The first weeks of November may be chock full of options for the gaming community, but DVD and Blu-ray watchers are getting a few scraps to choose from. This week offers up one of the biggest films of the year for the non-gamers, as the epic finale of the Harry Potter franchise makes its way to home video. Otherwise, it’s a mediocre week.
Mortal Kombat: Legacy makes the jump from web to DVD/Blu-ray, as does the YouTube production Life in a Day. We recently gave away a free copy of the Band of Brothers/The Pacific Special Edition Box Set, but if you are interested in getting it for yourself, you’ll have to be ready to dish out some hard cash. Mickey Rourke spoke ill of 13 in our interview with the actor, but the movie comes to home video this week. Some relatively well-known films from the 80s and 90s make their way to Blu-ray, including the controversial Blue Velvet. A movie-only Blu-ray re-release of Executive Decision also piqued our interest this week, raising the B-movie bar for this week.
We’ve selected seven films to showcase this week. All the following titles can be found on DVD and Blu-ray.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II – Some would say the real news recently out of Harry Potter camp is that Warner Bros. has decided to stop shipping any franchise titles to retailers on December 29th, officially placing the world of wizardry in the vault until an undetermined future date. This may be a unique attempt at boosting DVD/Blu-ray sales, but still strikes us as a strange move. Either way, the last installment of the legendary franchise comes to home video for the world to complete their collections. But you’ll have to do it “manually,” since there is no box set available.
The epic finale comes to home video with stellar technical prowess. The sound mix is powerful and fills every inch of your room with the surround experience. Visually it does the trick as well, but doesn’t seem to have any significant improvements. As usual, Warner Bros. has delivered a Maximum Movie Mode, which enhances the film with an interactive display supplementing the film. The most interesting featurette is an hour-long interview with Daniel Radcliffe and J.K. Rowling.
- Maximum Movie Mode – Matthew Lewis, producer David Heyman and some cast members.
- Focus Points
- Final Farewells
- Deleted Scenes
- A Conversation with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe
- The Women of Harry Potter
- The Goblins of Gringotts
- Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
VERDICT: Buy it. These won’t be on shelves much longer, so get the rest too.
Mortal Kombat: Legacy – If the millions of views of the episodes of this web series are any indication, this could make a huge profit for the franchise. But the question remains, will audiences be willing to pay for a DVD/Blu-ray of a series they can view free online? Either way, the fans came out in droves and there is more on the way from the creatives behind this rendition of the popular video game.
If you didn’t click HD on the YouTube page during the first run of this web series, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the video quality on the DVD and Blu-ray release. It looks outstanding. There are a few bonus features, but nothing that will unlock the mysteries of the universe. It’s pretty basic, but a good watch after the series.
- Mortal Kombat Legacy: Fights
- Mortal Kombat Legacy: Fan Made
- Mortal Kombat Legacy: Expanding the Netherrealm
- Mortal Kombat: Mysticism
- Mortal Kombat: Gear
VERDICT: Buy it, unless the Internet versions are enough for you.
The Change-Up – It seems like body switch comedies happen every few years without really changing the plot. The actors change, but that’s about it. This time around, the film got a little rowdy with some R-rated material and two charismatic actors. Beyond that, the film fell flat with audiences. It only made $64 million dollars worldwide on top of a $52 million budget.
The video transfer is colorful, as expected, but feels much more saturated than it did in theaters. The sound design is passable, but doesn’t shine in any way. There is an Unrated Cut of the film, which runs about five minutes longer. Otherwise, the bonus features are limited and don’t really add to this release.
- Audio Commentary: Director David Dobkin
- Time for a Change
- Family Matter
- Fist Fight Deleted Scene
- Gag Reel
VERDICT: Rent it.
Atlas Shrugged: Part I – This film from Rocky Mountain Pictures is arguably the biggest flop of 2011. It only made $4.6 million and was so poorly received that the producers canned the previously planned sequels for this expected trilogy. An audio commentary is one of the few special features on this title.
- Audio commentary with writers John Aglialoro and Brian Patrick O’Toole and producer Harmon Kaslow.
- Road to Atlas Shrugged
- I Am John Galt
- “The John Galt Theme” Slideshow
VERDICT: Skip It.
Doctor Who: Season Six, Part Two – Part One released in mid-July, but the second part is now available on DVD/Blu-ray. All 270 minutes are available in high definition and help update the series for any fans who have kept the latest edition on their shelves.
VERDICT: Rent it unless you own the rest.
Blue Velvet – The David Lynch film is legendary for its controversial plot and Dennis Hooper’s unforgettable performance. Lynch earned a Best Director nomination at the Academy Awards for Blue Velvet. It has warmed up over the years, as initial reactions were negative, but the film has since then earned its way onto many top lists.
The 5.1-mix and video transfer are outstanding for a film that has a lot of wear and tear visually. It’s got a classic look that accents the grungy feel of the story. But it looks great on this Blu-ray release. It makes owning this film worth more than just the movie itself. The special features are not extensive, but include a one-of-a-kind supplement. The Blu-ray has almost an hour of never-before-seen deleted scenes in high definition, with a full frontal female nudity shot that was likely nixed by the MPAA during the ratings battle over Blue Velvet.
- Mysteries of Love
- Newly Discovered Lost Footage
- A Few Outtakes
- Siskel and Ebert ‘At the Movies’
VERDICT: Buy It.
Gia – One of Angelina Jolie’s breakout films has been seen by few, but is well known in some circles. It features a standout performance that launched her into the spotlight by playing a character whose real-life exploits were highly controversial and filled with drama. Gia is the tale of the world’s first true supermodel, who died at 26 due to her lavish lifestyle of drugs and sex.
The film originally aired on HBO, but gets a great transfer on all ends, receiving a well-deserved upgrade to Blu-ray. Unfortunately, there are no special features on this disc, but it is a film worth seeing.
VERDICT: Rent it.
The Cannonball Run -Burt Reynolds and Farrah Fawcett star in this classic action comedy that has some great car-related action to give this week the adrenaline boost it needed. It includes a commentary with Hal Needham and Albert S. Ruddy. The film also stars Sammy Davis, Jr., Jackie Chan, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Moore and Dom DeLuise.
VERDICT: Rent it.
If you think this week had too few options, wait until next week. There are almost no truly interesting titles hitting shelves. West Side Story and My Fair Lady on Blu-ray are just about the only highly recognizable titles being released. There are some good movies on the horizon, though, as Super 8 and a few Criterion Collection releases follow closely behind.
Return to Screen Rant every Tuesday for the latest Breakdown of DVD and Blu-ray releases. Follow me on Twitter (@Eisentower30) for more release dates and other DVD/Blu-ray related news.