Skip or Double Dip: Are New Blu-rays of 'West Side Story,' 'Equilibrium,' 'The Prophecy' and More Worth It?

Skip or Double Dip: Are New Blu-rays of 'West Side Story,' 'Equilibrium,' 'The Prophecy' and More Worth It?

May 01, 2012

West Side Story

This is the third Blu-ray incarnation of the classic 1961 musical starring Natalie Wood that puts the story of Romeo and Juliet in a 1950s New York setting. Adapted from a hit Broadway musical, this Robert Wise-directed film won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

What's New?: Before this stripped-down edition, one could buy a 50th anniversary limited collector's set loaded with behind-the-scenes extras and memorabilia. The three-disc collector's edition has the same extras as the collector's set minus the physical swag boxed with it. This new single Blu-ray edition jettisons most of the extras found on the bonus discs packaged with the previous releases.

Skip or Double Dip?: You'd have to enjoy watching money dance out of your wallet if you bought this release again since it has less bonus features than the previous version. If you're buying West Side Story on Blu-ray for the first time, the three-disc collector's edition costs only one dollar more than this new single-disc edition on Amazon. Skip it.


Equilibrium/Renaissance Double Feature

This is the second U.S. release of the dystopian sci-fi thriller Equilibrium starring Christian Bale as a cleric tasked with rounding up "sense offenders" that defy taking their emotion-suppressing doses of medicine mandated by the government to keep the peace after another World War. The highly stylized black-and-white Renaissance featuring motion-capture performances and heavy CGI is included here on the same Blu-ray to sweeten the deal.

What's New?: Equilibrium fans grumbled that the original domestic BD release had the wrong aspect ratio of 1.85:1, although one can still find other international editions of Equilibrium with the proper 2.35:1 ratio. This new edition has the correct ratio, but suffers from edge enhancement, black crush and other compressions issues due to the fact that it is squeezed on one single-layer Blu-ray with Renaissance. Also, due to space constraints, all the extras you can find on the other editions have been jettisoned.

Skip or Double Dip?: If you're looking to get Equilibrium on Blu-ray, this double feature is not the way to go even though the aspect ratio has been corrected. Skip it and pick up the Canadian import with the proper presentation and bonus features distributed by Alliance that will play in your U.S. BD player.


The Prophecy Collection

There are five films in the supernatural horror series The Prophecy, the first three of which star Christopher Walken as the Archangel Gabriel. This Blu-ray collection includes The Prophecy, The Prophecy 3: The Ascent, The Prophecy: Uprising and The Prophecy: Forsaken, all of which have been released previously on Blu-ray. Curiously, this set includes the first, third, fourth and fifth films in the franchise but leaves out 1998's The Prophecy II.

What's New?: Neither the individual BD releases of The Prophecy and The Prophecy 3: The Ascent nor the double feature of Uprising and Forsaken had any bonus features, and neither does this four-film collection.

Skip or Double Dip?: If you already own the four films in this collection, you'll get nothing new here except all of them packaged together. If you're testing your faith in The Prophecy series on Blu-ray for the first time, you'll save money by picking up this collection instead of buying the individual releases.


Shogun Assassin Box Set

This collection of the bloody and influential '70s samurai series contains Shogun Assassin, Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Hades, Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril, Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons and Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell. Previously, only Shogun Assassin had been available on Blu-ray.

What's New?: This set contains the exact same BD of Shogun Assassin that was available individually, including the same bonus features and animated menu. What's new is an additional BD with the other four films crammed on it, which means the picture quality of those films is not as good as the original but still better than previous DVD releases.

Skip or Double Dip?: If you already own the first movie on Blu-ray, only buy this collection if you absolutely must own the other films in the series on Blu-ray because you'll be double-dipping on an identical copy of Shogun Assassin. Since this collection costs $24 more on Amazon than the standalone Shogun Assassin, understand that you are paying that extra cash for four inferior sequels squeezed onto one disc.

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