DVD/Blu-ray Breakdown: April 5, 2011

DVD Blu-ray Home Video releases April 5

While this week features two classics finally reaching the Blu-ray format, it also has the Disney blockbuster TRON: Legacy and the awful Little Fockers.

But there are definitely reasons to spend some good money this week, especially if you want the 3D home video of TRON: Legacy.

There are some intriguing releases we won't go in-depth on like the Blu-ray release of the original Arthur and Arthur 2, hitting the home video market just before the Russell Brand remake hits theaters April 8th. There is also a Blu-ray re-release of Fiddler on the Roof in honor of its 40th Anniversary.

The following titles can now be found on DVD and Blu-ray:



TRON: Legacy DVD Blu-ray

TRON: Legacy - Disney put everything they had into promoting TRON: Legacy and it seems to have paid off - well enough. The film made just under $400 million worldwide and set itself up for a sequel that many hope will be even better. In our 3.5-star review we were impressed, but not blown away. Over time, it seems the general response to TRON: Legacy has continuously improved and it should do very well on home video.

The long-awaited sequel to TRON is a visual and auditory spectacle on home video, but the dialogue doesn't get any better than it was in theaters. It seems to have held up well and the fans are still into it enough to keep the legacy of the story alive (sorry). There is no question a sequel was set up at the end of the TRON: Legacy, but considering the rumored $150 million advertising budget on top of a $170 million production budget, the movie didn't actually make too much of a profit. Is Disney willing to gamble that much money on another sequel? They haven't had any problems spending huge amounts of money on films lately, so I would expect TRON 3.

One of the coolest special features I've seen in a long time is an engaging and entertaining epilogue that adds some tail to the film's ending. It includes all new footage that reveals some awesome details as to the direction TRON 3 might take, including a special appearance from one of the original film's characters. When you get to the arcade menu, you can go one-by-one, or you can cheat the system and type in "A-L-L" to see the remaining featurettes all at once. The Flynn Lives segment includes what sounds like a few brand new tracks from Daft Punk.

The special features also include a completely original Daft Punk 'Derezzed' music video (not the previously released one) and trailer for TRON: Uprising. The rest of the Blu-ray supplements are fun, although less engaging and less unique. Still, Disney continues its trend of fantastic bonus features on home video releases.

  • The Next Day: Flynn Lives Revealed
  • First Look at Tron: Uprising
  • Launching the Legacy
  • Visualizing Tron
  • Installing the Cast
  • Disc Roars
  • Original Daft Punk Music Video

Little Fockers DVD Blu-ray

Little Fockers - Arguably the worst movie of 2010 is back in our lives this week on DVD and Blu-ray. The third installment of the Meet the Parents trilogy earned a 1-star review from myself. I complained that it was a low point for Robert De Niro and a general waste of good money all around. Yet, it still made $308 million at the worldwide box office, pushing the trilogy over the $1 billion mark worldwide.

As with most comedies, the color pops on this home video release, but the sound design is mediocre. There isn't much to play with in the video transfer of this films, but it does its job. If you really liked this movie, one could assume you aren't too picky about your movie-going experience.

The film takes great pride in its use of the word "Godfocker" and continues that trend with a 15-minute segment entitled The Making of a Godfocker. The rest of the supplements are a collection of short sequences that include deleted scenes and mashups like The Focker Foot Locker.

  • The Making of a Godfocker
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Bob and Ben
  • Ben and Owen
  • Bout Time
  • The Focker Foot Locker

I Love You Phillip Morris

I Love You, Phillip Morris - Jim Carrey's most controversial role hits home video after a few years of difficult distribution issues. Originally set for a 2009 release, it finally hit theaters in limited release, grossing $20.7 million worldwide. Written and directed by the minds behind Bad Santa, this film holds little back and for that reason entertains its audience.

The Blu-ray isn't jaw-dropping, but does give a colorful image alongside an average audio track. The special features aren't any better, but do offer some deleted scenes and a feature commentary.



Taxi Driver Blu-ray

Taxi Driver - One of Martin Scorsese's best is a gritty tale of one of cinema's most troubled souls. But Robert De Niro's portrayal of Travis Bickle and Scorsese's depiction are a rarity in Hollywood's never-ending attempt to satisfy the dark side in people. It is a slow burn and one that brings you completely into Bickle's world.

One of New York's biggest film events, the Tribeca Film Festival, is coming up and the Blu-ray re-release of Taxi Driver marks one of New York's most iconic films. The performances are outstanding and mesmerizing, but it also displays New York as a character in itself, explored through atmosphere and supporting characters. It may not be the prettiest depiction, but it is deliberate.

The special features on this re-release are outstanding. Any movie buff will enjoy the extensive featurettes on every aspect of production, from script to edit. Three audio commentaries will give you an excuse to watch the film over and over again.

  • Interactive Script to Screen
  • Original 1986 Audio Commentary: Martin Scorsese and Writer Paul Schrader
  • Audio Commentary: University of Virginia Professor Robert Kolker
  • Audio Commentary: Writer Paul Schrader
  • Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver
  • Producing Taxi Driver
  • God's Lonely Man
  • Influence and Appreciation: A Martin Scorsese Tribute
  • Taxi Driver Stories
  • Making Taxi Driver
  • Travis' New York
  • Travis' New York Locations
  • Intro to Storyboards by Martin Scorsese
  • Storyboard to Film Comparison
  • Galleries
  • Taxi Driver Theatrical Trailer

A.I. Artificial Intelligence Blu-ray

A.I. Artificial Intelligence - Steven Spielberg's long list of films are slowly making their way to Blu-ray and the latest is his futuristic vision of Artificial Intelligence. A gorgeous and underrated film, A.I. explores a variety of concepts that make it tremendously complex and thought-provoking. Some don't see it as such, but upon further examination it is difficult not to see it as a fascinating exploration of a future not yet upon us.

While the visual transfer may not look sleek and shiny like other recent releases, it perfectly captures the grittiness of Spielberg's films. Like the Minority Report Blu-ray, the grain is prevalent and it dirties the image, but Spielberg's films are consistent that way. As far as the audio transfer, this is a true surround-sound experience, but still slightly removed from the massive auditory onslaught of TRON: Legacy.

Even without an audio commentary track (commonly missing in Spielberg releases), the bonus features are extensive and intriguing. Some of them have been released before, but for the most part this is the first true compilation of supplemental packages.

  • Creating A.I.
  • Acting A.I.
  • Designing A.I.
  • Lighting A.I.
  • The Robots of A.I.
  • Special Visual Effects and Animation: ILM
  • The Sound and Music of A.I.
  • Closing: Steven Spielberg: Our Responsibility to Artificial Intelligence


Next week is definitely Pixar's week, with the Blu-ray releases of Cars and The Incredibles. While you will need to wait for next Tuesday to get more details, I just watched The Incredibles Blu-ray and it is fantastic, so save up some money.

If you don't like Pixar, you might not have much to rent or buy next week, so splurge on this week's releases. Either way, there's something to watch this and next week on DVD and Blu-ray.

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