Best Blu-ray discs to show off your home theater - FOX Carolina 21

Best Blu-ray discs to show off your home theater

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By Kris Wouk


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Black Panther review

We allknow you didn’t just build an incredible home theater so you could have it all to yourself all the time. You’re itching to show it off any chance you get, and that’s perfectly natural. After all, if your subwoofer(s) shakes the art right off the walls when the action picks up but nobody but you is there to see, hear, and feel it, did it actually happen?

Nah, you’ve got enough big fish stories; best to show off your awesome creation with your friends and family. But what do you show it off with? What movies will best displayyour TV’s incredible contrast, color, and resolution? What flick will kick your subs into overdrive and light up every single channel of surround, immersing you in a dizzying swirl of hard-core digital cinema soundscape?

That’s what this list is all about. There’s no way we could put all the greats in here that would just take too long. But we do have our favorites, and we’re eager to share them with you and explain why they make such great demonstrations. Trust us when we tell you, these Blu-ray picks have got what it takes to make your system shine and turn your guests green with envy.

Movies

Black Panther

best blu ray discs show home theater black panther cover

A megahit for Marvel and an outstanding success by any means, Black Pantheris a departure from what we’ve seen in superhero films recently, as well as a reminder of why we love them in the first place. Helmed byCreed director Ryan Coogler and based on a script by Coogler and Joe Robert Cole,Black Panther takes place in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, a beautiful setting which serves as a perfect backdrop to the film’s jaw-dropping action sequences. This disc is worth it for the film’s spectacular car chase sequence alone, but thankfully it offers much more.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC (23.80 Mbps)1080p2.39:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Available from:

Amazon

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

best blu ray discs show home theater star wars the last jedi cover

The Star Wars franchise is no stranger to overzealous fans, with some so disappointed in the film that they started a campaign to remake the movie. We, on the other hand, liked it quite a bit, and if you fall into that camp, this is a perfect Blu-ray for your home theater. With lightsabers, space battles, and other the other things you associate with Star Wars,The Last Jedi also has a few surprises and tricks up its sleeve. If you need one more bit of proof that this disc will give your home theater a workout, we’ll give it to you in three words: Supreme Leader Snoke.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC (30.90 Mbps)1080p2.39:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Available from:

Amazon

Pacific Rim: Uprising

best blu ray discs show home theater pacific rim uprising cover

Giant robots fighting giant monsters. There’s a good chance that the very concept of Pacific Rim franchise along has you looking to purchase this for your home theater, regardless of whether or not you sawPacific Rim: Uprisingin the theater. While the movie may not be the sucker punch that the first one was, the sheer level of spectacle has increased to the point that it may be difficult to keep from cheering during some ofPacific Rim: Uprising‘s more knock-down, drag-out sequences, and that’s a very good thing.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p2.40:12.39:1Dolby Atmos,Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Available from:

Amazon

The Revenant

Not only isThe Revenantthe film that finally put an Oscar for Best Actor in Leonardo DiCaprio’s hands, it’s a visually stunning and emotionally powerful film that also earned awards for Best Director and Best Cinematography. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki’s iconic natural lighting and uninterrupted single-take shotsmeld with Alejandro Irritu’s brilliant visionfor anengrossing atmosphere that takes you back to the harsh life of the American frontier in 1823. The film seesfrontiersman Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) embark on a journey of vengeance and survival through breathtaking vistas that show off the raw beauty of the American wilderness like few films before it.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC (26.00 Mbps)1080p2.39:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Available from:

Amazon

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road

Director George Miller returns to the Mad Max franchise in a glorious way with 2015’sMad Max: Fury Road. Starring Tom Hardy as the iconic Max Rockatansky and Charlize Theron as the mutiny-happy Imperator Furiosa, the film follows up on thedeserted world reeling from the effects of a nuclear holocaust from the original franchise (miraculously) without skipping a beat. When the film released worldwide during the spring of 2015, theater-goers gushed at itsover-the-top action sequences, captivating cinematography, and unique art direction. It’sno wonder a sizable amount of Oscar buzz started flowing immediately following its release;Mad Max: Fury Road is a must-own for anyone with even a decent home theater setup.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC (24.88 Mbps)1080p2.40:12.39:1Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Dolby Atmos

