Six James Cameron Blockbusters Rolling Out on 4K for Disc and Digital Purchase

Six of director James Cameron’s biggest theatrical hits are being re-released in 4K Ultra HD on a transactional basis. Three of the films — 1986’s Aliens, 1989’s The Abyss and 1994’s True Lies — will be released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the first time ever in collector’s editions on March 12, 2024.

The 4K transfer for each release will be presented in Dolby Vision HDR and with an immersive Dolby Atmos audio mix. Additionally, most of the releases will arrive with several hours of new bonus features. The 4K UHD physical releases will come on 100GB discs for maximum space and bit rates.

All six films were originally released by 20th Century Fox, which Disney acquired four years ago, and helmed by Cameron, who in a statement said, “There’s a world of emotions in revisiting these films and I hope we’ve captured some of that in the new bonus materials we created for our fans.”

Producer Jon Landau added, “We really wanted to deliver the best possible experience at home so viewers could immerse themselves both in the films and the journeys we went through to make them.”

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The Cameron rollout begins Dec. 5 with Paramount’s previously announced 25th anniversary release of Titanic on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. (Paramount handled domestic distribution of the film while Fox had international rights). The film also will be available in 4K Ultra HD for digital purchase through such retailers as Prime Video, Vudu and Apple TV.

Next, on Dec. 12, come AliensThe AbyssTrue Lies and new special-editions of Avatar and Avatar: The Way of Water, available in 4K Ultra HD for digital purchase from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

On Dec. 19, Disney will release special-edition Blu-ray Discs of Avatar (available as a 4K Collector’s Edition, a 3D Blu-ray and a 4K limited-edition Steelbook exclusive to Best Buy) and Avatar: The Way of Water (4K Collector’s Edition).

Avatar will include new extras such as “Behind-The-Scenes Presentation Hosted by Jon Landau,” “Colonel Miles Quaritch RDA Promos” and a new still gallery in addition to legacy bonus material.

The Avatar Steelbook (Disney photo)

New Way of Water extras include “Behind-the-Scenes Presentation Hosted by Jon Landau,” “Production Design Panel Hosted by Jon Landau,” “Memories From Avatar: The Way of Water” with Landau and several cast members, deleted/extended scenes, scene deconstructions and more production featurettes, in addition to the extras released when the film was first released on home video earlier this year.

What Disney is now calling 20th Century Studios on Dec. 6 will present the deep sea adventure The Abyss: Special Edition in theaters for a special one-night-only event. Tickets go on sale Nov. 20 and can be purchased at Fandango or wherever tickets are sold.

The home viewing editions of The Abyss will include the featurettes “Deep Dive: A Conversation with James Cameron” and “The Legacy of The Abyss,” plus archival featurettes and production materials.

True Lies, which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a spy trying to keep his dual identity a secret from his family, will include the new documentary “Fear Is Not an Option: A Look Back at True Lies,” archival documents, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

Aliens, a sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien, does not include any new bonus materials, but does include legacy featurettes and commentaries.

Alien Comedy ‘Earth Girls Are Easy’ Getting Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Treatment Nov. 8

Lionsgate Nov. 8 will release the 1988 comedy Earth Girls Are Easy on Blu-ray through its Vestron Video Collector’s Series specialty label.

The film stars Geena Davis as a dimwitted valley-girl manicurist whose sunbathing session is interrupted when a spaceship crashes into her pool. She soon befriends the occupants of the vessel — three furry aliens played by Jeff Goldblum, Damon Wayans and Jim Carrey — and gives them a makeover to appear human. With their new disguises, the extraterrestrial trio embarks on a wild weekend filled with partying, police pursuits and interplanetary love.

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Davis and Goldblum, who were married at the time, had previously starred together in The Fly. The film also represents early roles for Carrey and Wayans, who later appear together on the sketch comedy series “In Living Color” starting in 1990.

Extras include an audio commentary with co-writer Julie Brown, who also appears in the film; interviews with Brown, director Julien Temple, director of photography Oliver Stapleton, production designer Dennis Gassner and make-up supervisor Robert Clark; the featurette “Earth Girls Karaoke!”; a vintage interview with the late actor Charles Rocket; a vintage premiere night promo; behind-the-scenes footage; deleted scenes and outtakes; promotional material such as trailers, TV spots and radio spots; and still and storyboard galleries.

The Blu-ray also includes a code for a digital copy of the film.

 

 

Season 15 of ‘Ancient Aliens’ Headed to DVD July 19

Season 15 of the History Channel series “Ancient Aliens”  arrives on DVD July 19 from Lionsgate.

Featuring narrator Robert Clotworthy and producer Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, this season examines formerly secret government reports about unexplained events around the country and the world, along with ancient relics believed to be of extraterrestrial origin. From prehistoric stone monoliths and sacred temples to dragon gods and time travelers, the season explores ancient technology and timeless relics that span the globe and the galaxy. As the government shifts from denial of the existence of extraterrestrials’ presence on Earth to releasing their extensive — formerly secret — reports on unexplained phenomena, it explores the growing belief that aliens may not be visitors from other planets, but perhaps creatures from our own future.

