Best Blu-rays 2014: 10 discs to hi-def your Christmas

Great movies on even greater discs

Best Blu ray movies 2014 10 discs to hi def your Christmas

The world may have gone streaming mad in 2014 but Blu-ray is still king when it comes to delivering home entertainment - at least for those who still like collecting real, malleable things.

With that in mind, here are the 10 best Blu-rays of 2014. These are the discs that offer up the best picture quality, awesome audio and extras that rival the main feature. There's a mixture of retro and new, fantasy and futuristic but they all have one thing in common - they are essentials for any movie lover's collection.

1. The Hayao Miyazaki Complete Collection

spirited away

The announcement of Hayao Miyazaki's retirement early this year was a massive blow not just to cinema but to the future of Studio Ghibli, the most important animation house since the one run by a mouse.

This comprehensive retrospective is a fantastic showcase of the beautiful animated movies that Ghibli has made over the years with the boxset housing 11 feature films.

The transfers are impeccable, remastered and brought to life for a Blu-ray audience. Unfortunately the extras are moribund, but you won't care as you will be, ahem, spirited away by each and every movie regardless.

2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Extended Edition

Desolation of Smaug

No, the Hobbit didn't need to be stretched over three movies but with director Peter Jackson at the helm he has at least made a(nother) movie trilogy that sparkles in high definition.

As with The Lord of The Rings, the Blu-ray release of The Hobbit movies has been given an Extended Edition. This means nine hours of special features, 13 minutes of extra footage, stretched over five discs. A phenomenal amount of love has been put into the creation of this edition, which is essential viewing for anyone who loves all things Tolkien.

3. Stanley Kubrick: 8-Film Masterpiece Collection

Kubrick collection

The movies of Stanley Kubrick have been well loved on Blu-ray, so much so that this is the second collection of his movies to hit the format. What you get is eight movies, 10 discs and a multitude of new documentaries. This is all topped off with a stunning 78-page hardcover book.

We do wish that some of the movies had a new transfer but these are the best-quality versions of Kubrick's classic movies that you can buy at the moment.

4. Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery

Twin Peaks

David Lynch's mesmerising television series has finally been given the update it deserves. It comes to Blu-ray with a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, an HD picture upgrade to many of the shots and a whole host of new material.

Also included is a new transfer of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and an archive of deleted scenes. The only thing missing is your very own log... and screaming BOB.

5. Her

Her

Spike Jonze divided opinion with Her. Some, including this writer, was wowed by the beauty of a movie that puts a human voice to the cold nature of technology. Others found the whole concept of a man falling in love with his computer's operating system a little too far-fetched - yes, even the ones who spend their lives glued to their mobile phone screen.

What won't divide opinion is this Blu-ray release. The visuals are crisp, while the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track performs extremely well. Given that Scarlett Johansson's voice is central to the movie, the audio track needed to perform perfectly - and it does just that. The disc also comes with an Ultraviolet digital copy.

6. Guardians of The Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

Given that the Guardians of the Galaxy was a little-known Marvel comic, it's amazing just how well the story of a ragtag group of space cowboys actually transferred to the big screen. It's all down to the perfect casting, great script and putting faith into a director who started off his career knee-deep in B-Movie schlock.

You will be glad to know that Galaxy works just as well on Blu-ray as it does on cinema. The transfer is vibrant and the sound mix perks up the '80s soundtrack perfectly. A decent trough of special features rounds of this release nicely.

7. Gravity

Gravity

Yes 3D is still a fad but Gravity proves that if you use the technology properly then you can create a brilliant immersive experience. The Blu-ray version of Gravity makes space look spectacular and the prolonged dread throbbing throughout the movie thankfully transfers well in the home.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track also puts your home cinema system through its paces, bringing to life the soaring score. A word of warning, though: if you really want to hear the movie in the home in Dolby Atmos, then maybe hold out until the Gravity: Diamond Luxe Edition which is set to released in 2015.

8. Dawn of the Planet of The Apes

Dawn of the planet of the apes

While the Dolby Atmos track that was present in the cinema isn't on the Blu-ray release, this is still one of the best sounding and looking Blu-rays in recent years. The transfer is pitch perfect, meaning you will fall in love with Caeser and the rest of the ape ensemble all over again in the home.

The Blu-ray comes complete with a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix, which nearly makes up for the lack of Atmos. Extras include a smattering of behind-the-scenes features and a captivating look at how the filmmakers brought these damned dirty apes to life.

9. Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow has gone through more name changes than Snoop Dogg - Live. Die. Repeat. seems to be the en vogue one at the moment. This usually signifies a movie that can't find an audience but it's simply not the case here. Edge of Tomorrow is a superb slice of sci-fi that's both funny and thought provoking - it's a mash up of Starship Troopers and Groundhog Day and is Tom Cruise's best film in years.

The Blu-ray edition houses a great production documentary focusing on director Doug Liman, as well as deleted scenes and some great behind-the-scenes tidbits.

10. Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers

There's not much to say about this film other than it is yet another movie that massively fails because of Michael Bay being Michael Bay. But it needs to be on this list as it is the world's first disc to use Dolby Atmos, the audio encoding system for those who like their sounds to come from above.

It's too early to tell if Atmos will actually win in the home but it really is impressive - even if it doesn't quite live up to how the technology sounds in the cinema.

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