Available from:

Amazon

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

One of the pleasant surprises coming out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe of late,Guardians of the Galaxy has everything fans of adventuremovies crave. Exciting action,big, powerful audio, and thrilling CGI sequences keep this Chris Pratt-vehicle churning from beginning to end. The attack scene in the final act ofGuardians of the Galaxy remains one of the most magnificent set pieces relative to any MCU film, and one which makes this a joy to watch on your big screen.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p2.40:1, 1.78:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1

Available from:

Amazon

Finding Dory

Pixar’s sequel to the smash hitFinding Nemo, Finding Dory offers yet another oceanic adventure loadedwith heart-warming moments and grand spectacle. In the film, everyone’s favorite forgetful fish, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), suddenly recalls childhood memoriesof her parents and sets off on a journey to find them. Her friends Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) join Doryand other memorable characters, all of whom are gorgeously animated and take on striking clarity inhigh definition. The brilliant undersea colors and forms make for an excellent way to show off your home theater, while the above-water scenes may be even more breathtaking.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p1.77:11.85:1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Available from:

Amazon

Fast and Furious Collection

Some would say TheFast and the Furious collection is one of thegreatest action franchises of contemporary American film. Whether you agree or not,what we can say with confidence is that no other collection of films will give you the same sense of action, speed, and all-out lunacy when it comes to action sequences. Each film in the seven-movie collection brings its own virtues to the package, whether it’s the nostalgic motifs of early ’00s Los Angeles in the originalThe Fast and the Furious,the car ogling ofTokyo Driftthat brought the art of drifting into the mainstream, or the outrageousstunts that make the three most recent films in the franchise iconicaction spectacles.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC, VC-11080p2.40:1, 2.35:12.35:1, 2.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0, DTS 5.1

Available from:

Amazon

Doctor Strange

Marvel has begun to introduce the, well, stranger corners of its massive superhero universe with films likeGuardians of the Galaxy and even certain elements of the Thor series.Doctor Strange is the latest visually electrifying film in that vein, earningvisual effects nomination at 2017’sAcademy Awardsfor its efforts.The film centers on Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a neurosurgeon who loses the use of his hands in an accident. He becomes obsessed with finding a way to restore his dexterity, which leads him to a strange temple in Nepal. From there, he is thrust into a life-changing adventure where he discovers alternate dimensions and ancient magic,represented in truly mind-bending sequences of visual effects that will challenge your system to its core.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p2.39:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1

Available from:

Amazon

Inside Out

Inside Out

When it comes to animation, Pixar knows a thing or two aboutcrafting stunningly gorgeous films which consistently operate outside the realm of what many consider “normal.” WithInside Out, the film studio yet again hits a beautiful home run, producing a heartfelt story about a young girl whosepersonified emotions are put into tumult due to hernew surroundings. Voiced by Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Diane Lane, and Lewis Black (among many other amazing actors), the film’s vocal performances rank among the best ever featured in a Pixar picture. With bright, colorful visuals and crystal-clear audio, this is more than just another run-of-the-mill family movie and more a must-have for any Blu-ray aficionado.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p1.78:11.85:1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1

Available from:

Amazon

Akira

Akira helpedintroduce Japanese animation to the West and is held as one of the most inspirational pieces of cyberpunk media ever created. Akira‘sanimationhas stood the test of time, remaining a vibrant and impressivefilm decadesafter its original debut. The film takes place in Neo-Tokyo, where two young friends, Tetsuo and Kaneda, live as part of a motorcycle gang in the seedy underbelly of the city. Of course, at some point, things begin to go strange, and the two find themselvescaught at opposite ends of a military conspiracy. The dystopiansetting of Neo-Tokyo shimmers with neon splashes of color, contrasted against deep, murky tones that will show off the contrast and color spectrum of your TV.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC (21.33 Mbps)1080p1.85:11.85:1Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (96kHz, 16-bit), Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (96kHz, 24-bit), Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (192kHz, 24-bit)

Available from:

