My Two Cents
Friday, 25 March 2016 15:09

Batman v Superman hits Blu-ray in July, plus Finest Hours, Supergirl: S1, my thoughts on BvS & WonderCon is on!

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[Editor’s Note: Be sure to follow us on Twitter @thedigitalbits @BillHuntBits and on Facebook here and here. And you can help support The Bits by pre-ordering Blu-rays and other items from Amazon through this link.]

Okay... first things first: At some point today, I should have Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray in hand. As soon as I do, I’ll start working on my review and will get it posted as quickly as possible. So be sure to keep checking back for that.

Speaking of Disney, the studio has just set The Finest Hours for Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and digital release on 5/24. Both disc versions will include 2 featurettes (Brotherhood and The Finest Inspiration: The U.S. Coast Guard). To this, the Blu-ray will add the all-new documentary Against All Odds: The Bernie Webber Story, plus 2 more featurettes (Two Crews and What Is Your Finest Hour?), and a pair of deleted scenes (A Desperate Idea and The Story of How They Met). You can see the cover artwork down below.  [Read on here…]

Meanwhile, Amazon has just listed Warner’s new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition for release on 7/16 in Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo, DVD, and two special Amazon-exclusive versions of the Blu-ray Combo that come packaged with Batman or Superman figurines. [Editor’s Note: Yes, we’re aware that is a Saturday, but that’s the date Amazon listed, albiet briefly. We do expect a mid-July release and we’re awaiting the official WHV announcement for confirmation.] The SRP is $44.95 for the BD3D, $35.99 for the regular BD, and $129.99 for either of the Amazon exclusive versions. There’s also a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version coming that’s not yet listed but is likely due on 7/16 as well (we also suspect Man of Steel will arrive on UHD BD that same day). Note that all of these SKU listings suggest that the sets will include the theatrical cut of the film plus an Ultimate Edition (which could be the recently-revealed Extended Cut). Meanwhile, click on the title links above to pre-order and you can see the two Amazon-exclusive versions here...

Batman v Superman (Amazon Blu-ray exclusive - Batman version)    Batman v Superman (Amazon Blu-ray exclusive - Superman version)

Continuing on the superhero front, Warner Home Video has just set Supergirl: Season One for Blu-ray pre-order on Amazon with no street date given.

Also up for pre-order on Amazon (street date TBA) is Fox’s The X-Files: The Event Series. You can see the official cover artwork below.

The BBC has set Doctor Who: The Complete First Series for standalone Blu-ray release on 6/21 (SRP $59.99).

The BBC has also set Call the Midwife: Season Five for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/24.

In addition, Magnolia Home Entertainment has set Jacob Gentry’s science fiction film Synchronicity for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/10.

And here’s something awesome: Kino Lorber is releasing a few rare early and classic science fiction films on Blu-ray on 6/14, including Karl Hartl’s Gold (1934) and Curt Siodmak’s The Magnetic Monster (1953).

A couple other quick items of business today...

The annual WonderCon convention kicks off today up in Los Angeles and runs through the weekend (word is it’s coming back to Anaheim next year). I’m not doing any panels at the Con this year, but I’ll be hanging out around the show tomorrow afternoon (Saturday) for a few hours, so maybe I’ll see you there. Meanwhile, my old friend Chris Gore is doing his DVD-Duesday panel at the convention on Saturday night, and that should be a lot of fun. Do check it out if you’re around then. Here’s the details (click the image for more)...

Chris Gore's DVD-Duesday at WonderCon 2016

Finally today, I caught a late screening of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice last night with some friends, so I thought I’d offer my quick (and 100% spoiler free) review:

I would say it’s definitely not the movie I would have wanted to follow Man of Steel (which I happen to love), but I’m also not sure why so many people are losing their shit over it one way or another. I didn’t love this film, but I didn’t hate it either. I suppose I would say I kind of liked it. I definitely see the method to Snyder’s madness, and there are certainly things to like in his approach. Cavil’s Superman is still good here, and I thought Batfleck was actually pretty great (I like that you meet him a bit past his prime, so he’s got a brittle, jaded edge), you just don’t really get to spend enough character time with either them – this film lacks Man of Steel’s more focused central character through line. BvS is mostly fallout from Man of Steel, then set-up for the relentless over-the-top fireworks (accomplished with the story skipping around to various converging plot threads that collectively have an almost operatic tone), and finally you get the relentless over-the-top fireworks. Wonder Woman is fine, again you just don’t really get to know her very well. Most of these characters start as ciphers and remain such at the end. There’s also a lot of stuff in this film that I feel completely indifferent about. I guess Batman v Superman is better than I expected in some ways, but at the same time about what I expected in others.

