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I just had to chime in one more time before I leave to "whet your appetite" for a new UHD release. I'm talking about one of the most memorable classics ever, bar none. One more clue...it first came to the big screen in 1939!! Yes, that's right, 1939, which means it's 80 years old!!! Are you guessing? It's none other than The Wizard of Oz. I have the Restoration version on Blu-ray, but critics are saying this trumps that easily.

Every review I've read on this is beyond raving! Most are saying they simply can't believe the incredible PQ and that it looks like a brand new release that was given top priority in transferring it to UHD. I will give you the links to the reviews by our resident reviewer Ralph Potts and by Matt at DoBlu.com, but I would also encourage you to read the review at HiDefDigest.com.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/187-official-avs-foruma-blu-ray-disc-reviews/3097686-wizard-oz-ultra-hd-blu-ray-review.html#post58717442#post58717566

https://www.doblu.com/2019/10/23/wizard-of-oz-4k-uhd-review/
 

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I just had to chime in one more time before I leave to "whet your appetite" for a new UHD release. I'm talking about one of the most memorable classics ever, bar none. One more clue...it first came to the big screen in 1939!! Yes, that's right, 1939, which means it's 80 years old!!! Are you guessing? It's none other than The Wizard of Oz. I have the Restoration version on Blu-ray, but critics are saying this trumps that easily.

Every review I've read on this is beyond raving! Most are saying they simply can't believe the incredible PQ and that it looks like a brand new release that was given top priority in transferring it to UHD. I will give you the links to the reviews by our resident reviewer Ralph Potts and by Matt at DoBlu.com, but I would also encourage you to read the review at HiDefDigest.com.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/187-official-avs-foruma-blu-ray-disc-reviews/3097686-wizard-oz-ultra-hd-blu-ray-review.html#post58717442#post58717566

https://www.doblu.com/2019/10/23/wizard-of-oz-4k-uhd-review/
I, too, am very interested in seeing this disc. It arrives today so soon. By the way, you were spot on with your review of The Secret Life of Pets 2. Way better movie than the first one (that red dot scene nearly broke my face. Of course I have three cats so that made it even funnier) AND it is easily the most stunning UHD disc I have seen (animated at least). The colors alone justify buying this.
 
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Invisible Man Returns, The

recommendation: Tier 3.5*

Good black levels and contrast.
 

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485 Posts
Invisible Woman, The

recommendation: Tier 3.5*

Some typical soft shots for this era of film, but good black levels and contrast.
 

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Invisible Agent

recommendation: Tier 3.5*

So far, all the films in the Invisible Man Legacy Collection are pretty consistent and this is no exception. Good all around PQ and solid encode.
 

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Spiderman: Far From Home

Exemplary reference disc. Phenomenal PQ from start to finish, another one of those "I cannot believe it's not real 4K!" , derived from a 2K DI but filmed in resolutions everywhere from 2.8k to 8K... The sharpness makes it look closer to the latter than the former.

Contrast is great, providing good depth and a punchy image. Some scenes, especially the encounter with the main villain highlighted perfect black levels but the bright scenes were extremely vibrant.

One of the best uses of HDR/10bit depth / P3 wide colour gamut, where the chromatic excellence protrudes especially is the Netherlands Tulip garden... The reds, yellows, purples were drool worthy. Then there's the reds & blues of Spidey's suit... Mysterio's colours, greens, blue all had so much 'pop' to them. Punchy, razor-sharp, 3D-like depth, crystal clear, crispy high contrast image. Reference :cool:

I thought X-Men: Dark Phoenix was definitely among the best looking Marvel movies, but Spiderman: Far From Home is slightly better :) Easily on par with Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2, one of my favourite 2.35:1 live action movies.


Tier recommendation: 0.25
 

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^^^^^^^^

We're basically "on the same page!"

