Supernatural: The Complete Series

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/25/21;
Warner;
Fantasy;
$329.99 86-DVD set, $359.99 58-disc Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Starring Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Alexander Calvert, Katie Cassidy, Lauren Cohan, Mark A. Sheppard, Mark Pellegrino, Jim Beaver, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Samantha Smith, Adrianne Palicki, Kathryn Newton, DJ Qualls, Felicia Day, Osric Chau, Lauren Tom, Alaina Huffman, Courtney Ford, Sterling K. Brown, Kurt Fuller, Curtis Armstrong, Ruth Connell.

It may be a cliché to say they don’t make ’em like they used to, but it’s an idiom that certainly applies in the case of “Supernatural.”

The series stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as Sam and Dean Winchester, brothers who spend the show traveling the country in a black 1967 Impala hunting monsters, demons, ghosts and other supernatural beings. Their quest to find their father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and find their mothers’ killer introduces them to a wider world of demon hunters, magic and divine beings who hold the fate of reality in their hands. At one point, the characters even become animated for a crossover with Scooby-Doo (in season 13).

Running an amazing 15 seasons and 327 episodes, the series began in 2005 on the old WB network, its last year before it merged with UPN to become what’s now known as The CW. Airing on the lowest rung of the network ladder certainly helped it flourish, as it became the longest-running American sci-fi/fantasy TV series in history with its 11th season, surpassing WB/CW sister series “Smallville,” which had run for 10 seasons and 217 episode, outpacing another 10-season sci-fi series, “Stargate SG-1,” by three episodes. The British side of the genre has produced “Doctor Who,” of course, with separate runs of 26 and 12 seasons (and an upcoming 13th), but with shorter episode lengths in the classic era and fewer episodes per season in the modern.

That’s the kind of output the TV industry just isn’t interested in sustaining anymore, beyond the handful of legacy procedurals that are sticking around on the networks. Between cable and streamers and the short attention spans of audiences, three- to four-season runs of 10 episodes apiece are much more the norm now.

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The massive complete-series Blu-ray disc set efficiently repackages all the previously released individual season sets, as well as the new 15th and final season set, and all the bonus material that entails.

The set comes in the form of a handsome outer box housing seven thick Blu-ray cases, packed two seasons per case, except for the seventh case which contains the final three seasons. Each of the first six cases house eight discs (except for case two, which has seven discs for seasons three and four), while case seven has 10 discs in total. This distribution pattern left no room for the season 15 bonus disc, which is instead housed in its own separate cardboard sleave at the end of the stack, alongside a booklet containing an episode guide, photos from the series, production artwork, and notes to the fans from series creator Eric Kripke and executive producer Robert Singer.

It’s a slightly awkward configuration but seemingly unavoidable without either splitting up one of the seasons into two separate cases, inventing an 11-disc case, or putting the four discs of season 15 in its own case and making the overall box bigger. All in all it’s just a minor infringement on any OCD some fans or collectors might have.

Among the extras on that final disc are a featurette about the series finale, a documentary about the show’s strong themes of family, and a look at the Winchesters as American heroes in the vein of folklore archetypes. There’s also a gag reel, a retrospective of all 15 seasons, and highlights from the show’s 2019 San Diego Comic-Con panel, which due to COVID-19 canceling the 2020 event turned out to be the show’s last.

In the final extra, a lucky fan wins a replica of the show’s iconic Impala.

The set does not include Supernatural: The Anime Series, which was released on Blu-ray in 2011.

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‘Pinocchio’ Coming to Digital Feb. 23 From Lionsgate

The Italian film adaptation Pinocchio arrives on digital Feb. 23 from Lionsgate.

The film stars Academy Award winner Roberto Benigni (1998, Best Actor, Life Is Beautiful), Federico lelapi (Que vado?), Rocco Papaleo (Basilicata Coast to Coast, A small southern enterprise, Cecchi Gori Cecchi Gori?), Massimo Ceccherini (Tale of Tales, La mia vita a stelle e strisce), with the participation of Marine Vacth, and with Gigi Proietti.

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In the story, when a magical piece of wood falls into his hands, Geppetto (Benigni) carves from it his greatest creation, Pinocchio, a puppet wondrously bestowed with life. Pinocchio’s dreams of becoming a real boy are complicated by his misadventures among a host of otherworldly creatures — a fox-and-cat bandit duo, an asthmatic dogfish, a talking cricket, and others — until he meets a kind blue-haired fairy, whose only wish is to make his dreams come true.

