DVD/Blu-ray Breakdown: April 12th, 2011

This week's DVD and Blu-ray releases are a bit tricky. If you can't wait for the complete collections, go ahead and get 'Harry Potter' and 'Chronicles of Narnia,' but save some money for 'The Incredibles' on Blu-ray.

DVD Blu-ray Releases Home Video April 12

It's a relatively light week for DVD and Blu-ray, but a pair of franchises continue to expand in home video and a pair of Pixar hits release on Blu-ray.

There is really only one home video release this week that everybody will be talking about - The Incredibles. One of Pixar's most beloved films hits Blu-ray in a thick and heavy box set that includes all new featurettes and a fantastic transfer. Pixar is also re-releasing Cars on Blu-ray to help push the upcoming sequel, Cars 2, but as far as we know, this Blu-ray isn't different from the 2007 version.

If you are a sucker for franchises, Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia will keep you going with the latest additions to their ever-expanding slate. But beware, you might want to wait a little longer to get some of these titles, as special additions or (in the case of Harry Potter) 2-for-1 combo packs are sure to be released later on down the line.

The following movies can now be found on DVDa nd Blu-ray.



Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Blu-ray

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - Harry Potter fans who are too anxious to wait for Part 2 of the final chapter of the franchise can catch Part 1 on DVD and Blu-ray. There is even a complete collection on shelves this week, but I'm not too sure why any human being would purchase all of the Harry Potter films except for the final half of the final chapter. Don't be fooled by Warner Bros.' sly marketing plan to siphon every last dime they can from this franchise - just wait.

Part 1 of The Deathly Hallows seems relatively tame in comparison to the footage we've seen of Part 2. Still, the video and audio transfer is fantastic and puts every ounce of technology to the test to showcase the last chapter. The dark colors and brooding beats pop off the screen like few other movies do. When all is said and done, this will be one of the best looking franchises on Blu-ray.

Try and hold out for an inevitable complete collection of the entire franchise. It will most likely have even more special features to peruse, but this release has some intriguing featurettes to keep you busy until the final part releases in theaters, including Warner Bros.' always-great Maximum Movie Mode.

  • Maximum Movie Mode
  • Focus Point Featurettes
  • Behind the Story Featurettes
  • Additional Scenes
  • Exclusive Deathly Hallows Part 2 Sneak Peek
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Grand Opening
  • Behind the Soundtrack
The Chronicles of Narnia The Voyage of the Dawn Treader DVD Blu-ray

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - The cover of this home video presents a pull quote that reads, "The most exciting Narnia movie yet!" While I don't share Tom Snyder of Movieguide's enthusiasm, it did continue a stream of profitable Narnia movies - this one raked in $410 million worldwide. Our 3-star review found it just as good, but not too much better than the prior installments.

The imagery and sweeping vistas of Dawn Treader are mighty impressive on Blu-ray. It's hard to discredit the franchise for its cinematography and visual effects, which go above and beyond each time. The sound deserves some credit as well - it truly puts your 7.1-surround sound to the test if you've got it.

While I can't say I enjoyed the interactive aspect of the special features menu - which forces you to play along and explore the map to find supplements - it does have its benefits. The families that should be watching this home video release might have a good time with the interactive aspects. Still, the lone movie watcher might get frustrated. Having said that, there are quite a few small featurettes that add up to a  solid behind-the-scenes collection.

  • Commentary by Director Michael Apted and Producer Mark Johnson
  • Explore Goldwater Island
  • Dragon Discovery
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Explore Narrowhaven
  • Minotaur Discovery
  • Deleted Scenes
  • The Epic Continues
  • Explore Magician's Island
  • Dufflepud Discovery
  • King Caspian's Guide to the Dawn Treader
  • The Secret Islands: Untold Adventures of the Dawn Treader
  • In Character with Liam Neeson
  • In Character with Georgie Henley and Will Poulter
  • Direct Effect: Michael Apted
  • Making a Scene
  • Explore the Dark Island
  • White Witch Discovery
  • Serpent Discovery
  • Portal to Narnia: A Painting Comes to Life
  • Good vs. Evil: Battle on the Sea
  • Explore Ramandu's Island
  • Reepicheep Discovery
  • Aslan Discovery
  • Liliandil Discovery
  • Search for the Seven Swords Match Game
  • VFX Progression
Country Strong DVD Blu-ray

Country Strong - There is one movie that doesn't quite match the others this week. Gwenyth Paltrow's country turn didn't fair too well at the box office (20$ million worldwide on a $15 million budget). Co-star Garrett Hedlund may want to refer to last week's TRON: Legacy release for his more recognizable role of 2010.

If you prefer Country Strong for your home entertainment, this release will give you a reasonable amount of special features. It won't open the lid on production, but provides more than the typical romantic comedy/drama.

  • Original Ending
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Friends In High Places: The Cast of Country Strong
  • Putting the Words in Their Mouths: The Songwriters
  • A Little Bit Country: The Costumes
  • Music videos: Gwyneth Paltrow's Country Strong and Sara Evans' A Little Bit Stronger
  • Shake That Thing - Extended Performance


The Incredibles Blu-ray

The Incredibles - Pixar is so close to bringing their entire collection of films to Blu-ray (the only remaining title is Finding Nemo). The Incredibles is a fantastic movie, but the Blu-ray transfer is even better. Besides an extensive collection of special features, it looks gorgeous and sounds phenomenal. It's just one of those Blu-rays that reminds us why we spend money on home entertainment systems and Blu-ray collections.

I must have spent all night watching special features. If you want to explore all that this home video release has to offer, there is plenty of behind-the-scenes footage to enjoy. Besides a pair of great commentaries, there is an especially engaging roundtable discussion with the creators of The Incredibles. It has a lunch-break tone about it that makes it easy-to-watch - like observing a group of old friends share memories, with the B-roll to prove they aren't embellishing it all.

  • Two Audio Commentaries
  • The Incredibles Revisited
  • Boundin' (with Optional Commentary)
  • Jack-Jack Attack (with Optional Visual Commentary)
  • 35 Minutes of Deleted Scenes
  • The New Nomanisan: A Top Secret Redevelopment Plan
  • Paths to Pixar: Story Artists
  • Studio Stories: Gary's Birthday
  • Ending with a Bang: Making the End Credits
  • Making of The Incredibles
  • Movie Voucher for Cars 2


Next week's releases are not that much better, but the slate does include Best Picture-winner The King's Speech. It also brings two lesser-known films worth noting to shelves - Rabbit Hole and Somewhere.

Meanwhile, save your money for a future Harry Potter Complete Collection release and an inevitable Chronicles of Narnia trilogy box set. The must-buy this week is The Incredibles, so put your money on that and enjoy it for an entire evening.

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