sfrevu Logo with link to Main Page  
Blu-ray & DVD Reviews- 06/2010  Next Month / Last Month
by Charles Mohapel
Send your Shiny Disks to: c/o SFRevu, 16440 Baden Westwood Rd, Brandywine, MD 20613

Cocoon [Blu-ray] by Directed by Ron Howard (20th Century Fox 28 May 2010 / $24.99) -

Amazon.com essential video
Cocoon, an offbeat and charming comedy with elements of science fiction thrown in, director Ron Howard's (Ransom, Apollo 13) unlikely fantasy ponders the price of immortality and the power of everlasting love. A group of aliens travel to a Florida retirement community to rescue some long-stranded colleagues cocooned and buried beneath the sea. But as the aliens take on human form and stash their counterparts in a swimming pool, a group of elderly retirees discover the pool and after swimming in the water find themselves rejuvenated, with boundless energy and insatiable appetites. Soon the retirees are forced to choose between living out their lives on earth with their families, or leaving with the aliens and attaining immortality. More character driven than dependent on the incredible plot, the film's charm comes from its characters and the wonderful cast, including Don Ameche, who won an Academy Award for his role as one of the randy retirees. -- Robert Lane

Running time: 117 minutes

Blu-ray Disc contains:
Cocoon (117:10)

Special Features:
Commentary by Ron Howard (117:10)

"Behind-The-Scenes Featurette" with Director Ron Howard, Actor Brian Dennehy ("Walter"), Tyrone Power Jr. ("Pillsbury", but identified in this featurette as "Antarean"), Producer Lili Fini Zanuck, Actor Steve Guttenberg ("Jack Bonner", but identified in this featurette as "Jack"), Producer Richard Zanuck, ILM Visual Effects Supervisor Ken Ralston, Visual Effects Production Supervisor Mitchell Suskin, and Tahnee Welch ("Kitty"). (6:56)

"Ron Howard Directs" with Ron Howard. (2:34)

"Underwater Training" with Actor & Diving Instructor Mike Nomad ("Doc"), Brian Dennehy, Tahnee Welch, and Steve Guttenberg. (3:35)

"Actors" with Steve Guttenberg, Actor Jack Gilford ("Bernie Lefkowitz"), Richard Zanuck, Actor Hume Cronyn ("Joe Finley"), Actor Jessica Tandy ("Alma Finley"), Actor Maureen Stapleton ("Mary Luckett"), and Brian Dennehy. (2:52)

"Creating Antareans" with Brian Dennehy, ILM Visual Effects Supervisor Ken Ralston, Visual Effects Production Supervisor Mitchell Suskin, Producer Lili Fini Zanuck, Tyrone Power Jr., and Tahnee Welch. (3:56)

Theatrical Teaser (0:55)

Theatrical Trailer (1:27)

TV Spot #1 (0:31)

TV Spot #2 (0:32)

TV Spot #3 (0:32)

Cocoon: The Return (1:20)

(see review)  Netflix / IMDB

The Lord of the Rings (1978 Animated Movie) [Blu-ray] by Director: Ralph Bakshi (Warner Home Video Canada 30 May 2010 / $29.99) -

Product Description:
Controversial animator Ralph Bakshi's literal adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, is brought to the screen. An evil sorcerer from a previous era created a magical ring which enables its users to call upon its tremendous powers to rule the world, but it inevitably warps them to evil. It was believed lost, but during a resurgence of magical evil in the world, Bilbo, a simple, plain-spoken hobbit, recovers it from its hiding place. The forces of good give his nephew Frodo the choice to bear the awful burden of the ring to a place where it may be destroyed.

Running Time: 132 minutes

Amazon.com
Although it was ultimately overshadowed by Peter Jackson's live-action Lord of the Rings trilogy, Ralph Bakshi's animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic is not without charms of its own. A target of derision from intolerant fans, this ambitious production is nevertheless a respectably loyal attempt to animate the first half of Tolkien's trilogy, beginning with the hobbit Frodo's inheritance of "the One Ring" of power from Bilbo Baggins, and ending with the wizard Gandalf's triumph over the evil army of orcs. While the dialogue is literate and superbly voiced by a prestigious cast (including John Hurt as Aragorn), Leonard Rosenman's accomplished score effectively matches the ominous atmosphere that Bakshi's animation creates and sustains. Bakshi's lamentable decision to combine traditional cel animation with "rotoscoped" (i.e., meticulously traced) live-action footage is jarringly distracting and aesthetically disastrous, but when judged by its narrative content, this Lord of the Rings deserves more credit than it typically receives. -- Jeff Shannon

