Pacific Rim Uprising

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street 6/19/18;
Universal;
Sci-Fi;
Box Office $59.19 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray, $37.98 3D BD, $37.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language.
Stars John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Jing Tian, Cailee Spaeny, Rinko Kikuchi, Burn Gorman, Adria Arjona, Max Zhang, Charlie Day.

The original Pacific Rim in 2013 was never going to be hailed as an artistic masterpiece. But under the guidance of director Guillermo del Toro, it proved to be a fun, entertaining sci-fi adventure with just the sort of goofy premise that could be exploited for franchise potential in a market dominated by “Transformers,” “Power Rangers” and “Voltron.”

The film’s story was a simple-enough starting point, positing a future in which the world was besieged by giant monsters called kaiju that emerged from undersea interdimensional rifts. To stop them from rampaging through major cities, mankind built giant robots called jaegers to fight them.

Pacific Rim Uprising picks up 10 years later, with the breaches closed but the militaries of the world strategizing about the best defense should the kaiju return.

Veteran TV producer Steven S DeKnight takes over directing duties from del Toro (who produced) and delivers about as much as could be expected for a sequel. The film offers a mix of new and returning characters to provide an enjoyable yet unsophisticated follow-up that delivers on the promise of more monsters and machines beating each other up while everything around them gets trashed.

It’s to the screenplay’s credit that it finds a few interesting plot twists to put a different spin on the basic premise while still delivering the kind of action the set-up would warrant. The story expands upon some of the key plot points of the original to set up future sequels (though, given the film’s underwhelming box office, future story continuations may up being through alternate mediums such as animation or graphic novels).

The Blu-ray includes a slew of behind-the-scenes material, highlighted by a feature-length DeKnight commentary that really delves into his goals for the film, the challenges he faced, and other insights, such how how much inspiration he drew from the works of Steven Spielberg.

In addition, the Blu-ray includes 10 featurettes that runa bout 40 minutes in total and delve into various aspects of the film, with an emphasis on casting, visual effects and stuntwork. One of them “Hall of Heroes,” amusingly presents star John Boyega spending more than three minutes showing off all the new jaegers introduced in the film, describing all their amenities and weaponry in minute detail as if he were some sort of jaeger salesman.

There are also seven minutes of deleted scenes with optional commentary that provide a few good character moments but otherwise aren’t glaring omissions from the film.

‘Black Panther’ Tops DVD and Blu-ray Sales for May

Marvel Studios’ Black Panther was the top title for the month of May in terms of combined Blu-ray Disc and DVD units sold according to the NPD Group’s VideoScan tracking.

Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Black Panther was released on disc May 15 and spent its first three weeks atop the weekly VideoScan sales charts.

Universal’s Fifty Shades Freed, released a week earlier on May 8, finished the month as the No. 2 seller. The top seller from April, 20th Century Fox’s The Greatest Showman, dropped to No. 3.

The strong debut of Black Panther gives Disney the top four spots on the year-to-date disc sales chart through the end of May, with Star Wars: The Last Jedi maintaining the lead it took the previous month.

Pixar’s Coco is No. 2, followed by Marvel’s Thor: Ragarnok at No. 3 and Black Panther at No. 4.

According to NPD, the May 2018 top 10 by units sold were:

  1. Black Panther (Disney)
  2. Fifty Shades Freed (Universal)
  3. The Greatest Showman (Fox)
  4. Peter Rabbit (Sony Pictures)
  5. Red Sparrow (Fox)
  6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Disney)
  7. 12 Strong (Warner)
  8. Thor: Ragnarok (Disney)
  9. Game Night (Warner)
  10. Batman Ninja (Warner)

 

Year-to-date Top 10 (through May 2018):

  1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Disney)
  2. Coco (Disney)
  3. Thor: Ragnarok (Disney)
  4. Black Panther (Disney)
  5. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Sony Pictures)
  6. Justice League (Warner)
  7. The Greatest Showman (Fox)
  8. It (2017) (Warner)
  9. Ferdinand (Fox)
  10. Wonder (Lionsgate)

 

‘Last Jedi’ Takes Over Top Sellers for 2018; ‘Greatest Showman’ Leads April Disc Sales

Warner Bringing Season 11 of ‘Big Bang Theory’ to Disc Sept. 11

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Eleventh Season on Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 11.

