disc with more two hours of content. Back to the Future: The Complete Animated Series will be released for the first time ever on DVD featuring all 26 episodes from the award-winning series and Back to the Future: The Complete Adventures will include all three movies, the complete animated series, a new bonus disc, a 64-page book and collectible light-up “Flux Capacitor” packaging. Featuring more than two hours of content, the bonus disc will include all-new original shorts, documentaries, two episodes from the animated series and more.

In addition to the home entertainment release, the Back to the Future celebration continued in theaters when the films went back to the big screen on October 21, 2015. Additionally, Universal Music Enterprises is reissued an all-new 30th Anniversary picture disc vinyl soundtrack, available October 16th in stores and through all digital partners.

I saw these films back in the day and remain a fan. I really enjoyed the concept behind the October 21, 2015 promotion and relevance to Back to the Future. Hopefully some of you were able to get out to the theater and see them. This 30th anniversary trilogy release contains the same three previously released Blu-ray versions/bonus material while adding a new bonus disc.

Below you will find the comments from my 2010 review along with the technical ratings. The change will be the additional bonus supplements and adjusted rating for the category. It should be noted that this new release comes in a book style cardboard case that has a slot for each disc. This is much improved over the 2010 release's frustrating keep case.


Back to the Future: From the Academy Award®-winning filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis comes, the original, groundbreaking adventure that sparked one of the most successful trilogies in Hollywood history. When teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is blasted to 1955 in the DeLorean time machine created by the eccentric Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), he finds himself mixed up in a time-shattering chain reaction that could vaporize his future—and leave him trapped in the past. Powered by innovative special effects, unforgettable songs and non-stop action, Back to the Future is an unrivaled adventure that stands the test of time.

Back to the Future Part II: Getting back was only the beginning as the most spectacular time-travel adventure ever continues in Back to the Future Part II—the sequel that proves that lightning can strike twice! Picking up precisely where they left off, Marty and Doc (Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd) launch themselves to the year 2015 to fine-tune the future and inadvertently disrupt the space-time continuum. Now, their only chance to fix the present is by going back to 1955 again before it’s too late. From Academy Award®-winning filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis, Back to the Future Part II provides more of the timeless excitement that made Back to the Future an unforgettable adventure.

Back to Future Part III: They've saved the biggest trip for last as the most popular time-traveling movie trilogy ever comes to a rousing conclusion in Back to the Future Part III. Stranded in 1955 after a freak accident, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) discovers he must travel back to 1885 to rescue Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) before he becomes smitten with schoolteacher Clara Clayton (Mary Steenburgen). Now, it's up to Marty to keep Doc out of trouble, get the DeLorean running, and put the past, present and future on track so they can all get back to where—and when—they belong. From the Academy Award®-winning filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis, Back to the Future Part III is a spectacular grand finale to the unforgettable blockbuster series.

I have been a fan of Back to the future since seeing it in the theater back in 1985. Michael J. Fox was already well known to me from TV’s Family Ties and the film’s premise looked like lots of fun. Of course it turned out to be an instant classic that propelled Fox to stardom which led to more films including a pair of Back to the future sequels. Using time travel as the plot in film was nothing extraordinary however Back to the future brought it to life in a meaningful way that seemed tangible back then. The idea of a kid that most of us could easily identify with getting sucked up in an adventure where he goes back in time (via a very cool Delorean) was promising but taking it a step further by having him inadvertently disrupt the sequence of events 30 years earlier that led to his parents meeting (which could result in him ceasing to exist altogether) opens a Pandora’s box filled with conceptual possibility.

The outcome was a thoroughly entertaining, multi-genre film the likes of which I had never seen before. Combining elements of science fiction, comedy, and action/adventure Back to the future titillated our imaginations and appealed to our sensibilities via a superbly constructed script/screenplay that never felt cheesy/corny and led us on an almost painstaking journey filled with clever references, laugh out loud moments and “credible” action that was only over the top enough to garner the occasional raising of an eyebrow. The idea of needing to get “Back” to the future was just plain cool and the integration of the characters within the two timelines and how Marty interacted with them was brilliant. The idea of NOT interfering with the past due to its residual effects on the present (or future) is clear but who can blame Marty for “tweaking” things a bit? The concept of tweaking the past and future is what drives the continuing storyline in the two sequels.

Part II finds Doc and Marty headed to the future in order to prevent Marty and Jennifer’s children from running afoul of the law. Their presence there sets off a chain of events involving bad guy Biff and his time tinkering which results in an alternate and darkly unpleasant “present” 1985. Doc and Marty head back to 1955 to stop Biff however while righting those wrongs Doc and the DeLorean are accidentally sent back to 1885 with no way to return. Fortunately Doc is right at home in the old west, that is, until Marty and 1955 Doc discover that he gets shot in the back by Mad Dog Tannen (you guessed it Biff’s great great….). Once again Marty finds himself traveling through time in the third and final installment. My adoration for Back to the future doesn’t quite extend to the sequels.

