Sony is clearly behind as technology giants move on with their respective ecosystems

As I am writing this post, the shockwaves caused by the Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal are still being felt. As many Xbox-haters and PlayStation fanboys online could not help but become uneasy and restless because of the deal’s effects on them, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer had officially talked with Sony’s top executives and described what happened via his Twitter account.

From Phil Spencer himself.

Take note of Spencer’s words “existing agreements” and “our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation.” Existing agreements most likely refer to what Activision Blizzard made with Sony which I believe are years-long deals on games with regards to platform releases, marketing, post-release downloadable content, etc. Of course, such agreements can last long but NOT FOREVER. The business benefit for PlayStation from Activision Blizzard will someday come to an end. 

As for Microsoft’s desire for keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation, that clearly means that the corporation of Xbox is technically in-charge of not just the COD franchise but on the decision making, marketing and releasing its games on specific platforms. Sony and its PlayStation team are not in the driver’s seat here anymore. Whatever deals Activision signed with PlayStation before the acquisition will expire and they certainly will not be renewed once Microsoft and its Xbox team takes over. In due time, future COD games as well as other upcoming games and new intellectual properties of Activision Blizzard will become Xbox-exclusive in accordance to what Spencer declared before

We have games that exist on other platforms, and we’re going to support those games on the platforms they’re on. There are communities of players. We love those communities and will continue to invest in them. And even in the future, there might be things that have either contractual things, or legacy on different platforms, that we’ll go do. But if you’re an Xbox customer, the thing I want you to know is this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists, and that’s our goal, that’s why we are doing this,

This brings me to my next point – Sony as a global business entity is way behind Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon when it comes to establishing ecosystems that result tremendous business growth and reaching billions of customers worldwide respectively. The decades-old console-focused approach by Sony with PlayStation was indeed successful but not great enough to help it grow big time. Not even their Hollywood business nor Spider-Man could lift them up greatly. The weird thing was that Sony in previous decades had established an old ecosystem before PlayStation began.

To put things in perspective, posted below is a long excerpt from a recent Nikkei Asia article. Some parts in boldface…

The 10% drop in Sony’s stock price this week following Microsoft’s announcement that it will buy game content developer Activision Blizzard shows the market has belatedly awakened to an existential flaw in Sony’s kingdom. It lacks an ecosystem.

In terrifying contrast, Microsoft is a formidable ecosystem whose component elements, such as devices, operating system, browser, search engine, applications, content, cloud memory, work hand in glove to suck in captive users and never let them go. The ecosystem effect is all too familiar to owners of PCs that run on the Windows OS, which maddeningly redirects users to Microsoft’s Edge browser and Bing search engine against their will.

It is no accident that five of the world’s seven largest companies by market capitalization — Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet/Google, Amazon and Meta/Facebook — are ecosystems. Every consumer decision to buy a device, be it a PC, smartphone, Kindle reader, or game console, entails a surrender to an interconnected ecosystem. Promiscuity among ecosystems is possible but, by design, not easy. The ecosystems are at war and want to make you their captive.

Ironically, Sony was early to recognize the strategic significance of the ecosystem effect. Its decision to acquire CBS Records and Columbia Pictures in the late 1980s was inspired by the notion that controlling entertainment content could somehow push device sales, such as Betamax VCRs and Sony Walkman.

What Sony overlooked was that it would be self-defeating to make its controlled content exclusively available on Sony devices. Very few consumers would buy a Walkman just because it was the only way to listen to Michael Jackson. And Sony’s refusal to license Michael Jackson to non-Sony device users would perversely shut down third-party royalty revenue from the controlled content. Sony saw, but misunderstood and misapplied, the ecosystem effect between devices and content.

Sony’s next, more costly, wrong turn was its failure to anticipate and keep up with the morphing of portable audio devices like the Walkman launched in 1979 and iPod in 2001 into the iPhone debuted in 2007. The iPhone integrated, in a single handheld device, all of the functions formerly provided by the multiple discrete products in Sony’s consumer electronics lineup: phone, TV, camera, video and audio player and recorder, clock, calculator, and so on.

Sony’s stock price plunged from 30,000 yen ($260) per share in 2000 to 1,668 yen in 2009. Sony and the entire Japanese consumer electronics industry are still in disarray from the iPhone paradigm shift.

Unlike Sony, Apple founder Steve Jobs was a master at creating and orchestrating an ecosystem. In particular, he understood when to link content exclusively to a device and, just as important, when not to. Even now, Apple’s iOS is available only on Apple devices, unlike Microsoft’s device-agnostic Windows OS.
Initially, Apple’s iTunes music store platform was available only on Apple’s own devices. Then, in October 2003, “the day that hell froze over,” Jobs made the strategic decision to make iTunes compatible with and freely downloadable by non-Apple devices.

The result was not only to massively increase the audience and revenues of the iTunes platform. Non-Apple device users discovered how great iTunes was and that it worked even better on an iPod, leading to a surge in new iPod owners conveniently prepped for the coming transfiguration of the iPod into the iPhone.