The two-disc sets will include all 24 episodes plus a gag reel and three behind-the-scenes featurettes: “The Maturation Imperative,” “The Big Bang Theory: The Blueprint of Comedy” and “A BBT History of Time.”

The Blu-ray will also include video from the show’s panel at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International.

‘Wrinkle in Time’ Bumps ‘Black Panther’ From Top of Disc Sales Charts

After three weeks in the top spot, Marvel’s Black Panther was overtaken on the national home video sales charts by another Walt Disney Studios release, A Wrinkle in Time, the week ended June 9.

A family fantasy based on the popular novel of the same name, A Wrinkle in Time debuted at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart, following an underwhelming domestic box office run that brought in $98 million.

Black Panther slipped to No. 2 on both charts, selling about two-thirds as many discs in its fourth week as Wrinkle sold in its first.

Debuting at No. 3 on both charts was director Eli Roth’s remake of Death Wish, with Bruce Willis starring as the man who seeks revenge on street crime after his family is brutalized during a robbery. The film earned $34 million at the domestic box office.

Landing at No. 4 on the overall chart, and No. 7 on the Blu-ray chart, was another newcomer, Lionsgate’s The Hurricane Heist, an action thriller about a group of thieves attempting a bank robbery during a category five hurricane. The film earned just over $6 million in U.S. theaters.

Rounding out the top five overall, in its ninth week on shelves, was 20th Century Fox’s The Greatest Showman, which was the No. 6 Blu-ray.

On the Blu-ray chart, No. 4 went to Disney’s new “Signature Collection” Blu-ray re-release of the 1953 animated classic Peter Pan, followed at No. 5 by Paramount’s Annihilation.

Anticipation for the theatrical release of its sequel drove Disney’s The Incredibles back into the top 20, aided by a newly released 4K UHD Blu-ray edition of the 2004 animated superhero film. It rose back to No. 12 overall and No. 11 on the Blu-ray chart, with 44% of its total sales attributed to the new UHD Blu-ray edition.

Blu-ray Disc accounted for 71% of Wrinkle in Time first-week unit sales, with 4% of its total coming from 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Death Wish saw 58% of its tally come from Blu-ray, while Hurricane Heist had 46% of its total come from Blu-ray and 7% from the 4K disc format.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended June 10, Death Wish took over the top spot, bumping Warner’s Game Night to No. 2.

Black Panther slipped to No. 3, with Fox’s Red Sparrow at No. 4 and Hurricane Heist debuting at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 06-09-18
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 06-10-18
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 06-09-18
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 06-02-18

BBC Releasing Blu-ray of Tom Baker’s First Season on ‘Doctor Who’

BBC Studios June 19 will release Doctor Who: Tom Baker — Complete Season One on Blu-ray, featuring 20 episodes from the 1974-75 season of the classic British sci-fi series “Doctor Who.”

Comprising the show’s 12th season, the remastered episodes feature Baker’s introduction as the fourth actor to play The Doctor, a time-travelling alien who fights evil throughout the universe with the help of his human companions. The season includes the serials “Robot,” “The Ark in Space,” The Sontaran Experiment,” “Genesis of the Daleks” and “Revenge of the Cybermen.”

The marks the first time a complete season of the 1963-89 original run of the franchise is being released in a single volume. Previous DVD releases have been per serial or special compilations.

