Blu-ray is here to stay. With almost six times the capacity of standard DVD, Blu-ray accommodates higher-resolution video and lots more extras. Will standard DVD go the way of the dinosaurs? Don’t worry about your collection — Blu-ray players will play standard DVDs. This week, a truckload of new and old movies make their Blu-ray debut — too many to review here. Here are a few highlights of what’s worth picking — and passing on. (If you don’t have a Blu-ray player yet, they’re all available on standard DVD.)
The Fugitive (1993): In his last great role, Harrison Ford is Richard Kimble, wrongly accused of killing his wife and pursued by U.S. Marshall Tommy Lee Jones. It’s a thrilling match of wits and luck in which you root for both sides. Murder and other violence, coarse language. Teens and up.
Planet Earth (2006): Eleven hours of some of the most awesome nature documentary footage ever. Some graphic scenes of predation; brief discussion of population control. Generally fine family viewing.
Pride and Prejudice (1995): The beloved BBC miniseries — all five hours of it, the definitive retelling of Austen’s beloved tale. Romantic complications and a brief scandalous incident. Might be okay for kids.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006): Will Smith is Hollywood’s most responsible struggling father since Cinderella Man in this Hollywoodized take on a true story. Some crude language, mild profanity and an obscenity; marital discord and desertion; some disturbing situations. Teens and up.
Strictly Ballroom (1992): Baz Luhrman’s comedy-romance is compulsively watchable, wickedly satirical and grandly romantic, an edgy mockumentary with a crowd-pleasing fairy-tale ending. Grand fun. Some rude expressions, mild crude humor, comic drunkenness.
The Third Man (1949): Directed by Carol Reed from Graham Greene’s screenplay of his own novel, The Third Man is a visually stunning, sophisticated thriller mired in the muddle of post-war Europe. Brief violence; discussion of murder and racketeering; partial nudity in a cabaret scene. Teens and up.
The Island (2005): Schlockmeister Michael Bay’s sci-fi parable about human cloning gets human dignity right-ish, but gets mired by unnecessarily violent action and trashy sexuality. Much strong action violence; profane, obscene and crude language; a disturbing childbirth scene, inappropriate sexual content and a couple of toilet scenes; a couple of theologically confused remarks.
The Legend of Zorro (2005): This disastrous sequel reunites Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and director Martin Campbell, but the Mask of Zorro magic is gone. Rated PG, it’s cynically marketed to family audiences only because it’s not good enough for grown-ups. Kids deserve better. Stylized violence; marital discord and divorce; mixed depiction of religious figures, including a weirdly religious villain.
The Polar Express (2004): This lackluster computer-animated Christmas fantasy was marketed as a parable of “faith,” but dubiously suggests that the journey matters more than the destination. “The meaning of Christmas is in your heart.” Whatever that means. Mild action peril; brief unnerving imagery.