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On NOT Buying X-Men: Days of Future Past

This is the second major disappointment for me, for a movie on home release that I was previously QUITE looking forward to purchasing.

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After being pretty satisfied last year with the BR3D/BRD/DVD/Digital release last year of The Wolverine, I thought for sure I’d be ok with X-Men: Days of Future Past. BUUUUUT…. The so-called “Ultimate Edition” is Blu-Ray 3D, Blu-Ray, and Digital.

Where the HECK is the DVD in the combo?

And for the Wal-Mart exclusive, a reprint of BOTH chapters of the original story…but it’s apparently some really skinny, tiny thing and not even a digest-sized or “mini” graphic novel. AND the box isn’t even sized properly for the item’s inclusion!

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The box is just an oversized thing that caves in and will surely DUMP the blu-ray case right at without provocation. If I didn’t turn the package over and squint at it and really stare to see in through the plastic, I’d’ve sworn they FORGOT to include the “Exclusive Edition” comic or that it was actually some “digital bonus” or such.

So what of a NON-“Ultimate” edition?

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Blu-Ray/Digital.

Again… Where. Is. The. DVD?!?

And this box has the same issue as far as that “bonus” comic.

There’s also a properly-sized cover version of…Blu-Ray/Digital. And there’s a coverless DVD.

I’m not interested in Blu-Ray 3D. I’m not interested in seeing my movies in 3D, PERIOD, theater or otherwise. I don’t have a 3D Blu-Ray player or 3D tv or the glasses or such. I’ve only reluctantly “upgraded” to Blu-Ray in the last several years, still QUITE happy with all the bargain DVDs and such I find and tv-on-dvd and all that.

I don’t mind (occasionally) paying a couple dollars more for a Blu-Ray/DVD combo…I can play the dvd in my computer, or pretty much anyone/everyone I know “at least” has a dvd player, so it’ll be watchable elsewhere/with others…even as I have the capability of watching the Blu-Ray while at home.

But this crap with putting 3D BluRay with BluRay and not including a DVD (even as a “bonus” if nothing else)?!?

Nah…sorry.

I’ll stick with the Redbox.

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On NOT Buying The Winter Soldier

Captain_America_The_Winter_Soldier_3DBluRay_BluRay_Digital_Combo_PackWhen I first saw the second Captain America movie, The Winter Soldier, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I saw it twice in the theater, actually, and enjoyed it as much or more the second time through.

And as such, I decided I actually WOULD buy this one when it was released on home media. (where I have NOT bought the first Cap film or either of the Thor films).

But now Disney‘s changing “the rules.” I finally get “trained” to actually EXPECT a BluRay/DVD combo pack (maybe with “digital” thrown in as a 3rd option) and they’ve switched to 3D-BluRay/BluRay/Digital, leaving me from there to have to choose ONLY a DVD or ONLY a BluRay.

Yet this is a film that since my roommate and I have a BluRay player, I’d certainly prefer to watch in the HD format (plus I hardly pay attention to “extras” anymore but have been further “trained” to EXPECT there to be MORE “extras” on anything BluRay than on DVD). However, as I’ll be visiting my parents this coming weekend, I’d really enjoy the chance to have them see it, and share that experience with them.

BUT…because of the weird encoding and “language” thing with DISNEY BluRays (forcing one to choose between “English” and whatever else BEFORE ever getting to a menu otherwise) their BR player is incapable of playing Disney‘s BluRays (plays others, but can’t get past the Disney-specific stuff). As such, this is ACTUALLY a case where I could gladly “justify” the notion of a DVD being packed with a BluRay (even though if you have a BluRay player it should play DVDs, but if you have the BluRay player why would you care to watch the DVD on it?).

Then I saw that Walmart has “exclusive” box covers, each focusing on a single character. Truthfully, on looking at the “thumbnails” on the display of the various boxes, I decided “ok, let’s see the Scarlett Johansson one and go from there.” Alas, for all the copies across numerous different displays and locations in the store, that was the only one they did NOT have in stock.

So, grumpy as I am at present, that’s pretty much that. DVD will EVENTUALLY be available in Redbox, so I’ll just have to wait until some visit after it’s available in Redbox to rent and watch it with my parents.

Despite all that, I might’ve gone ahead and “settled for” DVD/Digital, accepting the Digital as added value to giving up the HD of BluRay…but Disney just HAS TO be different for the sake of being different, it would seem.

Superboy: A Blast From the Past

Tonight while seeking a couple other movies (non-comics-related), I came across this “Complete First Season” of Superboy for $10 at Best Buy.

