Posted Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 11:15 AM PDT by Aaron Peck
The two stingiest holdouts when it comes to releasing highly sought after movies on Blu-ray are George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. It's a good thing 2012 changed all that. We've seen a huge boom in memorable Spielberg titles finally getting released on the format. Hopefully we can get the rest soon.
With the release of 'E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial' this week we thought we'd take a look at the entire Spielberg catalogue as it pertains to Blu-ray. We're finally seeing quite a few titles being released, but there are still a few gems that we need to get our hands on now!
With the holidays quickly approaching, and movie buying about to hit its peak, here's your Spielberg shopping checklist to make sure you pick up all of the famed director's best.
Stepping into the mo-cap arena was a tricky proposition. When I heard Spielberg was wading into Robert Zemeckis territory I shuddered. I've never liked the mo-cap animation (dead eyes and all that). While 'Tintin' does feature some of the drawbacks of the Uncanny Valley effect, it does shine with Spielberg's action-oriented spirit.
I'll admit it, 'E.T.' scared the pants off of me when I was a kid. I don't know why, there was just something about that little alien saying "Elliot," in his weird, echo-y way that put me off. However, once I revisited it after the fear had subsided a bit it's easy to see why it's one of cinema's most memorable films. It's full of that quintessential 80s charm that Spielberg was a master at creating. Picking this one up is a no-brainer.
'Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures'
If ever there was a must-have Blu-ray set, this is it. Besides 'Star Wars' this collection was possibly the most sought after set of catalogue Blu-rays out there. Ever since the format was invented we've been jonesing for the 'Indiana Jones' films in HD. I feel happy every time I see this in the store now. We waited so long for it and now it's here!
For Blu-ray fans, getting 'Indiana Jones,' 'E.T.' and 'Jaws' so close together was a great feeling. It was like the flood gates had finally been opened and the Spielberg titles were flowing freely. 'Jaws' is Spielberg's movie from start to finish. It was a film that changed the way we view horror. A movie that so many movies try and fail to emulate. It's creates the most perfect sense of dread. The first time you see it you'd swear no one is going to survive. What a great film.
Sure it's sappy wartime drama at its most cloying. How could a story about a horse during World War II not be portrayed this way? It's one of Spielberg's most marginally acceptable movies, yet it's a beauty to own on Blu-ray simply because of the movie's stunning photography.
Been Out for a While
'A.I. Artificial Intelligence'
I think this one requires a few viewings before it can be appreciated. I've known people who have watched it once and hated it. The first time I saw it I don't think I fully grasped what it had to say. Subsequent viewings helped me form a much more informed opinion about it. Is it my favorite Spielberg movie? Not by a long shot, but it is quite ambitious and should be lauded for it. Also, the bear rocks.
'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'
No one can forget the iconic scene of Richard Dreyfuss furiously sculpting his mashed potatoes. It's a cinematic masterpiece. Not only is it one of Spielberg's best movies, it's one of the best movies of the modern era period.
Movies focused on racial inequality can be pretty intense, and 'The Color Purple' is no exception. Still, at the hand of Spielberg, the movie deftly guides us through the big screen adaption of Alice Walker's novel.
Many people consider 'Hook' to be one of Spielberg's worst films. It's a purely nostalgia-driven movie. If you watched it growing up then chances are you love it, warts and all. However, if you didn't really enjoy it then you probably hate it now. The problems with 'Hook' stem from how Robin Williams-y it is. And the fact that the Lost Boys were seemingly cast from a Burger King commercial.
'Jurassic Park' and 'The Lost World'
'Jurassic Park' is the archetypal classic summer blockbuster. Spielberg took a gargantuan premise and made it larger than life. The movie gave birth to the glut of CG animation we see nowadays, but even watching 'Jurassic Park' almost two decades later, the CGI used has aged extremely well.
On the other hand 'The Lost World' was a travesty and probably, for my money, Spielberg's worst movie. Caught up in sequel fever, he created a dumb summer blockbuster, which was a travesty because Michael Crichton's novel of the same name would've provided a much more interesting storyline.
Some people love it, other people hate it. I think I'm on the side of the haters here. 'War of the Worlds,' even with Tom Cruise's strong leading performance and the above average CG animation (I still get a kick out of the people vaporizing), this one just seemed like Spielberg was phoning it in. The movie had too many plot holes and contrived conveniences to be considered among the best the director has to offer.
One of the best sci-fi films of the last decade. Yes, this movie is that good. Everything from the vision of this particular future to the seamless way the movie's future technology is integrated in the story is completely perfect. Spielberg really created something special with 'Minority Report.' It's definitely one of those movies you can watch again and again.
Spielberg's ability to create memorable, sweeping epics is uncanny. He can take these vast stories and mold them into two-and-a-half hour classics that linger in our minds forever. 'Saving Private Ryan' is the among the best war epics that have ever been filmed. It's a must-see if you're looking for thoughtful, realistic accounts of war. One of Spielberg's finest films to date.
No release date has been set for this one yet, but that's okay since '1941' always seemed like a clunky comedic underachiever.
There have been rumblings about the rest of the Spielberg catalogue being released, but I've heard absolutely nothing about 'Amistad.' Seems about right though, seeing that of all Spielberg's historical epics 'Amistad' is the most forgettable.
No release date as of yet. I remember thinking 'Always' was pretty cheesy, but it's been so long since I've seen it that I couldn't accurately describe my feelings about it now. I'm waiting for the Blu-ray just to see if revisiting it changes my initial reaction. Plus, this was Audrey Hepburn's final film appearance.
This one is slated for a December 4th release. It's one of Spielberg's most playful movies, and certainly one of the most fun. At times it feels like an innocuous blockbuster with big names attached, but Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks put in two great performances. This is a must-have once it hits Blu-ray.
The Digi-book release is coming in November, continuing with 2012 being a huge year for Spielberg on Blu. Another war-centric epic, this time starring a very young Christian Bale, who shows just what a great actor he would become. Bale's performance here is the highlight though, as 'Empire' has a few flat moments and seems overly long, even for a Spielberg flick. Plus, just try to get that music out of your head.
Man this one really deserves a Blu-ray release. I'm sad we haven't even heard rumors about it getting an HD release. I love its visceral grittiness. It's such a departure in form and style from Spielberg's normal fare (see: 'War Horse'). I can't wait to get this whenever it ends up coming out.
Perhaps the most anticipated release on the unreleased list. 'Schindler's List' was a monumental undertaking. It's one of the most important pieces of cinema we have. It's Spielberg's masterpiece. Sure, he has a plethora of classics in his filmography, but this one trumps them all. Plus, that black and white cinematography is going to look absolutely stellar in high-def. There's a rumor that this could see a 2012 release, but there's no word on what month (hopefully we hear more soon, since there are only a few months left).
Light-hearted and agreeable enough, 'The Terminal' is never one of the first movies I think of when I think of Spielberg movies. Like 'War of the Worlds' it feels like a phoned in performance from the talented director. Maybe it isn't a coincidence that the two movies came out back to back.
This year has been a great year for Spielberg movies on Blu-ray, with the promise of more to come before the year is out. What are your favorite Spielberg Blu-rays and what films are you excited to add to your collection once they're released? Let us know by clicking on the link below and telling us in the forums.
See what people are saying about this story in our forums area, or check out other recent discussions.
The latest news on all things 4K Ultra HD, blu-ray and Gear.