DVD/Blu-ray Breakdown: June 28, 2011

DVD Blu-ray Releases June 28 2011

June closes out with a few worthy titles hitting DVD and Blu-ray. There is at least one epic trilogy and one epic disappointment amongst the bunch.

Some AMC Theater locations have shown The Lord of the Rings extended cuts recently, in honor of this week's release. Many of the fans held out when the theatrical cuts reached Blu-ray and that patience will finally pay off. This is the week that one of the most legendary trilogies of all time hits Blu-ray - again.

In addition to the epic LOTR trilogy, the epic disappointment that was Sucker Punch hits Blu-ray alongside another relative flop, Season of the Witch. If you are still looking for a title you like, Jumanji on Blu-ray may do the trick.

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



Sucker Punch DVD Blu-ray

Sucker Punch - Zack Snyder's latest movie was a box office and critical dud. Warner Bros. dished out a moderate $82 million for production alone and received a meager $89 million at the worldwide box office. There is a more beloved Extended Cut movie hitting home video this weekend, but Sucker Punch reaches DVD and Blu-ray as an extended edition that includes 18 extra minutes and pushes the rating from PG-13 to R, which may interest some. The theatrical release earned a 2.5-star review from our own Ben Kendrick.

While Sucker Punch was generally criticized for its story, the visual aesthetic was relentless and expansive. It makes the easy transition to home video with its exotic visuals and the audio transfer is just as intense. If you want a loud movie to play at home this summer, grab this title.

Generally speaking, this home video does not have a lot of extras. But if Zack Snyder is good at one thing, it is the Maximum Movie Mode interactive commentary. His Watchmen commentary is one of the most comprehensive and is rivaled in quality by Sucker Punch. It's worth the rental alone.

  • Sucker Punch: Animated Shorts
  • Behind the Soundtrack
  • Extended Cut: Maximum Movie Mode


Season of the Witch DVD Blu-ray

Season of the Witch - Nicolas Cage's latest period piece genre-mashup didn't receive great reviews, including a 2-star rating from us. While it was not a box office sensation, it did manage to double its production budget with its worldwide take. In typical January release fashion, the movie will hope for a better reaction from home video fans.

While many period movies tend to go for a gritty look, Season of the Witch is sleek and bold. In fact, it looks like an HBO show more than a theatrical feature, especially with regards to the sometimes sloppy CGI. Sound design thrives on solid home theater setups, but may not impress without it.

Just over 30 minutes of bonus materials shed a dim light on production, but does include a few deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes. Fans of the movie may be most interested in the Alternate Ending.

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Becoming the Demon
  • On a Crusade
  • Alternate Ending
  • Theatrical Trailer


Beastly DVD Blu-ray

Beastly - The awkward re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast hits Blu-ray at a time where teen romances are running thin on the big screen. Alex Pettyfer made a name for himself in both Beastly and I Am Number Four, but both films received tough critical reactions. Either way, Pettyfer's fan base has a new title to grab on home video. Vanessa Hudgens co-stars in the film and Beastly marks her second title hitting home video this week, alongside Sucker Punch.

There are only a couple of options for supplements, but they come in the classic package of short videos.

  • Featurettes
  • Alternate ending
  • Deleted scenes
  • Music video


Barney's Version DVD Blu-ray

Barney's Version - Based on a 1997 novel of the same name, Barney's Version is the only critically-acclaimed new release on home video this week. Paul Giamatti stars in this film about self-reflection and self-improvement.

The DVD and Blu-ray has a short supply of special features, but does include a few intriguing options.

  • Audio commentary
  • 3 featurettes
  • Q&A with Paul Giamatti and author Annette Insdorf


The Warrior's Way DVD Blu-ray

The Warrior's Way - We have seen an onslaught of genre-mashing films in Hollywood lately. Two release on DVD and Blu-ray today. One is Sucker Punch (above) and the other is The Warrior's Way. The martial arts film blends into the classic Western atmosphere and brings a few Hollywood names with it - Geoffrey Rush and Kate Bosworth. In his 2.5-star review of the film, Vic Holtreman called it "an odd-duck of a movie."

The visual components of The Warrior's Way are unique. It is an acquired taste for some, but shines on the Blu-ray in a flawless transfer. As for the bonus features - don't expect a lot, but what it does have gives you a short look at the sets and production design that made this visually intriguing picture come to life.

  • Behind the Scenes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate ending




The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Blu-ray

The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition - Without further adieu, the long-awaited extended editions of The Lord of the Rings have finally hit the high-definition market.  The well-crafted, eye-catching edition comes with five complete discs each.

There have been big improvements since the release of the original extended editions from the 2002 DVD counterpart.  All the films have an upgraded transfer and the differences are highly noticeable in color and contrast.  Certain scenes have been altered and intensified by both Peter Jackson and the director of photography, Andrew Lesnie. While each film will be presented in pristine form, they will also house DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound.

At 15 discs overall, this box set has more bonus features than I can begin to explain. See the contents of each movie's Blu-ray below.

Fellowship of the Ring

  • Four Audio Commentaries
  • The Lord of the Rings: War in the North - The Untold Story
  • The Appendices Parts 1 & 2 Introduction
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Creator of Middle-earth
  • From Book to Script
  • Visualizing the Story
  • Designing and Building Middle-earth
  • New Zealand as Middle-earth
  • Middle-earth Atlas
  • Filming The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Visual Effects
  • Post Production: Putting It All Together
  • Digital Grading
  • Sound and Music
  • The Road Goes Ever On...
  • Costa Botes' Fellowship of the Ring Documentary

The Two Towers

  • Four Audio Commentaries
  • The Lord of the Rings: War in the North - The Untold Story
  • The Appendices Parts 3 & 4 Introduction
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Origins of Middle-earth
  • From Book to Script: Finding the Story
  • Designing and Building Middle-earth
  • Gollum
  • New Zealand as Middle-earth
  • Middle-earth Atlas
  • Elijah Wood Introduction
  • Filming The Two Towers
  • Visual Effects
  • Editorial: Refining the Story
  • Music and Sound
  • The Battle for Helm's Deep is Over...
  • Costa Botes' Two Towers Documentary

The Return of the King

  • Four Audio Commentaries
  • The Lord of the Rings: War in the North - The Untold Story
  • The Appendices Parts 5 & 6 Introduction
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: The Legacy of Middle-earth
  • From Book to Script
  • Designing and Building Middle-earth
  • Home of the Horse Lords
  • New Zealand as Middle-earth
  • Middle-earth Atlas
  • Elijah Wood and Billy Boyd Introduction
  • Filming The Return of the King
  • Visual Effects
  • Post-Production: Journey's End
  • The Passing of an Age
  • Cameron Duncan: The Inspiration for Into the West
  • Costa Botes' Return of the King Documentary


Jumanji Blu-ray

Jumanji - If you've made it past the insane collection of bonus features in the Lord of the Rings release, then you've reached the best board-game-movie hitting DVD and Blu-ray this week. The campy classic stars Robin Williams in a true action adventure unlike any other.

Though we don't have any bonus features to share yet, rest assured this is a movie that anybody with a Blu-ray collection should own.

VERDICT: Buy (Rent first if you've never seen it.)


If you have been saving up for the Lord of the Rings release, you may be happy to hear it is starting off at only $70 at Amazon. Just click the box art image above to buy it at the site. That's a pretty good deal for a 15-disc box set of any franchise.

Next week, Das Boot hits Blu-ray alongside five MGM classics like It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and When Harry Met Sally. Check back next Tuesday for more details.

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