The same interplay between devices and content is at the center of intense competition in the $180 billion global PC gaming industry. Dedicated gamers have a choice among three game-specific consoles — Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Switch.

The choice of device, in turn, entails a menu of device-specific exclusive content. Xbox and PlayStation each offer about 2,000 titles, but the bestselling 200-300 games for each tend to be exclusive to one or the other. A gamer’s choice of console implies a decision about preferred content.

But the relationship between game devices and content is evolving rapidly, tracking changes elsewhere in the internet universe. Games today can be played on any device, PCs and smartphones, not just a dedicated game console.

Gaming is now mobile. Game content is increasingly being streamed, just like Netflix and Amazon Prime. You can play games on YouTube. And an Xbox can be used as a PC to surf the Internet and do your homework.

The immediate threat to Sony posed by Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is that Microsoft will make the content it is acquiring — global blockbusters like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft — exclusive to Xbox users and invite defections from PlayStation users who want to keep playing their favorite games.

But this is just one element of the multifaceted ecosystem effects Microsoft can deploy to squeeze Sony. Sony should be nervous, for example, that it has no cloud or streaming capability of its own and relies on Microsoft’s own Azure platform to deliver streaming content to Sony users.

Sony’s game and network services segment now accounts for 30% of its revenues. It is hard to see how Sony can compete in the long-term in a narrow game-specific segment without credibly competing with the likes of Microsoft, Alphabet/Google and Amazon across the board in all segments of the device-content spectrum.

From a financial point of view, Sony is not only behind the tech giants with ecosystems. Sony simply does not have the major financial muscle needed to pull off massive acquisitions of game publishers (massive meaning more than $5 billion per each acquisition) that each have lots of game developers, intellectual properties and technologies. The Japanese giant does have a business ecosystem but it’s too small and too narrow compared to its Western competitors. This also means Sony reaches much less customers worldwide.

In a possible response to Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal, Sony can try to acquire its fellow Japanese gaming entities like Capcom, SEGA or Square Enix and integrate the entity(s) into PlayStation, but that will require not just a whole bunch of money but also willingness to not just make big offers the other party cannot turn down, but also the willingness to overcome all the legal obstacles, solve all the complications, absorb all the employees, fund future projects already in development, etc. If the PlayStation team is willing on building up its very own exclusive properties, they could expand the work forces as well as the projects of their very own game studios.

The Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal is very hard to match not just because of the financial value and organizational weights involved, but also because the said deal covers consoles, Windows PC, mobile devices, cloud gaming, browser gaming and much more. The PlayStation ecosystem is still console-focused and so far team PlayStation released only a few of its games on PC. Is Sony even working to improve PlayStation Now? Are the PlayStation executives realizing that their 3rd party marketing deals won’t lift up their corporation and consumer base anymore? Has it occurred to the PlayStation executives that future games of the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro The Dragon franchises (both of which are permanently identified with Sony’s gaming brand due to exclusive games released on the first PlayStation console) will be released only on Xbox platforms?

As mentioned in the Nikkei Asia article above, business ecosystems are not perfect and they have their flaws that affect customers in bad ways. As such, the ecosystem powers and organizers should do their work to be more user-friendly and be more consumer-oriented. Still, the ecosystem approach to business has proven to be very effective with regards to reaching the widest number of consumers worldwide as well as driving business growth to new heights, not to mention generating economic benefits for business partners involved (example: credit card companies whose users buy on Amazon, Xbox network, Google, etc.) No amount of sales of Final Fantasy games and Street Fighter games exclusive to PlayStation consoles will ever match that. 

As for the console fanboys who still hate Xbox, they should learn to stop living with fantasy and wake up to reality. Time to grow up.

In ending this piece, posted below are videos related to Xbox and the Activision Blizzard deal…

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Better than Streaming: Dune (2021) 4K Blu-ray coming out on January 11, 2022

Welcome back, fellow geeks, Blu-ray collectors and movie buffs! The 2021 movie Dune (directed by staunch cinema defender Denis Villeneuve)can be viewed in the comfort of home in a much better version than HBO Max/HBO Go on January 11, 2022 as its 4K Blu-ray combo (4K Blu-ray disc, Blu-ray and digital code) will be released on that very day! There will also be a Best Buy-exclusive steel book version released as well.

The good news this early is that Dune (2021) 4K Blu-ray will come with native 4K visuals! While its price and the official start of pre-ordering the product have yet to be announced as of this writing, you can find its Amazon listing by clicking here. If you really are interested in the movie’s 4K Blu-ray combo, I encourage you to keep revisiting the Amazon listing for updates.

To put things in perspective, posted below are key details from the Blu-ray.com article about Dune (2021) 4K Blu-ray combo. Some parts in boldface…

The front cover.

