By Gary Eng Walk
Updated December 11, 2008 at 05:00 PM EST
Credit: ©Pixar/Disney

Even in this economy, lots of people will buy flat-panel TVs this holiday season, and after hooking them up, will face the same question any giddy HDTV upgrader loves to ask: “What movies should I cue up to show off the new set?” At any given time, I have a stack of go-to Blu-ray discs that I call upon any time I want to impress visitors with my TV’s high-def prowess. Here’s a current list of my favorite demo material, along with the exact chapters and times of the sequences I usually play.

The Dark Knight
Chapter 21 (1:18:05-1:23:00)
Destined to become the demo disc for videophiles for years to come, TDK is chock full of demo-worthy moments. My favorite is the one in which the caped crusader mounts his Bat-bike and plays chicken with the Joker.

Wall-E (pictured)
Chapter 29 (1:20:15-1:24:15)

The red of the fatties’ leotards really stand out in this sequence in which the Captain uses maximum effort to seize control of the Axiom.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Chapter 5 (33:30-36:58)

It’s best to pick a scene that steers clear of the shockingly-sub-par CG effects in this film, so Indy’s motorcycle chase through the stately grounds of Marshall College is your best bet.


Iron Man
Chapter 10 (1:15:00-1:19:27)
Perhapsthe best geek moment of ’08 — watching Tony Stark don the familiar redand gold armor for the first time — is in this scene (and when helater gets medieval on some terrorists).

Tropic Thunder
Chapter 10 (50:51-55:32)

This hilarious scene has it all: one-liners, eye-popping colors, and even a shout-out for the Blu-ray format.

Lost: The Complete Fourth Season
Disc 2, “The Shape of Things to Come,” Chapter 2 (6:15-11:52)

Lostin HD is great for showing off every little wrinkle and piece ofstubble on people’s faces. This scene not only gives you detailedclose-ups of some of the regulars, but also features a shootout andexplosion to light up your HDTV screen.

Die Another Day
Chapter 1 (08:30-13:12)

CrappyBond film; excellent video demo material. Cue up this part of theopening sequence — 007 escapes the North Korean army in a hovercraft — fora home theater spectacle. Just be ready to hit the stop button on theremote before the Madonna theme song starts polluting your home.

Earth: The Biography
Disc 2, Chapter 5 (40:01-45:26)

HostIain Stewart swims with millions of golden jellyfish in the waters ofthe South Pacific.

Kung-Fu Panda
Chapter 13 (42:35-45:44)
Master Oogway bids farewell in this picturesque scene punctuated with a steady cascade of flower blossoms.

After running through this sequence of Blu-raygoodness, I feel like hugging my HDTV. What about you Popwatchers? Whatdiscs do you spin in your Blu-ray or DVD player when you want to showoff your fancy flat-panel TV? I limited my choices to 2008 releases,but feel free to dig back through your catalog.