News on the Blu-ray front is usually about upcoming releases and new Blu-ray players about to hit the mareket. Somewhat surprising but not entirely so was the news that “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” appears among the best sellers in Blu-ray titles. It also is high on the list of top pre-orders. This is interesting not only because it’s a six-episode television series, but because the series hasn’t aired yet and there will be full episodes of the show Online.
It’s probably a testament to the quality of the Blu-ray format that people want to watch this documentary in all its glory. Of course the National Parks, from Acadia to Grand Canyon to Yosemite are a magnificent subject area for documentary exploration and especially so for Blu-ray. As John Muir once said, the parks are “Nature’s sublime wonderlands.” The documentary makes the case that while European wonders tend to be the great castles once owned by aristocrats, America’s National Parks belong to all of us. Of course we also have Graceland and other mansions once owned by barons of some sort or the other.
As it turns out Blu-ray has numerous earth-friendly titles among it 461 documentaries. There is “Wild Pacific,” “Planet Earth,” “Over Alaska,” and more. And “National Parks” is only one of several Ken Burns titles. Some day in the future Ken Burns could very well be the subject of a Blu-ray title for his style and his role in pop-culture. Burns is known for filming his subject matter at dusk or dawn, giving them a distinctive look. The “Ken Burns Effect” of zooming in on subjects in a still photograph and panning from one face to the other, is in use in Apple’s iPhoto and iMovie software and appears in the cover art of the latest iPhone. But his hairstyle is another story. Either way, if you can’t actually get to all 400 hundred National Parks, Blu-ray could be the next best thing.