Special Features and Technical Specs:

  • DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
  • DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
  • Featurettes:
    • The Royal Houses
    • Filmbooks: House Atreides
    • Filmbooks: House Harkonnen
    • Filmbooks: The Spice Melangelnside Dune – The Training Room
    • Inside Dune: The Space Harvester
    • Inside Dune: The Sardaukar Battle
    • Building the Ancient Future
    • My Desert, My Dune
    • Constructing the Orniyhropters
    • Designing the Sandworm
    • Beware the Baron
    • Wardrobe From Another World
    • A New Soundscape
  • 4K Blu-ray subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Parisian French, German, German SDH, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Greek, Korean, and Hindi
  • Blu-ray subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Portuguese-Brazilian, Bulgarian, Czech Republic, Hungarian, Japanese, Polish, Romanian, and Hindi
The rear cover.

Posted below are the other details from Dune’s (2021) own page at Blu-ray.com…

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, 1.78:1

Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1, 1.43:1

Audio

English: Dolby Atmos

English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Note: All Dolby Atmos tracks have a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) core

SubtitlesEnglish SDH, French, Spanish

Discs4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Disc, Two-disc set (1 BD-100, 1 BD-50)

Digital – Digital 4K, Movies Anywhere

Packaging – Slipcover in original pressing

Playback4K Blu-ray: Region free, 2K Blu-ray: Region A

While Dune (2021) has been playing in the local cinemas here in my native Philippines for weeks now, I’m still waiting for the film to be screened on an IMAX cinema operated by SM Cinema (which itself started to gradually reopen). I am aware that the film is being shown on another cinema with IMAX with Laser technology but that cinema’s price is simply too expensive for me. Dune (2021) was filmed with Arri Alexa LF IMAX and Arri Alexa Mini LF IMAX cameras and that alone convinces me to watch it on an IMAX screen. In relation to SM Cinema’s reopening, the nearest IMAX cinema should reopen on November 30.

While I am not a fan of the Dune literary series as well as the failed 1984 movie, this year’s cinematic version looks grand under the passionate direction of Villeneuve and it has an ambitious cast that includes Aquaman Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, and Rebecca Ferguson to name a few. Given the fact that the movie was released on HBO Max, it looks highly unlikely it will achieve a tremendous ticket sales success just as more cinemas are reopening worldwide as more people got vaccinated for COVID-19. When I say tremendous ticket sales, I’m talking about grossing $750 million worldwide. As of this writing, Dune (2021) grossed $365.5 million worldwide while theater-exclusive movies No Time to Die and F9: The Fast Saga have grossed over $700 million worldwide each. Very clearly, the HBO Max-theaters hybrid release of Warner Bros. is a big mistake. Remember, what people pay for on streaming goes to the service, not the movie.

Now that Dune (2021) 4K Blu-ray combo is set for a January 11, 2022 release, does this latest development spark your interest? I myself am eager to see how the IMAX-recorded footage will turn out in 4K Blu-ray visuals.

In closing this Better than Streaming piece, posted below are some Dune-related videos for your viewing pleasure. Also included are a few videos about the 1984 Dune movie.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

Better than Streaming: The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray coming out on October 26, 2021

Welcome back, fellow geeks, film enthusiasts and Blu-ray/4K Blu-ray collectors!

What I mentioned would happen has indeed happened! Warner Bros. officially announced that James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is coming out on 4K Blu-ray on October 26, 2021 and the good news is that its visuals are native 4K! As of this writing, pre-orders have yet to start but you can visit the DC Comics movie’s Amazon page to anticipate it.

This is what the 4K Blu-ray combo box looks like.

Posted below are key details of The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray combo from its Blu-ray.com page.

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10+

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Original aspect ratio: 1.90:1

Audio

English: Dolby Atmos

English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1

Subtitles

English SDH, French, Spanish

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray Disc

Two-disc set (1 BD-100, 1 BD-50)

Digital

Digital 4K

Movies Anywhere

Packaging

Slipcover in original pressing

Playback

4K Blu-ray: Region free

2K Blu-ray: Region A

The back of The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray combo.

And here are details of the special features and technical specs…

  • DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
  • Gag Reel
  • Gotta Love the Squad
  • The Way of The Gunn
  • It’s a Suicide Mission Scene Breakdown
  • My Guns Bigger Than Yours Scene Breakdown
  • Harley’s Great Escape Scene Breakdown
  • The Fall of Jotunheim Scene Breakdown
  • Starro: It’s a Freakin Kaiju!
  • Bringing King Shark To Life
  • War Movie Retro Trailer
  • Horror Movie Retro Trailer
  • Buddy-Cop Retro Trailer
  • Directors Commentary by Director/Writer James Gunn
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes
  • Optional English SDH, Latin Spanish, Parisian French, Castilian Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish, Teleugu, Hungarian, Tamil, Hindi, Italian, Greek, Romanian, Polish, Finnish, Danish, and Canadian French subtitles for the main feature

I personally am excited about The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray combo’s release. Where I am located at, local cinemas have remained closed since March 2020 and as I want the best possible home viewing experience, I deliberately avoided streaming. Definitely my money will NOT go to HBO Max nor HBO Go to watch The Suicide Squad (which has lots of scenes filmed with IMAX cameras and the IMAX footage is better viewed on Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray disc than streaming).