‘Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV’ Coming to 4K UHD March 30 From Sony

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV will come out on 4K Ultra HD March 30 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, the magical kingdom of Lucis is home to the sacred Crystal, and the menacing empire of Niflheim is determined to steal it. King Regis of Lucis (Sean Bean) commands an elite force of soldiers called the Kingsglaive. Wielding their king’s magic, Nyx (Aaron Paul) and his fellow soldiers fight to protect Lucis. As the overwhelming military might of the empire bears down, King Regis is faced with an impossible ultimatum — to marry his son, Prince Noctis, to Princess Lunafreya of Tenebrae (Lena Headey), captive of Niflheim, and surrender his lands to the empire’s rule. Although the king concedes, it becomes clear that the empire will stop at nothing to achieve their devious goals, with only the Kingsglaive standing between them and world domination. Based on the iconic game, which has sold nearly 9 million copies worldwide since its launch.

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Extras include “A Way with Words: Epic and Intimate Vocals,” in which Aaron Paul, Lena Headey and Sean Bean — along with the filmmakers — reveal the process of creating the vocals for this film; “Fit for the Kingsglaive: Building the World,” an in-depth exploration of imagining and designing the world of the film;  “To Capture the Kingsglaive: The Process,” exploring the intricate process of capturing the physical performances at the heart of this computer-generated film; and “Emotive Music: Scoring the Kingsglaive,” about the creation of the score.

Actioner ‘Dragon Soldiers’ Due on DVD and Digital Dec. 15

The action fantasy Dragon Soldiers will arrive on DVD, digital and on demand Dec. 15 from Lionsgate.

In the film, when locals start vanishing from a small Colorado town, the mayor hires a squad of elite mercenaries to fight off the menace — whoever or whatever it may be. Leader Cameron (Ruben Pla, Insidious, Contracted, Dead Air) and his team suspect a ruthless gang of mercenary survivalists until they come face to face with a massive, airborne, fire-breathing reptile. Stopping the creature and surviving the attacks will take weapons, explosives and gunfire.

The film also stars Antuone Torbert (Soul Hunters, “Blader”) and Heath C. Heine (Jurassic Thunder, Return of the Ghostbusters, Ink).

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Schwarzenegger Adventure ‘Iron Mask’ Due on Digital Nov. 20, Disc Nov. 24

The fantasy adventure Iron Mask will come out on digital and on demand Nov. 20 and on Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 24 from Lionsgate.

For the first time ever, screen legends Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan face off against each other in battle. In the film, in order to save his homeland from certain doom, a kung fu master (Chan) must escape from the maniacal James Hook (Schwarzenegger) in order to send his daughter a secret talisman that will allow her to control a massive and mythical dragon. The globe-trotting tale — ranging from the impenetrable Tower of London to the fabled Silk Road and China’s Great Wall — also stars Rutger Hauer in one of the screen icon’s final performances.

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‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ 4K Ultra HD Steelbook Arriving Dec. 1

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is re-releasing the Ang Lee action-adventure fantasy Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as a limited-edition Steelbook Dec. 1.

The film won Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score and Best Art Direction.

It follows two master warriors (Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh) who are faced with their greatest challenge when the treasured Green Destiny sword is stolen. A young aristocrat (Zhang Ziyi) prepares for an arranged marriage, but soon reveals her superior fighting talents and her deeply romantic past. As each warrior battles for justice, they come face to face with their worst enemy — and the inescapable, enduring power of love.

Set against 19th century China’s breathtaking landscape, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is directed by two-time Best Director Oscar winner Lee (Brokeback Mountain, 2005; Life of Pi, 2012) and features martial arts choreography by Yuen Wo Ping (The Matrix).

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The limited edition Steelbook includes the film on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray. The film was originally released on 4K Ultra HD in 2016.

Bonus materials include:

  • Sx deleted scenes: presented in 4K Ultra HD with High Dynamic Range;
  • in-depth retrospective interviews, in which director Ang Lee, producer James Schamus and editor Tim Squyres discuss the making of the groundbreaking film;
  • an introduction to the Film and the deleted scenes by Lee;
  • “A Love Before Time” Music Video in English and Mandarin;
  • “The Making of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”;
  • commentary with Lee and Schamus;
  • commentary with cinematographer Peter Pau;
  • “A Conversation with Michelle Yeoh”;
  • a photo gallery; and
  • the theatrical trailer.

