My head is still buzzing from the Black Friday/Cyber Monday madness! I spent waaaay too much money on Blu-ray discs over the last week (like I really needed more.) I should learn to exert a modicum of self control with these things. Anyway, I think you’ll find this weeks new releases to be a somewhat calm return to normalcy, with a bunch of underwhelming new titles and some surprising catalogue ones. But all in all, nowhere near as crazy as the last month or so of new releases. Dig in!
1. FANTASIA / FANTASIA 2000
Once again, Disney blows its competition out of the water with this stunning new release of their family-favourite film, Fantasia on Blu-ray – the high-def debut of the studio’s signature collection of animated vignettes set to classical music. Joining Fantasia in this double-feature disc set is its sister film, Fantasia 2000, an aesthetically different but conceptually identical, modern take on the idea.
Both films look incredible and sound nearly perfect on Blu. Fans of the films will enjoy the new special features on the 4-disc set – including the home video premiere of the Disney/Dali team-up, Destino – but might want to hang onto their DVD editions as all the previously available extras are only accessible via BD-Live network connection, not on the discs themselves.
- Audio commentaries
- Disney Family Museum
- The Schultheis Notebook: newly discovered document revealing movie secrets
- Interactive Art Gallery
- Audio commentaries
- Destino: 2003 animated short debuting on Blu-ray
- Dali and Disney – a date with Destino: documentary
- Musicana: Walt’s inpiration for a sequel
2. THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
Here we are, a good couple of years into the madness that is the Twilight phenomenon and I still haven’t seen a single one of these films. Missed them all in the theatre and missed out on all three as review discs. One of these days, I’ll give the whole series a rent and see what all the hubbub is about. From what I understand from my peers, this third film in the series, Eclipse, is the finest of the bunch. Should I just start watching from here?
The disc contains a Blu-ray exclusive picture-in-picture commentary track, as well as cast and creator commentaries, deleted and extended scenes , a six-part “making of” documentary and some music videos.
3. SPACE 1999: THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE
Have you seen the restoration job on Space 1999? Comparing the stills and watching the promo videos (which you can find in our previous post, here) leaves one with the impression that souls have been sold and miracles have been performed here. These do not look like episodes from a 1970s tv show. I can’t say I was ever a huge fan of the show, myself, but I have friends who swear by it. And who can possibly argue with this premise:
“In the year 1999, a spectacular explosion at a lunar nuclear waste dump sends the moon out of Earth’s orbit. In this seminal sci-fi series from producer Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, UFO), the men and women of Moonbase Alpha are suddenly propelled on a treacherous journey across the universe in search of extraordinary new worlds. Left with no way home, the Earthling citizens are forced to embark upon the greatest adventure of their lives, encountering bizarre life forms and strange phenomena as they struggle to survive among the awe-inspiring wonders of outer space.”
4. KILL ZONE
Dragon Dynasty (a Weinstein label) releases some amazing films, from classic Shaw Brothers fliks from the seventies to modern Hong Kong action extravaganzas. Kill Zone, otherwise known as Sha Po Lang (or Saat Po Long on IMDb) stars Donnie Yen as a valiant cop and Sammo Hung as a violent crime-boss, in a very Woo-inspired city noir tale that exchanges the master’s famous slo-mo gun-play for martial arts and sword-play. The film is fantastic but the Blu-ray fails to impress, as is the standard for DD titles. Wait a while and this will drop in price. It’s a worthy buy for the film alone. Includes commentary track, almost two-hours of interviews and a trailer.
5. THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE
Well, this was a toss up. As far as I’m concerned the number five slot this week could have equally be handed to this film, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz action/rom-com Knight and Day or the straight up Drew Barrymore rom-com, Going the Distance. I’m not particularly into any three of these films but I recognize that they’re all major releases from major studios and that they all have their audience. That said, though I’m not a fan of the film, Sorcerer’s Apprentice nudges out the competition by having some genuinely fun action scenes.
ALSO AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY THIS WEEK
Clicking an image will take you to Amazon.com where you can learn more about and purchase the Blu-ray disc: