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High-Def Animation Took Off in 2007

bd-hddvd.png2007 will be looked back upon as the year that HD video discs really took off. Yes, the total numbers are miniscule when compared to standard-def DVD. And yes, the format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD is not helping things. But the number of titles now being released by the studios, many day-and-date with the DVD, has grown at a such a rate that making the switch from DVD to HD is a no-brainer if you have the right equipment. And, as I predicted in a previous article, some studios may be ready to move on without you. Disney, for example, is already removing normally standard special features (such as documentaries, games, and director commentaries) from their DVD releases and saving them for the HD version of their films. While this is probably very frustrating to DVD owners, it is a way to “encourage” users to make the switch sooner rather than later!

Let’s look back at the year in animated HD video discs to see just how great it was and maybe convince some of you to start the upgrades now in time for what’s sure to be an even better 2008!

Please note the following points about this listing:

– It’s a given at this point that HD video and audio quality is going to be stunning, especially when compared to DVD. So this piece will mainly focus on what was made available this year and differences in special features from the DVD release.

-For now, we’ll put aside which format is or isn’t better and just focus on the content!

– While there is a combo disc available that can have both a DVD version and an HD DVD version of a film on the same disc, these discs seem to be losing favor with the studios and may be being phased out.

– This is not a complete listing of all the animation this year on HD, just some of the bigger titles.


carsbd.jpgThe Ant Bully
• released on Blu-ray and a combo DVD/HD DVD in 2006. re-issued on HD DVD in 2007.
• same features as DVD.
 

Cars
• released on Blu-ray in 2007
• includes same features as DVD, some upgraded to HD.
• BD exclusives include: two audio commentaries (one with director John Lasseter, the other with various production crew members); seven behind the scenes documentary shorts; an extra deleted scene; production artwork; the above features combined in a very cool “Cine-Explore” feature that lets you watch the film with audio commentary, pop-up pictures and production artwork, deleted scenes added in, and documentary shorts stopping the film at appropriate parts; a very impressive game called “Carfinder” that you can play while watching the film that really shows off the next-generation interactivity of the format.
 

Chicken Little
• released on Blu-ray in 2007
• includes same features as DVD.
• BD exclusives include: audio commentary with director Mark Dindal, producer Randy Fullmer and visual effects supervisor Steve Goldberg; “Filmmaker Q&A”, which lets you choose among several selected question at various times in the film that are then answered in a video from the filmmakers; additional deleted scenes; “Alien Invasion”, a one or two player Space Invaders type game.
 

Dragon’s Lair
• released on Blu-ray and HD DVD in 2007
• BD/HD DVD exclusives: this version of the film/game was not released on DVD so it all is exclusive!
 

dragonslairbd.jpgFinal Fantasy: The Spirits Within
• released on Blu-ray in 2007
• same features as DVD.
 

Happily N’ever After
• released on Blu-ray in 2007
• same features as DVD.
 

Happy Feet
• released on Blu-ray and a combo DVD/HD DVD in 2007. re-issued on HD DVD later in 2007
• same features as DVD.
 

Meet the Robinsons
• released on Blu-ray in 2007
• includes same features as DVD, some upgraded to HD.
• BD exclusives include: additional deleted scenes; “Bowler Hat Barrage” game.
 

Open Season
• released on Blu-ray in 2007
• same features as DVD.
 

happyfeetcombo.jpgPaprika
• released on Blu-ray in 2007
• includes same features as DVD.
• BD exclusives include: storyboard comparisons.
 

The Pixar Shorts Collection
• released on Blu-ray in 2007
• same features as DVD, some upgraded to HD.
 

The Polar Express
• released on HD DVD in 2006. released on Blu-ray in 2007
• same features as DVD.
 

Ratatouille
• released on Blu-ray in 2007
• includes same features as DVD, all upgraded to HD.
• BD exclusives include: audio commentary with director Brad Bird and producer Brad Lewis; seventeen “Animation Briefings”; ten documentary shorts; additional deleted scenes; two video “Extras”; the very cool “Cine-Explore” feature (mentioned above in Cars).
 

A Scanner Darkly
• released on Blu-ray and HD DVD in 2007
• same features as DVD.
 

shrek3hddvd.jpgShrek the Third
• released on HD DVD in 2007
• includes same features as DVD, all upgraded to HD.
• HD DVD exclusives include: the entire film in storyboard form, with branching available to watch pitch meetings at appropriate points; three downloadable web features, including a trivia game, a coloring book, and a character biography listing.
 

The Simpsons Movie
• released on Blu-ray in 2007
• same features as DVD, all upgraded to HD.
 

Surf’s Up
• released on Blu-ray in 2007
• includes same features as DVD, most upgraded to HD.
• BD exclusives include: additional audio commentary with visual effects supervisor Rob Gradel, animation supervisor David Shopp, and layout supervisor James Williams
 

TMNT
• released on Blu-ray and HD DVD in 2007
• same features as DVD.


 


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