Review
Ralph Bakshi's attempt to bring The Lord of the Rings to the screen in an animated version deserves points for its ambitions, but it falls far, far short of achieving its goals. Chief among its sins is its decision to end the film in the very middle of the massive trilogy -- and to do so in such an abrupt manner as to make most viewers angry that the storyline has been left hanging in such a haphazard manner. Even abbreviated in this manner, there is far too much plot to try to squeeze into 131 minutes, with the result that the film is rushed and confusing, with non-Tolkien enthusiasts likely to be totally lost at several points. Worse, breezing through things so quickly never allows the film to develop enough character or charm, or allows the audience to really develop feelings for the individual characters. Finally, Bakshi has chosen to tell the tale using a mixture of animation styles, including entirely too much reliance on rotoscoping and "negative imagery." The styles end up being too frequently at war with each other, an idea that has a certain appeal conceptually since this is a film about a war; unfortunately, it is a much better idea in concept than as executed here. There are some worthy things, of course, such as the character design, some fine voice work and some lovely, muted backgrounds; but on the whole, this "Lord" is a disappointment. -- Craig Butler, All Movie Guide

Synopsis
Controversial animator Ralph Bakshi's literal adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, is brought to the screen in a reverent, stilted way, with Bakshi forsaking his sharp-edged animated looniness for a rotoscoped dullness. Although the film's title encompasses the entire Tolkien trilogy, this longish Bakshi feature, in fact, covers only the first book, "The Fellowship of the Ring", and the first half of the second, "The Two Towers". Given the complexity of the original story line, this unfortunately means that only those intimately familiar with the books will be able to understand what is happening in the movie. In brief, however, an evil sorcerer from a previous era created a magical ring which enables its users to call upon its tremendous powers to rule the world, but it inevitably warps them to evil. It was believed lost, but during a resurgence of magical evil in the world, Bilbo, a simple, plain-spoken hobbit, recovers it from its hiding place. The forces of good give his nephew Frodo the choice to bear the awful burden of the ring to a place where it may be destroyed. -- Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide

Two-Disc Set contains:
Blu-ray Disc
DVD
Sheet with instructions on how to download your Windows Media Digital Copy from www.wbdigitalcopy.com/LordOfTheRings-Animated , plus your individual authorization code.

Blu-ray Disc contains:
Promo for Blu-ray Disc and Warner Bros. BD-LIVE (1:44)

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (133:19)

Behind the Story
"Forging Through the Darkness: The Ralph Bakshi Vision for The Lord of the Rings" with Ralph Bakshi (Animation Director and Producer), Tom Tataranowicz (Animator – uncredited according to IMDB.com), Edward L. Bakshi (Film Professor, New Mexico State University / Son of Ralph Bakshi), Chris McDonnell (Designer, Co-Author of "Unfiltered, The Complete Ralph Bakshi"), Victoria Bakshi-Yudis (Daughter of Ralph Bakshi). Chris Conkling (Co-Screenwriter, The Lord of the Rings), Mark Bakshi (Producer / Son of Ralph Bakshi), Scott Kleinman (Associate Professor of English, California State University Northridge), and Timothy Galfas (Cinematographer (and Director of Photography according to IMDB.com) on The Lord of the Rings). (30:25)

Trailers:
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Complete Season 1 Box Set on Blu-ray and DVD (2:12)

Online
Visit us at warnerbros.com for the latest on Warner Blu-ray Disc.

DVD contains:
Promo for The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition on Blu-ray (2:11)
Promo for Saturday Morning Cartoons: The 1960s, Volume 2 and and Saturday Morning Cartoons: The 1970s, Volume 2 on DVD plus The Secret Saturdays on DVD (3:44)

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (133:07)

Behind the Story
"Forging Through the Darkness: The Ralph Bakshi Vision for The Lord of the Rings" with Ralph Bakshi (Animation Director and Producer), Tom Tataranowicz (Animator – uncredited according to IMDB.com), Edward L. Bakshi (Film Professor, New Mexico State University / Son of Ralph Bakshi), Chris McDonnell (Designer, Co-Author of "Unfiltered, The Complete Ralph Bakshi"), Victoria Bakshi-Yudis (Daughter of Ralph Bakshi). Chris Conkling (Co-Screenwriter, The Lord of the Rings), Mark Bakshi (Producer / Son of Ralph Bakshi), Scott Kleinman (Associate Professor of English, California State University Northridge), and Timothy Galfas (Cinematographer (and Director of Photography according to IMDB.com) on The Lord of the Rings). (30:23)

Trailers:
Lord of the Rings on Blu-ray (2:01)
"Mini Ninjas" Videogame (2:11)
Gremlins on DVD (2:05)
"Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest" Videogame (1:03)
"Harry Potter: Wizarding World" Interactive DVD Game (1:16)

(see review)  Netflix / IMDB

True Blood: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] by Various Directors (HBO Home Video 26 May 2010 / $79.98) -

Description:
Welcome back to Bon Temps, home to mystery, Southern sensuality, and dark secrets. For Sookie Stackhouse, life is more dangerous than ever after she and Bill become more deeply involved. Meanwhile, Tara finds herself under a lover's spell; Sam puts his trust in an unlikely ally; Jason becomes involved with an anti-vampire sect; Eric becomes interested in Sookie after he recruits her to investigate the disappearance of his 2,000-year-old maker; and Maryann is revealed to possess a power that can control almost everyone in town. Then, after making a shocking discovery, Sookie, Bill, and Sam must form the last line of defense against a diabolical plan that raises this award-winning series to bloody new heights.

