The Buzz on Blu: 'Avatar,' Adam Sandler and 'Moonrise Kingdom'
3D dominates the week’s films as a handful of releases – big and small – show up for collectors and cinephiles to enjoy.
Meanwhile, Focus Features and Dreamworks are releasing two of their recent releases, giving fans a second opportunity to see them on the small screen.
Which new high-definition releases deliver the best entertainment?
Avatar 3D (Fox Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Although James Cameron’s blockbuster epic was released in a limited edition set for Panasonic 3D consumers in 2010, the rest of the moviegoing world now gets to see it in the way it was originally conceived.
Picture Perfect?: Absolutely – this is the standard by which virtually all 3D movies should be measured, especially on the small screen.
What Else Is There?: Unfortunately, nothing, but given the 3-Disc version that was released a few years ago, the presentation of the film itself is the main attraction.
How Badly Do I Want It?: If you’re an avid 3D watcher, it’s a must-own.
The One-Liner: After being offered only as a Best Buy exclusive late last year, Steven Quale’s post-The Final Destination installment is offered as a wide release.
Picture Perfect?: Shot in native 3D, the film looked terrific – if not aggressively in your face – in theaters, and the Blu-ray successfully replicates that experience, which means a clear and vivid picture that is understated and effective.
What Else Is There?: An “Alternate Death Scenes” compilation offers little in the way of real differences for the film’s raison d’etre – watching characters bite it in some crazy way – while two short featurettes explore the technical challenges of creating and completing yet another FD sequel.
How Badly Do I Want It?: This was an installment we particularly liked, so we say get it, but it’s definitely worth a rental -- if only to see how 3D can be done well.
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (Paramount Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Dreamworks revives their animals-on-the-loose series for another installment that finds them traversing Europe in search of some exciting new adventures.
Picture Perfect?: This is a pretty amazing transfer thanks to a spectrum of colors that’s nothing short of sensational -- the clarity and brightness are truly amazing.
What Else Is There?: Three Blu-ray exclusives offer picture-in-picture, in-depth extras, trivia, and interactive games, while the standard-def special features dig into the legacy of the series and offer perspective on the actors and filmmakers’ experiences since it was originally launched.
How Badly Do I Want It?: This isn’t a film series we especially like, so it’s up to you. But the presentation and extras make it a worthwhile purchase, for sure.
The One-Liner: Wes Anderson’s wonderful coming-of-age story comes home, offering fans an opportunity to luxuriate in the meticulous details he used to bring it to life.
Picture Perfect?: A wonderful transfer brings Anderson and cinematographer Robert Yeoman’s gorgeous magic-hour imagery to life even on the small screen, offering a clarity and detail that should thrill longtime fans of the filmmaker.
What Else Is There?: Three featurettes, originally created when the film was released theatrically, complete the disc’s collection of content.
How Badly Do I Want It?: As it seems likely that Criterion will put out a deluxe edition with all sorts of extras, this is probably a rental, at best.
That’s My Boy (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Adam Sandler’s unexpectedly unsuccessful comedy comes home with a collection of extras that will hopefully expand the film’s cumulative entertainment value.
Picture Perfect?: For a movie that demands precious little in terms of visual substance, the transfer does a great job of keeping Sandler and company looking good and generally flawless.
What Else Is There?: A gag reel, collection of deleted scenes, and several featurettes examine some of the film’s, uh, intricacies, including when people on the crew yelled “Wazzuuuppp?” for almost seven minutes.
How Badly Do I Want It?: You probably don’t, but if you’re like us and didn’t see it during its theatrical run, the film might be worth a rental just see what all the hubbub (or lack of it, anyway) is about.