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/150-blu-ray-software/858316-new-pq-tier-thread-blu-ray-discussion-867.html#post58636980

I slipped in The Wizard of Oz (UHD) last night when I got home from Philadelphia. So far, it looks amazing! I wouldn't say it's a contender for a top spot in Tier 0, but it's definitely Reference Quality. As I said sometime ago, if I were to simply compare it to its DVD/Blu-ray counterparts, I'd probably nominate it for the Top Ten. But in comparing it to recent UHD titles, it's not quite that good.

I will say this...so far it looks as good or better than any "catalog title release on UHD."
 

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I just watched the first two episodes of Jack Ryan: Season Two on Amazon Prime and man does it look GOOD on UHD/HDR!!
 

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Spirited Away

recommendation: Tier 1.5*

The animated 2002 Hayao Miyazaki film looks beautiful coming from GKIDS, the label that took over licensing Studio Ghibli on Blu-ray after Disney. Spirited Away is a fine example of traditional animation, even if its raw animation may lag behind some of Studio Ghibli's finest efforts. Most would agree that GKIDS bettered Disney's efforts in most ways that matter.

Bright, bold colors and fluidly animated characters make for a lively, engaging presentation in 1080P resolution. The crisp picture quality has superb black levels and excellent color saturation. It is a faithful, unblemished transfer that sticks to the intended color palette. The polished animation uses interesting lighting.

The key animator after Hayao Miyazaki on Spirited Away directed a more recent movie that landed fairly high in the Tiers, Mary and The Witch's Flower.
 

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Always a sucker for anime, I'll check Mary and The Witch's Flower out. Thanks.
Mary and The Witch's Flower is an imaginative delight if you enjoy the more fantasy-driven Studio Ghibli movies like Howl's Moving Castle. It was animated by Studio Ponoc and had former Studio Ghibli talent guiding it behind the scenes.


I believe I placed it in Tier 0.
 

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The Wizard of Oz (UHD)

Okay, I finally watched this from beginning to end. In my last post I had said, "it's definitely Reference Quality"....now I must "humbly" and "honestly" retract that statement. This is most certainly the BEST release to date and undoubtedly a marvel for an 80 year old movie, but it is NOT Reference Quality when one compares it to current Tier 0 titles. At best it is a mid Tier 1, IMHO. I know this will contradict all the "experts" that I referred to earlier, but in my opinion they all may be guilty of "comparing it to its original screening" and not to "current titles."

Having said that, this is still a "delight for the eyes," with vibrant colors (courtesy of Dolby Vision) and remarkable details (especially in close-ups, though they still did not compare to details in current titles). Black levels were also quite good. In the earlier "black and white scenes" I was impressed with the gray scale but not so much with the depth and details. There was also an inherent softness in those scenes.

Again, I hate to come across as cynical or jaded, but I've seen way too many current Tier 0 titles to even think of putting this in the same league as them. If one chooses to do so, I would have to believe they are guilty of....well, they would be guilty of comparing it with former releases and remembering the deplorable PQ that marked the original release AND some of the subsequent releases as well. Having said that, I am happy that we have a very watchable...and might I say...impressive release considering it's 80 YEARS OLD!!

Tier Recommendation: 1.5*

PS I could have gone down to 1.75 and still felt I was being honest and fair.
 

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Spirited Away

recommendation: Tier 1.5*

The animated 2002 Hayao Miyazaki film looks beautiful coming from GKIDS, the label that took over licensing Studio Ghibli on Blu-ray after Disney. Spirited Away is a fine example of traditional animation, even if its raw animation may lag behind some of Studio Ghibli's finest efforts. Most would agree that GKIDS bettered Disney's efforts in most ways that matter.

Thanks for the review. If I may ask, what Studio Ghibli titles do you believe to be their finest?