The six-disc Blu-ray includes more than 17 hours of bonus content, including:

  • “Tom Baker in Conversation,” a candid new one-hour interview with the actor.
  • “Behind the Sofa,” a selection of clips viewed by several stars of the show.
  • New making-of documentaries for “The Sontaran Experiment” and “Revenge of the Cybermen.”
  • An option to watch “Revenge of the Cybermen” with brand new, updated special effects.
  • An omnibus movie version of “Genesis of the Daleks,” unseen since its broadcast in 1975.
  • “The Tom Baker Years,” A 1991 special featuring highlights from the Fourth Doctor’s run, available on disc for the first time.
  • Immersive 5.1 surround sound mixes for “The Ark In Space” and “Genesis of the Daleks.”

 

Lionsgate Bringing ‘Overboard’ Remake to Home Video in July

Lionsgate will release the comedy Overboard through digital retailers July 17 and on Blu-ray, DVD and on demand July 31.

The film, a gender-swapped remake of the 1987 movie of the same name, stars Eugenio Derbez as a spoiled yacht owner who falls off his boat and suffers from amnesia, leading to an employee he fired, played by Anna Faris, to seek revenge by convincing him that he is her husband and make him work for her.

Extras include audio Commentary with writer-director Rob Greenberg, writer-producer Bob Fisher, and producer Benjamin Odell; and the featurettes “Chemistry Is Comedy,” “Culture Clash” and “Captains of the Ship: Bob & Rob.”

Death Wish (2018)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Fox;
Action;
Box Office $34.02 million;
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence, and language throughout.
Stars Bruce Willis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Dean Norris, Kimberly Elise, Beau Knapp, Camila Morrone.

A knee-jerk reaction to director Eli Roth’s new version of Death Wish in these politically charged times is that it’s some sort of glorification of gun culture and a celebration of vigilante justice. This would be an oversimplification of any intent the film actually has, which would be the psychological examination of what it would take to push a reasonable person to the point of wanting to take the law into their own hands. If anything, the pro-gun crowd is portrayed a bit satirically and even a bit buffoonish.

A remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson film that was based on the a 1972 novel by Brian Garfield, the new Death Wish is methodical in its set-up and leans more toward character drama than the kind of intense action one might expect by the casting of Bruce Willis in the vigilante role. It’s an unexpected approach given Roth’s horror credentials, though when the action comes, Roth knows how to ramp it up, even if the middle section of the film turns into a bit of a cartoon.

The psychological elements are pretty straightforward as well. Willis plays Dr. Paul Kersey, whose wife is murdered and daughter left in a coma after an interrupted burglary at their upper-crust residence in the suburbs of Chicago. With the police seemingly unable to make any headway on the case, Paul finds himself heavily weighing the words of his father-in-law, a Texas rancher who tells him that people have to protect what’s theirs and not rely on anyone else.

At one point, Paul discovers an unregistered gun among the possessions of a shot-up thug brought into his hospital, and he uses it to train himself to shoot. Inspired, he begins to patrol the streets to take out criminals, inspiring a wave of less-than-effective copycats and prompting the city’s media, including real-life radio personalities Mancow and Sway to debate the morality of vigilante justice.

Eventually Paul uncovers clues to discovering the gang that murdered his wife, giving him a measure of revenge that was largely missing from the story of the original film.

It also, to a degree, negates Paul’s reasoning for taking the law into his own hands, given that he has to withhold the evidence the police are looking for to crack the case. But that’s a debate for another day.

Roth in his audio commentary points out many clues he subtly layered into the film to hint at what in Paul’s backstory could have led to his decision to take drastic action in dispensing his own brand of justice.

It’s a very good conversational commentary between Roth and producer Roger Birnbaum, two guys who enjoy making movies and have no shortage of things to talk about with this film, from casting to staging to influences and all the themes they were trying to explore.

The Blu-ray also includes six minutes of deleted scenes with optional commentary from the pair. The scenes offer some nice bits of additional emotional context to the main story of the film. The disc also includes six-and-a-half minutes of extended footage from the Mancow and Sway segments filmed for the movie.

