This Week on DVD/Blu-ray: 26 September 2011

Rio (2011)

It’s a steady march between here and Christmas, so we are going to see some major titles over the next couple of months. One trend that we have to say is disturbing us a little at the moment is the sheer number of 3D Blu-ray that seem to be capitalising on the number of 3D TVs that will no doubt make their way into homes in the coming quarter. Do studios not realise they are canibalising their own 3D cinema takings, eroding the uniqueness of 3D cinema in the same way television did when it was introduced? Perhaps Robert Rodriguez’s Aroma-Scope isn’t such a bad idea after all…

Region 1 (DVD) and A (Blu-ray)

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Blu-ray)Transformers: Dark of the Moon (DVD/Blu-ray, Paramount, 30 September) is the undisputed heavy-hitter at the US releases this week. With a reportedly pristine 2.39:1 (1080p) picture and 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, this is one that people will be rushing to as a test disc. With $1.1 billion already taken at the worldwide box office, it can only make more money at this point, but be warned! Apart from being a visually impressive, but uninspiring schizophrenic mess, Paramount has already announced that they will be releasing a 3D combo pack later in the year. Fans with the right equipment may want to wait for this, as it will no doubt have more on it than this barebones releases.

Perhaps inspired by the 1980s origins of Transformers, Paramount are all about the retro this week with 25 September seeing Blu-ray reissues of Airplane! (known as Flying High in Australia), The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. They’ve also got a very timely release of the original Footloose (Blu-ray, Paramount, 27 September), with HD exclusives Footloose: A Modern Musical – Parts 1 & 2Footloose: Songs That Tell a Story and the theatrical trailer in addition to the 6 SD featurettes and an audio commentary. Speaking of retro, what’s bigger than Transformer’s? Ben Hur: 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Warner Home Video, DVD/Blu-ray, 27 September), evidently designed for ultimate collectors. Along with all the bits from the 2005 Collector’s Edition DVD (including the 1925 silent version of Ben-Hur), it’s got a new feature-length documentary and two hardcover volumes! Wow! The only thing more exciting would be the movie Ben, with the Michael Jackson song of the same name.

Ben-Hur: 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-ray

Region 2 (DVD) and B (Blu-ray)

Thor - Blu-ray UKBy Odin’s hammer! Across the pond in Blighty, Thor (DVD/Blu-ray, Paramount, 26 September) smashes its way into home cinemas, complete with all the frippery that we’ve come to expect from Marvel Studios releases. Except for the inclusion of anything to do with the comic that it is based on. Come on, people: even Daredevil and Elektra got hour-long documentaries on the history of the comics, and Thor‘s been going for almost 50 years!

Meanwhile, Prom (DVD, Disney, 26 September) which skipped cinemas entirely in Australia, makes its way to DVD only in the UK, and has “Putting On Prom” and “Bloopers” listed as bonus features. On the flip side, just to prove that the US doesn’t have the monopoly on nostalgia, Danger Mouse: 30th Anniversary Edition (DVD, Fremantle Home Entertainment, 26 September) hits UK shelves this week in a whopping 10-disc set. The big yellow box with a mouse with an eyepatch on the cover is decked out with the never previously available bonus features like the Pilot Episode, interviews with Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall, exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, Danger Mouse games, original theme tune ideas, biographies and stills galleries. You’ll also be pleased to know that the sublimely good Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil (DVD/Blu-ray, Sony, 26 September) hits the dual formats for your horror-comedy delights.

One last release worth mentioning is part of Eureka’s excellent Masters of Cinema series: Harakiri (DVD/Blu-ray, Eureka, 26 September). The 1963 classic from Masaki Kobayashi comes in a new, officially licensed, Shochiku high-definition 1080p transfer Dual Format release. Bonuses include an excerpt from a 1993 Directors Guild of Japan interview with Masaki Kobayashi discussing the film with director Masahiro Shinoda and an illustrated 28-page booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Philip Kemp, a 1963 interview with Kobayashi, and rare archival production stills. The timely release coincides with Takashi Miike’s remake, Harakiri: Death of a Samurai, released this year.

Region 4 (DVD) and B (Blu-ray)

Rio - Blu-ray - AustraliaBack home, it’s Rio (DVD/Blu-ray/3D Blu-ray, Fox, 26 September) that gets a release just in time for the school holidays. In addition to what will no doubt be a phenomenal transfer, you’ll also find a handful of deleted scenes, music videos, featurettes and 15 new levels of Angry Birds Rio for your mobile, tablet or PC.

It all gets a bit death and destructiony after that. There’s Jerzy Skolimowski Essential Killing (DVD/Blu-ray, Eagle, 26 September). Then there’s the Roger Corman double-feature of Dinoshark (DVD/Blu-ray, Anchor Bay Entertainment, 28 September) and the evocatively titled Dinocroc Vs. Supergator (DVD/Blu-ray, Anchor Bay Entertainment, 28 September). Finally, man of the moment Ryan Gosling appears alongside Kirsten Dunst in All Good Things (DVD/Blu-ray, Universal, 29 September). This little-seen film may tide people over as we wait our long Antipodean wait for the stars respective films Drive (due out in Australian cinemas 27 October) and Melancholia (26 December).

Join us again next week as it becomes a Disney World with The Lion King, The Fox and the Hound and Winnie the Pooh.