As of this writing, The Suicide Squad is the most exciting 4K Blu-ray release for the month of October. As far as DC Comics movies on disc format goes this year, I’m more excited for the James Gunn-directed movie than the recently released Zack Snyder’s Justice League 4K Blu-ray.

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-rayThe Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-rayMortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-raySpace Jam 4K Blu-rayV: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-rayHighlander 4K Blu-rayThe Suicide Squad, Super Dimension Century Orguss Blu-ray, Unbreakable 4K Blu-ray and Injustice 4K Blu-ray.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

Better than Streaming: Super Dimension Century Orguss complete series coming out on Blu-ray format on September 28, 2021

Welcome back to this latest edition of the Better than Streaming series! If you are fond of 1980s anime, especially with productions by Studio Nue (the same studio behind Super Dimension Fortress Macross), then you should be delighted to know that the entire Super Dimension Century Orguss series is coming out on Blu-ray format on September 28, 2021 and you can order it online right now!

The Blu-ray cover.

Handled by DiscoTek Media, all 35 episodes will be compiled and presented in high-definition complete with Japanese dialogue (with English subtitles). There will also be 17 episodes dubbed in English which I believe were produced at a time when U.S. Renditions still existed. As of this writing, the price is around $70.

To put things in perspective, posted below are details from the Blu-ray.com page of Super Dimension Century Orguss. Some parts in boldface…

Video

Codec: TBA

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Original aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Audio

Japanese: LPCM 2.0

English: LPCM 2.0

Subtitles

English

Discs

Blu-ray Disc

Three-disc set (3 BD-50)

Packaging

Slipcover in original pressing

Playback

2K Blu-ray: Region A

Description

Today, Kei Katsuragi‘s only concern is the love of his life. It doesn’t really matter to him that he has more than one love – after all, as a pilot for the Freedom Space Corps, he might be dead tomorrow! In the future, war has changed, and Kei is all too familiar with the horrors it can bring. Atomic, biological, and chemical weapons are all in use, but even worse than those are the dimensional weapons, ordnance capable of tearing apart even time and space!

As it happens, his next mission involves one of these terrifying weapons, the latest risky gambit in the war over the space elevator on Earth. Fleeing from the warmth of his lover (and her father’s gun) to the coldness of space, Kei fights to protect a team of engineers as they arm the dimensional weapon on-site. But when they get orders to pull out without detonating the bomb, Kei disobeys, unwilling to make the sacrifices of the day meaningless. His brash actions have dire consequences beyond just a big kaboom, as that explosion flings him into the future!

There, Kei finds himself caught in an entirely different struggle between the militaristic Chiram and the mercantile Emaan – with himself as the prize! Will this womanizing hot shot pilot make it back to his own time, or is there something more to Kei being the “singularity”?

Here is something for long-time Orguss fans as well as for those who are about to discover Super Dimension Century Orguss for the first time.

I personally am interested in this upcoming multiple-disc Blu-ray set of Orguss. For one thing, I actually saw its sequel Super Dimension Century Orguss 02 first way back in the mid-1990s and learned that there is a storyline gap of two hundred years between them. It was only a few years ago I got to watch some English-dubbed episodes (done by U.S. Renditions) of Super Dimension Century Orguss and found its sci-fi concept really intriguing. It was also a fresh change of pace as well as a different type of immersion after I indulged myself with Studio Nue’s most famous works related to the Super Dimension Fortress Macross franchise (read my retro review of Macross: Do You Remember Love?).

Anyone who saw Macross first will realize certain common visual elements between it and the Orguss TV series (1983-1984) which should be no surprise since they are both Studio Nue productions. Even notable Macross female characters had cameo appearances in the early Orguss episodes. It is also a fact that prolific anime director Noboru Ishiguro worked on the Super Dimension Fortress Macross TV series, the Super Dimension Century Orguss TV seriesand the feature film Macross: Do You Remember Love?

Going back to the future Blu-ray release of Orguss, I am hoping that the image quality will be good apart from being presented in high-definition. As it is decades-old anime series, its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 will still be retained and that means you will see thick, black borders on the left and right sides of the screen. As for the colors, I hope the technical crew will enhance the colors a bit to be presentable in HD.

The signature robot in the Orguss series.

Once Super Dimension Century Orguss comes out finally on Blu-ray disc format on September 28, 2021, only then we will find out how good the visuals and audio will be. Stay tuned for more right here!

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-rayThe Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-rayMortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-raySpace Jam 4K Blu-rayV: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-rayHighlander 4K Blu-ray and The Suicide Squad.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

Better than Streaming: The Beastmaster 4K Blu-ray standard edition to be released on July 27, 2021

Are you a dedicated fan of the early 1980s fantasy film The Beastmaster who missed out on the elaborate 4K Blu-ray disc release in late 2020 due to its limited supply?