True Blood: The Complete Second Season includes all 12 episodes of this critically acclaimed series from Alan Ball, writer of the Academy Award-winning Best Picture American Beauty and creator of Six Feet Under. Loaded with special features, this essential 5-disc set is certain to quench the curiosity of True Blood fans everywhere.

Running Time: 720 minutes (Amazon) 643:39 minutes (Running times of all 12 episodes added up.)

Blu-ray exclusive features:

  • Character Perspectives: Learn more about what's going on straight from the mouths of Hoyt, Pam, Karl, and Steve Newlin
  • Flashback/Flash Forward: Move through time in the world of Bon Temps. Flashback to relive pivotal moments or Flash Forward to reveal the significance of a certain scene
  • Pro/Anti-Vampire Feeds: Receive news updates and information from both organizations throughout the episode and decide which camp you support
  • Hints/FYI: Don't miss a beat with these FYI trivia facts and show hints and clues

Also includes:

  • The Vampire Report (Special Edition): Check out the past year's biggest stories in vampire news, politics, and popular culture in the special edition of "The Perspective with Victoria Davis"
  • Fellowship of the Sun: Reflections of Light: Rules to live by with Fellowship of the Sun leaders Steve and Sarah Newlin
  • Seven audio commentaries with the cast and crew, including Alan Ball, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Michelle Forbes, Alexander Skarsgård, Rutina Wesley, Ryan Kwanten, Sam Trammell, and many more

Disc 1:
Season 2, Episode 1: Nothing But the Blood (57:15)
Season 2, Episode 2: Keep This Party Going (55:28)

Features:
Play with Enhanced Viewing (Requires BonusView) (Character Perspectives, Flashback / Flash Forward, Pro / Anti-Vampire Feeds, Hints / FYI)
Episode 2, Play with Commentary by Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette) and Director Michael Lehmann

Disc 2:
Season 2, Episode 3: Scratches (57:08)
Season 2, Episode 4: Shake and Fingerpop (55:00)
Season 2, Episode 5: Never Let Me Go (52:40)

Features:
Play with Enhanced Viewing

Disc 3:
Season 2, Episode 6: Hard-Hearted Hannah (53:24)
Season 2, Episode 7: Release Me (52:36)
Season 2, Episode 8: Timebomb (52:43)

Features:
Play with Enhanced Viewing
Episode 7, Play with Commentary by Raelle Tucker (writer) and Director Michael Ruscio
Episode 8, Play with Commentary by Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton), Director John Dahl, and Alexander Skarsgard (Eric Northman).

Disc 4:
Season 2, Episode 9: I Will Rise Up (52:10)
Season 2, Episode 10: New World in My View (44:26)
Season 2, Episode 11: Frenzy (53:16)

Features:
Play with Enhanced Viewing
Episode 10, Play with Commentary by Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse) and Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte)
Episode 11, Play with Commentary by Alan Ball (Executive Producer and Writer of this episode), Rutina Wesley, and Director Daniel Minahan.

Disc 5:
Season 2, Episode 12: Beyond Here Lies Nothin' (57:33)

Features:
Play with Enhanced Viewing
Episode 12, Play with First Commentary by Anna Paquin (Sookie Stackhouse) and Michelle Forbes (Maryann Forrester)
Episode 12, Play with Second Commentary by Writer Alexander Woo and Director Michael Cuesta.

"Character Perspectives" (By Episode/Play All):
Hoyt (27:04)
Pam (43:12)
Karl (29:45)
Steve Newlin (22:12)

"Fellowship of the Sun: Reflections of Light" (11:30)

"The Vampire Report: Special Edition" (23:50)

(see review)  Netflix / IMDB

Return to Index

Send your Shiny Disks to: c/o SFRevu, 16440 Baden Westwood Rd, Brandywine, MD 20613

© 2002-SFRevu

advertising index / info
Our advertisers make Gumshoe possible, and your consideration is appreciated.

Our Other Pubs:

Do You SFRevu? Thousands of Intelligent Beings Do Every Month

Gumshoe Review - a literary investigation.

© 2002-SFRevu