All right, this week is completely out of control! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many quality titles released at one time. Especially by a single studio! Warner Home Video must be trying their best to set a record here! They alone have something like twelve or thirteen titles newly available today. Have the holidays come early or something? Crap. I can’t afford all these discs…
1. FORBIDDEN PLANET
Ten years before Star Trek would revolutionize space-man storytelling on the boob-tube and more than twenty-years before George Lucas‘ swashbuckling laser-sword saga took movie-goers by storm, Fred McLeod Wilcox‘s Cinemascope epic, Forbidden Planet hit the big screen and changed the face of celluloid science-fiction forever.
A modern genre-bending re-telling of Shakespeare‘s The Tempest, Forbidden Planet is a unique film to have been released during the b-movie era of the 50s. It takes its premise quite seriously, presenting the story of the crew of the lost space craft, Bellerephon and the team who are sent to recover them. Leslie Nielsen, most well known for his comic roles, leads a cast that features heavyweights such as Anne Francis, the incredible Walter Pidgeon and, the most famous member of the cast, Robby the Robot!
The wonderful cinematography is well represented in this detailed and vibrant high-def presentation. It really looks much better than you’d expect a film of its age to, with a nice veneer of film grain and bold, quite accurate colours. And the DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack is slouch either. While not quite up to today’s bombastic standards, the audio presents a solid, pleasant sonic experience, highlighting Louis and Bebe Barron‘s classic electronic score, which has most likely never sounded better!
- Deleted scenes and lost footage
- 2 Robby the Robot guest appearances
- The Invisible Boy feature film
- The Thin Man TV series episode Robot Client
- The Watch the Skies! Science Fiction, the 1950s and Us TCM documentary
- 2 featurettes
- Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet
- Robby the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon
- Excerpts from The MGM Parade TV series
- Theatrical trailers of Forbidden Planet and The Invisible Boy
I’m still bowled over by how much I truly loved Stardust. What a fantastic film on a really great Blu-ray disc. Do yourself a favour and grab yourself up a copy as soon as you can!
Read my full review here: Stardust Blu-ray Disc Review
3. THE PLAYER
I can’t wait to get my copy of Robert Altman‘s The Player. The famous director is certainly responsible for his fair share of classic films (M*A*S*H, Nashville and Gosford Park among them) but this is the film that really stands out for me. I love just about everything about it but I think, for me, it’s all about Tim Robbins‘ incredible performance as Hollywood producer Griffin Mill. I’ve never found it as easy to sympathize with a sleaze-bag murderer as I have with Mill. For all of his greasy, evil deeds I just want things to work out for the guy. I guess that’s Robbins’ charm getting to me, huh?
UPDATE: I’ve watched the Blu-ray and can report that it is a welcome upgrade from the previously available DVD but not by leaps and bounds. While colours are more accurate, the image is generally soft despite the increase in detail. The excellent special features have thankfully made the transition to this new Blu-ray edition.
- Commentary by director Robert Altman and writer Michael Tolkin
- Additional scenes
- Featurette: One-on-One with Robert Altman
- Theatrical trailer
4. IN COLD BLOOD
Forget about the real-life events this story is based upon. Forget about the famous Truman Capote book of the same name. Hell, you can even forget about the brilliant performances here by creepy Robert Blake and Scott Wilson as killers Perry Smith and “Dick” Hickock. All you need to know about Richard Brooks‘ 1967 adaptation of In Cold Blood is that this is some of cinematographer Conrad Hall‘s absolute best work and outside of seeing it projected on the big screen from a 35mm print, this Blu-ray disc is your best chance of appreciating it as it was meant to be seen.
The first and best of the Poltergeist series of films is co-written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Texas Chainsaw Massacre auteur Tobe Hooper. It’s well worth a look for anyone who likes a good scare or a good, classic 80s film doing its best to serve up a good scare. I haven’t seen the Blu-ray yet but I’m crossing my fingers, hoping that WHV will deliver a solid, detailed transfer.
WARNER HOME VIDEO SCI-FI ON BLU-RAY: Mars Attacks!, Lost in Space, THX 1138 (The George Lucas Director’s Cut), A Scanner Darkly, Matrix Reloaded
All right, Warner…what’s the deal?! Counting this weeks number one pick, Forbidden Planet and the first-time-single release of Matrix Reloaded, WHV is busting my wallet with a whopping six catalogue sci-fi titles new to store shelves this week. And a lot of them are pretty great! I’m most excited to get my hands on the THX 1138 disc to see how Lucas’ restoration looks in high-def. Also, I’m a closet Mars Attacks! fan. Honestly, I think it’s one of the better Tim Burton films.
Amazon: $18.99, $15.99, $19.99, $15.99, $18.99
TV SEASONS ON BLU-RAY: Smallville: The Complete Ninth Season, Supernatural: The Complete Fifth Season, Chuck: The Complete Third Season, The Office: Season Six
Amazon: $46.99, $45.99, $45.99, $37.99
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: