Ever had your socks knocked off by a hyper-realistic movie scene? You know, the kind that makes you flinch and look around in bewilderment?
There's nothing quite like it, especially on a home theater system that's tuned to deliver the full impact of the film's audiovisual dynamics.
Here we present a handful of awesome demo discs - movies you'll want to cue up when a long lost friend or relative shows up for the weekend or when you just want to impress your buddies.
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
Relish in the fabulous detail of the city below as Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) scales the world's tallest building in Dubai (Chapter 9). The blowing wind and acrophobic perspective will have your guests checking their footing. Also check out the Kremlin escape scene: You'll feel a rumble in the floor when a bomb explodes right before Hunt runs for his life.
This American tale of a bank heist gone wrong in a gritty Boston neighborhood has it all: Nail-biting chase scenes, superb detail (note the wrinkles in the rubbery masks worn by the robbers), flying bullets, and sound that's so realistic viewers will think they're caught in the crossfire.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Prometheus
Both are replete with dark scenes that show off a top-notch (and properly set up) TV/projector's ability to convey realistic shadow detail and what video geeks call "black level." Blacks are inky black (not dark gray) and shadows reveal many subtle shades - just as they do in life.
Note the remarkable detail in Chapter 2 when Harry, Ron, and Hermione converse in a dark stairwell or when Potter and gang travel to the gloomy vaults at Gringotts Bank in the beginning of Chapter 5.
Demo-worthy passages in Prometheus include the star fields early on in the movie and those murky alien-cave scenes where ancient paintings of "alien astronauts" are discovered.
The Martin Scorsese-directed, Academy-Award-winning drama about a boy who lives in a Paris railway station is revered by video enthusiasts for its reference-quality audio and video presentation. Wow guests with the incredibly lifelike sound and picture on Blu-ray. But the real adventure begins with the 3D version, which presents stunningly realistic three-dimensional images that pull you into the story instead of resorting to 3D gimmickry.
What's a round of demos without some state-of-the-art animation? Despicable Me on Blu-ray is guaranteed to wow, especially on a big screen. Beyond the wonderful characters and engaging story lines, you'll experience a lush panorama of vibrant color texture, and depth, not to mention a masterful soundtrack which serves up plenty of explosions. And then there are the missiles - prepare to duck.
TV to Talk About
Pick any episode of this popular period drama, set in early 20th Century England, and marvel at the meticulous costume design, not to mention the lush Yorkshire country setting and the Downton Abbey estate itself, which is brimming with Old World character. The visual detail captured on Blu-ray is striking.
To learn more about home theater options and how to get the most out of your setup, consult a CEDIA professional. Click here for a list of CEDIA-member home technology professionals in your area.