Horror Films ‘Dead Pit’ and ‘The Last Victim’ Among Discs Available From MVD and Dark Force Aug. 25

Two horror films and a sci-fi-fantasy monster film are available Aug. 25 on Blu-ray and DVD from Dark Force Entertainment and MVD Entertainment Group.

The sci-fi-fantasy film Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century (1977) follows Professor Wassermann (John Stacy) who is asked by industry magnate Morgan Hunnicut (Eddie Faye) to lead an expedition to study the giant Yeti creature found frozen in a large ice block on Newfoundland’s coast. The professor does not know that Hunnicut intends to use the prehistoric creature as a trademark of its multinational industrial group — very big mistake. From Director Gianfranco Parolini (aka Frank Kramer), co-writer and director of the Lee Van Cleef/Yul Brenner “Sabata” spaghetti Western trilogy, the film also stars Antonella Interlenghi (Lucio Fulci’s City of the Living Dead), Tony Kendall (Ossorio’s Return of the Evil Dead) and Mimmo Craig as the titular ice age titan. The release features a new high def master from the original existing Italian camera negative.

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Also available on DVD and for the first time on Blu-ray is the horror film Dead Pit (1989). From director Brett Leonard (Virtuosity, The Lawnmower Man), it follows a renegade doctor who is shot dead and entombed with his fiendish experiments in the basement of an abandoned wing of a mental hospital. Twenty years later, a mysterious woman is admitted with amnesia. Her arrival is marked by an earthquake — which cracks the seal to the Dead Pit, freeing the evil doctor to continue his work. Extras include new interviews with Cheryl Lawson, Jeremy Slate, director Brett Leonard and writer/producer Gimel Everett. Fangoria included Dead Pit in its “101 Best Horror Movies You’ve Never Seen.”

From cult movie director Jim Sotos (Sweet Sixteen, Hot Moves), the horror title The Last Victim (aka Forced Entry) (1976) is a suspense drama starring Tanya Roberts (A View to a Kill, “Charlie’s Angels”) as a beautiful woman forced into a life and death struggle against the demented obsessions of a psychopathic killer. The film also stars Nancy Allen (Carrie), Michael Tucci (Grease) and Glenn Scarpelli (“One Day at a Time”).The Blu-ray includes both the ‘R’-rated and ‘PG’-rated versions under the titles The Last Victim and Forced Entry. The title features a new 2k scan with restoration from the original film negative and missing scenes from a 35mm print, as well as a reversible cover art that features the original theatrical poster.

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Sci-Fi Fantasy ‘Max Reload and the Nether Blasters’ Available on Disc and Digital From MVD

The sci-fi fantasy film Max Reload and the Nether Blasters is available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital from MVD Entertainment Group.

In the film, the gaming fantasies of a small-town video game store clerk, Max Jenkins, collide with reality when a legendary “lost” installment of the 1980s “Nether Game” series appears on the store counter of his workplace. Unbeknownst to Max, the old game cartridge bears a curse and in playing it, he unlocks “The Nether,” an ancient malevolent force of evil upon his small hometown. Along with a mysterious masked man and his two best friends, Liz and Reggie, Max must figure out how to beat the Nether at its own game before it’s game over for humanity.

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The cast includes Tom Plumley (“Upright Citizens Brigade”), Hassie Harrison (“TacomaFD”), Joey Morgan (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse), Greg Grunberg (Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker), Lin Shaye (Insidious) and Martin Kove (“Cobra Kai”). It also stars Kevin Smith (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot), Joseph D. Reitman (Money Monster), Lukas Gage (HBO’s “Euphoria”), Charlie Talbert (The Big Short) and Wil Wheaton (“The Big Bang Theory”).

Extras include an art and animation featurette; the “NetherCragon” VFX featurette; the “Egypt” VFX featurette; “Reggie Gets Nethered,” an anatomy of a scene featurette; a “Speed Run” bonus featurette; and the original theatrical trailer.

‘Teenage Hitchhikers,’ ‘Ator: The Fighting Eagle’ Among Titles on Disc in May From Dark Force and MVD

The cult film Teenage Hitchhikers and the sci-fi adventure Ator: the Fighting Eagle are among the titles available on disc in May from Dark Force Entertainment and MVD Entertainment Group.