Part II wasn’t a bad movie (I liked the idea of the revisit to 1955 as it simultaneously pertains to the events as they unfolded in the first film) but it feels campy and lacking the cleverness, and pitch perfect blend of humor and action that made Back to the future so good. Part III’s trip to the old west and the Doc/Clara romantic subplot turned out to be better than expected and made for an entertaining follow up to part II and a decent finish to the trilogy.

I love the endearing characters in Doc, Marty, and Lorraine as played by Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson. Honorable mention must go out to Thomas F. Wilson in the role of Biff/Mad Dog Tannen. He truly was terrific in his portrayal of the multi-faced/time driven characters who not only make for a perfect foil for Fox’s Marty McFly but add something special to each of the films. I can’t help but feel badly for Claudia Wells who played Jennifer in Back to the future. She was unable to return for the sequels due to her mother’s illness and replaced by Elizabeth Shue, who was just fine of course.

Back to Future is a classic film which has become engrained as a part of our pop culture. It has a remarkably timeless appeal that has remained constant over the years since its release. While I don’t feel that the two sequels rise to its level they enrich it by bringing the story and characters full circle in a homogenous light.


Parental Guide:
The rating for these films is for thematic material.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**



Audio: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
  • DSU Rating * (non-rated element): NA


Video: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:



Back to the Future comes to Blu-ray disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.2 Mbps.

Back to the Future – Part II comes to Blu-ray disc from Universal Studious Home Entertainment featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.3 Mbps.

Back to the Future – Part III comes to Blu-ray disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 Mbps.


In looking at the three films I found that overall audio/video quality was similar and didn’t require individual ratings/commentary. In looking at each of these films it is clearly evident that care went into restoring them. It is important to keep in mind that these films contain many special effects shots that were the shizz back in the day but don’t integrate as well by today’s standards. Add to that the revealing aspects of high definition and you have effects that aren’t nearly as smooth/cohesive as we have become accustomed to in the digital age. I noted that during some (not all) of the close up camera shots facial features appeared to have been “touched up”. I wouldn’t describe it in the same vein as excessive digital scrubbing and it probably has more to do with minor imperfections on the print that needed attention. The remainder of the frame doesn’t suffer and the application is mild enough that most viewers may not even notice it.

I found the overall the quality of these video encodings to be high and within the scope of films original elements. Colors are beautifully rendered with revealing delineation, tonal warmth, and vivid textures. The softer earth toned hues seen in the western settings in part III offer lifelike depiction and spot on tonal balance. Facial complexions and skin tones are warm, with natural pinkish highlights. Images are appreciably detailed and sharp. The level of detail present only appears to fluctuate in the presence of effects laden shots, otherwise the video’s 1.85:1 frame has excellent dimension. I had no trouble making out the thread patterns in clothing, facial features or the texture on surfaces.

Well balanced black and white levels bring out plenty of visible detail in both bright and dark segments onscreen. The nighttime segments shot in the town square and in particular the parking lot at the Hill Valley Mall, have appreciable dynamic range and depth. This aids in the perception of low level detail in sequences such as the (aforementioned) Hill Valley Mall parking lot (when Marty first gets sent back to 1955), Biff’s garage in part II (when Marty gets locked in while trying to get the sports almanac), and during part III’s mine sequence where the DeLorean is hidden. Film grain is intact, appears well preserved and is consistently rendered over the course of each presentation. There is little to fault here and I found that making a comparison to the DVD releases is an exercise in futility as these films look demonstrably better.

The high resolution DTS-HD MA audio mix does a terrific job rendering these 20 + year old soundtracks. Dialogue has discernible intonation, with distinctive clarity and above average room penetration. These are more or less front oriented presentations that make effective use of the entire system to deliver the action based components which are highlighted by solid impact, defining clarity, and Alan Silvestri’s memorable music. Dynamic range is good, a bit more so in the two newer films although the limitations inherent in the original recordings are noticeable but not defining. Surround activity isn’t constant but when applied can be copious as discernible spatial ambience and discrete sounds fill the listening area.

The LFE channel is similarly used to punctuate sound effects like the rumble of the DeLorean’s engine or the thrust of the Flux Capacitor as it kicks in just before launch. The soundtracks run the gamut and contain a variety of audio cues/spatial dimension that extends the soundstage. This includes the enriching envelopment of the music as well as the discrete placement of sounds such as a hovering helicopter as it travels from the right front of the soundstage around the rear to the left front. Imaging across the front is excellent while front to rear integration isn’t quite as cohesive. I noted that sounds mixed to the rear channels tend to be a bit more prominent than music which skews balance. The overall effect doesn’t prove overtly distracting though. I found the lossless audio presentations to be quite good and a discernible improvement over their lossy counterparts. In my opinion each serves to complete an excellent overall audio/video presentation that fans are sure to appreciate.