The good news here is that the movie will have another 4K Blu-ray release in a standard edition form and it is set for a July 27, 2021 release! Advanced orders for it are being accepted now at Amazon. The release, along with the previous one, was made possible by Vinegar Syndrome.

The Beastmaster classic movie art.

So what exactly will you fans get in return for paying for the next 4K Blu-ray release of The Beastmaster? To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Blu-ray.com article as well as its page for the movie. Some parts in boldface…

Special Features and Technical Specs:

  • 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM FROM A 35MM INTERPOSITIVE
  • HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM (Blu-ray copy included)
  • Alternate updated visual effects version supervised by the director
  • Brand new commentary track with writer/director Don Coscarelli & writer/producer Paul Pepperman, moderated by filmmaker Joe Lynch
  • Archival commentary track with Don Coscarelli & Paul Pepperman
  • “The Beastmaster Chronicles” – a brand new feature length making-of documentary by Elijah Drenner
  • “The Saga of the Beastmaster” – an archival making-of documentary by Perry Martin
  • Super 8mm home movies shot by James Dodson with audio commentary by Don Coscarelli & Paul Pepperman
  • Outtakes
  • Stills, Promotional, and Archival Material Gallery
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • English SDH subtitle
  • REGION-FREE

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265 (93.69 Mbps)

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Audio

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Subtitles

English SDH

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray Disc

Three-disc set (1 BD-100, 2 BD-50)

Packaging

Reversible cover

Booklet

Playback

4K Blu-ray: Region free

2K Blu-ray: Region A

For those who want to get the most out of their 4K UHDTV sets at home, The Beastmaster 4K Blu-ray has native 4K visuals! In Blu-ray.com’s review of the elaborate edition, positive reaction was given to the visuals and it is more impressive once you learn the harsh truth that the original film negative of the movie got lost! In fact, The Beastmaster director Don Coscarelli launched an effort to recover the film negative. You can help in the effort to recover it by visiting https://www.whereisthebeastmaster.com/

For the newcomers reading this, The Beastmaster is a fantasy movie that was released way back in 1982 and it was actually not faithful adaptation of the 1959 novel The Beast Master authored by Andre Norton. The movie starred Marc Singer (read my review of V: The Original Miniseries), the late Tanya Roberts, the late Rip Torn and John Amos. The film remains very notable for its use of live, trained animals in many scenes. Having seen the movie myself decades ago, there is nothing like watching Marc Singer traveling with the panther (a tiger dyed black in reality) in the middle of nature.

It should be noted that Tanya Roberts, who died on January 4, 2021, was in the news recently due to her handwritten will. Roberts was the leading lady of the late Roger Moore in the 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill.

Marc Singer and the late Tanya Roberts. (source – IMDB.com)

If you are a fan of The Beastmaster or if you are a 4K Blu-ray collector looking for unique moves to add to your collection, watch out for The Beastmaster 4K Blu-ray standard edition on July 27, 2021.

For other Better than Streaming articles, read about V: The Original Miniseries on Blu-ray, Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-ray, and Mortal Kombat (2021) 4K Blu-ray.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Better than Streaming: Mortal Kombat 4K Blu-ray combo coming out July 13, 2021

If you are a Mortal Kombat fan or if you are simply looking for something action-packed and fantastic to add to your growing 4K Blu-ray collection, then pay attention to this…Mortal Kombat (2021) is coming out on 4K Blu-ray on July 13, 2021 and you can order it ahead of time at Amazon (note: subject to supply). Check out the image below.

The front cover.

Mortal Kombat (2021) 4K Blu-ray is a combo package that comes with the 4K Blu-ray disc, the Blu-ray disc (for 1080p viewing) and in digital form (via a provided code). The good news for 4K Blu-ray collectors is that the movie’s visuals are rendered in native 4K! To put things in perspective, here are the technical specs and details from Blu-ray.com

Video
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1


Audio

English: Dolby Atmos
English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)


Subtitles

English SDH, French, Spanish


Discs
4K Ultra HD
Blu-ray Disc
Two-disc set (1 BD-66, 1 BD-50)

Digital
Digital 4K
Movies Anywhere

Based on the rear of the box, Mortal Kombat (2021) 4K Blu-ray will come with deleted scenes, a feature about how Mortal Kombat went from video games to movies, featurettes of eleven MK characters, the Fight Koreography feature and more. The feature film itself is 110 minutes long.

This is what the rear looks like.

For the newcomers reading this, this year’s Mortal Kombat movie is actually a reboot and the 3rd entry in the Mortal Kombat live-action movie franchise. To be clear, the first-ever Mortal Kombat movie came out in 1995 directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. A sequel came out in 1997 titled Mortal Kombat: Annihilation directed by John R. Leonetti. While I saw the two 1990s MK movies, I have not seen the 2021 Mortal Kombat movie yet.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you a 4K Blu-ray collector looking forward to Mortal Kombat (2021)? Are you a very avid Mortal Kombat fan? If you have seen Mortal Kombat in the cinema this year, did you find it enjoyable and engaging? Among all the characters of Mortal Kombat that appeared in the video games, which one character is your favorite and why?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

In ending this piece, here is a video of Mortal Kombat (2021).

