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Cameron's blockbuster film has all those booms and crashes you'll get from action movies, but that's not what makes this movie such a great demo. Bring up the scene where Jake Sully, in his Na'vi body, tames and flies a banshee for the first time and enjoy everything your surround speakers bring into the mix.
'Blade Runner' was, and still is, one of the finest movies ever put to film. As a science fiction movie, only '2001: A Space Odyssey' and a short list of others can really compete. Ridley Scott's masterpiece was far before its time, as evidenced by a lackluster reception and less than impressive box office draws. In time, it became a home video hit, even if it never really got the right treatment on VHS and DVD.
It's hard to believe that a movie made 28 years ago can still hold up today. It's even harder to believe that it's still at the top of the line in terms of audio, but it really is. The Blu-ray version of 'Blade Runner' features a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track that brings the film to life.
When you're demoing 'Blade Runner' you don't need to go any farther than the first five minutes. The opening flyby of Los Angeles complete with ships passing to each side, explosions happening blow and music by Vangelis is about all you need to make your ears thank you.
There aren't many musicals that find success these days, but 'Chicago' came right out of nowhere and into the hearts and minds of moviegoers. It won Oscars and brought in more money that anyone ever expected it to. It makes sense then that it got such a great release on Blu-ray.
Chicago features a 5.1 channel uncompressed PCM audio track that really brings the music to the foreground. It's one of few musicals to really get a great Blu-ray treatment, but it's definitely worthy of the honor.
For a demo, go with the track "Cell Block Tango." It's got great big choruses, intimate voiceovers, pounding drums and little sounds like feet tapping on the floor that bring the entire number to life. You could also go with "All That Jazz" for more of a pure musical performance.
Try as hard as you want, you're not going to find a movie quite like 'Sin City.' It's a comic book adaptation, yes, but it's like nothing you've ever seen and – unless the sequels get made – like nothing you'll see again. It's also one of the best Blu-rays around from a technical standpoint.
'Sin City' sports a 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that does absolutely wonderful things to the overall effect of the movie. It highlights the thud of a well placed fist to the gut and makes the most of each gunshot, but also brings the voiceovers out in a really fantastic way.
As fun as it is to watch Marv do his thing, you can get a great sampling of the film's audio capabilities right near the beginning. The first segment with Hartigan is short and has just about everything you could ask for. Just listen to the thuds as he lays into Roark Junior. It's not for the faint of heart though, and it's definitely not a piece to demo with kids in the room.
2009's 'Star Trek' was an astonishingly good reworking of the classic series. It's a great flick that managed to escape the normal limits of the genre and reach a brand new audience. It's dramatic, it's fun, it's intense and it's even humorous.
The mix on the Blu-ray of 'Star Trek' is one of the best in terms of effects and music competing against dialog. Voices get lost in a lot of films, but in 'Star Trek' they're always there and always audible. This film also has the benefit of a tremendous score by Michael Giacchino.
'Star Trek' is extremely convenient from a demo perspective. There's a short opening segment to the film that ends in ship to ship combat, a boisterous version of the main theme and a few orchestra stabs as the title is revealed. It's like a mini movie just made for showing off your theater.
We started with giant robots and it's only appropriate that we end with giant robots. Opinions may be mixed on the artistic merit of the most recent installment in the 'Terminator' series, but there's no questioning the technical achievements from an audio perspective.
'Terminator Salvation' takes a fantastic approach to sound, as did 'Terminator 2: Judgement Day.' Within Danny Elfman's score you'll find harsh and metallic sounds that blend with an otherwise very melodic music. The sound effects are just as impressive, if not moreso.
The one scene most commonly shown when demoing 'Terminator Salvation' is the escape from the gas station and there's no reason to change that. It's a high energy chase that brings all the elements of the film together for a quick, digestible sequence.
What discs do you use for showing off your home theater sound system?