Paramount ups Blu-ray quality for Award Winners

paramount logoEver get a Blu-ray Disc home and wonder where the high-def quality is? No doubt you’ve seen a few that question how much time was actually put into the high-definition transfer. You’ll be happy to hear Paramount has announced it will give special treatment to their most requested films, and put them in a class called the “Sapphire Series.”

The series will start with the release of two Academy Award Award winning films on Blu-ray. Both Braveheart and Gladiator, each with five Oscars including Best Picture, will be released on September 1. In November, Paramount will release 6-time Academy Award winner Forest Gump on Blu-ray.

“It’s wonderful that Paramount is taking the time to produce exceptional Blu-ray presentations of these classic films,” said Forest Gump Director Robert Zemeckis.

Braveheart will be presented in 1080p with 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and over 2-hours of special features. Extras include: documentary “Braveheart: A Look Back”; interactive timelines; documentary “Smithfield: Medieval Killing Fields”; and “Battlefields of the Scottish Rebellion” — a 3d model presentation of the battles with interactive features.

The two-disc Gladiator release will be presented in 1080p with DTS-HD Master Audio formatting. Extras include over 4-hours of material including: audio commentaries; “The Scrolls of Knowledge”, “Visions From Elysium: Topic Marker”; the definitive documentary “Strength And Honor: Creating The World of Gladiator”; the HBO first look special “The Making of Gladiator”; and abandoned sequences and deleted scenes.

Look for further updates including cover art when they are released. Full details on the extras are listed below:

Braveheart Blu-ray details:

Interactive Timelines
– Three distinct timelines featuring a
combination of video, images, text and audio that can be accessed
linearly or randomly.
– Production: A comprehensive chronology of the motion picture from
conception through theatrical release, from a behind-the-scenes
point of view.
– Historical: Chronological modules feature Scotland’s greatest
patriot, along with historical places, figures and events
surrounding his life and struggle.
– Fiction: A comprehensive timeline identifying the chronological
events of the film.

Braveheart: A Look Back – Features new interviews with members of the
cast and crew reminiscing about their experiences making the film and
its enduring impact on cinema.

Smithfield: Medieval Killing Fields – Relates the remarkable history of
Smithfield, which for centuries was regularly filled with the roars of
crowds, regal fanfares and rowdy games.  Smithfield is also known as
the site of William Wallace’s execution, along with other terrifying
spectacles when heretics, rebels and criminals were put to death.

Battlefields of the Scottish Rebellion – Two major Scottish
battlefields, Falkirk and Bannockburn, will be presented as 3D models
that can be explored for further investigation into the military
strategies and timetables employed in each.  Topography, weapons,
troop movements, and leadership data can also be accessed.  An
alternate playing mode will allow the story of each battle to unfold
in an “automated” fashion, much like the interactive dioramas
displayed at historical site museums around the world.

Gladiator Blu-ray details:

Audio Commentary – Two separate commentaries accompany the original
theatrical version and extended version of the film.

The Scrolls of Knowledge – The original trivia track has been newly
enhanced with focus points allowing viewers to access a series of new
behind-the-scenes featurettes exploring key scenes and how they relate
to the historical accuracy depicted in the film.  The extended version
of the film also includes a deleted scene marker.

Visions From Elysium: Topic Marker – Viewers can tag moments of
interest throughout either version of the film, allowing them to
create “shopping lists” of topics to learn more about.  Thanks to the
Blu-ray player’s memory, the topics will automatically be loaded when
Disc 2 is inserted, giving viewers immediate access to featurettes and
galleries of interest.

Strength And Honor: Creating The World of Gladiator – The definitive
documentary on the origin, production and impact of the
Oscar(R)-winning classic.  The documentary includes an all-new
Enhanced Viewing Mode allowing viewers access to additional interviews
and behind-the-scenes material.

The Making of Gladiator – HBO First Look special.

Gladiator Games: The Roman Bloodsport – Learning Channel special.

Hans Zimmer: Scoring Gladiator – An exploration of the rousing soundtrack.

My Gladiator Journal–Personal diary of the young actor who played Lucius.

Image & Design – Featurettes and galleries covering the production design, storyboards, costumes and more.

Abandoned Sequences & Deleted Scenes

VFX Explorations: Germania & Rome – Shot deconstruction with the visual effects artists.

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Jeff Chabot

Jeff Chabot

Jeff Chabot writes about technology, broadcasting, and digital entertainment. You can also find him on Gameverse, Gadget Review, and Google+.

One Reply to “Paramount ups Blu-ray quality for Award Winners”

  1. ghostwriter says:

    I just watched Braveheart and Gladiator and I gotta tell ya I wasn’t impressed. Gladiator was so processed it didnt look like film any more and was all over the place. Braveheart was good, but to me lacked contrast (although maybe on a plasma with theatre lighting would be better). But at least the Braveheart transfer was consistent.

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