December is often the month when the summer’s big blockbusters finally come to the small screen and what better way to enjoy the cinematic delights they hold than in high definition on the Blu-Ray format? Here are the best films getting released before Christmas 2009.
Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
It is arguable that unless you are going to see this film in high definition you probably should not bother getting it at all. This is largely because most of the action is so frenetic that it is impossible to work out just what is going on without having the crisp picture and high refresh rate afforded by the Blu-Ray version. In terms of plot, this is a bit of a mess, but if you are looking for a good amount of action and drama for your money then you will be hard pressed to find something more suitable.
This documentary series recently aired on the BBC and if you missed it in high definition then you really need to buy this 4 disc collection. The hours of footage encompasses some of the most incredible and bizarre creatures on the planet and there is plenty of additional material documenting the lengths that the intrepid crews went to in order to capture the wildlife on show.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Many consider this to be the best film in the long running series about the teen wizard and this is a fairly accurate opinion. It gets the tone just right and presents the magical world of the books as accurately as possible without bending too much to the restrictions of the paper editions. The cast get better with age and even people who have kept away from the series so far will enjoy the ride, even if they are a little bit confused by all of the in-jokes and unexplained references to Potter lore.
This movie was the surprise hit of the summer, raking in hundreds of millions at the box office and staying at screens for many months. However, at its heart it is a tried and tested comedic romp, following a group of friends as they try to piece together the events of the night before after a bachelor party in Las Vegas leaves them with a missing groom and, as it turns out, a missing tooth.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
After Transformers 2, some felt it was impossible for a more ridiculous action film to ever be made. But barely a few weeks later G.I. Joe came out and we were all forced to reassess our assumptions. This is essentially 2 hours of explosions and gun battles, with about as much CGI-aided madness as Transformers but with much less plot to get in the way, which should be impossible but somehow is not. Gibberish but fun and destined for high definition.
Deliberate spelling mistakes aside, this is a masterfully crafted film from Quentin Tarantino, a man most had considered to have gone off the boil some time after 1997. He proves here that his verbal dexterity and prodigious imaginative powers can hold together a film with such a ridiculous concept that it should really never have been made. Violent, eloquent and endlessly referential, this is a film that deserves multiple viewings.
The Hurt Locker
From the director of action classic Point Blank comes a film about a loose-cannon bomb disposal expert working in Iraq. Few films can ratchet up the tension quite as well as this, but beneath the machismo and the sweaty forearms is a more sensitive portrait of a soldier at war and what he is required to become in the heat of battle.
The Final Destination
You will be able to buy a box set containing all four films in this imaginative horror series, but the most recent and confusingly-named movie is getting a separate release. Filmed in 3D for those at the cinema, home viewers will need to make do with the older technology offered by red and blue glasses rather than the natty polarised specs moviegoers got to use. As with the other films, the plot is of little consequence as we are whisked quickly from one horrific, ingenious and inevitable death to the next, watching beautiful 20-somethings getting sliced, diced and hit in the face with large, blunt objects.
Made on a shoestring budget in South Africa, District 9 was an enormous hit when it came out. Directed by a special effects wunderkind who cut his teeth working for Peter Jackson, this provides a perfect blend of CGI and real life effect techniques in one of the most visceral and affecting films of the year. There is a political message and a subplot about humanity and metamorphosis, but it all gets lost in the carnage of the second half.