H D - S E N S E I

A view on HD DVDs by Gary W. Tooze


Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 4600 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:
Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)
Harmon Cardon DD/DTS receiver
Ascent (main) + Boston Acoustics (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








Blue Planet (IMAX) [HD DVD]


(Ben Burtt, 1990)

Warner  (USA)
Review by Gary W. Tooze

1.78:1 1080p
44 minutes (The Dream is Alive is 37 minutes)
Audio: English TrueHD 5.1, English Dolby Digital Plus 5.1, DUB: French Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
Subtitles: English (Hearing impaired), French, Spanish, none
Extras: The Dream is Alive
Released: July 31st, 2007
HD-DVD case
Chapters: Blue Planet - 5, The Dream is Alive - 4

Product Description:
From the unique vantage point of 200 miles above Earth's surface, we see how natural forces - volcanoes, earthquakes and hurricanes - affect our world, and how a powerful new force - humankind - has begun to alter the face of the planet. From Amazon rain forests to Serengeti grasslands, Blue Planet inspires a new appreciation of life on Earth, our only home.


The Film: Through eyewitness on a few Shuttle missions, Earth is shown in a unique light - seeing places from the silent vantage point of space. In a fairly obvious manner we are exposed to environmental crisis created by our existence (exploiting the natural resources for our selfish benefit). It's the precursor to Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. It suffers most from its age (over 15 years) as much of the information has become over exposed since making, slightly out of date and less impacting. As a documentary though it is beautifully presented and hypnotic to watch.




Gary Tooze




Quality is strong but no where near the Planet Earth HD-DVD - of which it seems to have a natural pairing. The vast scope of images from space are still impacting in their grandeur but advertised as IMAX I suppose I expected a bit more. Colors were true but not vibrant, detail clear but not approaching the 3D effect we sometimes experience with the new format DVDs. By the way - the encode on this HD product is the exact same as the corresponding Warner Blu-ray - image quality should be identical. There are no major flaws but occasional speckles are surprisingly apparent.    















Sounded very good! The TrueHD has some strong buoyancy that is never really tested. I would say that the audio is better than I expected but also the audio is never a big part of the presentation effect. It transports the narration clearly and succinctly.




Optional English (hearing impaired), Spanish or French subtitles support the audio.


The 37 minute short The Dream is Alive from 1985 is included. Astronauts as cinematographers provide a detailed look at a few of the space shuttle missions, including the Challenger's 1984 mission to repair a damaged satellite. Again a bit dated (20 years old) but those keen on the space program will enjoy moments as I did.



If I suspect my anticipation level was far too high as I ended up being slightly disappointed, but if you are keen on these science-related topics - you probably won't see it any better looking outside of an IMAX theater experience. I'm glad to have it in my library for my two boys.


Hit Counter