Apollo 13 Blasts Off Onto Blu-Ray; Great Mouse Detective Gets Digitally Remastered
Capitalizing on the 40th anniversary of the near fatal NASA mission, Apollo 13 comes to Blu-ray on the 13th from Universal Home Ent. The release just happens to also coincide with the Tom Hanks-produced miniseries, The Pacific (http://www.awn.com/articles/article/hell-pacific), currently airing on HBO.
Arguably director Ron Howard's best film, Apollo 13 (with VFX by Digital Domain and James Cameron, not surprisingly, serving as an uncredited consultant) is the '95 docudrama that also inspired Tom Hanks' pursuit of the format as a filmmaker. The Blu-ray exclusively includes a U-Control track with plenty of Apollo 13 and Apollo era info and "Tech-Splanations" in a non-flipper BD50 disc. A definite upgrade in HD, Apollo 13 is presented in AVC encoded 1080p image with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound mix.
Meanwhile, coming on the heels of the Blu-ray release of The Princess and the Frog, we have another DVD reissue today of The Great Mouse Detective (Mystery in the Mist edition), which, of course, was also directed by Ron Clements & John Musker. In fact, the underrated Sherlock Holmes-inspired feature (with a delicious voice turn by Vincent Price) was released in 1986, immediately preceding The Little Mermaid by the duo. This DVD version contains further digital restoring and remastering and a 1.78:1 aspect ratio instead of 1.66:1 along with the same Dolby Digital 5.1sound mix. The disc also boasts a new "So You Think You Can Sleuth" game and ports over the previous making of doc.
The Fantastic Mr. Fox was recently released on Blu-ray (Twentieth Century Fox Home Ent.), and looks utterly fantastic in HD. The level of detail on the hand-woven puppets -- especially the fur and wardrobe -- is so much more palpable, as are the textures on the sets; the autumnal colors are so lush. The more one watches the film, the more one recognizes the stamp of director Wes Anderson, too. Fox is presented in AVC encoded 1080p image with a 1.85:1aspect ratio and a 5.1 DTS-HD sound mix. Bonus features include such making of BD exclusives as "The Look of Fantastic Mr. Fox," "The Puppet Makers," "The Cast" and "Bill and His Badger" along with "Still Life: Puppet Animation."