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Better than Streaming: The Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-ray coming out soon

If you love the Transformers in hand-drawn animation and if you have a 4K Blu-ray collection to build up, then you should be happy with the news that The Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-ray will be available for purchase in a few months’ time.

The said 4K Blu-ray release (which also contains the Blu-ray for 1080p viewing) is from Shout Factory, a company that is well known for releasing Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray discs of movies loaded with lots of extra stuff that make them very ideal for collecting.

The SteelBook edition.

So what exactly will you be getting with The 4K Blu-ray combo of The Transformers: The Movie? To put things in perspective, here first are the technical specs from the Blu-ray.com page

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Audio

English: Dolby Atmos

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Subtitles

English SDH, Spanish

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray Disc

Two-disc set (1 BD-66, 1 BD-50)

Playback

4K Blu-ray: Region free

2K Blu-ray: Region A (B, C untested)

The Autobots and Dinobots in a scene in the movie.

Now here is an excerpt from another page at Blu-ray.com that shows what you can expect from the new release.

Shout Factory will also issue two additional 35th anniversary editions of THE TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE —a standard 4K Blu-ray + Blu-ray combo pack, and a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack. THE TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE 35th Anniversary Edition 4K Blu-ray + Blu-ray combo pack includes the all-new 4K transfer of the movie in widescreen alongside the HD full frame version and new bonus material. THE TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray + DVD combo pack features the movie in HD full frame on Blu-ray as well as a widescreen edition on DVD, alongside new bonus material. These configurations will be available for pre-order later this summer from Shout! Factory. (The SteelBook can already be pre-ordered at Amazon).


Under license from Shout Factory, THE TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE SteelBook and standard 4K Blu-ray will also be released in the UK this September.


Description: In the year 2005, the Autobots and the Decepticons are still locked in battle, but a deadly new force enters the fray–a giant killer planet known as Unicron. The heroic Autobots must fight for their own survival and to save their home planet from destruction. A classic of 1980s animation, based on the popular TV series.


Special Features and Technical Specs:

  • NEW 4K TRANSFER FROM ORIGINAL FILM ELEMENTS
  • New Feature-Length Storyboards, including deleted, alternate and extended sequences
  • New Fathom Events 30th Anniversary Featurette, including Stan Bush’s acoustic performances of “The Touch” and “Dare”
  • ‘Til All Are One – A comprehensive documentary looking back at THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE with members of the cast and crew, including story consultant Flint Dille, cast members Gregg Berger, Neil Ross, Dan Gilvezan, singer/songwriter Stan Bush, composer Vince Dicola and others!
  • Audio Commentary with Director Nelson Shin, story consultant Flint Dille and star Susan Blu
  • Featurettes
  • Animated Storyboards
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Optional English and Spanish subtitles for the main feature

As of this writing, Amazon.com has a live page for those who want to order the SteelBook edition of The Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-ray. You can also order it via Shout Factory.

Devastator and the Dinobots!

As a kid, I got to watch many episodes of The Transformers animated series on television. I eventually saw The Transformers: The Movie on home video and its presentation came with a lot of impact related to the deaths of several characters (including the most controversial death), the noticeable rise of on-screen violence and the more futuristic, sci-fi setting and environments.

Even if you are not a fan of The Transformers, this upcoming 4K Blu-ray release is a blessing. Even if you are not interested in the older, hand-drawn presentation of The Transformers, the animated movie itself should interest you as it has solid performances not only from long-time favorites Peter Cullen (Prime) and Frank Welker (Megatron) but also from Hollywood legends Orson Welles, Leonard Nimoy and Robert Stack. Think about that! Welles, Nimoy and Stack…Citizen Kane, Spock and the Unsolved Mysteries icons in this Transformers film!

For more on The Transformers: The Movie, watch this in-depth video retrospective by Oliver Harper. I highly recommend it and I also encourage you all to follow Oliver Harper via his social media channels.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Does the upcoming 4K Blu-ray release of The Transformers: The Movie excite you? If you saw the 1980s animated series of The Transformers, how many episodes were you able to watch? Were you able to watch The Transformers: The Movie in the cinemas back in 1986?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Better than Streaming: Godzilla vs. Kong and In the Line of Fire 4K Blu-ray releases coming out this June!

Welcome to this new series of articles titled Better than Streaming. As many of you, my readers, already know, I am not fan of streaming when it comes to watching movies and TV shows in the comfort of home. My current preference for such home entertainment is the Blu-ray disc format as well as its high-end format the 4K Blu-ray disc! I simply want the best for my personal viewing of movies and TV shows, and the advantages of disc media (specifically 4K Blu-ray) over streaming are clear and undeniable!