Sure beats the heck out of the $40ish it was when it first came out a few years back!

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Now, if only I could find the REST of the series similarly-priced!

But this came along at a good time…with all the “mid-season finales” and such basically over, I was looking for something “new” to get into for a few weeks…this should do quite nicely.

Possible Packaging for The Avengers?

packagingthumbThe other day, my roommate and I got to talking about the Avengers movie coming out in a couple days, and then of how we oughtta watch the “solo” films this week in the lead-up to it.

We then got to talking about DVD packaging (I have the original Iron Man in a case shaped like his helmet mask, and I have The Dark Knight in a case shaped like Batman’s cowl; he has one of the Transformers films in a transforming Bumblebee figure. And the gem of the special cases–his model of the 2009 Enterprise, with the film encased in the saucer section of the ship. (Something we’d joked about the time the film first hit theaters: how cool would it be for them to do a case that was the Enterprise, but the saucer held the DVDs? And then sure enough–the idea proved fruitful from elsewhere.)

So our conversation turned toward the packaging of Avengers and/or the solo films. Captain America’s shield–that’s round. WHY Target (they did those other ‘special cases’) didn’t have an “exclusive” packaging shaped like the shield is beyond us.

But then we got to thinking about how there’s bound to be special collector sets when Avengers comes out on home release, with it boxed with the other solo films.

Why not a box/case with Avengers, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America, and Thor attached to a handle–the disc case part being the head of Thor’s hammer?

Or returning to the idea of Cap’s shield…and this is the idea I think we liked best…have the films packaged in a much larger replica of the shield.

They could put the films around the outer rim, with Avengers locked in the center. Have the main front of Cap’s shield as the lid (screw-on, snap-on, hinged…whatever works).

How cool would that be?

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Above: Mock-up of 6-film Avengers package idea

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes…now on DVD! (for the first time of probably several)

AEMHvol1OK, so…the first DVD package of Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is out/out soon.

And of course, it looks like it’s going to be your average $15-ish purchase, with a handful of episodes from the first season.

Thing is…are these actually a merging of all those little “shorts” that were put out just before the series itself officially started last year? Or part of the “main” season itself? I can’t tell that from the package…which is certainly not going to sell me on BUYING this thing.

Also, of course…in a day and age where most tv shows seem to be put out on DVD…seems to ME the vast majority are put out as…FULL SEASONS. You air a season on tv, do whatever with advertising and web streaming and all that…and then when the show’s season is available on DVD, you have the full, entire season.

Yet for some reason, it seems like more and more lately, I’m noticing shows doing PARTIAL seasons. Even a HALF season–if it’s rushed out as the show goes on a mid-season hiatus–makes sense. But just taking a handful of episodes like this, billing the first DVD with content as “volume 1” actually turns ME off to the thing. (I think I know just enough to be stupid regarding this, and don’t know enough to have the “full picture.”)

I recall seeing periodic releases of DVDs for Wolverine and the X-Men a couple years back. But then late last year…the entire season/series was put on one DVD set. I wasn’t going to pay $15 for 3-5 episodes ($3-5/episode), but when 20ish episodes were released for roughly $25 (around $1/episode), I was all over that, and I think I probably watched the whole thing in about a week and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Huge trouble I’ve noticed, though, for the DisneyXD stuff–and it was part of the problem I had with Wolverine and the X-Men that led to me ignoring it on regular TV after a handful of episodes.

There doesn’t seem to be much of a SCHEDULE. There’ll be a couple new episodes, then reruns, then maybe a new episode, then a slew of reruns. Plus, the show re-airs stuff at various time-slots, and it winds up becoming this huge mess to try to keep track of.

And then people wonder why I decide that I’ll “wait for the DVD.” And in this case–I’m not JUST waiting for the DVD–I’m waiting for the better-value edition that better reflects the series as a “season set” instead of some bimonthly allowance of episodes.

A casual ‘review’ of All-Star Superman

allstarsupermanblurayMonths ago—would’ve been around the release of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse—I was rather surprised to learn that the next feature from the DC/Warner Premiere line of direct-to-home-media features would be All-Star Superman. I just didn’t see it.

The title? That was just an imprint DC was trying. Why not give it some other title to reflect the story a bit more? And being such a niche title years in the past that isn’t really affecting continuity anywhere….

But then, that’s actually the beauty of the thing. A self-contained epic. Nothing came before. Nothing comes after. Just a single, closed arc.

allstarsupermanpageoneI loved the opening. One of the things that jumped out at me initially when I’d read the first issue of the comic series back in late 2004 was the way it took just a handful of panels to sum up all you need to know about Superman’s past.