I think the real problem some longtime comic book fans are having with this film (and with the new DCCU) is that its superheroes don’t match the pre-conceptions they have for these characters in their minds. They aren’t perfect paragons of moral virtue. They’re more like us, which is to say haunted and messy. I think some fans are also turned off by DC’s darker take on a cinematic superhero universe. Personally, though, I find it much more believable and interesting that the Marvel universe – just my take, but hear me out a moment. To me, the DCCU is more psychologically “realistic” than Marvel’s universe, by which I mean dark, depressing, and traumatized. In damn near all these Marvel films, there’s a huge swath of destruction and yet everyone still goes to work, the economy keeps on pumping, civil society continues about like it always was. “Say honey, did you see New York City got destroyed by aliens today?” “That’s nice dear. Shall we go to the lake this weekend or stay in with the kids and watch movies?” Right. But consider, if you will, our own social, political, and economic situation today (in response to terrorism, cyber-spying, mass migration, etc), then extrapolate that to add destructive super beings into the mix. Personally, I happen to believe that if a bunch of alien “gods” from space (or mutants in our midst) actually wiped out parts of a major American city on a regular basis, the world would lose its collective shit. People would freak out, get ultra-paranoid and militant, question their faith, join cults, go into hiding, move to remote locations, build bunkers, stop going to work, get depressed and kill themselves, and otherwise lash out at others around them. The economy would collapse. Civil society would break down. Every tin plated dictator on the planet with nukes would be tempted to press the button to save themselves. It’d be chaos.

So while the darker tone of the DCCU is probably not what many fans want to see, it feels more authentic and has more appeal to me that the alternative. In truth, I’m actually a little OD-ed on the whole genre. I find it a bit too repetitive for my taste, endless variations on “With great power comes great responsibility” vs “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”... just change the color of the tights and the number of guys/girls in tights on each side of the ledger. I think I’ve gotten the idea by now. I’m at the point where I’d rather just pour a bourbon and open a good book. But hey, that’s me. If you love this genre, there’s never been a more awesome time to go to the movies.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice isn’t as bad as the critics would have you believe. On the one hand, for more the traditional, longtime cinema critics, this film just isn’t ever going to be their cup of tea. On the other hand, I think many of the geek blogger critics are having trouble setting aside their long history of fandom with the genre and their own strong expectations of these characters. I’ve been guilty of that myself. When you’ve loved something for decades, since you were a child, it’s hard to have an impartial perspective about it. The Rotten Tomatoes audience score is I think the better indicator. Right now, it’s at about 75%. If I had to guess, it will settle out somewhere in the high 60% range and I think that’s about right. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is certainly not to everyone’s taste, but it’s worth seeing. For me, it’s a C+... maybe a B- if I’m being really generous. Go check it out and I think you’ll at least be glad you did. Meanwhile, this should give you a pretty good laugh...

All right, so that’s that. We’ll leave you today with a look at some new Blu-ray cover artwork (with clickable Amazon pre-order links if available)…

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Blu-ray Disc)    The Finest Hours (Blu-ray Disc)    Synchronicity (Blu-ray Disc)

Doctor Who: Season One (Blu-ray Disc)    Gold (Blu-ray Disc)    The Magnetic Monster (Blu-ray Disc)

The X-Files: The Event Series (Blu-ray Disc)    Dr. Strangelove (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)    The Taking of Pelham 123 (Blu-ray Disc)

Don’t forget to check back later here at The Bits for my review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Blu-ray. It could be posted as early as this evening.

In the meantime, have a great WonderCon (if you’re going), Happy Easter (for those of you who celebrate), and all around have a great weekend!

- Bill Hunt (@BillHuntBits)


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