Bonus Features:
  • Back to the Future:
  • (HD) 7 deleted/1 extended scene with optional commentary by Bob Gale
  • (HD) Tales from the Future: in the beginning…- 27 minute featurette
  • (HD) Tales from the Future: time to go – 30 minute featurette
  • (HD) Tales from the Future: keeping time – 5 minute featurette
  • Archival featurettes:
    1. The making of Back to the Future – 14 minutes
    2. Making the Trilogy: chapter one – 15 minutes
    3. Back to the Future night: NBC TV broadcast hosted by Leslie Lielsen – 27 minutes
  • Michael J. Fox Q&A – 8 segment retrospective
  • Behind the scenes:
    1. Original make-up tests
    2. Outtakes
    3. Nuclear test sequence with optional commentary by producer Bob Gale
    4. Photo galleries – Including Production Art, Additional Storyboards, Photographs, Marketing Materials and Character Portraits
  • Huey Lewis and the News “Power of Love” music video
  • Theatrical teaser trailer
  • Q&A commentary with Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale
  • Feature commentary with producers Bob Gale & Neil Canton
  • My Scenes bookmark feature
  • D-Box Motion Code enabled
  • Universal’s U-Control
    Back to the Future Part II:
  • (HD) 4 deleted/3 extended scenes with optional commentary by producer Bob Gale
  • (HD) Tales from the Future: Time Flies – 28 minute featurette
  • (HD) The physics of Back to the future with Dr. Michio Kaku (theoretical physicist) – 8 minutes
  • Archival featurettes:
    1. The making of Back to the Future Part II – 6 minutes
    2. Making the Trilogy: chapter two – 15 minutes
  • Behind the scenes:
    1. Outtakes
    2. Production design
    3. Story boarding
    4. Designing the Delorean
    5. Designing time travel
    6. Hoverboard test
    7. Evolution of visual effects shots
    8. Photo galleries – Including Production Art, Additional Storyboards, Photographs, Marketing Materials and Character Portraits
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Q&A commentary with Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale
  • My Scenes bookmark feature
  • D-Box Motion Code enabled
  • Universal’s U-Control
    Back to the Future Part III:
  • (HD)Deleted scene with optional commentary by Bob Gale
  • (HD) Tales from the Future: third times the charm – 17 minute featurette
  • (HD) Tales from the Future: the test of time – 17 minute featurette
  • Archival featurettes:
    1. Outtakes
    2. Designing the Town of Hill Valley
    3. Designing the campaign
    4. Photo galleries – Including Production Art, Additional Storyboards, Photographs, Marketing Materials and Character Portraits
  • ZZ Top “Double Back” music video
  • FAQ’s about Back to the future
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Back to the future: The Ride
  • Q&A commentary with Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale
  • Feature commentary with producers Bob Gale & Neil Canton
  • My Scenes bookmark feature
  • D-Box Motion Code enabled
  • Universal’s U-Control
  • (HD)*NEW* 2015 message from Doc Brown
  • (HD)*NEW* Doc Brown saves the world – 9 minute feature
  • (HD)*NEW* "Outatime: Restoring the DeLorean – 22 minute documentary
  • Looking back to the future -9-part retrospective documentary from 2009 on the trilogy’s legacy.
  • (HD)*NEW* Back to the future the animated series – 2 episodes
  • (HD)*NEW* 2015 commercials – Jaws 19 trailer & Hoverboard commercial
  • Digital HD Copy


Final Thoughts:


Back to Future is a classic film which has become engrained as a part of our pop culture. It has a remarkably timeless appeal that has remained constant over the 30 years since its release. I don’t feel that the two sequels quite rise to its level however they enrich it by bringing the story and characters full circle in a homogenous light that makes for an entertaining trilogy. This 30th anniversary Blu-ray release from Universal Studios Home Entertainment contains the same previously versions of the films while adding over two hours of new content that helps celebrates the anniversary as well as providing improved packaging and more fan friendly background on the production, cast and crew. Depending on how important the added elements are to you will determine whether you'd want to upgrade from the 2010 Blu-ray release. For those that don't already own Back to the Future in high definition this Back to the Future 30th anniversary trilogy on Blu-ray is the way to go.