I personally own a lot of movies on Blu-ray and I own one Blu-ray disc of V: The Original Miniseries (which is so enjoyable and this time it was presented in high-definition). I recently started building up my personal collection of 4K Blu-ray releases with Total Recall and Wonder Woman 1984.

For this article, we can focus on two notable movies – one new and one old – that will be released on 4K Blu-ray in the middle of June 2021!

Let’s start with Godzilla vs. Kong, the 2021 pandemic-era blockbuster which will be released on 4K Blu-ray disc (plus Blu-ray for 1080p viewing) on June 15, 2021. Pre-orders for the 4K Blu-ray release can be done right here.

The Godzilla vs. Kong 4K Blu-ray combo preview.

As of this writing, Godzilla vs. Kong in optic media will come with the following technical specs and special features:

  • ENGLISH DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
  • Audio Commentary by Director, Adam Wingard
  • Kong Discovers Hollow Earth
  • Kong Leaves Home
  • Behold Kong’s Temple
  • The Evolution of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World
  • Godzilla Attacks
  • The Phenomenon of GŌJIRA, King of the Monsters
  • Round One: Battle at Sea
  • Round Two: One Will Fall
  • Titan Tag Team: The God and the King
  • The Rise of MechaGodzilla
  • Optional English SDH, Latin Spanish, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian-SDH, Cantonese, Complex Chinese, Korean, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish subtitles for the main feature

Video
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Because the movie theaters here in my place remain closed due to the COVID-19 (China Virus) pandemic, I was not able to watch Godzilla vs. Kong. Along the way, I stayed away from streaming it via HBO Go because I’d rather pay for the best home viewing option which is the 4K Blu-ray release of the movie that is coming. Oh yes, Godzilla vs. Kong’s visuals have been rendered in native 4K (2160p).

The next upcoming 4K Blu-ray release that is worth looking forward to is none other than In the Line of Fire which starred the legendary Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich (who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in this very movie) and Rene Russo. It will be released also on June 15, 2021 and you can order it in advance right here.

The cover of the 4K Blu-ray release of In the Line of Fire.

For your reference, here are the available technical specs and features…

  • NEWLY REMASTERED IN 4K FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE WITH HDR10
  • ALL-NEW DOLBY ATMOS TRACK + original theatrical 5.1 + original theatrical stereo
  • Audio Commentary with Wolfgang Petersen
  • 5 Deleted Scenes
  • “The Ultimate Sacrifice” Featurette
  • “Catching the Counterfeiters” Featurette
  • “How’d They Do That” Featurette
  • “Behind the Scenes with the Secret Service” Featurette
  • Theatrical Teaser

Video
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: HDR10
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

I saw In the Line of Fire on video tape in 1993 and on DVD in 2001. I would love to replay the movie with native 4K visuals and see how good the promised new remaster for the 4K Blu-ray will turn out. In pop culture, In the Line of Fire was kind of like a reintroduction of Clint Eastwood to the public and helped younger moviegoers in 1993 (especially those who missed out on his Dirty Harry and cowboy movies) get to know him and his cinematic art better. In the Line of Fire was directed by Wolfgang Petersen and apart from getting solid performances from the cast, he successfully told a compelling story and presented really good hard-action scenes.

So there you have it! June 15, 2021 will be an exciting day for 4K Blu-ray enthusiasts as well as those who love King Kong, Godzilla and Clint Eastwood! While there are indeed a lot of other movies coming out on 4K Blu-ray in the month of June, Kong vs. Godzilla and In the Line of Fire are the standouts for those who love spectacle.

Before I end this article, let me ask you readers – Do you have a large collection of 4K Blu-ray movies right now? What do you enjoy most about watching movies or TV shows in 4K resolution? What is the one movie or TV show you wish will be released soon on 4K Blu-ray format?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at V #4 (1985)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book, watching the V mini-series (Original Miniseries and The Final Battle) and the 1984 TV series, and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, science fiction enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the V entertainment franchise of the 1980s! Before I start this newest retro comic book review, I am happy to say that I recently received at last my copy of V: The Original Miniseries on Blu-ray disc format! It definitely is a major upgrade and it is the best yet! That being said, looking back into the past, I got to watch V: The Original Miniseries on television, video tape, DVD and now on Blu-ray disc format from 1983 to this year! If you are a fan and you are interested to buy yourself the original mini-series on Blu-ray disc format, head on to Amazon. Now we can return to the 1980s comic book series.

Last time, a small team of the Resistance encountered the Visitors who arrived at an isolated small town in California to collect something precious which is the result of the aliens’ special ties with the locals. That story ended nicely.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at V #4, published in 1985 by DC Comics with a story written by Cary Bates and drawn by Tod Smith.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Lorne, a Visitor whose fake human skin on his face got damaged a lot, his reptilian skin and eye have been exposed. He brought with him a transport (carrying what looked like human bodies) and tries to enter the Science Frontiers building to meet with a certain Mr. Bates.

