This week, Disney's three swashbuckling Johnny Deppapaloozas -- Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End -- returned to our shelves in a three-pack boxed set of Blu-ray discs.
For many of you -- those who picked up the films when they first arrived on Blu-ray last year -- that news probably strikes you not as a yo ho! but as a ho-hum. These are not new editions. They come with the same bonus extras they had last year, no more, no less. For the most part, the transfers are identical, delivering the same quality -- which is excellent, by the way -- in their high-def imagery and audio. The new Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy box is basically just a repackaging of the three previous Blu-ray editions.
However, don't be hasty to click away, me hearties. Let's recall what "Peg Leg" Laremy said last December in his DVD review of At World's End, "Do you wait until the inevitable box set with all three movies? ... perhaps give it a few months. You never know what the storm will blow in."
Well, the storm has blown, the sails are full, and there's good news here for
- fans who don't already own these three Blu-rays discs, especially if you've been sticker-shocked by the total price of all three titles, and
- those who already own Curse of the Black Pearl on its earlier Blu-ray release, especially if you're a hardcore fan who's wondering if there's an upgrade here. There's something you should know that hasn't been officially announced, but one of our most trusted colleagues caught it, so we're passing it along.
First off, if you've been waiting for a price reduction, here it is. Most stores are selling the set well under the $82.99 list price. Amazon has it for $57.95 and at my local Target it's around $65. Even at full price that's quite a bit less than all three previous Blu-rays individually. Add the store discounts and you're getting, more or less, one of the movies for free. So if you've been wanting to enjoy these three films on your new Blu-ray player -- and trust me, they look and sound magnificent -- the new Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy boxed set saves you enough pieces of eight so that you can buy that bottle of rum for Movie Night.
Now, if your collection already has Curse of the Black Pearl on Blu-ray, consider this. Leonard Norwitz over at DVD Beaver, one of our official Sites We Dig a Whole Lot, reports that "the framing problem that some cool eyed customers found in Curse of the Black Pearl has been fixed."
It appears that someone behind the scenes at Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has corrected an error on the first Curse Blu-ray issue. "This," reports Leonard, "did not simply affect a frame here or a frame there, but parts of scenes." He provides the following screenshots to show what the problem and the fix are about:
Original Curse of the Black Pearl Blu-ray issue (with framing problem):
New Curse of the Black Pearl Blu-ray transfer in the Trilogy boxed set:
As you can see, the new transfer is reframed for accurate headroom and reduces the number of unasked-for crotch shots.
DVD Beaver is a peerless resource for this sort of detailed info. The article also points out slight variations in Curse's contrast between the two releases, but it's not such a problem. Besides, he uses the word "histograms," which makes my head spin a little.
We here at Film.com tip our feathered tricorn hats to the eagle-eyed staff at the Beav.