Amazon

The HobbitTrilogy

The Hobbit Trilogy

Regardless of how you feel about Jackson and company’s haphazard melding of The Hobbit’s storyline with The Silmarillion, or the unfortunate “soap opera effect” from the big screen’s 48fps releases, this trilogyis a dazzling spectacle on Blu-ray. The visual effects are nothing short of magnificent, from the rumbling stone giants to the brilliant battle of the five armies, and beyond. Like LOTR, the sound is brilliant too, this time in visceral 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio as opposed to the previous work’s 6.1 take. For sheer boastingfactor, these discs can’t miss.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4MVC (37.95 Mbps)1080p2.40:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Available from:

Amazon

Avatar

Avatar 3D Blu-rayThis “holy grail” of 3D cinematography is the culmination of over 10 years of painstaking perfectionism by its creator, James Cameron. The movie was reportedly a near all-consuming effort for the director towards the end and helped spawn the modern 3D revolution. Like Cameron’s previous work, Titanic, it was also one of the most expensive movies ever made, due in part to the pioneering of brand new 3D cinematography for the film. The gamble paid off, resulting in the highest grossing movie of all time upon release, and the most impressive 3D Blu-ray experience on the market.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 MVC1080p1.78:12.39:1, 1.78:1DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Available from:

Amazon

Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings is an emotionally resonant film about a young boy, Kubo (Art Parkinson), who joins two animal protectors — Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) — on a quest through feudal Japan to retrieve an ancient set of armor once worn by his deceased father.While the story is whollyencapsulating, Kubo is also a stop-motion animation marvel, with a fluidity and charm that seems almost as magical to behold as its plot.Watching the movie in an ideal home theater setting provides an opportunity to appreciate the meticulous craftwork of the painstakingly created models and animation, while thesweeping soundtrack underscores it all perfectly.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p2.39:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Available from:

Amazon

Inception

Inception

Anytime a city block is folded over on itself, you’re going to want to get some close-ups in sparkling HD. Christopher Nolan’s sprawling dreamscape is loaded with just about every visual trick imaginable, including weightlessness, firefights, multiple contrasting environments, and exploding books. And all that lush scenery is supported by a grandiose score from the indelible Hans Zimmer. Just don’t forget your totem.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
VC-1 (24.01 Mbps)1080p2.40:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Available from:

Amazon

2001: A Space Odyssey

2001 5

It’s pretty hard to make a list like this without including this quintessential iconof sci-fi classics. Stanley Kubrick’s haunting vision of space exploration in the not-so-distant future is nearly as stunning today as it was upon its release in freaking 1968 – the same year the Beatles released The White Album, for reference. The Blu-ray release is heralded as an expert re-master. The multiple shots of the gleaming space station against the cold black void lays down the gauntlet for any HD display, and the infamous theme music has never been more sweeping. Be sure and get that subwoofer ready for the movie that invented the ‘sound of space.’

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
VC-1 (13.39 Mbps)1080p2.20:12.20:1LPCM 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit),Dolby Digital 5.1

Availablefrom:

Amazon

Star Trek Beyond


For the third film in the rebooted Star Trek film franchise, director Justin Lin took over for J.J. Abrams, bringing a new sense of action to the franchise without sacrificing any of the adventure or levity. Much like his work on the Fast and Furious series, Lin’s take on Star Trek features stunt-heavy action and practical effects blendedwith impressive digital imagery forincredible eye-candy, placing this film in the might company of its predecessors.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC (26.00 Mbps)1080p2.39:12.39:1Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Available from:

Amazon

The Martian

MartianBluRay1

Ridley Scott’s 2015 rendition of Andy Weir’s science fiction novel The Martian was every bit the definition of a spectacle. Filmed in Jordan’s Wadi Rum valley, Scott deftly created a life-like version of the red planet which allowed viewers to feel almost as stranded as Mark Watney himself. Thrilling, funny, and expertly written, The Martian initially seemed like an experience that could only be done correctly by gazing at a 70-foot screen inside a massive surround sound theater. That is, until the Blu-ray (and 4K) release hit store shelves in 2016. Gorgeous hardly scratches the surface when describing the physical release of this cinematic masterpiece, as each dust storm, Hab explosion, and white-knuckled rocket launch absolutely engulfs the viewer. Few releases pull off a picture as crystal-clear, oraudio as booming asThe Martian; simply put, this is a must-own.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p2.40:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1

