2016 has been a really tough time for sequels. Some of the year’s seemingly surefire franchise hits wound up disappointing at the box office. Two such casualties make their way to Blu-ray this week.
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows‘ – One of the biggest complaints that ‘TMNT’ fans had about the 2014 reboot movie was that it bore little resemblance to the old comic book or cartoon series. The sequel makes some effort to correct that by being more overtly cartoony, and introducing famous franchise characters such as alien warlord Krang and goofy mutants Bebop and Rocksteady. Fans either weren’t impressed by the attempt, or had already given up on the series after the last movie. Budgeted at $135 million, the CGI-fest made only $82 million domestically. Its overseas totals were also around half of what the previous movie did. We may not see a ‘Turtles 3’ after this. Nevertheless, the movie is available on video in a variety of options, including 3D, UHD, a lunchbox gift set, a SteelBook (Best Buy exclusive), or a turtle shell case (Target exclusive).
‘Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising‘ – Seth Rogen’s family-vs.-fratboys comedy was a surprise hit, but was also a one-joke kind of movie and left no need for a sequel. Of course, any movie that grosses almost 15 times its budget is going to get a sequel anyway. The follow-up, which sees Rogen and obnoxious fratboy Zac Efron team up against sorority girl Chloë Moretz, looks like it’s just more of the same. People apparently got enough of it the first time. This one made less than 1/3 as much as the original. With that said, it was modestly budgeted and still turned a profit. Even if ultimately unnecessary, it might have a few laughs if you liked the first one.
‘Free State of Jones‘ – The terrible title may reference a real historical event, but that doesn’t make it any less lame a name for a movie. In the Civil War tale, Matthew McConaughey stars a Confederate army deserter who leads a militia of runaway slaves in an uprising against their Southern oppressors. Based on a true story or not, the racial politics of Hollywood making a piece of Oscar bait about a heroic white man saving people of color are a lot more dicey today than they were when, say, ‘Glory’ or ‘Dances with Wolves’ came out. Critics who saw it also complained that, even at 139 minutes, the movie felt like it was hacked to pieces from a presumably much longer version. Considering the film’s box office failure, we’ll probably never see a proper Director’s Cut.
Be our guest! Disney pulls ‘Beauty and the Beast‘ out of the vault for a 25th Anniversary Edition reissue. From what I can tell, it looks like this one has a few new bonus features but drops a bunch from the (out of print) 2010 Diamond Edition Blu-ray. I also see no indication of 3D, which shouldn’t be a surprise.
Also celebrating an anniversary is Jim Henson’s ‘Labyrinth‘, though I suspect that David Bowie’s recent death had far more to do with the movie being re-released now. Sony offers it in a new Blu-ray, a crazy M.C. Escher-inspired gift set, and 4k UHDs in either a standard keepcase or a SteelBook.
Following ‘Inside Llewyn Davis‘ earlier this year, the Criterion Collection collaborates with the Coen brothers once again for a new Blu-ray edition of their debut feature, the noir-ish thriller ‘Blood Simple‘. I’m excited for this (Fox’s prior Blu-ray was pretty mediocre and our reviewer E. says this one has a better video transfer), but I’m disappointed that the Coens have suppressed the original theatrical cut of the film in favor of the Director’s Cut that many fans consider slightly inferior. E. also complains about some issues with the soundtrack.
Criterion’s second title this week is director Jacques Tourneur and producer Val Lewton’s classic horror picture ‘Cat People‘ (obviously the 1942 version, not the ’80s remake).
Olive Films launches its new “Olive Signature” line with new restorations of the Westerns ‘High Noon‘ and ‘Johnny Guitar‘. Olive clearly wants to compete with Criterion in this space, which should hopefully mean some extra care and attention gets put into these than many of the other titles Olive licenses (which tend to be erratic in quality).
Exclusive to Best Buy are a trio of Stephen King adaptations: ‘Salem’s Lot‘, ‘Cat’s Eye‘ and ‘It‘. I remember watching the ‘It’ miniseries when it was originally broadcast, loving the first half, and haaaaaaaating the second half. That’s pretty much the common consensus. Good luck to the upcoming theatrical remake in trying to fix King’s lousy ending.
In case you don’t already have them already, MGM repackages all the 007 movies in a new ‘James Bond Collection‘, this time with ‘Spectre’ in the box.
Japan’s long-running and extremely popular manga series ‘Golgo 13’ is, at least partially, an obvious James Bond knockoff. The character (a professional assassin and spy) was adapted to animated form in 1983 with ‘The Professional: Golgo 13‘ (sometimes called ‘Golgo 13: The Professional’). Viewers of my generation may be more familiar with him from the NES games ‘Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode’ and ‘The Mafat Conspiracy’.
The ‘Vampire Diaries’ spinoff ‘The Originals‘ is already up to its third season, which is getting a Blu-ray release through the Warner Archive.
Paramount and CBS Films released the entirety of David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks‘ (short of the upcoming Showtime revival, of course) on Blu-ray in 2014. While that set is still in print, the awkwardly-titled new reissue ‘Twin Peaks: The Original Series, Fire Walk With Me & The Missing Pieces’ retains all of the TV episodes, the prequel movie and the deleted scenes, but omits other supplemental content. The less expensive package may appeal to people who want to watch the show but don’t care about bonus features.
I’m in for ‘Blood Simple’ and ‘Cat People’. ‘High Noon’ and ‘Johnny Guitar’ will go on my wish list for later. I’ve also long been curious to see the ‘Golgo 13’ anime.
I already have the older Blu-ray of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, which is plenty sufficient for me.
I bought the 2014 ‘Ninja Turtles’ movie on Blu-ray for its 3D and Dolby Atmos (the 3D was impressive, the Atmos less so) and surprisingly didn’t dislike it. (High praise, I’m sure.) I’ll probably rent the sequel, but don’t think I can bring myself to blind buy this one.
What’s your plan for this week?