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews



Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
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Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and In-Ceiling series speakers
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SVS PC12-NSD
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Last edited by Ralph Potts; 10-23-2015 at 02:58 PM.
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post #2 of 15 Old 10-23-2015, 07:15 PM
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Love these movies, but I already own the 25th Anniversary edition, which I purchased on Black Friday for $10. No new 4k scan, no point purchasing.
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post #3 of 15 Old 10-23-2015, 07:33 PM
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These films (yes I love all three, don't judge me) really deserve better treatment than they have gotten. I have the 25th Anniversary edition and can't stand the edge enhancement done to the first film or the DNR applied to the second and third. According to Bob Gale, these were scanned at 2k and remastered from that. Considering that other studios were already doing 4k scans for other films at the time, it seems as though Universal took the cheaper route.

Hopefully these will get the remastered transfers they deserve one day. Until then, I'll pass.

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post #4 of 15 Old 10-23-2015, 08:58 PM
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Classics, I love these movies and watch them around once a year.

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post #5 of 15 Old 10-23-2015, 09:47 PM
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Its been 30 years already That would make me....

Man, time is going like a runaway freight train!!
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post #6 of 15 Old 10-23-2015, 10:49 PM
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Sorry, even though I have the 25th anniversary set, the 30th gift set was no brainer. The flux capacitor box, and the other stuff was worth it.

The other editions seem less worthy of purchase.
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post #7 of 15 Old 10-23-2015, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Brad View Post
These films (yes I love all three, don't judge me) really deserve better treatment than they have gotten. I have the 25th Anniversary edition and can't stand the edge enhancement done to the first film or the DNR applied to the second and third. According to Bob Gale, these were scanned at 2k and remastered from that. Considering that other studios were already doing 4k scans for other films at the time, it seems as though Universal took the cheaper route.
And don't forget the serious black crush in the first movie.

I don't know, how Ralph Potts came to his scores, but they are WAY(!) too high!!! One shouldn't compliment a studio for giving us this kind of crap. The original scans were made for the DVD releases back then, not for 1080 Blu-ray- Heck, even a rescan today at 2K would be a lot better opposed to twhat has been technologily possible back then!

And I don't know, how Ralph could suggest, that the PQ of the three films are more or less the same. Hell, the third one has so little detail with the ton of DNR that has been thrown on the material, it's an abomination! And on top of that EE, that makes everone look, like they have a forcefield around them.

So, realistic scores would be:

BTTF I gets 3 stars
BTTF II gets 2.5 stars
BTTF III gets 1 star

Shame on Universal! For the 21 October 2015, the day, Marty McFly has arrived in our "future", i would have expected a new 4K or 8K scan, resulting in a perfect 1080p transfer AND a new UHD release next year! Booooooh!!!!

Prof. Dr. Turrican M.D.
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post #8 of 15 Old 10-23-2015, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post
Well balanced black and white levels bring out plenty of visible detail in both bright and dark segments onscreen. The nighttime segments shot in the town square and in particular the parking lot at the Hill Valley Mall, have appreciable dynamic range and depth.
Wrong, wrong, wrong!!! It is the exact opposite! Wh have serious white clippling and black crush in all three films, especially the parking lot in part I.

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I've read several reviews on the internet...and it's amazing all the dissonance on that less than stellar release...just like the previous one...shame on Universal studios, again.
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post #10 of 15 Old 10-25-2015, 02:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthSky View Post
I've read several reviews on the internet...and it's amazing all the dissonance on that less than stellar release...just like the previous one...shame on Universal studios, again.
It could be fixed, all we need is a commitment from 60,000 of your closest friends to buy a new set. Maybe Universal will see a profit opportunity. maybe....

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A missed opportunity. Only upgrade is the case. They should of done some similar treatment like the upcoming release of My Fair Lady.
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post #12 of 15 Old 10-25-2015, 06:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzalc3 View Post
A missed opportunity. Only upgrade is the case. They should of done some similar treatment like the upcoming release of My Fair Lady.
I bet next year, they will give us a 4K Blu-ray Edition with the same crappy transfer - again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthSky View Post
I've read several reviews on the internet...and it's amazing all the dissonance on that less than stellar release...just like the previous one...shame on Universal studios, again.
Two options:

a) The reviewers are blind and don't know, what they are talking about.

b) They get paid by Universal

Especially the claim, thal all threee movies would have the same PQ, despite the piece of horsehit BTTF III is, is completely laughable.

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post #13 of 15 Old 10-26-2015, 06:32 AM
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what a horrible trilogy.
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post #14 of 15 Old 10-26-2015, 10:13 AM
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I have the 2010 blu ray set, since there isn't an upgrade to the audio/video on this new anniversary release, just the extras disc, think I'll stand pat on what I have now. As always, thanks for the review and your thoughts Ralph


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post #15 of 15 Old 10-27-2015, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrior1994 View Post
what a horrible trilogy.
Bite your tongue, sir!!!

Listen up, studios! Dolby Atmos Lite™ print-outs must stop!!
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