SteelBook Alert: Big Bada Boom

In an effort to revive interest in a bunch of its catalog titles, Sony has chosen to issue a big batch of new Blu-ray SteelBooks with vibrant, colorful, comic art designs. I expect that these will be greeted with mixed reaction from fans.

These SteelBooks were designed by artists from the Gallery 1988 collective. To be honest, I think that some of these are better than others. I really love the art for ‘The Fifth Element’ (though I’m satisfied enough with my UK SteelBook and don’t plan to buy yet another copy of the movie). On the other hand, the cartoony art for ‘Taxi Driver’ seems inappropriate for the content of the movie, and ‘Kung Fu Hustle’ is fairly hideous. (What is that fist supposed to be smashing through, anyway?)

‘Das Boot’, ‘Dr. Strangelove’ and ‘Easy Rider’ all look nice, but ‘Snatch’ doesn’t work for me.

To Sony’s credit, I think even the worst of these looks better than Universal’s attempt to to comic book-style SteelBooks.

Which of these do you like, and why do you hate?

‘The Fifth Element’

Available at: Best Buy (USA) and Future Shop (Canada)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $24.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

‘Taxi Driver’

Available at: Best Buy & Future Shop (Canada)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $24.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

‘Das Boot’

Available at: Best Buy (USA) & & Future Shop (Canada)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $24.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

‘District 9’

Available at: Best Buy (USA) & Future Shop (Canada)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $24.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

‘Desperado’

Available at: Best Buy (USA) & Future Shop (Canada)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $24.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

‘Superbad’

Available at: Best Buy (USA) & Future Shop (Canada)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $24.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

‘Dr. Strangelove’

Available at: Best Buy (USA) & Future Shop (Canada)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $24.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

‘Tommy’

Available at: Best Buy (USA) & Future Shop (Canada)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $24.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

‘The Karate Kid’ (1984)

Available at: Best Buy (USA) & Future Shop (Canada)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $24.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

‘Snatch’

Available at: Best Buy (USA) & Future Shop (Canada)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $24.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

‘Stripes’

Available at: Best Buy (USA) & Future Shop (Canada)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $24.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

‘LΓ©on: The Professional’

Available at: Best Buy (USA) & Future Shop (Canada)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $24.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

‘Kung Fu Hustle’

Available at: Best Buy (USA) & Future Shop (Canada)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $24.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

‘Easy Rider’

Available at: Best Buy (USA) & Future Shop (Canada)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $24.99 USD / $14.99 CAD

‘Drive’

Available at: Best Buy (USA only)
Release date: November 23, 2014
Price: $14.99 USD

As a reminder, Canadian retailer Future Shop will not ship to the United States.

54 comments

  1. NJScorpio

    Hmm, mixed feelings.

    I don’t have a copy of ‘Karate Kid’, so I may grab that one.

    I already own many different versions of ‘Desperado’, but I like the design of that one. I may have to see it in person first.

  2. William Henley

    The only ones of these that I have seen is Dr Strangelove and The Karate Kid. I am okay with the covers on those, but the Karate Kid looks a bit boring compared to the cover that has been on this movie for years. I am not a big fan of Dr Strangelove, but I kind of like that cover.

    • Elizabeth

      It seems strange that the cover of The Karate Kid doesn’t actually have the karate kid on it. It doesn’t even have Mr. Miagi. Were they unwilling to allow their likenesses to be used?

      • NJScorpio

        Doesn’t the hero win the last fight by doing a kick that, per the rules outlined at the beginning of the tournament, would be illegal?

        • Alex

          Billy Zabka’s appearances on How I Met Your Mother as the “real” Karate Kid were the high-points of the last season (and they mention the illegality of that kick, too πŸ™‚ ).

  3. Drew

    The ‘Easy Rider’ one is a 3D blu-ray. I’m extremely intrigued.

    You left out ‘Drive’. I have no doubt that this was intentional. πŸ™‚

    Looks like I’ll be adding an umpteenth copy of ‘The Fifth Element’ to my library. I’m in love with this new SteelBook. It’s probably my favorite cover for this film, so far.

    I’ll also be grabbing ‘Leon: The Professional’, ‘Dr. Strangelove’, and ‘Desperado’.

    • NJScorpio

      I would get that ‘Easy Rider’ steelbook, if not for having the Criterion version.

      If I happen to see the steelbook for $10 or so around the holidays, I’ll grab a copy for my Mom. She doesn’t have a Blu-Ray player, but it’d be nice for her movie collection.

  4. Drew

    Any chance that you can update this post with ‘Drive’ included, for those of us who view things pragmatically? πŸ™‚

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      The Best Buy web site doesn’t have a good image for the Drive SteelBook, and that one’s not available in Canada (different distributor), but I managed to find an image elsewhere. The post has now been updated.

      • NJScorpio

        I know I’m in a minority, but I think that ‘Drive’ is such an excellent film, that the only double dip I plan on doing will be the eventual Criterion release. Fingers crossed that, like Diabolique/Wages of Fear, or Tokyo Drifter/Branded to Kill, that they release ‘Drive’ and ‘Only God Forgives’ at the same time.

        • Chris B

          I don’t think you’re in the minority with thinking Drive is an excellent film. It was almost universaly praised when it was released. I myself think it’s awesome and love Only God Forgives as well. What makes you think they’d do a Criterion release? Has it been talked about by either Refn or the company?

          • Josh Zyber
            Author

            Refn recently appeared in one of Criterion’s “Let’s invite a director to peruse our Blu-ray closet” videos, which is usually a sign that the director is working with the label on an upcoming release.

