‘Skyfall’ And ‘Top Gun 3D’ Make Their Blu Debut
Warner Bros. couldn’t have planned it better if they tried: As Oscar night rapidly approaches, 2012’s would-be underdog Argo turns up on Blu-ray, offering viewers of the ceremony an opportunity to get thoroughly outraged on Ben Affleck’s behalf for not being nominated. Meanwhile, a collection of crowd-pleasers old and new joins Affleck’s blockbuster on home video, offering audiences a wide variety of entertainment that should both excite and educate them.
Unfortunately, Celebuzz was unable to publish an installment of our incredibly popular Blu-ray column last week. But to make up for it, we’ve added a few extra entries to this week’s Buzz on Blu to make sure that readers have the most comprehensive and in-depth coverage of both new and recent releases.
Argo (Warner Home Video)
The One-Liner: Ben Affleck hits the big leagues with his thrilling, breathless chronicle of the 1970 Iran hostage crisis and the fictional Hollywood production that helped rescue a group of imperiled Americans.
Picture Perfect? If not perfect then damn near close, thanks to a terrific, saturated HD transfer that maximizes the impact of Affleck’s sure-handed direction.
What Else Is There? A picture-in-picture commentary tops the list of extras, especially since it features interview footage with real people who went through and survived the experience, while a collection of featurettes examines the real-world context more in depth.
How Badly Do I Want It? A terrifically entertaining movie that qualifies as the best sort of art that mainstream Hollywood can offer, Argo is a terrific movie well worth watching, though whether it’s worth owning forever is up to your Affleck fandom.
The Insider (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Michael Mann’s brilliant docudrama follows the experiences of a cigarette-industry whistleblower (Russell Crowe) whose life falls into disarray after he decides to appear on 60 Minutes.
Picture Perfect? Particularly given the sorry state of the standard-definition release that was available until now, this new HD transfer looks stunning, offering unparalleled clarity and color for a film with a distinctive visual palette.
What Else Is There? Two small featurettes are all that’s included on the new disc, which comes as a disappointment since there were three on the previous SD release, not to mention the fact that it’s a great movie that would benefit enormously from more perspective and insight.
How Badly Do I Want It? If you’re a fan at all of the film, the answer is “badly” – the transfer alone makes it worth revisiting, even if the extras leave much to be desired.
The One-Liner: RZA’s directorial debut comes crashing home, offering fans an opportunity to see the rapper-producer in a new light as a blacksmith who transforms into the title character after a fiendish warlord attempts to take over his quiet village.
Picture Perfect? A great transfer ensures that the film looks great on the small screen, especially accompanied by RZA’s expert musical selections, giving it a quality that bypasses the grindhouse aesthetic in favor of something more polished.
What Else Is There? Two cuts of the film offer viewers the theatrical as well as a slightly longer version, while a collection of featurettes and some 25 minutes of deleted scenes expands the story and character development of the film.
How Badly Do I Want It? A fun movie especially for old-school martial arts movie fans, this is definitely worth watching, but it depends on how much you love RZA to determine whether or not you want to own or just rent it.
Monsters, Inc. 3D (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Pixar returns to one of its biggest hits, transforming it into 3D in anticipation of the upcoming prequel Monsters University.
Picture Perfect? Pixar never skimps on transfers, and this one is no different, giving the film a sharpness and luster in two or three dimensions, making this the definitive presentation of the film (not the least of which because both versions are included).
What Else Is There? A short featurette included in the credits of the theatrical re-release offers some additional 3D content, while the remainder of the set includes just about every single extra or piece of content ever created in conjunction with the film.
How Badly Do I Want It? As the most comprehensive collection of Monsters-related content, this thing is a must-own, although if you don’t have a 3D TV, you probably won’t suffer too much without the material that was added especially for this set.
Skyfall (Fox Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Filmmaker Sam Mendes brings the James Bond franchise back to roaring life with this sprawling, action-packed thriller, which finds Bond (Daniel Craig) battling the forces of old age while trying to foil the plans of a disgruntled former associate of his beloved mentor M (Judi Dench).
Picture Perfect? Thanks in no small part to the top-notch work of cinematographer Roger Deakins, the film looks absolutely stunning, and the transfer carefully and consistently preserves his work.
What Else Is There? Two commentary tracks and an hourlong documentary dives head first into the production of the film, offering fans a massive wealth of behind-the-scenes material that perfectly complements the content currently available for previous Bond movies.
How Badly Do I Want It? This is a must-own – it’s easily one of the best action movies of 2012, and a terrifically smart and engaging thriller that will entertain all sorts of audiences.
The One-Liner: Tom Cruise’s 1986 breakthrough returned to theaters for a week before coming in for a graceful landing on Blu-ray as a glorious 3D movie worthy of this generation’s best possible technology.
Picture Perfect? While the transfer retains most or all of the grain that was inherent to Tony Scott’s original cinematography, the 3D conversion sacrifices no clarity or smooths over period texture to satisfy contemporary viewers.
What Else Is There? Nothing new, which means that anything you’ve already seen on previous Blu-rays is all you’re going to get.
How Badly Do I Want It? If you’re a 3D collector, this is a must-own movie, but if not, there’s no real reason to make any effort to buy it – not the least of which because you won’t be able to watch it any differently.
Undefeated (Starz/ Anchor Bay)
The One-Liner: This documentary won an Oscar last year at the Academy Awards after dexterously examining a small-town football program whose battle for victory proves to be an inspiration to the players and the community around them.
Picture Perfect? Not especially, although it looks fine – shot on the cheap, the disc services the handheld cinematography but otherwise fails to elevate the material to anything memorably cinematic.
What Else Is There? A commentary track offers the most profound insights about the process of making the movie, while a few brief featurettes further explore the town and the impact of the football program upon it.
How Badly Do I Want It? As an Oscar winner, the film is definitely worth watching, but it might not be a necessary addition to your Blu-ray collection – that is, unless your favorite film genre is uplifting sports movies, in which case, buy two or three copies.
Which of these films are you most excited to own? Watch an exclusive clip from Undefeated and then let us know your favorite in the comments section below!
No changes are to be made to this player