Respect,
 

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Men in Black: International (1080p)

Due to some very poor reviews of the movie, I decided to rent this from Redbox today (instead of buying it). The movie has "some" redeeming moments, but it's the excellent PQ/AQ that justified parting with a couple of bucks and about 90 minutes of my life. The CLARITY was insane with mesmerizing DETAILS, appreciable DEPTH, vibrant COLORS, spot-on FLESH TONES, and incredible BLACKS/SHADOW DETAILS. But it was the DTS-HD MA mix that really kept me riveted in my seat and kept me from looking at my watch even once. The action in the surrounds was phenomenal with perfect precision (even in my height channels courtesy of my Denon's up-mix capability). Dialogue was always intelligible. The bass/LFE was thunderous and at times sent waves of energy across the room as lasers were fired, bombs exploded, or the "evil twins" worked their magic resulting in earthquakes on city streets!!:cool:

I'm told the UHD release gives it a slight uptick but in truth I think I'd be satisfied with the 1080p blu-ray. I can say in all honestly that if I didn't know better I would have thought I was watching a UHD/HDR Blu-ray; it was that good!

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0 (.5)

Watched this last night and djoberg is 100% correct. This is a great looking 1080p disc. Like really good and looked like it could be native UHD.
 
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Thanks for the review. If I may ask, what Studio Ghibli titles do you believe to be their finest?


Respect,
Off the top of my head, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, Ponyo and The Secret World of Arrietty are Studio Ghibli's animators' best work. Once they became a cultural institution in Japan, the animation tended to improve with each new movie. Spirited Away certainly has its moments but the palette and character designs don't work as well for me.
 

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I just watched the first two episodes of Jack Ryan: Season Two on Amazon Prime and man does it look GOOD on UHD/HDR!!

I really want to check this out but can't find the time with all the movies I've been watching. At least I'm not going crazy during this month's Criterion sale...but Black Friday is only three weeks away and already so many good deals, I'll be loading up again!
 
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I really want to check this out but can't find the time with all the movies I've been watching. At least I'm not going crazy during this month's Criterion sale...but Black Friday is only three weeks away and already so many good deals, I'll be loading up again!
I hear you! I DVR so many movies, series, football games, etc....on top of my Blu-ray viewing, that I've only found time to watch the 2 episodes that I mentioned.

So, where is the best place to find Black Friday deals on Blu-rays? I usually go to Best Buy, Target or Walmart.
 

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I hear you! I DVR so many movies, series, football games, etc....on top of my Blu-ray viewing, that I've only found time to watch the 2 episodes that I mentioned.

So, where is the best place to find Black Friday deals on Blu-rays? I usually go to Best Buy, Target or Walmart.

Best Buy put out their list and the 4K selection is extensive, lots of titles for under $10. Walmart is the only big store that hasn't released their ad. Amazon is likely to price match the lowest price as well, they did last year but not until later in the day Thanksgiving.
 

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Invisible Man's Revenge, The

recommendation: Tier 3.5*

Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man

recommendation: Tier 3.5*
 

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I really want to check this out but can't find the time with all the movies I've been watching. At least I'm not going crazy during this month's Criterion sale...but Black Friday is only three weeks away and already so many good deals, I'll be loading up again!
I couldn't even find the time to review the first season Blu-ray set of Jack Ryan after they sent it as a screener.:eek: Too many movies, too few hours in the day.

Batman Beyond: The Complete Series

recommendation: Tier 3.5*

It's hard placing the Batman Beyond series much higher than Tier 3. Warner did their best but problematic elements forced eleven of its original 52 episodes to be upscaled from standard-definition Digibeta sources. The others have been "fully remastered" with additional processing from their original 35mm film elements, some obvious and some of it not. The upscaled episodes are rather soft, though untrained eyes may not notice much difference if they aren't paying attention.

Originally airing as children's programming from 1999-2001 on what was known as the Kids' WB block, the animation isn't quite as iconic as its predecessor, Batman: The Animated Series. Generally this remaster presents more issues than that beloved show's presentation on Blu-ray. Batman Beyond's overall PQ here is more serviceable than amazing.
 
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