Category Archives: DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond: The All-New Star Trek Adventure Takes Off on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and Blu-ray 3D™ Combo Packs November 1, 2016

Synopsis:
In STAR TREK BEYOND, the Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.

Review:
In year 3 of their 5-year mission, the crew of the Enterprise takes a much-needed shore leave on the Starbase Yorktown. But their leave is cut short when a lone survivor of an attack needs the Enterprise to aid in a rescue mission. However, a seemingly unstoppable foe is waiting for them, and maroons the crew of the Enterprise on an alien planet. And an angry villain with a vendetta seeks an ancient weapon.

Watching this film is bittersweet, knowing it’s the last time the entire crew will be on screen together, as young Anton Yelchin passed away shortly before the theater release. And the legendary Leonard Nimoy passed away as well, who had a nice tribute in the film. Sofia Boutella starred as a fantastic new character, Jaylah, who is strong, talented, and snarky. She fit in extremely well with the Enterprise crew. I hope they bring her back for any future films. And Idris Elba is a talented actor who plays a great villain.

From incredible special effects to endearing characters – this action-packed film is full of mystery, adventure, and humor. It has a wonderful nostalgic feel, instead of the darker previous film. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and have watched it multiple times at the theater and on blu-ray. It’s definitely my favorite of the reboot series. Anytime the new theme song gets stuck in my head, it feels like a good time to watch it again.

Star Trek Beyond Blu-ray Combo Pack Includes:
Blu-ray
• Feature film in high definition
• Bonus Content:
o Deleted Scenes – Go Beyond the final cut of the movie with scenes you didn’t see in theaters.
o Beyond the Darkness – Meet visionary producer J.J. Abrams, director Justin Lin and co-writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung as they discuss the inspiration for the Star Trek Beyond storyline and how it came to life.
o Enterprise Takedown – Experience edge-of-your-seat action and see how a shocking attack destroys the USS Enterprise.
o Divided and Conquered – Learn how filmmakers pushed the boundaries in Star Trek Beyond by forcing the Enterprise crew into their most challenging situations yet.
o A Warped Sense of Revenge – Meet Star Trek’s newest villain, Krall, as actor Idris Elba reveals the backstory behind his character’s terrifying ambitions.
o Trekking in the Desert – Go on set to Dubai and discover how its futuristic architecture became the foundation for the most innovative Starbase yet.
o Exploring Strange New Worlds – Tour the incredible production sets of Star Trek Beyond with director Justin Lin.
o New Life, New Civilizations – See how special effects designers met the challenge to create an unprecedented 50 new alien species for the film to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary.
o To Live Long and Prosper – Journey through the past 50 years of Star Trek with J.J. Abrams and the cast as they reflect on the evolution of this iconic sci-fi series.
o For Leonard and Anton – Watch a touching tribute to the legendary Leonard Nimoy and beloved crew member Anton Yelchin.
o Gag Reel – Join in on the fun with this hilarious gag reel of on-set bloopers.
DVD
• Feature film in standard definition

Blu-Ray Review: The Legend of Tarzan

The Legend of Tarzan is now available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, or on Digital HD

Synopsis:
It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Skarsgård) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Robbie) at his side. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian, Leon Rom (Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.

Review:
This is definitely the most complex Tarzan story brought to film. Political, action-packed, and often heart-wrenching – this is also my favorite Tarzan film. I loved all the casting choices save for Samuel L Jackson who seemed to be there just as a sidekick/comic relief. Skarsgård not only looked the part to perfection, but also gave a great performance of quiet strength.

This is not another Tarzan origin story. We only see glimpses in flashbacks. I thoroughly enjoyed this surprising story. The movie trailers didn’t do it justice. While the apes are much more brutal than we’ve seen in other movies, it only adds to the suspense and complexity of the apes and Tarzan’s past. It’s also a visually stunning film with fantastic CGI. It’s definitely one of my favorite movies of the year.

3D Blu-Ray Combo Pack Special Features / DVD Special Features:
– Tarzan Reborn
– Battles and Bare Knuckled Brawls
– Tarzan and Jane’s Unfailing Love
– Creating the Virtual Jungle
– Gabon to the Big Screen
– Stop Ivory PSA

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Blu-Ray Spotlight: Beauty and the Beast 25th Anniversary Edition

Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition – (BD+DVD+DIGITAL HD)

About the Release:
Twenty-five years ago, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” broke ground as the first animated feature film to receive an Academy Award® nomination for best picture. The beloved classic won two Oscars®, including best song and best original score, as well as a Golden Globe Award® for best comedy/musical. Now a whole new generation of viewers will follow the magical journey of Belle, an independent and intelligent, modern-day heroine who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her precarious situation, Belle befriends the castle’s enchanted staff—a teapot, a candelabra and a mantel clock, among others—and ultimately learns to see beneath the Beast’s exterior to discover the heart and soul of a prince.