Doomed planet. Desperate Scientists. Last Hope. Kindly couple.

It was the embodiment of something I’d read during my undergrad years when I was working on a paper; essentially about the way certain elements of key figures in our popular culture are the same through whatever reimaginings.

This film takes that opening—even maintaining the still-shots on the screen, without animation, perfectly (in my mind) capturing that simple opening of the comic…all the more for not feeling the need TO animate the sequence.

allstarsuperman001The rest of the film follows much of the comics’ path, though in far less detail. A lot of time is spent on Lois’ stint as Superwoman. We’re then moved along into Samson and Atlas’ appearance and challenges, to the Kryptonian astronauts, and ultimately back to Luthor for the big finale.

There are slight  nods to other parts of the series—I spotted Bizarro on some sort of chessboard in the Fortress, for example. And we’re given a brief scene in which Clark visits his father’s grave (though that issue when we saw the death of Jonathan was one of the most powerful issues of this series, to me, particularly in retrospect). We also did not get the Jimmy/Doomsday story. allstarsuperman006

The animation itself wasn’t anything spectacular. Watching the blu-ray didn’t make any kind of noticable difference to me. It wasn’t bad, mind you. I did like the “compromise” on the visual style. Quitely’s got a unique visual style that I often like but just as often take issue with, but I didn’t think it was a style I wanted to see mimicked for animation. (To the opposite, I greatly enjoy Ed McGuiness’ visual style used in animation, as on the first Superman/Batman dvd).

Certain touches of Quitely’s art was clearly adapted for this feature, but it was “softened” somehow, for lack of better phrasing offhand. A lot of lines were removed, so that none of the characters appeared lumpy. This made for a sorta different-looking Superman, who seemed a bit older than I’d usually picture, but not in a bad way.

allstarsuperman003The take on Lois was quite good…no complaints there. I was rather interested in how this Lois somehow visually put me in mind of “Bones,” though that comparison may simply be my limited exposure to Bones.

Other than the simplistic fact that we don’t have Tim Daly, Clancy Brown, or Dana Delany, I have no complaints with the voiceacting. In this case, I don’t think I was familiar with any of the voices involved, except perhaps Ed Asner (Perry White). This unfamiliarity allowed me to simply enjoy this for the story and characters, without distraction of visualizing actors behind the characters.

The story overall really felt like it was almost multiple “episodes” made into an overall whole. Coming from having read the comics, and seeing this as an adaptation of the comics, I didn’t mind the way things sort of jump from one to the next—though I was specifically looking for that, having been slightly “spoiled” by comments made on twitter and facebook prior to my watching this—with people expressing frustration at the story jumping and being disjointed.

I can see that, but as said…I took it in stride, and it didn’t bother me, if only for my knowing about it.

mcduffiecreditUnfortunately, especially as excited as I was to pick this up and watch it, news came through online this afternoon that writer Dwayne McDuffie died. I hadn’t even realized that he wrote the  script for this until today. It did seem sorta strange to not see a dedication to him in the end credits…but of course, his passing was so sudden and unexpected.

The package for this film isn’t anything wonderful. The cover image is rather iconic, though, and certainly gets to the heart of the overall story. I’m not at all impressed at the “extras.” I do enjoy the “teaser” shorts for whatever the next film in the line will be (in this case, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights). The Grant Morrison thing wasn’t all that thrilling—it seemed almost “phoned in,” so to speak. Never have been much a fan of commentaries, and this soon after watching, I’m not at all ready to re-watch with the commentary on, so can’t speak to that. If commentaries are you thing…well, there’s that.

I picked up the Target version, which includes a couple episodes of Superman: The Animated Series. One episode was one I’d just watched from the actual Superman: The Animated Series dvd set in the last couple days; and I’m not interested in the other, as I assume that comes later, and plan to watch the series in order.

All in all, HIGHLY disappointed in the “extras,” given how many extra shorts and features and such have been jam-packed into other recent releases—the discrepency between the “special edition” dvd and blu-ray editions with those is what mainly motivated me to go for the blu-ray this time, when I really should have simply stuck to the DVD.

I’d recommend a purchase for the die-hard fans that’ll watch this a few times. For the casual viewer, I recommend a rental. I think if I was going to give this a hard ‘n fast rating, it’s got a good 6.5 or 7 of 10 from me, primarily penalized by the (lack of) extras.

My thoughts on ‘Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths’

Due to the length of what I wrote, I split this piece into 3 posts. Each is my thoughts on a different part of this DVD release.

part 1: What Came Before

part 2: The Movie Itself

part 3: The Extras

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