            I doubt that Sony would license Drive to Criterion. A more likely candidate is Pusher, possibly as a trilogy collection.

        • Drew

          I don’t think you are part of any minority. ‘Drive’ is a nearly perfect film. Practically any critic worth their salt agrees.

          ‘Drive’ is one of those movies that history will view as a masterpiece. Go back and look at how some of Orson Welles films were initially received. Go back and look at how ‘Blade Runner’ was. When all is said and done, even the people who didn’t initially “get” ‘Drive’ will sing its praises.

          • Josh Zyber
            Author

            Twilight Time still has copies of Walter Hill’s ‘The Driver’ in stock. Watch that and then tell me what’s so special about ‘Drive’.

          • Chris B

            Hey Josh, can you do us all a favor? Make time in the next little but to watch Only God Forgives and then write a blog post about it…Let us know if you think he apes Lynch way too much or if theirs any individuality in it. It’s a win-win for us readers as Im syre it would make for an interesting article…

          • Drew

            By the way, ‘The Driver’ isn’t too shabby, either. However, it’s not even in the same solar system as ‘Drive’.

          • Timcharger

            Hey Drew, you wanna toothpick?

            How many times a day do you get beaten up for wearing that Scorpion jacket?

            πŸ™‚

          • Timcharger

            Go to the Drive thread. I remember it being a hilarious read.
            Josh has some zingers in it about parking in L.A., if I remember correctly?
            Or was it my zingers?

          • Timcharger

            Now if you said Only God Forgives was a near perfect movie, too…
            …that would be fighting words.

            Speaking of that, wanna fight?

            (not an offensive comment; unless you seen the film and don’t realize that it has some stupid, stupid dialogue.) πŸ™‚

          • Timcharger

            I’m in the camp that Drive was pretty good.
            But Only God Forgives is really to me, Only God Knows How to Stay Awake During It.

            Only God Forgives was so bad that it actually tainted my liking of Drive.

            Ironically, I think 20 years from now I will like Drive less and less.

            And Drew, knowing how much you adore Drive. It’s a safer bet
            that 20 years from now, you’ll be less enthusiastic and more
            embarrassed about your adoration of the film. Think about the
            stuff you loved 20 years ago.

          • Josh Zyber
            Author

            Even those people who didn’t “get” or didn’t like Blade Runner had to admit that it was a very original, imaginative film unlike anything they’d ever seen before. Drive, on the other hand, is just a regurgitated copy of other, better movies, with nothing original to say and a totally vacuous absence of intellectual depth. The only thing is has going for it is its posturing of being “cool,” and that doesn’t last.

          • Chris B

            I wouldn’t call Drive a perfect movie but it’s not completely worthless either the way Josh is insisting. Lots of movies recycle old and familiar ideas, as long as they do it in a way that feels fresh it usually makes for an entertaining watch.

            I’m not sure if they’d release Pusher…didn’t it just have a recent release? My money would be more on Bronson…

          • Josh Zyber
            Author

            You may be thinking of the recent Pusher remake, which Refn produced but didn’t direct. The original isn’t on Blu-ray in North America yet.

            Bronson is a possibility as well, though that does have an existing Blu-ray. (Not that it would be the first time Criterion double-dipped a movie previously released by another studio.)

          • Chris B

            No you’re right, I didn’t realize that last release was a remake. I’d say its a pretty good bet for the trilogy then…

  5. I’m not infatuated with ‘Drive’ (nor do I hate it), but I just want to address: Kavinsky’s ‘Nightcall’ is a masterpiece. Not a “lousy fake-’80s song” by a longshot. (other than that, I mostly agree with The Zyber Overlord)

  6. Loving The Fifth Element cover enough to double dip, and Leon enough to finally get around to buying the movie. Josh, the fist is punching through a lollipop on the Kung Fu Hustle cover.

  7. William Henley

    This thread is making me almost want to check Drive out. I just checked the trailer, and it looks like it may be a fun movie, but it does not look all that special or unique to me, but I am really not that into this genera. This looks like a good popcorn flick, will probably look and sound great, but my impression, just from the trailer, is it is not that different from dozens of other movies. Still, it looks like it is worth a rental.

    • William Henley

      Wow, I worded that badly. In other words, this genera is one of those that I usually watch the film once and have fun doing it, but I rarely watch again.

      • Timcharger

        William, and you must have a toothpick in your mouth when you are watching Drive.
        If you can’t find a scorpion jacket, the 80s Members Only jacket is fine.

        Just remember to discard said items before walking out of your house. You will get
        beaten up.

        • William Henley

          Sounds fun. I will see if I can find it streaming or for rent on Netflix, Amazon or Vudu, because I doubt Redbox will still have it in their kiosks (actually, just checked their website, nope, not in any kiosks within my zip code or surrounding zip codes). Like I said, this genre is not really my cup of tea, but I usually have fun watching them through once.

  8. C.C. 95

    These are straight up awful. These are the worst since Universal’s ‘comic panel’ steels, and the ‘iconic art’ series. Kudos to the producers for getting their kids to make the art. And I can’t wait to see the KARATE KID movie where John Keene and the Kobra Kai boys are the heroes of the story (That’s EXACTLY what the cover is telling you…)
    You would seriously have to pay ME to keep these in my house. Here’s a tip. These will soon be $9 on eBay, just like the Univeral comic panels, and iconic art series. What a waste of an opportunity.
    People should be fired for this load of awful.

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