The Walt Disney Signature Collection edition features four versions of “Beauty and the Beast,” including a never-before-released on home entertainment, sing-along version. A host of all-new bonus extras include a rare opportunity to gather around the piano with some of Disney’s greatest composers, as they sing and share how they’ve personally been inspired by the film’s award-winning music; a look at how Walt Disney himself sought to adapt this famous fairytale; a nostalgic look back with Paige O’Hara, the voice of Belle; behind-the-scenes access into the recording booth with the cast; and a sneak peek at Disney’s upcoming live-action re-telling of “Beauty and the Beast,” arriving in theaters in 2017.

The Recording Sessions:

The Missing Link:

Review:
As a book lover, Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my all-time favorite Disney films. The songs are wonderful and voice-work is fantastic. I can’t believe it’s 25 years old! This special edition is packed with bonus content and behind-the-scenes features. There is so much included, that I haven’t made it through everything yet, but I’m definitely impressed with the amount and quality of extra content. And I don’t think I’ve seen the film since it was on DVD, so the quality on Blu-ray is stunning. I will definitely be watching the fun, sing-a-long version with my nieces and nephew as well. And the sneak peek of the upcoming live-action version has made me even more excited to see it next year.

Blu-Ray Review: The X-Files: The Event Series

The X-Files: The Event Series Blu-ray

About the Release:
Almost 14 years after the original series run, the next mind-bending chapter of “The X-Files”™ is a thrilling, six-episode event series from creator/executive producer Chris Carter, with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reinhabiting their roles as iconic FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Mitch Pileggi also returns as FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner, Mulder and Scully’s boss, who walks a fine line between loyalty to these investigators and accountability to his superiors. This marks the momentous return of the Emmy®- and Golden Globe® Award-winning pop culture phenomenon, which remains one of the longest-running sci-fi series in network television history.

“The X-Files” – The Event Series Blu-ray & DVD Special Features:
➢ Deleted & Extended Scenes
➢ Gag Reel
➢ The Makings of a Struggle
➢ Season X: An In-Depth Behind-the-Scenes Look at “The Event Series”
➢ Monsters of the Week: A Recap from the Wildest and Scariest from the Original Series
➢ “The X-Files” – Green Production PSA
➢ Short Film – Grace by Karen Nielsen
➢ Commentary on “Founder’s Mutation” with Chris Carter and James Wong
➢ Commentary on “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” with David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Kumail Nanjiani and Darin Morgan
➢ Commentary on “My Struggle II” with Chris Carter and Gabe Rotter

Review:
Scully and Mulder are back and better than ever in this much-too-short season. From scary to funny, and everything in between – I thoroughly enjoyed this latest season with a bit of nostalgia but completely new stories. Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster was by far my favorite episode. Guest starring Rhys Darby, this surprising story was suspenseful and hilarious.

My only complaint is that there were only 6 episodes that build to a climactic finale with a huge cliffhanger. I hope to see a new (longer) season soon. Watching this Event made me excited to re-watch the series from the beginning.

Blu-Ray Review: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Director’s Edition

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Director’s Cut Blu-ray

About the Release:As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Star Trek franchise, this classic film has been digitally remastered in high definition with brilliant picture quality and will be presented in both Nicholas Meyer’s Director’s Edition and the original theatrical version. The Blu-ray also includes a brand-new, nearly 30-minute documentary entitled “The Genesis Effect: Engineering The Wrath of Khan,” which details the development and production of this fan-favorite film through archival footage, photos and new interviews.

Captain Kirk’s Starfleet career enters a new chapter as a result of his most vengeful nemesis: Khan Noonien Singh, the genetically enhanced conqueror from late 20th century Earth. Escaping his forgotten prison, Khan sets his sights on both capturing Project Genesis, a device of god-like power, and the utter destruction of Kirk.

STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN Director’s Edition Blu-ray Includes:
Blu-ray
• Director’s Edition in high definition
• Theatrical Version in high definition
• Commentary by director Nicholas Meyer (Director’s Edition & Theatrical Version)
• Commentary by director Nicholas Meyer and Manny Coto (Theatrical Version)
• Text Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda (Director’s Edition)
• Library Computer (Theatrical Version)
• The Genesis Effect: Engineering The Wrath of Khan—NEW!
• Production
– Captain’s Log
– Designing Khan
– Original interviews with DeForest Kelley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Ricardo Montalban
– Where No Man Has Gone Before: The Visual Effects of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
– James Horner: Composing Genesis
• The Star Trek Universe
– Collecting Star Trek’s Movie Relics
– A Novel Approach
– Starfleet Academy: The Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI
• Farewell
– A Tribute to Ricardo Montalban
• Storyboards
• Theatrical Trailer

Review:
I’m a huge fan of Star Trek, so I jumped at the change to own the Director’s Edition. It definitely doesn’t vary too much from the theatrical release. But there are some scenes that are noticeably different if you’ve seen the film multiple times, or recently. I read that there was an error on this release of a short, duplicate scene. But it must have been so short that I didn’t even notice it when I watched it the other day. And I also haven’t watched it enough to notice minute details.

