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The Digital Bits: <i>The Fifth Element</i> Blu-ray bites

The Digital Bits: The Fifth Element Blu-ray bites

Bill Hunt over at The Digital Bits, who's usually spot-on with his reviews, has posted a few first impressions of four of the initial Blu-ray movies as viewed on a Samsung BD-P1000. Since Samsung hasn't sent us our player yet, we have to live vicariously through his eyes. In short, he wasn't impressed:

Now it's time to look at my first Blu-ray Disc. Naturally, my hand swerved toward The Fifth Element. The title was an amazing bit of reference work on standard DVD, and that Superbit version was awesome. Obvious choice, right? Should look amazing in HD. Yeah... it should. But it doesn't. In fact... I'm not going to come out and say it looks like crap, but it is easily the worst-looking high-definition title I've seen yet, and I've seen 30-plus titles now. The image is muddy-looking, lacking in crisp, clean detail. The colors don't quite pop off the screen like they should. Just a mess. Okay... I will say it. It looks like crap.
To be fair, he liked the quality of the other three films better, and of course, these are his early impressions. When I watched portions of Memento on Blu-ray, it looked pretty darn good, but I'm surprised that Sony Pictures would drop the ball on Element, which should be a marquee Blu-ray title. And Hunt isn't the only one with the Blu-ray blues; independent enthusiasts at AVS Forum, for example, have been generally underwhelmed by the first BD titles compared to different HD-DVD titles, and Peter Bracke at High-Def DVD Digest was kinder but still disappointed.

We expect to receive our very own BD-P1000 to play with sometime soon, and we'll see for ourselves how the first films look. In the meantime--all together now--it's still too early to judge Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD on just a few titles.

More CNET resources:

  • Samsung BD-P1000: Blu-ray hands-on
  • CNET's quick guide to Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD
  • Prepare for launch: Blu-ray players revealed
  • Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player review
  • DVD 2.0: Complete Blu-ray and HD-DVD coverage