Available from:

Amazon

Interstellar

Christopher Nolan’s epic sci-fi story about humanity’s search for a new home is loaded with beautiful and convincing special effects. While most science fiction leans on fantastical visuals,Interstellar is based on real-world astrophysicsto bring an air of realism to the film. This serves to make the special effects asbelievable and engaging asthe most dazzling sci-fi epics. The pairing of Hans Zimmer’s massive score, lead by operatic organ and rumbling orchestral instruments, will show off just how powerful (and loud) yoursystem really is.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC (24.22 Mbps)1080p2.39:1, 1.78:12.39:1, 1.43:1DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Available from:

Amazon

X-Men: Apocalypse

A sci-fi superhero film with the word “apocalypse” in the title comes with certain expectations, andX-Men: Apocalypse is a visual spectacle worthy of its namesake. As with most films drawing from comic books as their source material, the film is absolutely packed with special effects; lasers, explosions, and eccentric costumes are featured in virtually every scene. Onthe audio side, your speakers are goingto get a serious workout thanks to numerous rumbling explosions and an abundance of subtle sound effects to punctuate mutant powers.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p2.40:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1

Available from:

Amazon

Television

Of course, movies aren’t the only way to get your home theater running on all cylinders. We’ve also thrown in two of our favoriteTV Blu-rays that will punch your system’s throttle, and dazzle the senses.

‘Planet Earth’ (David Attenborough BBC version)

Planet 2

An iconic series that changed the paradigm of ‘nature films,’ Planet Earth is a visual behemoth. The heralded collection takes you through a striking exploration of every environment our home planet has to offer, with snow-capped fly-bys, excursions through jungles teeming with wildlife, and countless shades of beautiful blue water that will put viewers in sheer awe. The darkest moments have occasional resolution issues due to the limitations of night photography in the wild, but as a whole, the collection is a fantastic way to show off your system’s chops.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
VC-11080p1.78:11.78:1Dolby Digital 5.1

Available from:

Amazon

Game of Thrones

The series pulled from the pages of George R.R. Martin’s epic saga A Song of Ice and Fire has already reached classic status, matched only by theominous Sopranos as the most popular show of all time in the HBO catalog. The Blu-ray video transfers are nothing short of exquisite, matched with brilliantly produced soundtracks that bring this strange realm of dragons, sex, and bloodlust barreling off the screen and into your entertainment room.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p1.78:11.78:1Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), Dolby Digital 5.1

Available from:

Amazon

Ash vs. Evil Dead

This Starzseries continues the cult-classic Evil Dead series in style. Bruce Campbell once again dons the chainsaw of the titular Ash, leading the charge against the paranormal forces of undead that have returned to our world. This effects-laden show will give you plenty of gory practical effects and make-up work to appreciate, in sparkling digital clarity. On the audio side of things,Ash vs. Evil Dead brings all the chaotic sounds of fighting the undead — from shotgun blasts to zombie groans and gurgles — with dynamic impact that will shine with a powerful sound system.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p1.78:11.78:1Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Available from:

Amazon

Nature

Nature

Since 1982, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has wowed withthis fantastic one-hour documentary program which dives into the environments of Earth’s animals and the ecosystems around them. On TV for an astounding 31 seasons (totaling 521 episodes),Nature’scurrent iterationis as much of a spectacle of presentation as it is of longevity. As such,the Blu-ray release of this incredible series is one truly worthy of marvel. As each unique environment graces the screen, viewers are left with their jaws on the ground, easily swept up by the sheer majestyof planet Earth. Moreover, due to the release’s crystal clear HD audio, a proper surround system makes the experience of watchingNatureeven more immersive.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p1.78:11.78:1Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Available from:

Amazon

Africa

Need more breathtaking wildlife footage narrated by David Attenborough? BBC’sAfricamini-seriesis just what you’ve been looking for. The six-episode series takes you across the entire continent, into jungles, deserts, coastal biomes, and the Savannah, and caps with a look into the future of Africa’s rapidly shifting environments. You’ll get all the crisp, high-quality naturefootage and lifelike audio your eyes and ears can handle.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p1.78:11.78:1Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Available from:

Amazon


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