This week in DVD and Blu-ray is a vast improvement from last week’s dud. Plenty of sci-fi entertainment hitting shelves alongside a pair of classic comedies that make one heck of a double feature. Most of these movies did poorly at the box office, but hope for a better opportunity in the home video market.
If you like stoner comedy, this is the greatest week of all time. While Cheech and Chong may not be on the docket, you will find an opportunity to spend your money on Paul, Your Highness, Fast Times at Ridgemont High as well as Dazed and Confused. Disney has its counter-programming with the release of The Fox and the Hound and Mars Needs Moms.
The following titles can be found on DVD and Blu-ray.
Paul – While our 2-star review was not the most favorable for this sci-fi alien adventure, it wasn’t the worst either. Paul tries hard enough and keeps the genre fans involved with plenty of nods to classic movies. But it clearly wasn’t enough to stick with American audiences as the film only earned $37 million stateside. Considering the competition though, this seems to be the week’s best choice for new releases.
Paul is not a marvel of cinematography, but it looks solid on Blu-ray. The visual effects are smooth and the color schemes look great on television. More importantly, the sound design is phenomenal. Some scenes make such good use of the back speakers in a surround sound setup that you might even get startled at a few points.
If there is any reason to own this home video – it’s the special features. There is quite a lot to chew on and it definitely adds to the overall experience of the movie. Even the gag reel feels genuinely funny – instead of incredibly forced. But it is the funny and informative audio commentary that takes the cake on this DVD and Blu-ray.
- Audio Commentary: Director Greg Mottola, producer Nira Park, actors Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Bill Hader
- Between the Lightning Strikes: The Making of Paul
- Making-of Featurettes
- The Evolution of Paul
- Who the Hell is Adam Shadowchild?
- Simon’s Silly Faces
Your Highness – With a strong cast, it is surprising how bland the stoner period piece turned out. We gave it a 3-star review and it barely even made half of its production budget back with a $24 million worldwide take. On paper (pun intended) this looked like a promising comedy, but the world just didn’t take to it and it fell on its face. Now, with another chance to entertain it comes to DVD and Blu-ray with a decent release.
The movie comes to DVD and Blu-ray with a consistent visual look and a sound mix that really stands out. Turn up the volume on this movie and blast the Steve Jablonsky score if you want to get the most out of your stereo.
It is a rarity to get so much supplemental material with a comedy. The audio commentary is one of the best this year and really deserves a listen from anybody in possession of this title. It even includes a solid 30-minute making-of that could pass for an educational seminar, apart from the vulgarities.
- Audio Commentary: Director David Gordon Green, actors Danny McBride, James Franco and Justin Theroux
- Damn You Gods: The Making of Your Highness
- Deleted, Alternate and Extended Scenes
- Gag Reel
- Perverted Visions
- A Vision of Lezar
Mars Needs Moms – The motion capture Disney movie hit theaters with a thud. It earned a 2.5-star review from us and made only $38 million worldwide on a $150 million budget. Not even a stellar home video run will make up for that miss.
Whether you like the animation or not, the DVD and Blu-ray release stays true to the theatrical quality. It’s crisp and clean, with reasonable sound. Obviously this movie isn’t going to top any lists, but maybe it’s worth a rental if the kids are begging for it.
The bonus features are short and sweet. A small featurette called Fun With Seth is a nice alternative to the boring gag reel, highlighting Seth Green’s on-set antics. With half-an-hour of deleted scenes, it’s hard to imagine the difficulty the filmmakers must have faced trimming this movie down.
- Life on Mars: The Full Motion-Capture Experience
- Deleted Scenes
- Martian 101
- Fun with Seth
Super – The superhero movie that flew in way under the radar and put a costume on Rainn Wilson. It was the indie comedy that earned mixed reviews and collected $324,000 in 39 theaters, but now it has a chance to surpass those numbers on DVD and Blu-ray. In our 2.5-star review, we called it “occasionally funny.”
With Ellen Page, Kevin Bacon and Liv Tyler starring alongside Wilson, this has a chance to catch an audience on home video, but we don’t recommend running to the store for it. We also don’t recommend leaving it alone either.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High – One of the quintessential 80s movies brought then-writer Cameron Crowe to the doorstep of Hollywood and reminds us that Sean Penn once had a much bigger sense of humor. Lest we forget it also has one of the most memorable pool scenes of all time.
However, this is not a movie designed for Blu-ray. The original was a plain-looking film that thrived on its comedy. Luckily, the audio holds up well and makes good use of surround sound with a nice balance all around.
The movie proves it really doesn’t bring much to the Blu-ray table with this release as the bonus features are slim. At least it provides a commentary with Cameron Crowe and director Amy Heckerling.
- Reliving Our Fast Times at Ridgemont High
- Feature Commentary w/ Director Amy Heckerling and Screenwriter Cameron Crowe
VERDICT: Skip if you have the DVD. Buy if you must.
Dazed and Confused – The 1993 classic plays so true to its source material that it is easy to forget it was made the same year as Jurassic Park. It looks, feels and sounds like a true mid-70s movie. Yet, the laughs still play in 2011 and the video transfer is pretty solid. Of course, the Criterion release later this year is worth the wait.
If you must own this title on Blu-ray right now, this isn’t a horrible purchase. But with 20 minutes of bonus features and a decent video transfer, you really should wait for the Criterion release.
- Deleted Scenes
- The Blunt Truth
- Retro Public Service Announcements
VERDICT: Skip. Wait for the Criterion Collection Blu-ray release on October 25th, 2011.
The Big Lebowski fans will be happy to know that the classic comedy finally reaches Blu-ray next week. It headlines an otherwise mediocre week in DVD and Blu-ray. Priest, The Conspirator and Jane Eyre hit shelves alongside Dexter and Something Borrowed.
Stay tuned every Tuesday for the latest breakdowns of DVD and Blu-ray releases.
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