There’s also a 12-minute behind-the-scenes featurette. But the most fun extra is a version of the film’s trailer presented in the style of a 1970s grindhouse movie.

Peter Pan: Signature Collection

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Disney;
Animated;
$39.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘G.’
Voices of Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conried, Paul Collins, Tommy Luske.

One thing Disney has been doing more frequently with its Blu-ray re-releases of its animated classics is making the legacy bonus material available through the digital edition, for which a code is included with the disc. So featurettes or deleted scenes that were available on the previous disc version of the film are accessible through Movies Anywhere or other digital retailers, though the content tends to vary depending on who’s offering it.

The degree to which this material is left of the disc tends to vary, however, depending on how much the new material takes up space on the disc. This could be somewhat frustrating to fans and collectors who want the new extras but may be wary of swapping out the version they have in their collection because they like having those extras on physical media, just in case.

For the new “Signature Collection” of 1953’s Peter Pan, it seems most of the previously released material managed to survive the cut to be included on the latest disc, which should be a relief to collectors for the most part, even though there are a few extras that didn’t make it to the latest round.

Compared with the 2013 “Diamond Edition” Blu-ray, the most notable omission is the introduction by Walt Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney-Miller. However, since she passed away in 2013 a few months after that Blu-ray came out, it’s perfectly understandable why it wouldn’t be included this time.

The other notable extra that was left behind is the “Disney Intermission” function, during which a secondary video depicting fun activities will start to play whenever the movie is paused. Given that this somewhat defeats the purpose of pausing the movie, leaving it out also makes sense.

But almost all the rest of the legacy material is here, from comprehensive “Backstage Disney” documentaries to deleted scenes, and even the optional “DisneyView” that frames the movie between illustrations based on the film rather than the black bars that would appear on widescreen TVs because the film was cut in the 4:3 standard of its era.

The animation remains bright and vivid, and appears to be the same transfer from the 2013 version, though the film has garnered some attention in recent years for how its depiction of Indians rubs up against the PC sensibilities of an expanding sub-culture of social media.

The new material amounts to a few short supplements that reflect on the making of the film and why Walt wanted to do it. The most prominent is the latest of the “Stories From Walt’s Office” vignettes that have been appearing on these Signature Collection releases. This one is called “Walt & Flight” and is a four-minute look at Walt’s love of airplanes and flying in them.

The disc also turns up the sentiment with “A ‘Darling Conversation With Wendy & John,” a new, eight-minute retrospective conversation between actors Kathryn Beaumont and Paul Collins, who voiced Wendy and John in the film.

The disc also includes sing-along versions of two songs: the film’s signature theme “You Can Fly” and the deleted sequence “Never Smile at a Crocodile.”

The sing-alongs should be fun for younger viewers, while the healthy mix of old and new bonus material should satisfy older fans looking to add this to their collection or upgrade from the 2013 version.

Disney Releasing First ‘Big Hero 6: The Series’ DVD June 26

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release the first DVD volume of episodes from Disney Channel’s “Big Hero 6: The Series” June 26.

The show, a follow-up to the 2014 animated movie, details the continuing adventures of tech genius Hiro Hamada, his robot companion Baymax and their friends, who form the superhero team Big Hero 6, loosely based on the Marvel Comics property of the same name.

The series began with the 44-minute special Baymax Returns Nov. 20, 2017, with subsequent episodes on the Disney Channel beginning June 9.

The first DVD collection, Big Hero 6: The Series — Back in Action, includes Baymax Returns and the episodes airing through June 23: “Fred’s Bro-tillion,” “Issue 188,” “Big Roommates 2,” “Failure Mode,” “Muirahara Woods” and “Food Fight.”

The DVD also includes six bonus shorts: “Baymax and Hiro,” “Baymax and Wasabi,” “Baymax and Go Go,” “Baymax and Fred,” “Baymax and Honey Lemon” and “Baymax and Mochi.”