My Two Cents
All right, I promised my thoughts on The Mandalorian on Disney+. I have to say, I like it. It’s nice to watch a slice of Star Wars that doesn’t involve Jedi, Sith, and Skywalkers for a change. It’s a little in the mold of Rogue One, though that was more closely tied to the Saga films. But Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have crafted a half-hour series that feels like a slice of lived-in classic Star Wars, and is taking its time developing its story. The texture is right, the supporting cast is terrific (thus far including Carl Weathers, Werner Herzog, and Nick Nolte), and I love the Bill Conti-infused score by Ludwig Göransson.
Pedro Pascal is good in the lead role, but to be fair we haven’t seen him outside the Mandalorian armor yet, nor have we learned very much about the character. But each episode seems to peel back the onion a little more, and again I like the fact that the show is taking its time. I would have thought that 30-40 minute episodes would seem too short, but I find I’m satisfied after each one. And reports from friends and Lucasfilm insiders who have seen more suggest that the show gets better with every new installment (there will be 8 in all in this first season). What I can tell you is that I’m certainly enjoying it. The show also looks great in 4K with HDR, and sounds great too in Dolby Atmos. [Read on here...]
All right, first things first today: Criterion has just announced its February 2020 slate of Blu-ray and DVD titles.
Look for it to include Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma (Spine #1014 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/11, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema (Spine #1013 – Blu-ray and DVD) and an updating of Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Antoni Gaudí (Spine #425 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/18, and Jeannie Livingston’s Paris is Burning (Spine #1018 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman (Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/25. That last set includes Journey to the Beginning of Time (Spine #1015), Invention for Destruction (Spine #1016), and The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (Spine #1017). You can read more here at the Criterion website.
Those are all fine titles, but Roma is particularly appreciated given that it was a Netflix release last year and hasn’t been available on physical media yet.
Also today, our own Michael Coate has a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column here at The Bits—first posted yesterday afternoon—in which he looks back at James Cameron’s The Abyss with historian Matthew Kapell in honor of the film’s 30th anniversary. It’s a great piece, so do give it a look. And who knows? Maybe it will remind the director that he’s got a new 4K HDR grade of the film to approve so we can all watch it on Blu-ray and UHD sooner rather than later. [Read on here...]
Before we begin today, a quick note: Our own Tim Salmons has just posted his in-depth review of Warner’s new Batman Beyond: The Complete Series Blu-ray box set. And it sounds like the set is quite good, very much in keeping with their recent Batman: The Animated Series BD set. So here’s the review and we hope you enjoy!
All right, I’ve now had a good solid day to play with Disney+ and I have to say that I’ve been very impressed, in principle, with what I’m seeing and experiencing. I’ll have some more comments later this week on how I think streaming services (and specifically Disney+) will impact the home video market. But I certainly do like what I’m seeing. (Note that I’m viewing via the Disney+ app on the Roku Ultra 4K, running through the Oppo UDP-203 to two different display devices—a flat panel and a projector).
One of the best aspects of Disney+ are the surprises: The chance to see deep catalog Disney live action and animated films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Sword and the Stone, and The Black Cauldron in native 4K with HDR is absolutely tremendous. And the more of this kind of experience Disney+ (and other streaming services) can give us, the better. [Read on here...]
Well, Disney+ is here at last and it offers some surprises!
The service went live last at about 9PM Pacific (Midnight Eastern) and it’s running very smooth right out of the gate.
But the surprise is how much 4K/HDR content is available on the service.
It starts with nearly all of the Star Wars films. You read that right: All of them are here in 4K with HDR except Solo and The Last Jedi (because Netflix has the rights to those for a few more months).
But you also get most (but not all) of the Marvel films, almost all of the Pixar animated films, a TON of Disney live action films and even some surprises of classic animation. [Read on here...]
We have a few interesting things to report today, but first some more reviews...
I’ve finally finished my in-depth review of Network’s complete Monty Python’s Flying Circus Norwegian Blu-ray box set, which streets tomorrow here in the US (it’s available via Amazon here). I’ve broken it out disc by disc, and episode by episode (including details on which have added and uncensored content restored), plus all the extras. This is a pretty amazing restoration by the folks at Network; if you’re a fan of Python, I think you’ll be as impressed as I was. Enjoy the review.
Also, Tim has posted reviews of Edward Bianchi’s The Fan (1981) on Blu-ray from Scream Factory, along with his thoughts on the documentary series The Toys That Made Us: Seasons 1 & 2 on Blu-ray from Screen Media. Both are well worth a look.
We’ve also got reviews of Warner Archive’s Batman Beyond Blu-ray box set on the way and more, so be sure to watch for them. [Read on here...]