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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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6) The Wizard of Oz (two 3- to 4-minute demos)
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”; chapter 4, 0:05:49 to 0:08:02
“If I Only Had a Brain”; chapter 21 and 22, 0:34:45 to 0:38:48
A pristine restoration of the 1939 Technicolor classic arrived on Blu-ray last year, and for the first time (after countless viewings), I could behold the “burlap” makeup on the Scarecrow’s face, Judy Garland’s freckles, the elaborate Oz set design, and just the wealth of fine details in every background. Brittle frames have been repaired, and fading colors have been magnificently enriched. Watching this movie in Blu is a revelation. Although the original mono soundtrack is nothing to get excited about, the lossless representation is warm and accurate. The classic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” sequence lets you show off the beauty of the film’s sepia-tone early section, but the “If I Only Had a Brain” scene will become a favorite demo.

7) Ponyo (one 8-minute demo)
“Ponyo’s Typhoon”; chapter 8, 0:43:50 to 0:51:05
Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo, a reworking of the Little Mermaid tale, might strike you as a film solely for the kindergarten crowd, but there’s no denying it’s one strikingly beautiful animated film. Miyazaki’s watercolor cels burst to life in the Blu-ray home theater. Perhaps the most vivid action sequence of the film is this excellent demo scene, in which a boy and his mother race home while the waters of the sea surrounding them roil in chaos—and Ponyo races, smiling, above it all.

8) Close Encounters of the Third Kind (two 8-minute demos)
“Incident on a County Road”; chapters 4 and 5, 0:19:22 to 0:27:43
“Communicating with the Mothership”; chapters 16 and 17, 1:51:11 to 1:59:28
Steven Spielberg’s 1977 UFO movie is beginning to show its age, but a few of the film’s scenes still seem ageless to me. The first is Richard Dreyfuss’s initial encounter with the aliens on that dark, lonely stretch of road, just after the lights of the vehicle behind his truck rise ominously in his rearview mirror. The second, of course, is the arrival of—and musical communication with—the gargantuan alien mothership over Devil’s Tower. The high-def Blu-ray presentation gives both scenes a powerful bass punch.

9. Bolt (one 8-minute demo)
“Highway Chase”; chapter 2, 0:02:31 to 0:11:00
This whiz-bang kiddie action flick is the first 2D animation from the John Lasseter-helmed Disney Animation Studio, and it’s one of the biggest surprises to come out of that studio in a long time. As with most animation on Blu-ray, this is a spectacularly clear, detailed video experience, and the lossless audio packs a bass-pounding wallop. Watch the opening action scene for 10 minutes of pure home-theater joy. Turns out, this isn’t just a kick for the kids; it’s a true pleasure for all ages. This sequence is a wickedly edited pulse-pounder.

10. Pixar Extravaganza
Up (two 4- to 5-minute demos)
“Married Life”; chapter 3, 0:07:14 to 0:11:34
“The Dogfight”; chapter 32 and 33, 1:21:54 to 1:26:01

Toy Story 2 (two 6- to 8-minute demos)
“Woody’s Restoration and Al’s Toy Barn”; chapters 17 to 21, 0:39:09 to 0:47:00
“Jessie’s Story”; chapter 22, 0:47:24 to 0:53:23

Monsters, Inc. (one 7-minute demo)
“The Door Vault”; chapter 26 1:06:25 to 1:13:54

Ratatouille (two 4- to 8-minute demos)
“Paper Chase”; chapter 22, 1:11:25 to 1:15:05
“Dinner Rush and Anton Ego’s Review”; chapter 27-29, 1:32:40 to 1:40:54
Whether your favorite Pixar film on Blu-ray is Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Ratatouille, Wall-E, or Up, it’s going to boast the very best AV presentation available for the home theater. Rock-solid imagery, lossless sound presentations, and just plain wonderful storytelling make the Pixar films an old standby for demos in my theater. Favorite demo scenes include the beautifully emotional first 10 minutes of Up, as well as that film’s hilarious dogfight scenes toward the end; the scenes of Woody’s restoration, as well as “Jessie’s Story” from Toy Story 2; the rollercoaster door-vault sequence from Monsters Inc.; and the exhilarating boat chase from Ratatouille, as well as that film’s heartbreakingly nostalgic finale. Now I want to know when The Incredibles is due on Blu-ray!

Now you have all the information you need to stage some terrific demos in your home theater. So gather all your friends—particularly the ones you’re trying to convince to invest in high-def—and insert these discs for a rollicking good time.

Jason Bovberg is a senior editor for Windows IT Pro and SQL Server magazine and a regular contributor to Residential AV Presents Connected Home. He specializes in networking, mobile and wireless, hardware, and home computing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer and editor in magazine, book, and special-interest publishing. He can be reached at

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