Last year, Blu-ray was battling HD-DVD for control of the next generation of media. This year, it has been embraced by every production company around, with amazing packages coming out for movies such as Transformers and the upcoming Incredible Hulk release.

Ever since Disney started releasing platinum editions way back when in 2001, no one has been content with their vanilla editions. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs showed exactly what the studio was capable of, giving heaps of extras and even a game on top of a pristine print of a beloved classic, and the platinum range has been impressing ever since.

Now Disney has announced that they’re going Blu-ray on our asses, bringing their platinum standard over to the new format with some quite impressive improvements. Of course, being Disney only some of the movies will be brought out of the vault before being locked away again to protect us from our own greed… or to ensure that Disney’s demand is kept high. Sort of like Creme Eggs!

Starting on October 7th, the Disney Blu-ray Platinum collection will unveil its first title, Sleeping Beauty, complete with web features such as in-movie chat rooms through Disney’s BD-Live network (though this feature will be restricted to the US until the release of Snow White in 2009) and video messaging. Personally, I would rather watch a movie in peace, but hey, those crazy kids!

After Sleeping Beauty, a whole slew of releases are on the cards, with Disney releasing a schedule of 6 other movies, releasing between Spring of 2009 and Autumn of 2010. Spring 2009 sees the release of Pinocchio for the first time since 2002, while Autumn 2009 brings Snow White back to the DVD screen and with it the global launch of the BD-Live network.

2010 has a double whammy release with Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 released side by side. As if this wasn’t enough, sometime in 2010 will also see the first ever release of Destino, a movie worked on by Salvador Dali and Walt Disney himself, thought lost until 2003 when it was rediscovered and completed by Walt’s nephew, Roy Disney.

Finally, the icing on the cake arrives in Autumn of 2010 with Beauty and The Beast returning from the vault after 8 long years languishing in the dark. When Disney last released a platinum edition of Beauty and the Beast back in 2002, it hit the ball not only out of the park but around the world. The epitome of everything a movie lover could want, with luxurious packaging and features on a wealth of aspects such as the Broadway musical and developing the story and characters. All that on top of three different editions of the movie (a special edition including deleted scenes, the original theatrical version and the work-in-progress screened at the New York Film Festival prior to the movie’s release), it’s not quite clear how Disney could top themselves here. I sure am eager to see them try though.


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