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Starman: Collector’s Edition

As discussed in depth in the bonus materials of the new Scream Factory Blu-ray of 1984’s Starman, director John Carpenter was eager to use the film to veer away from the scary fare he was known for and into the gentler realms of sci-fi and romance. Jeff Bridges anchors the film with a quirky, subtle performance as an alien entity trying to adjust to life as in a human body as he makes his way across the country to rendezvous with his mothership.

 

 

 

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Shout! Factory;
Sci-Fi;
$34.93 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG.’
Stars Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith, Richard Jaeckel.

To differentiate itself from the recent success of E.T., 1984’s Starman was billed as a “science-fiction romance” that played heavily on the idea of the “Greetings From Earth” messages launched with the Voyager space probes a few years earlier.

Director John Carpenter took on the project because he wanted to distance himself from his reputation as a horror director, but he was no stranger to science-fiction. He made his directorial debut with the expanded student film Dark Star in 1974 before establishing himself as a horror icon with Halloween, The Fog and Christine. But interspersed with those was the Elvis TV movie (with Kurt Russell), not to mention the Escape From New York and The Thing, both undisputable examples of sci-fi, even if The Thing takes full advantage of his horror sensibilities. And four years later he would make They Live.

Starman, however, would prove to be much lighter in tone than his previous works, with Carpenter putting an emphasis on the road trip aspect of the story that would center on the rapport between his two leads. While most of the film is a conventional “government searching for aliens” type of plot, it succeeds primarily due to the performance of Jeff Bridges, who was nominated for an Oscar for his efforts.

The film stars with one of the Voyager probes being intercepted by an alien ship, which finds the golden record on it containing samples of Earth culture and an invitation from the U.N. for alien life to visit. The aliens then send a smaller craft to accept the invitation, only for it to be shot down by the U.S. military.

After the ship crashes in rural Wisconsin, its occupant discovers the remote cabin occupied by Jenny (Karen Allen), who is pining over her recently deceased husband (Bridges). The alien uses photos of the man and some DNA from a lock of his hair in a scrapbook to create a body it can use to study humanity. This is where Bridges shines through, amplifying the awkwardness of an alien form in a new body slowly growing accustomed to it as he learns more about the world around him.

Bridges in the bonus materials recalls the approach he took to the character as one of an advanced being in a human body trying to impersonate a human. The transformation of the alien into Bridges was the result of the combination of work from three masters of movie makeup effects: Dick Smith, Rick Baker and Stan Winston.

Jenny is understandably freaked out by the clone of her dead husband standing in front of her, but quickly comes to understand what he’s there for. He needs to travel to Arizona to be picked up by his people in three days, before his human body can no longer sustain his alien energies (which allow him to control electronic devices, such as jumpstarting a car or keying the jackpot of a Vegas slot machine).

With the aid of some little metal spheres, the Starman’s powers include the ability to shield himself from danger and resurrect the dead, as in a memorable scene in which he cures a deer from recently being shot by a hunter.

Starman’s antics naturally cause a disturbance wherever he goes, creating a ripple effect that is being tracked by a group of government operatives who are divided by their interests in the alien. Some want to learn from him (as in Charles Martin Smith SETI scientist), but some want to dissect him, which creates some tension over which group gets to him first.

Shout! Factory’s new Blu-ray edition looks fantastic and really does justice to the cinematography of Donald M. Morgan. Aside from the few necessary visual effects shots to establish the alien spacecraft, most of the film’s look is defined by subtle lighting effects that come across really well in high-definition.

The film gave Bridges a chance to show off some of his musical chops thanks to his alien persona relaying himself through music he’s picked up, and a film-reel flashback of his human self playing the guitar and singing “All I Have to Do Is Dream” with Allen (a duet that was included on the film’s soundtrack album). He’s eventually win the Best Actor Oscar for playing a musician in 2009’s Crazy Heart. For Allen, this was probably her best-known role outside of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The Blu-ray combines some legacy bonus materials with a new 24-minute retrospective, called “They Came From Hollywood: Remembering Starman.” Bridges, Smith, Carpenter and a handful of the filmmakers are shown in separate interviews recalling their experience of making the film and what it meant for their careers.

For Bridges in particular, the film marked the start of a tradition in which he would assemble the photographs he takes on the set of his films into a scrapbook memento for the cast and crew.

The audio on some of the interviews is a bit scratchy, so viewers shouldn’t worry that their speakers are blowing out.

The Blu-ray also includes a great, insightful audio commentary with Carpenter and Bridges ported over from an overseas Blu-ray release, plus an 11-minute promotional featurette from the ’80s.

The film would go on to spawn a short-lived sequel TV series in 1986, though none of the cast reprised their roles. The show is available as a manufactured-on-demand DVD from Sony.

Starman