Inside, Lorne meets with Bates who turns out to be his client and eagerly wants to get paid. Bates wants to see first the bodies brought to him and when Lorne pulls the blankets, Ham Tyler and Chris Farber suddenly come out to take on them both. Lorne is pushed out of a nearby window falling several feet down. Ham and Chris cornered Bates who turns out to be dealing with Diana of the Visitors.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Mike Donovan and Julie Parrish are having quality time together cherishing their relationship. They are enjoying the relief and relaxation after successfully surviving in a dangerous encounter with the Visitors at an isolated California town.

As they dance, Julie recognizes a well-known astronomer whose image appears on TV. She suddenly stops dancing and moves closer to the TV, leaving Mike puzzled…

Quality

This shows how sadistic Diana is even towards her own people.

If there is anything that really stood out in this story, it is the entrance of astronomer Earl Meagan (modeled after Carl Sagan) whose presence not only attracts Julie but also rekindles the passion of science in her which she had during her days as a medical student (before the Visitors arrived). He was written to be highly intelligent and insightful which paves the way for the story to be laced with concepts about the so-called advancement of life forms that traveled through the galaxy and evolved. Meagan also symbolizes delusion resulting from scientific theories, as well as letting his own people down in favor of a foreign people.

More on the story, I should state that Cary Bates wrote this comic book to smoothly reconnect with V: The Final Battle by means of including the star child Elizabeth Maxwell who is now a young adult. The connections with the V TV productions solidified even further through more scenes of Diana whose evil nature and leadership tactics are dramatized here.   

Conclusion

Ham and his pal take action!

The creative team delivered another solid and satisfying tale in V #4 (1985). This time around, the narrative got shaken with the introduction of Meagan, the sudden change of attitude of Julie, and the build up for more intriguing events to come in.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of V #4 (1985), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $29 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $38.

Overall, V #4 (1985) is recommended.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at V #2 (1985)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book, watching the V mini-series (Original Miniseries and The Final Battle) and the 1984 TV series, and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, science fiction fans, comic book collectors and fans of the V entertainment series of the 1980s! Before I proceed with the newest retro review of the V comic book series, I must share to you – both V fans as well as those who plan to discover the 1980s mini-series and TV series – that V: The Original Miniseries, and V: The Final Battle are all available on Blu-ray disc format on Amazon while the V TV Series is available on DVD format. If you are eager to collect them for your home entertainment collection and with your passion for V of the 1980s still burning, I suggest checking them out now by clicking here, here and here.

Wow. It’s been several months since my review of V issue #1. Almost all the retro comic book reviews I published since then were about superheroes. After going through all the superhero stuff, going back to the V comic book series is refreshing on my part.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at V #2, published by DC Comics in 1985 with a story written by Cary Bates and drawn by Carmine Infantino.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a desolate part of California where members of the Resistance get out of their downed skyfighter. They are actually a short walk away from a small town. Moments earlier, the local residents approached them with smiles and small crates containing something living. After Mike Donovan introduced himself to them, the locals were mystified and ran back to the town leaving the crates behind. It turns out, the town folks thought they were the Visitors and the way they reacted suggests that the race of Reptiloids from space were accepted by them.

Mike, Julie, Willie and Hart discover that the crates contained white mice (which are food for the Visitors) which they let go.

Elsewhere at the marina north of Redondo Beach, Ham Tyler and Chris Farber (still injured) are held at gun-point on boat which turned out to be a drug-runner model. The two Resistance members successfully fight back against the two armed men and quickly took the boat to head out to sea.

Inside the mothers ship orbiting Earth, the sadistic leader Diana rejects the claims of one of her soldiers over the failure related to work farm G7. Diana believes that because the soldiers have been among the humans for a long time, they learned to grovel like them. Finding the failure inexcusable, she releases a flying device that blasts one of them…

Quality

Ham and Chris take on the flying Visitors who approached them.

In terms of writing, this is indeed a solid follow-up to issue #1 and I can say that the creators succeeded in not only continuing to capture the essence of the established V characters, balancing exposition, spectacle and suspense carefully but also raised the tension in key moments of the story which added to the engagement.

What I liked most about this comic book is its concept about a small town whose people (average age is above 60-years-old) bonded with the Visitors, engaged with them with an incredible deal (this alone will make you revisit the first episode of V: The Original Miniseries) and trusted them a lot. This story will also encourage you to reflect upon the whole concept of V and even consider other factors such as how many humans died for their freedom, how Diana’s command impacted Earth, and more.

Conclusion

This scene display’s Diana’s ruthlessness and her own way of improving her squad by making examples that involve death.

To be very clear, V #2 (1985) is a very compelling comic book and it will surely resonate with fans who saw the Original Miniseries, The Final Battle and the TV series. The cerebral approach of this comic book made it a fun read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of V# 2 (1985), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $28 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $35.

Overall, V #2 (1985) is highly recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com