I have owned this movie on blu-ray in a set of the original series movies. But this must have been the first time I watched the edited high def version. And the visual quality this time around definitely impressed me. I’m hoping the other films get similar releases – I’d love a complete collection. And I almost always prefer the Director’s Cut.

DVD Review: The Shannara Chronicles Season 1

The Shannara Chronicles: Season 1

Synopsis:
Set thousands of years in the future, “The Shannara Chronicles” follows three heroes, Elf-Human hybrid Wil (Austin Butler, “Arrow”), Elvin Princess Amberle (Poppy Drayton, “Downton Abbey”), and Human Rover Eretria (Ivana Baquero, Pan’s Labryinth), as they embark on a quest to stop an evil Demon army from destroying the world. The show also features Manu Bennett (The Hobbit), John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings), and James Remar (“Dexter”).

Review:
The Shannara Chronicles is loosely based on novel The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks. And I do mean “loosely.” While the first episode does feel very reminiscent of the book, it doesn’t take long before the story veers off with different characters and new story lines. And even some of the main characters meet different fates.

Hardcore fans of the novels may not be happy with the path this this series takes. But the story does still loosely follow, with many similar characters, stretching a book into 10 1-hour episodes. This series is on MTV, so not-surprisingly there is plenty of angst and it’s more sexualized compared to the book. To the point of ridiculousness at times. But overall, it’s an action-packed, dark, and dramatic series full of bold characters, grotesque creatures, and arcane magic. Some of the episodes drag a bit, but for the most part I did enjoy most this season. The end leaves off where the book did. So I’m guessing next season would be a fresh new story not found in the books, and that may be a good idea if they stray so far from the source material anyway.

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:
– Behind-the-scenes
– Meet the Characters
– Exploring New Zealand
– Terry Brooks interview
– Making of the Dagda Mor

DVD Release Date: 6/7/16
U.S. Rating: NR
Running Time: 411 min
Format: Widescreen
Price: $29.99 US/ $32.99 Canada

Blu-Ray Review: PAN

PAN (BLU-RAY + DVD + ULTRAVIOLET) – PAN releases today on Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack or DVD.

Synopsis:
Peter (Levi Miller) is a mischievous 12-year-old boy with an irrepressible rebellious streak, but in the bleak London orphanage where he has lived his whole life those qualities do not exactly fly. Then one incredible night, Peter is whisked away from the orphanage and spirited off to a fantastical world of pirates, warriors and fairies called Neverland. There, he finds amazing adventures and fights life-or-death battles while trying to uncover the secret of his mother, who left him at the orphanage so long ago, and his rightful place in this magical land. Teamed with the warrior Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) and a new friend named James Hook (Garrett Hedlund), Peter must defeat the ruthless pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) to save Neverland and discover his true destiny—to become the hero who will forever be known as Peter Pan.

Review:
I heard enough negative reviews about PAN, that I didn’t see it in the theater. Thankfully, having low expectations, I actually enjoyed it. The story does start out quite dark and slow. But as soon as PAN meets Hook, the real adventure begins.

Hook acts and sounds more like a cowboy than a pirate. But this film is set way before that. This is an origin story for Peter Pan. A re-imagining that is a bit different with plenty of fun inspiration. The acting is entertaining, especially Miller as Peter. The CGI left something to be desired. Sometimes it was stunning, other times it looked like a cartoon image from the Polar Express. But all-in-all it’s a fresh and fun film with plenty of swashbuckling adventure, humor, and heart.

Blu-Ray Review: Terminator Genisys

Terminator Genisys 3D (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)

Synopsis:
In the war of man against machine, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) is sent back to 1984 by resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) to protect his young mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). However, this time unexpected events have altered the past and threaten the future for all mankind. Now Reese must join forces with Sarah and her “Guardian” (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to save the world and stop the next evolution of Terminators.

Review:
If the plot sounds familiar, you’d be right. I felt like I was watching the first Terminator film, but with different actors and better special effects. But this is the first film on an alternate timeline, where the machines are always one step ahead.

While the plot was much too repetitive for me, I really did enjoy the new actors. Though Arnold’s character was by far my favorite. It felt like a reboot of sorts. With incredible CGI – what they did with Arnold’s “young” Terminator was amazing. My biggest peeve was that the trailers for the movie spoiled what happens with John Connor’s character. I would have loved to be surprised. Instead, the film was incredible predictable – since we’ve seen most of it before. It’s an entertaining action flick with plenty of edge-of-your-seat thrills.

Special Features Include:
– Family Dynamics: Casting Terminator Genisys and how the actors filled some of the most iconic roles in cinematic history
– Infiltration and Termination: Go behind-the-scenes to San Francisco and New Orleans in a first-hand look at filming locations
– Upgrades: VFX of Terminator Genisys