Available now on DVD and Blu-ray is the 1970s cult exploitation film Teenage Hitchhikers. In the film, Mouse (Kathie Christopher, The Taking of Christina) and Bird (Sandra Peabody, Last House on the Left) are a couple of sassy and sexy young hitchhikers who embark on a cross country trip in search of freedom, excitement and independence. The lovely ladies use their bodies as currency and encounter a diverse array of libidinous folks on their journey. Available for the first time on Blu-ray, the release features a new HD master from the original uncut 35mm camera negative with extensive scene by scene color correction; audio commentary with director of photography Bill Lamond; and a new 2019 interview with writer/director Gerri Sedley. Featured in Quentin Tarantino’s “QT Fest,” the film also stars Claire Wilbur (Score) and Margaret Whitton (The Secret of My Success, Major League).

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Due on DVD and Blu-ray May 26 is the horror double feature of The Gates of Hell and Psycho From Texas (1980). In The Gates of Hell, a reporter and a psychic race to close the gates of hell after the suicide of a clergyman caused them to open, allowing the dead to rise from their graves. It’s a new HD master created from a U.S. theatrical 35mm print. In Psycho from Texas, a drifter/hitman is hired by a local businessman to kidnap the local oil baron. The hitman had been reared in squalor, suffering the abuses of his whoring mama. When the baron escapes, his assistant must chase him while the hitman takes care of a few loose ends. The HD master is created from the only available source masters with extensive scene by scene color correction. The films are available in Dark Force Entertainment’s exclusive “Drive-In Mode” featuring cult director Damon Packard.

Also coming on DVD and Blu-ray May 26 is Breeders (a remake of the 1986 movie Breeders and also known as Deadly Instincts). When a meteorite crash lands onto a Boston college campus and an alien beast is released, only one man understands its mission to mate. From the depths of an all-girls college, the monster stalks his prey in a cat-and-mouse chase until the final conflict where only one species can survive. The 1997 cult classic DTV sci-fi horror entry stars Samantha Womack (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Todd Jensen (It’s Alive), Oliver Tobias (The Wicked Lady), Clifton Lloyd Bryan (The Fifth Element) and Melanie Walters (“Gavin and Stacey”).

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Finally, for fans of Conan: The Barbarian and “Hercules” comes the sci-fi fantasy Ator: The Fighting Eagle Collector’s Edition (1982) May 26 on DVD and Blu-ray. In the film’s lore, it is written that the son of Thorn will put an end to the tragic dynasty of the Spider. Thus, the Grand Priest of the Spider orders the slaughter of the newborn son. However, the old Griba hides the newborn safe from the slaughter, and he grows up strong and brave with his adoptive parents. Miles O’Keeffe (Tarzan The Ape Man) plays Ator, son of Thorn. He falls in love with Sunya (Ritza Brown), whom he believes to be his sister. When the truth is revealed that Ator was adopted, he gains the approval for the marriage. But on their wedding day, the Black Knights, guards of the Grand Priest, begin a massacre in Ator’s village as they search for old Griba and they kidnap Sunya, the bride. Ator must then begin his long, perilous journey toward the Temple of the Spider. On his way he learns the secrets of martial arts and befriends Roon (Sabrina Siani), a thief Amazon who joins Ator on the journey to the temple. Together they conquer danger after danger. The film is directed by Italian cult director Joe D’Amato (Death Smiles on a Murderer). The HD master was made from the only existing 35mm print with extensive restoration. Ator: The Fighting Eagle was featured in season 12 of “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”

‘Gretel & Hansel’ Coming to Digital April 7, Disc May 5 From Warner

Gretel & Hansel arrives on digital April 7 and Blu-ray and DVD May 5 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Directed by Osgood Perkins, the film is a terrifying reimagining of the Brothers Grimm fairytale for a new generation: a long time ago in a distant fairy tale countryside, a young girl leads her little brother into a dark wood in desperate search for food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil.

The film stars Sophia Lillis (It) as Gretel, newcomer Samuel J. Leakey as Hansel and Alice Krige (Star Trek: First Contact) as the witch.

The film made $22 million at the global box office.

The Blu-ray and DVD include the “Storybook” special feature.

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