Sunday, 6 December 2009

It's a blu-ray Christmas...

Right, so Christmas will soon be upon us and, as you've read my ravings about how totally fabulous blu-ray is you'll have a nice shiny new blu-ray player sitting under the tree ready for the festive season. Won't you? Hmm?

Now you'll want to know what to watch on it, so here's a seasonal round-up of the blu-rays (and DVDs) that you might want to buy for a bit of family viewing.
G-Force. Lovable guinea-pigs trained as an elite squad of half pint-sized agents help to foil the evil plans of corrupt electronics boss Leonard Saber (Bill Nighy) who has programmed coffee makers and other consumer durables to malfunction and overtake the planet. It sounds ridiculous but is great fun, particularly for guinea pig lovers. There are some great laughs some fast-paced action and of course the GPs save the day. This is real people (and guinea pigs) with a bit of clever CGI. Plenty of nods to grown-up action movies to keep the adults entertained too. You have to see it, if only for the scene in which a guinea pig fights a fully armed and dangerous coffee maker. Really good family entertainment and my number one choice for a Christmas Day film.

Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure. Another in the series of charming animated fairy adventures featuring Disney's fairy Tinkerbell. Cute tales about friendship and bravery, never letting a small thing like being a tiny fairy defeat you and sticking up for what you know is right. In this one Tink goes on a quest to find a treasure and discovers that there is no greater treasure than a true friend. Saccharine perhaps but my girls aged seven and six loved this one. It looks great on screen - the blu-ray really does it justice. We've bought some great Disney Fairies merchandise too: Pretty, sparkly (but sturdy) fairy toys. For presents for little girls you can't go far wrong with Disney Fairies and it makes a nice change from the world-dominating (and sometimes too grown-up) High School Musical and Hannah Montana.

Santa Buddies The Legend of Santa Paws. Ho ho ho. Real talking dogs save the spirit of Christmas when the magical Christmas icicle starts to melt and the world forgets the true meaning of Christmas. The usual gags are here: Man puts the lights on the tree, switches them on, everyone says 'aah!', the lights go out. Don't you just wish that just once in a film the lights would just work? *Sigh*. Anyway. Odd film this. It has a big moral that Christmas is about what you give, not what you get and eating turkey. My children liked it in a lukewarm way. Dogs aren't supposed to talk and these puppies looked oddly bored when they were talking excitedly. Their expressions had been slightly animated, but the dogs looked sad and tired. As did Santa who looked as if he'd been at the brandy. There was a little too much forced jollity there. Very American, very Christmas, but not the worst I've seen. If you like Beverley Hills Chihuahua and the previous Buddies outings (Space Buddies, Snow Buddies and Air Buddies), you'll probably like Santa Buddies, but it wasn't my cup of tea.

Others you might consider:

Bolt and Wall-E. Not seasonal, but two of the best animated films ever. Bolt features Rhino the hamster who is so funny that we once had to turn the film off because R6 was in danger of injuring herself through the medium of laughter. Adults (even those without children) love this one too. Wall-E is very clever indeed. Who'd have thought a rubbish compacting solar-powered robot could be so cute? This is very much an animated An Inconvenient Truth, but it's so beautifully entertaining you won't notice. Funny, heart-warming, poignant and ultimately full of hope.

Cars. Sumptuous on Blu-ray. One of my all-time favourites - I mean one of my CHILDREN'S all time favourites. Terrific petrolhead fun for kids young and old. This is one of the films that was an utter revelation on blu-ray. The shiny cars look lovely, there's great sound and detail and you can Porsche- and Ferrari- spot to your heart's content. Nice cameos too from Clarkson and Schumacher.

Of course there's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs currently out in special edition and the everlasting Sleeping Beauty. We watched these over and over again when my children were very small, but I find my girls are growing out of them now. They like them, but like modern young ladies they aren't totally convinced by the lying-around-on-your-princess-bed-waiting-for-true-love's kiss thing. It was nice to see them scrubbed up on blu-ray, but it's not as spectacular as watching Cars or Tinkerbell.

Then there is High School Musical Three. Awesome. I hate to admit it, but I quite like the High School Musical films. I think Two is the weakest of the bunch (too much golf) and Three (on blu-ray) has the best songs. I haven't met a small female yet who isn't enthralled by these films. I'm told boys like them too.

Apparently, according to my Number One Pester Power Person (H7), there's also something called Hannah Montana. It might even be out on blu-ray, but we have so far avoided it (except H has Hannah Montana on everything.) I know nothing about it beyond an interview with Miley Cyrus on Newsround which was rather terrifying. She's only 17? Ew.

Many of these are available as a blu-ray and DVD combi pack - double bubble. Ideal if you've got a blu-ray in the living room but a DVD upstairs or in the car. The Bolt combi pack is currently on Amazon at £10.98 while the DVD on its own is £7.98. It might be worth getting the combi pack if you've got plans to upgrade to blu-ray in the future. DVD players do break and (according to this woman) you'd be mad not to consider replacing it with a blu-ray if you've got an HD-ready TV.

Finally, why blu-ray? For one thing it's high definition, so if you've got an HD-ready TV you literally won't believe your eyes. The discs are tougher than DVDs and they hold a lot more, so the discs also have a whole pile of extras for added entertainment. The players aren't ridiculously expensive either and will play all your old DVDs too (which instantly look better).

Happy blu-ray Christmas!


  1. Well we watched Santas Buddies last night and it was certainly an interesting take on Dickens Christmas Carol and the traditional ho ho ho Santa thing!

  2. Oh, you're tempting me to think about TV's and DVD players and all sorts of things that don't need replacing. Well, not quite yet. A friend of mine just upgraded and raves about it. Thanks for listing movies for the young set in case I need something for little ones. Mine are older now and it's amazing how quickly one is out of touch.

  3. Since seeing you on that sofa talking about the wonders of Blu-whatsit, I have done a bit of research.

    Now I Get It. No way I will buy it, but at least I now understand what it was you were championing.

    Think that I may be on the outskirts of geezerdom, or perhaps still just firmly rooted in my natural born frugality.

    Back when I was an archivist at the Met Museum, I really did have an appreciation for the best that many civilizations had delivered, and perhaps because of that, realized I didn't need to buy much.


  4. Well we don't have the excuse of two girlies at home anymore but they are coming for Christmas and our DVD player IS blinking... Get thee behind me, you naughty Mags!!

  5. Golly, great promotion piece Mags. Future career move maybe? x

  6. Blue Ray, mmm, will have to think about that one, but maybe for another day. The computer needs replacing first, methinks.
    Have just signed up to Love Film again because of the rubbish on TV but have done it in a false name to avoid the re-registration fee. And I also get a two week free trial.

  7. Dylan is still on VHS cassettes!

    Maybe Santa will bring him something especial though - shhhhhh...

  8. wow!! this is nice information!!! I like it really.Blu Ray


I am sorry to have to add word verification thing again but I keep getting spammed.