'The Dark Knight Rises,' 'Finding Nemo 3D' and 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' Come Home to HD (VIDEO)
After two weeks of relatively lackluster releases – or perhaps more accurately, just too few truly good ones – the movie studios and home video distributors are accelerating their release schedules in advance of the Christmas holiday.
But while that may mean a hit to your wallet, it’s a boon to your Blu-ray collection: there are choices for the whole family, from comedy to drama to action, which will certainly keep you captivated through the end of 2012.
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Fox Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Benh Zeitlin’s feature debut is a wonderful slice of magic realism, as a scrappy young girl struggles to keep her family together in the wake of a Katrina-style storm.
Picture Perfect? The movie’s cinematography was glorious on the big screen, and it looks equally beautiful in high definition at home, offering a saturated and vivid picture that completely immerses the audience in its waterlogged world.
What Else Is There? A collection of deleted scenes with commentary by Zeitlin offers the filmmaker’s perspective on what did and didn’t make it into the movie, but a featurette called “The Aurochs” fascinatingly chronicles the process of bringing its magical creatures to life.
How Badly Do I Want It? A wonderful movie that also plays like a case study in independent filmmaking, Beasts is as informative as it is entertaining, making it at least worth a rental.
The One-Liner: Political campaigning gets melted down to its essence in this comedy about a butter-carving competition that brings out the best in a little girl (Yara Shahidi) and the worst in her grown-up competition (especially a ruthlessly ambitious Jennifer Garner).
Picture Perfect? Although the audio presentation is nothing to shatter your home theater system, the picture quality is solid, cleanly and simply preserving the cinematography by virtually any viewer’s standards.
What Else Is There? A gag reel and a collection of extended/ deleted scenes offer a few additional moments of entertainment.
How Badly Do I Want It? The movie’s not for everybody – some will find it hilariously incisive, others interminable – but the lack of extras render it a rental at best.
Catch Me if You Can (Paramount Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: One of Steven Spielberg’s best movies (at least recently) arrives in high-definition, offering fans of the filmmaker another chance to appreciate this brisk but engaging story about a teenage con artist (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the FBI agent (Tom Hanks) he’s trying to evade.
Picture Perfect? The film’s 1080p upgrade looks glorious, carefully preserving Spielberg’s gorgeous, period-era photography, which gives everything a magical glow.
What Else Is There? A collection of featurettes dutifully explores the real-life origins of the story, but the majority of them are carryovers from the SD version, so beware if you’re looking for new material about the movie.
How Badly Do I Want It? As a huge fan of the film, it’s a must-buy for us, but it’s certainly worth a rental if only to revisit a criminally underrated entry in Spielberg’s filmography.
The One-Liner: Christopher Nolan’s epic finale to his series of Batman films comes home, offering fans an opportunity to watch the entire saga in the comfort of their homes, and uninterrupted.
Picture Perfect? Thanks to the fact that many sequences were shot in part or whole in IMAX, the picture quality is crystal clear, giving the viewer the sense they’re gazing through a window watching the action rather than peering at a picture on a screen.
What Else Is There? A collection of featurettes require more work than necessary to negotiate, but explorations of the technical and conceptual challenges the film presents – such as how to stage an aerial prison break with parts of a real plane – are consistently engaging and remarkably fascinating whether you’re a cinephile or just an interested fan.
How Badly Do I Want It? WHV promises a deluxe set in the year to come which may include other extras, but this set isn’t short on bonus content, making it a worthwhile purchase even if you’re not a diehard Bat-fanatic.
Finding Nemo 3D/ Up (3D Combo Pack) (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Sold separately, Pixar continues its series of 3D re-releases with an old title and a new one – both of which are great – as 3D TV owners get a chance to check out these animated classics in a whole new dimension.
Picture Perfect? As always, Pixar and WDSHE spare no effort making sure these films look absolutely as beautiful as possible – stunningly gorgeous, with a clear and detailed picture that gives viewers a better chance than ever to pore over every pixel.
What Else Is There? Thankfully, both include virtually all of the extras from their 2D counterparts, so there’s no sacrifice if you want to use this to replace your previous copy, but that also means there’s nothing new or exclusive to either release.
How Badly Do I Want It? If you’re the owner of a 3D TV, these are must-haves, but even as a rental, they’re terrific movies that look great in a dimensionalized format.
Watch Celebuzz' video review of The Dark Knight Rises on Blu-ray above, and the trailer for Beasts of the Southern Wild below.