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10 Fantastic Blu-ray Demo Scenes

Sep 20, 2010 11:33 AM, By Jason Bovberg

With chapters and running times.

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A few months ago, in “Top 10 Blu-ray Demos”, I gave you a shopping list of sorts. It was a list of my favorite Blu-ray Discs, with which I like to show off the capabilities of my high-def home theater. It was listing of what I felt were some of the greatest AV presentations available on disc. The listing seemed to be a hit, but a few of you felt the list would be more valuable if it had contained chapter and time notations so that you could easily access specific scenes for your demos. In this month’s column, I provide a selection of demo scenes from some of the same movies I referenced in the earlier article, plus a bevy of new scenes for your enjoyment. So pop in those discs and access some of the best demo material out there.

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1. Kung Fu Panda (two 6-minute demos)
“Po’s Training Sequence,” immediately followed by “The Furious Five Face Tai Lung”; chapters 16 and 17, 0:56:29 to 1:02:05
“The Battle of Po and Tai Lung”; chapter 21, 1:14:05 to 1:20:45
Kung Fu Panda is one of my favorite animated films of the past decade—and Pixar had nothing to do with it. It’s not only a beauty to behold in Blu-ray, it’s also got some of the sharpest wit and creative choreography that I’ve seen in the genre. With its precisely edited, colored, and choreographed animations, “Po’s Training Sequence” showcases the film’s terrific, sly humor. And that sequence is immediately followed by a kick-ass action sequence in which the Furious Five—Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper, and Crane— face off with the evil Tai Lung on a rickety suspension bridge. Late in the film, our main character, Po battles Tai Lung for the elusive Dragon Scroll. It’s endlessly rewatchable demo material.

2. Avatar (Two 10-minute Demos)
“Banshee Rookery” and “First Flight”; chapter 16 and 17, 1:05:11 to 1:14:45
“Battle for Pandora” and “Fall of the Heroes”; chapters 30 and 31, 2:10:02 to 2:19:50
What collection of demo scenes would be complete without scenes from the most perfectly fine Blu-ray transfer on the market? This disc hadn’t been released when I presented that first article, but since I wrote it, Avatar is the first disc I turn to when I want to wow someone. For sheer wonder, you can’t beat the otherworldliness of the first demo above, which puts Pandora and its inhabitants on full display, but if you really want to get hearts pounding, play that second demo, which is a full-on masterpiece of a sci-fi/fantasy battle sequence.

3. 500 Days of Summer (one 2-minute demo)
“You Make My Dreams Come True”; chapter 11, 0:31:35 to 0:33:26
How about a little humor? One of the most fun indy romances last year, 500 Days of Summer gives you a chance to show off your system in a more grown-up way. This post-coital fantasy musical number is brief, but it provides one of the most exhilarating moments in the film. Plus, it features the classic Hall & Oates song. How can you go wrong?

4. The Dark Knight (one 9-minute demo)
“Batman and the Joker Truck Chase”; chapters 20 and 21, 1:14:25 to 1:23:30
Christopher Nolan’s dark comic-book behemoth arrived on Blu-ray fresh off IMAX screens. In theaters, only about 20 minutes of the film—some action sequences and some panoramic shots—took full advantage of the gigantic IMAX screen, and on disc, those scenes get the full 1.85:1 presentation while the rest of the film reverts to 2.35:1. The solution isn’t perfect, but those image-maxed scenes are plenty powerful on Blu-ray, and the thumping bass boosts the effect. A regular demo scene at my place is the armored-car sequence in the middle of the movie. It’s a powerhouse.

5) The Fifth Element (one 8-minute demo)
“Taxi Boom”; chapter 5, 0:32:14 to 0:39:00
The Fifth Element is a crazy future tale, full of bubblegum imagery and wacky sci-fi gobbledygook, but it can be an extraordinarily fun ride. I don’t think the movie is entirely successful—thanks in large part to the casting of Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod—but Bruce Willis as the wisecracking Korben Dallas and Milla Jovovich as the fetching Leeloo make this a comic journey worth taking. In chapter 5, we meet Leeloo just after her creation, as Dallas takes her on a wild mid-air cab ride through congested city streets. Going on 15 years old, the sequence still stuns.

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