Ready Player One

Blu-ray Highlights: Week of July 22nd, 2018 – Insert Coin to Play

Virtually every iconic movie from the 1980s get released on Blu-ray and Ultra HD this week, all conveniently condensed into a single 140-minute package and given a glossy CGI sheen. Also available for good measure: one of the cheesiest superhero movies ever made.

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New Releases

Ready Player One – Ernie Cline’s bestselling listicle of favorite ’80s pop culture references gets turned into a $175 million CGI spectacle by no less than Steven Spielberg, who wrangled the usage rights to seemingly hundreds of famous movies, video games, and other characters and images. Reportedly, he also made a number of changes to the storyline that some viewers found a big improvement but left other fans of the book incensed. (Cline himself was allegedly co-writer of the script, with actual professional screenwriter Zak Penn.) Whether any of this makes for a good movie was a matter of some debate earlier this year. I couldn’t get past the opening chapters of the book, and the film’s trailers turned me off as soon as it became clear that most of the story gets taken over by silly-looking mo-cap characters. Still, a number of people claim it’s fun. Disc options include a Best Buy SteelBook, 3D, or UHD.

Happy End – Provocateur Michael Haneke delivers a dysfunctional family drama that may or may not be a quasi-sequel to his Oscar-winning misery-fest Amour. (Apparently, it’s unclear.) The movie supposedly slants more toward dark comedy and is said to play like a greatest-hits compilation of Haneke’s themes and preoccupations. For all that, reviews were largely mixed.

Catalog Titles

The Warner Archive unleashes the 1984 Supergirl movie starring Helen Slater as the Girl of Steel. Superman completists and fans of the current Supergirl TV series (in which Slater has an occasional recurring role) may be curious, but be warned, even compared to the last couple of Christopher Reeve Superman sequels, the spinoff is really quite bad.

On the other end of the cinematic spectrum, the Criterion Collection investigates A Matter of Life and Death with the Archers (co-directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger). The 1946 supernatural drama starring David Niven is often called one of the greatest British films ever made.

Arrow Video rediscovers The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey, director Vincent Ward’s 1988 cult film about a group of 14th Century villagers who dig a tunnel to escape the Black Plague and somehow wind up coming out into the modern world 600 years later.

Scream Factory offers John Carpenter fans the Blu-ray debut of his 1992 Memoirs of an Invisible Man or a Collector’s Edition reissue of the 1994 In the Mouth of Madness.

The latest additions to Lionsgate’s Vestron Collector’s Series delve into H.P. Lovecraft territory with director Stuart Gordon’s 2001 adaptation of the short story Dagon and Brian Yuzna’s 2003 Beyond Re-Animator (which is of course a sequel to Gordon’s 1985 Re-Animator).

TV

The most notable television release this week is a complete series collection of the animated Gravity Falls.

My $.02

I suppose I’m curious enough to rent Ready Player One, though my expectations for it are pretty low.

I’ve long meant to check out The Navigator but somehow never got around to it. Both that and A Matter of Life and Death will go on my wish list.

Are you ready to buy anything this week?

20 comments

  1. njscorpio

    Here is my problem with ‘Ready Player One’, as someone who didn’t read the book, but was born in November of 1980…

    Just because you love the 80’s doesn’t mean you love EVERYTHING about the 80’s, and the main character’s “love” of things 80’s was just a reflection of what the world’s author loved. So for instance, I dislike John Hughes movies. I have NO nostalgia for 16 Candles, and I actively dislike The Breakfast Club. Being a fan of Steven Speilburg, or Robert Zemeckis films, does not mean you are automatically a fan of John Hughes…so it’s like the main character didn’t have any of his own preferences or tastes within the gamut of 80’s nostalgia…just a love for what the world creator loved, which is kinda lame. “Oh, it’s 80s? I love 80s!”

    • Bolo

      I haven’t seen the movie (or read the novel), but the trailer makes it seem like it’s set in a future where youths are all obsessed with 80’s-90’s pop culture, which I find just too ridiculous. I get that some of these properties will be kept alive by sequels and reboots etc. So, if some kid in the future is all jazzed to see Chun-Li show up in his VR world, I can accept that. But half of these properties showcased in the trailer, I don’t think anybody under 40 even cares about them now, let alone the teenagers of the future.

      • njscorpio

        (Based on the movie…) There seems to be a spectrum of nostalgia on play when it comes to VR gamers’ choices in avatars and such, but it caps off when the novel was written. So you’ll have games make themselves an Iron Giant (1999), but nobody has any pop culture refernces beyond the 90’s, like Rick and Morty avatars, or Minecraft avatars, or even Avatar avatars!…it’s all 80’s and 90’s nostalgia, which seems weird to just cut things off.

      • Pedram

        There is some more recent stuff on the movie, like a Minecraft world, but I took all the 80s/90s as a reflection of the culture’s obsession with Halliday.

    • Pedram

      I took it as him being a Halliday scholar and learning a lot about the 80s as a result, and just reflected the things he liked in the oasis. I never got the impression that he liked EVERYTHING about the 80s.

      • Josh Zyber
        Author

        I didn’t say the movie was cheesy. I said the mo-cap characters (which can be seen in the trailers and in numerous images on the web) look silly. Because they do.

        • Pedram

          I assume you were replying to my other comment, but I thought this was referring to RP1: “one of the cheesiest superhero movies ever made.” After rereading it and seeing the movies available, I’m guessing you were talking about Supergirl.

  2. Csm101

    I have Ready Player One 3d on order. I’ve never seen Memoirs of an Invisible Man, so I may future blind buy it. I’m waiting for reviews and screencaps of In the Mouth of Madness to see if I need to double dip this. For the sake of completing my Re-Animator set, I’ll probably end up getting Beyond Re-Animator. I didn’t realize Dagon was directed by Stuart Gordon, so now I’m more interested.

  3. Chris B

    As a Carpenter nut I pre-ordered Memoirs and Mouth of Madness when they were announced, hopefulyy they’re in my mailbox tommorow.

    I’d like to pick up Dagon but Vestron titles are 40 bucks Canadian at the moment. As such, it’ll go on my wishlist.

    • njscorpio

      Memoirs is very underrated. I’ve had it in my digital library for awhile now, I didn’t even realize it was getting a North American blu-ray release till I saw your comment! So excited!

  4. DaMac80

    After a few weeks of nothing this week hits pretty hard: Ready Player One UHD, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Beyond Re-Animator and In the Mouth of Madness CE. Haven’t seen Ready Player One but I collect sci-fi so it’s kind of a no-brainer, I just hope I like it despite all the CGI. Entirely CGI worlds (like Avatar) turn me off usually, but since it’s in a virtual world within the story… I dunno, we’ll see.

      • DaMac80

        I liked it more than I thought I would! More of the movie was virtual than I expected, but since it was supposed to be VR the CGI-ness didn’t bug me much. There were scenes though where I wished they went real actor, like when the main character is talking to the old man toward the very end, but overall it was okay. The movie itself was entertaining and VERY visually pleasing.

  5. Josh Zyber
    Author

    I got a VUDU credit today and rented Ready Player One. Wish I hadn’t. Never been so bored so quickly. Even the Shining scene that everybody seems to love sucked. Big waste of time, nothing to commend about it. Just a bunch of ugly CGI shit running around and smashing into other ugly CGI shit for 2 hours and 20 minutes: 2/5

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