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Who isn’t game for a Top 10 list...especially when it ranks scorching hot Blu-ray discs that will fry your ocular senses with pinpoint precision! We here at Home Theater Shack decided to take it one step further, picking the brains of our Review Staff to reveal an updated Top 15 Blu-ray list. Today, we’re asking audio to take a back seat, focusing purely on image quality. Like most of our readers, we’ve spent countless hours calibrating our systems and prepping our Home Theater environments to produce the best picture quality possible. And we absolutely revel in finding source material that pops beyond the norm – we’re talking total visual bliss. If you’re looking for recently released demo material to light-up a projector based system – or perhaps a new display – look no further. These films will deliver the goods, guaranteed.




Our Top 15 is compiled from recent reviews. For more information about a title, simply click on the film’s name and you’ll be able to read our full review. Of course, if you have some favorites to add, please feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments section.


15. Snitch


Snitch’s transfer is absolutely incredible and nearly flawless. You want exacting image clarity? It has it. Details contained within scenes throughout the movie are exceptional and jaw-dropping, making Snitch’s digital filming a spectacular delight for the eyes.


14. Lone Survivor


Lone Survivor’s 2.40:1 AVC transfer is flat-out superb, displaying a very accurate color profile ranging from dusky browns...to lush greens...to blues of the open sky. Detail is simply phenomenal with lots of extreme close up shots of our heroes and all of the fibers and folds of their military uniforms.


13. Avatar (Extended Cut)


Avatar’s insanely beautiful HD transfer is - in a word - spectacular. Avatar has some of the most varied and vibrant colors ever dedicated to a disc. Even nighttime shots are spectacular with inky blacks and rich shadow detail.


12. Monster’s University


We were truly dazzled by Disney’s HD transfer of Monster’s U. It’s pure and clean digital animation straight from the source. No tampering, no manipulation, just pure unadulterated beauty. The detail is simply stunning to say the least.


11. Rise of the Guardians


Here's another digital masterpiece. There is never a dull or bland moment visually, and Rise’s astonishingly detailed characters, worlds, and environmental objects are mind numbing. Seek out this movie – it’s a memorable one.


10. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2


The hallmark of this film’s extraordinary visual feast for the eyes is color. Lots of colors such as lime greens, luscious oranges, and deliciously thick reds. Fine details and textures are vastly abundant and exacting to extraordinary levels. There's nary a hint of blocking, jaggedies, or artifacts, which is to say that Sony Pictures' Hi-Def AVC transfer of this film is topnotch.


9. How to Train Your Dragon


How to Train Your Dragon is a “Pixar perfect” release, which is a huge compliment to Dreamworks. Animation is always a treat to view in Hi-Def, especially digital animation, as the lack of grain and the perfectly rendered characters look flat out dazzling. This film is among the best.


8. Skyfall


Skyfall has an absolutely flawless 2.40:1 AVC encode. Blacks are deep and inky with phenomenal detail still present even in the darkest of shadows. Both close ups and distant shots are of excellent detail and quality, and the lack of any digital or compression artificats is a pleasant treat.


7. Star Trek: Into Darkness


JJ Abram's sci-fi reboot (part two) explodes onto home cinema with a flawless 2.40:1 AVC encode, best described as “crystal clear.” Detail is just stunning throughout the film, showing off razor burn, stray threads in clothing and some of the best CGI detail we’ve seen in a long time. ANOTHER top-notch demo disc!


6. Tron Legacy


The image and visual presentation of Tron: Legacy is literally flawless, making it one of the most incredible visual releases in the history of the Blu-Ray format. Owners of fixed cinemascope screens might cringe as the presentation switches between various aspect ratios...but we think this is a small price to pay for near mastery. Take a good look at the included screen capture...there's a lot more where that came from!


5. Gravity


This mega-blockbuster has an image quality that is just about as perfect as perfect can be. Besides a few anomalies in the presentation, the overall experience is nothing short of breathtaking. Colors are riveting and beautiful, switching from the blackness of space, to the pale blue interior of the space station, then transitioning to brightness of earth. The space shots are so hauntingly beautiful, you’ll wish they’d never end.


4. The Incredibles


Reaching deep into our bag of tricks, we pullout The Incredibles. This one’s a classic and its transfer has stood the test of time. Everything, from black levels to image purity, is reference. After all, it's Pixar. Watch it.


3. Turbo


Turbo lands at No. 3 with a presentation that is nothing short of jaw dropping and stunning – nothing is left to be desired. Every color – oranges, reds, purples, even glowing turquoise – dance on the screen creating a delectable feast for the eyes. The most exacting of details including the minutia of surface textures (the prickly stems on a tomato plant, the fine ridges on Theo’s shell, and the scaly nature of Gagné’s racing uniform) are simply amazing. Watching Turbo is akin to staring through a window into a beautiful animated world and the added cinemascope width is a major benefit for projector-based systems.


2. Transformers: Age of Extinction



2014’s Age of Extinction comes to Blu-ray with a reference level transfer good enough to recommend as our No. 2 best release. Every aspect of the presentation is just about as perfect as it can get, from natural colors, to rich saturation, to amazing details…the whole works. This film had our Mike Edwards’ jaw drop to his lap from sheer visual amazement. It’s a must see.


1. Pacific Rim


Pacific Rim might be a polarizing film from a story perspective, but it’s hard to deny that it is one of the most stunning Blu-rays released to date. The picture literally jumps from the screen with Del Toro’s trademark use of bright colors and neon glows. Black levels are pristine to the MAX, without fault. Whether a scene takes place in the dead of night amongst the pouring rain, or inside the brightly lit battle bunkers, details pop at every turn. Facial hair, the occasional glob of hair Gel, and even a loose strand of fabric are replicated to the highest levels of clarity. We found zero flaws, making it our top pick for Blu-ray video demo material.
 

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Hard to argue with any of these. Pixar and Disney are tough to beat in the category. The Incredibles, Tron: Legacy, and Pacific Rim are my faves from this list. Oblivion and Prometheus also come to mind for beautiful visuals.
Those are two solid looking films... Prometheus is gorgeous, especially with its overall darkness. Oblivion could have easily been in the Top 15...no doubt about it.
 

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This is a great list! I felt pretty good having 4 out of the 15 (Skyfall, Monsters, Tron, Star Trek)! I definitely would go for The Incredibles, Avatar, and HTTYD on Bluray - DVD just may not cut it anymore :). Haven't seen some of the others, though I have seen Pacific Rim and what a shame the story is so lackluster to take away from the amazing cinema experience. As someone put it one time - I don't feel a need to watch a couple guys jazzercising inside a giant robot.
 

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This is a great list! I felt pretty good having 4 out of the 15 (Skyfall, Monsters, Tron, Star Trek)! I definitely would go for The Incredibles, Avatar, and HTTYD on Bluray - DVD just may not cut it anymore :). Haven't seen some of the others, though I have seen Pacific Rim and what a shame the story is so lackluster to take away from the amazing cinema experience. As someone put it one time - I don't feel a need to watch a couple guys jazzercising inside a giant robot.
That's funny. Never thought of it that way. ;-)

Give Snitch a watch. Great looking film!
 

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I have seven of the films listed and agree that Oblivion should be ranked at least as an honorable mention. Oblivion Pacific Rim and Avatar are my go to bluray disks for showing off video quality.
 

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It's not really a movie but The Art of Flight is visually stunning. If you haven't seen it I strongly suggest tracking down a copy.
 

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I'd have to add Super 8 and Serenity. Almost seems unfair to compare how an animated films looks vs. live action films. The animated films just seem to have that extra little pop of fine detail, color saturation and black levels that make it very hard for me to compare them apples to apples.

And a couple of honorable mentions for outstanding restorations; Dr. No and Lawrence of Arabia. For a couple of 50+ year old films, they sure look good on Blu-ray.
 

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I'd have to add Super 8 and Serenity. Almost seems unfair to compare how an animated films looks vs. live action films. The animated films just seem to have that extra little pop of fine detail, color saturation and black levels that make it very hard for me to compare them apples to apples.

And a couple of honorable mentions for outstanding restorations; Dr. No and Lawrence of Arabia. For a couple of 50+ year old films, they sure look good on Blu-ray.
Forgot about Super 8. Fantastic digital creature effects and the audio is top notch. Dr. No I haven't seen on blu yet so thanks for the heads up.
 

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Some great choices, and I've seen 11 of them.

The Incredibles has long been my movie reference when making changes to my system or listening to a different system. Not only are the audio and video fantastic, but the story is great too and it is my favorite animated film. Can't wait for The Incredibles 2 that is supposedly in the works, and hoping they can buck the trend and actually make something worthy of the first.
 

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Watched Dr. No on Blu-ray yesterday and I have to agree the restoration was very well done nova, once again thanks for mentioning it.
 

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Oz The Great and Powerful, some find the vivid color over saturated, I enjoy the presentation of this film visually and the audio is done well with some decent lfe in spots
 
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