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The new Blu-ray benchmark
on May 21, 2007
Whether you're new to Blu-ray DVDs or already have quite a collection, this one is a must-buy. Simply put, it has the best video and audio of any Blu-ray title released to date. With its mix of bright and dark scenes, its boatload of special effects and its rollicking layered soundtrack, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" is a perfect showcase for Blu-ray technology, and Disney has taken full advantage of it.
Though its contrast is sharp and bold, the near-perfect digital transfer reveals hitherto-unseen details and textures throughout its range. In nearly every scene there seems to be something new -- from the lace on young Elizabeth's dress, to the braids that hold the beads in the beard of Captain Jack, to the rotting, clinging skin on the pirates' moonlit skulls.
The colors, always good, are now simply great. Pure and vivid, they show off every brilliant yellow and orange in the film's Caribbean days; every spooky blue in its moonlight nights. Flesh tones couldn't be better.
The transfer has no grain, even in the darkest scenes, and there are no compression artifacts, so even the largest patch of color stays one solid hue. This, in turn, reveals even more minute detail. Have you ever noticed that the redhead's curls match the pattern on her dress? Or that the skeleton monkey has mangy fur? I hadn't, until now.
As you would guess, the uncompressed 5.1 soundtrack delivers amazing audio quality, with great imaging between its channels for a full 360-degree field of sound. But what's really cool is, again, all the detail. There's just so much sound here. You hear the wooden ships creak and moan as they sail. You hear individual instruments in the score. You can even make out every word -- well, most every word -- of Captain Jack's often slurred, sun-baked mumble.
The two-disc set contains all the low-res bonuses of the earlier standard release, as well as a nifty new one. Activate "Scoundrels at Sea" and, as you watch the movie, a prompt pops up every few minutes that lets you view a short clip about pirate history. You can skip it, watch it immediately, or build up a library of clips to view at the film's end.
To sum up, this is the best Blu-ray title out there. It's a great way to experience that big-bucks home theater system, and a treasure trove of entertainment fun.