Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Blu-ray Highlights: Week of March 18th, 2018 – You’re in the Jungle, Baby

We’re in a very odd position this week where a surprise blockbuster comes out on disc while the movie is still a strong player at the theatrical box office, bringing in millions of dollars every week. I guess the studio underestimated what a monster hit it had.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (3/20/18)?

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New Releases (Blu-ray)

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle‘ – I don’t recall the original ‘Jumanji’ movie being all that beloved, honestly. Although it made a decent amount of money, it was largely dismissed back in 1995 as being a middling Robin Williams vehicle during a period where Williams made a lot of crappy movies. With the original star now dead, making a sequel (not a reboot, but officially a sequel) 22 years later seemed like a dubious idea. Rather than seeing a board game come to life in the real world, this one finds a group of kids sucked into the world of the game (now a video game) and into the bodies of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan. For some reason, family audiences ate it right up. The film’s business started strong over the Christmas holiday and had extraordinary legs, grossing over $900 million worldwide. As of last week, it was even still in the box office Top 10, almost three months after its theatrical premiere. That’s a hell of an unexpected success story. Disc options include Blu-ray or Ultra HD. Best Buy has a SteelBook for the latter.

Pitch Perfect 3‘ – I think that perhaps the charming original ‘Pitch Perfect’ didn’t really need to be a franchise. Although a higher box office earner, the first sequel was decidedly a lesser movie. Now we have a trilogy, and trailers for the third entry looked really desperate to find an excuse to keep these characters together after they’ve all graduated from college (and the actresses are in their mid to late 30s). Both critics and audiences came out disappointed.

Downsizing‘ – Alexander Payne (‘Election’, ‘The Descendants’) makes his first foray into science fiction with a satirical parable about a middle class couple (Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig) who volunteer to be shrunken down to a few inches in size and live in a supposedly idyllic community at miniature scale. That’s a pretty clever premise, but reviews were mixed to negative, complaining that Payne fails to do much with it. Audiences had little interest and the picture was a box office flop.


The trio of ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle‘, ‘Pitch Perfect 3‘, and ‘Downsizing‘ all debut simultaneously on Ultra HD. Best Buy carries SteelBooks for the first two.

To coincide with part 3, the original ‘Pitch Perfect’ and ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ also get upgraded to 4k.

Catalog Titles

The Criterion Collection explores its spiritual side with Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent masterpiece ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc‘, which features an emotionally draining performance from star Maria Falconetti that is still widely praised as one of the greatest ever captured on film. After that, Criterion turns its eye toward Volker Schlöndorff’s 1970 television movie ‘Baal‘, adapted from a play by Bertolt Brecht and starring fellow German New Wave director Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

The latest limited editions from Twilight Time focus on noir thrillers and cop dramas. Marilyn Monroe, Richard Widmark and Anne Bancroft star in the 1952 ‘Don’t Bother to Knock‘. From 1961 is Cliff Robertson in Samuel Fuller’s ‘Underworld U.S.A.‘. George C. Scott and Stacy Keach headline the 1972 adaptation of Joseph Wambaugh’s bestseller ‘The New Centurions‘. After his breakout in ‘The French Connection’, Roy Scheider played another NYPD detective in another famous car chase picture, 1973’s ‘The Seven-Ups‘.

Robert Altman channeled some Ingmar Bergman for his 1972 psychological horror drama ‘Images‘, now available from Arrow Academy.

Having recently done the same for ‘Matinee’, Shout! Factory bestows a Collector’s Edition upon Joe Dante’s 1989 manic farce ‘The ‘Burbs‘.

Well Go USA promises that its reissue of Takashi Miike’s bloody yakuza thriller ‘Ichi the Killer‘ will be the Definitive Remastered Edition.

My $.02

I’m working on a review of Criterion’s ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc’. After that, I’m intrigued by ‘Images’ and the entire Twilight Time slate, but I’ll have to wait for sales on most of them.

I’ll probably catch ‘Jumanji’ and ‘Downsizing’ on TV someday.

What looks good to you this week?


  1. Chris B

    I still need a good quality copy of “The ‘Burbs”. I’ve kept meaning to buy the Arrow release but now that thr Shout! one is here I’ll prolly end up grabbing that.

    “The Church” sounds pretty interesting and will go on the wishlist.

    Isn’t the 90’s almost universally agknowledged for being when Robin Williams made some of his best movies? Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Awakenings, The Fisher King, Hook, The Birdcage, Good Will Hunting…the list goes on. Sure there were a few duds in there but overall it was a pretty good run….wasn’t it?

    • Josh Zyber

      Nine Months
      Father’s Day
      Patch Adams
      Bicentennial Man

      These were the movies I was thinking of. I would also put Mrs. Doubtfire and The Birdcage in that category, personally.

      • No love for ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’, Josh? I just saw it again a few weeks ago, and it really holds up! Loved ‘FernGully’ as a kid, no sure how that one has aged.

        • William Henley

          Mrs. Doubtfire has not aged well for me. I loved it when I was younger, but the older I got, the less charm I held for it.

          Hook is… Interesting. If I remember right, the movie was not that well received when it came out, but now is pretty much seen as some of his finest work.

          Bicentennial Man is also an interesting one. I don’t have an issue with Robin Williams’ work in it, rather, I have an issue with the movie as a whole. You had a great source, but it was very dated, and it was a short story. So they updated it, added material to pad the time, and… It is like they tried so hard, but just missed the mark.

          Another of Williams’ movies that I thought was charming when it came out was What Dreams May Come. I think if I saw it now for the first time, I would still like it, but the movie does not hold up well to repeat viewings.

          Toys was another one of those unique movies and was really more of a showcase for visual effects more than anything else. I rank the movie itself as a “meh”.

          From the movies listed above, it seems like Williams’ was pretty much cast when they had a movie that didn’t fit well with an established genera, or were trying to do something unique, and just let Williams deliver his own take on the character. While Williams may have been in some bad movies, I don’t blame Williams for the movies being bad – he usually gave the roll everything he had.

          • Bolo

            Williams was a very versatile performer. The 90’s were definitely the height of his star power, but I can’t really say he ever had a big slump. I don’t feel like there was ever a time when audiences completely turned on him. He worked constantly and since he appeared in such a variety of genres, he was always able to quickly bounce back from any film that wasn’t well received.

  2. William Henley

    I think I am with Josh on Jumanji – I was never really into the first one – it wasn’t BAD, I just was not the target audience, being in my teens when it came out. However, considering how well the new one is being received, I am intrigued, but not enough for a blind buy.

  3. Guy

    The surprise successes of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Jurassic World over the last few years seem similar to me. Both are sequels to movies that are held in high esteem by the 30-35 year olds that were kids in the early and mid 90s. Myself and many of my friends either have kids or nieces/nephews that are close to the age we were when Jurassic Park and Jumanji came out. On top of the personal nostalgia trip, it was exciting to share something important from our time with the next generation.

    I think it could’ve been a lot of dormant properties/franchises. Those just happen to be the two 90s family VHS/DVD collection staples that have been revamped so far from our youth. Hire Joshua Jackson to coach a new gang of Mighty Ducks and I think those numbers might exceed expectations too. I keep expecting this to usher in a wave of cash-ins over the next two or three years culminating in the bubble bursting when Dunston Checks In: HairB&B tanks in 2021.

  4. Josh Zyber

    Luke is traveling so we won’t have a box office post this week, but Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is currently #12 at the domestic box office and brought in another $1.6 million over the weekend.

  5. EM

    The Passion of Joan of Arc is amazing, nearly pure cinema. I’ve been fortunate enough to see it theatrically twice. I await my preordered copy.

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