This week sees the release of a huge slate of Blu-ray titles. But, realistically, are many of them worth buying? Let’s take a look.
Here’s the list of what’s coming out:
- ‘16 Wishes‘ (Image)
- ‘Ancient Aliens: The Complete Season One‘ (A&E)
- ‘Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition (3-Disc Set)‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘The Bee Gees: In Our Own Time‘ (Eagle Vision)
- ‘Bruce Springsteen – The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story‘ (Sony Music)
- ‘Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore – 3D‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Children of the Corn (2009)‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘A Christmas Carol – 3D (2009) (4-Disc Combo Pack)‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘A Christmas Carol (2009) (Single Disc Edition)‘ (Disney/Buena Vista)
- ‘Clash of the Titans (2010) – 3D‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Crowley‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘The Extra Man‘ (Magnolia)
- ‘Falling Down (Non-Digibook)‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Ghost Machine‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Great Migrations‘ (National Geographic)
- ‘IMAX: Deep Sea – 3D‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘IMAX: Space Station – 3D‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘IMAX: Under the Sea – 3D‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘The Kids Are All Right‘ (Universal)
- ‘The Last Airbender (Single Disc Edition)‘ (Paramount)
- ‘The Last Airbender (Combo Pack)‘ (Paramount)
- ‘The Last Airbender – 3D‘ (Paramount)
- ‘The Lightkeepers‘ (Image)
- ‘Modern Times‘ (Criterion)
- ‘Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)‘ (Warner)
- ‘The Night of the Hunter‘ (Criterion)
- ‘Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Film in 3D‘ (Sony)
- ‘Open Season – 3D‘ (Sony)
- ‘The Polar Express – 3D‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘The Shawshank Redemption (Non-Digibook)‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Sherlock Jr./Three Ages‘ (Kino)
- ‘Sondheim: The Birthday Concert‘ (Image)
- ‘Spider-Man‘ (Sony)
- ‘Spider-Man 2‘ (Sony)
- ‘Staunton Hill‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘The Tournament‘ (Weinstein)
- ‘The Twilight Zone: Season 2 (1960)‘ (Image)
- ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Non-digibook)‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘The World at War‘ (A&E)
Today is 3-D Day on Blu-ray. Did you realize this? All year, the biggest complaint against 3-D adoption for home theater has been the lack of quality 3-D content to watch. The studios attempt to rectify that now with a big push of 3-D titles on Blu-ray. Among them are brand new day-and-date releases such as ‘Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore‘, ‘A Christmas Carol‘, and ‘The Last Airbender‘. Plus, we have catalog titles like ‘Clash of the Titans‘, ‘Open Season‘, and ‘The Polar Express‘. For pure eye candy, we also get the ‘Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Film‘ and a trio of IMAX movies: ‘Deep Sea‘, ‘Space Station‘, and ‘Under the Sea‘. That should give you plenty of excuse to put on those dorky 3-D glasses.
On the other hand, if you expect more than just eye candy, let’s take a closer look at that batch of discs. ‘Cats & Dogs’, ‘The Last Airbender’, and ‘Clash of the Titans’ were widely regarded as three of the worst movies of the year. They’re also all quickie 2-D to 3-D conversions, reportedly of atrocious quality. ‘A Christmas Carol’ may be native 3-D, but (like ‘The Polar Express’) it’s another of Robert Zemeckis’ creepy, soulless motion capture animated films that will probably give your children nightmares for years to come. ‘Open Season’ is an utterly generic and forgettable CG kids’ movie. A reel of soccer clips, 3-D or no, is a major yawn. That really leaves us only with the three IMAX documentaries that might actually be worth watching.
What a depressing state of affairs.
In regular 2-D news, the biggest title of the week is the ‘Avatar: Extended Edition‘. In addition to bloating the already-long movie’s running time by 16 more minutes, the Extended Edition also gives us some of those bonus features that quite frankly should have been included with the original Blu-ray release. I saw James Cameron give a presentation for some of the new footage. As if the movie weren’t already enough like ‘Dances With Wolves’, he’s added a buffalo hunt. Seriously.
And don’t kid yourself about this being the definitive home video edition of the film. A 3-D version has already been mastered and will be released soon.
Much more interesting is the documentary ‘The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story‘, which showcases newly-found footage of Bruce Springsteen creating his breakout album. Unfortunately, most of that footage was shot on standard-def camcorder video. However, the music tracks will undoubtedly benefit from lossless audio encoding.
Drew loved, loved, loved ‘The Kids Are All Right‘ when he reviewed it here in the blog during its theatrical run.
I posted about ‘The Extra Man‘ and just hated, hated, hated, hated, HATED it. Hated. It. To. Death. I can’t wash the memories of it out of my brain fast enough. Blech!
The Criterion Collection offers up the classic psychological thriller ‘Night of the Hunter‘ and Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece ‘Modern Times‘, while Kino gives us the double-bill of Buster Keaton’s ‘Sherlock Jr./Three Ages‘. All are worth cherishing.
Wrapping things up, I brought up the aspect ratio controversy regarding ‘The World at War‘ in my HD Advisor column last month. This is a real travesty, and I hope people complain to the studio rather than buy a compromised product like this.