Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
As October unleashes a tidal wave of scary surprises in theaters and theme parks nationwide, home video is offering audiences more reasons to stay on the sofa – although with just as many reasons to be afraid. At the same time, Warner Bros. brings one of its flagship titles back to Blu-ray, this time in 3D, even as Disney does the same with one of its most famous animated adventures. In other words, there’s plenty being released this week to terrify, but there’s also a wealth of lighthearted thrills to balance things out.
The Amityville Horror Trilogy (Shout! Factory)
The One-Liner: One of horror’s flagship ‘70s franchises arrives home in a new set collecting the first three films, plus enough bonus materials to keep even bored ghosts entertained.
Picture Perfect? The picture quality doesn’t appear to be a substantial improvement from the disc MGM released a few years ago, but it’s not a step down in quality either, offering strong colors and consistent clarity, even if there are obvious signs of wear to the source material.
What Else Is There? An interview with composer Lalo Schifrin about the original film makes the set worth buying for yours truly, but new interviews and commentaries from stars like Margot Kidder and James Brolin give a great sense of perspective on the silly fun of the series.
How Badly Do I Want It? As probably the only entries that are genuinely worth watching without completely burying your tongue in your cheek, this set offers a great volume of content and will make a worthy addition to your horror collection.
The Croods (DreamWorks)
The One-Liner: The animated odyssey that no one seemed to see but everyone seemed to love comes to Blu-ray, where you can discover for yourself if it’s DreamWorks’ best-kept secret.
Picture Perfect? In 2- or 3D, the movie looks terrific, perfectly preserving the detail of the animation as well as the dimensionalization of the characters.
What Else Is There? Most of the extras are designed for kids rather than adults, but there are featurettes exploring the cast of characters, and a collection of deleted scenes shows what might have been in the film if the directors didn’t chop it out.
How Badly Do I Want It? As a film that arrives with a lot of hype, it’s definitely worth checking out, but you may want to wait on buying it until after you’ve already fallen in love with it – unless you’ve got kids, who will undoubtedly respond to its DayGlo charms.
From Here to Eternity: 60th Anniversary Edition (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Fred Zinneman’s classic World War II film arrives on Blu-ray in a beautiful new edition that features some interesting extra content.
Picture Perfect? The film’s black-and-white imagery looks absolutely stunning, thanks to a restoration that carefully preserves the dynamic contrasts, while maintaining consistent sharpness of image.
What Else Is There? A picture-in-picture track offers a complete history of the film’s production while you’re watching the film, while an audition commentary by Zinneman’s son Tim offers abundant insights into his father’s creative process.
How Badly Do I Want It? An absolutely magnificent film presented in high quality with a treasure trove of extras, this is a must-have set.
The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
The One-Liner: Disney’s great animated comeback movie arrives on home video again, this time with a 3D conversion.
Picture Perfect? What Else Is There? A handful of new HD featurettes offer insights and background details from the filmmakers and stars, while the classic features offer an abundance of great making-of materials.
How Badly Do I Want It? Even if the 3D version isn’t for you, this is the definitive version of the film on home video, thanks to its incredible presentation and gloriously encyclopedic extras.
The Wizard of Oz 3D (Warner Home Video)
The One-Liner: One of the greatest fantasy films of all time gets released again, this time in 3D, along with an exhaustive collection of extra features plus some amazing tchotchkes.
Picture Perfect? There are few films that look this good in 2D, much less 3, but in either format the film is absolutely stunning, featuring some of the most amazing detail imaginable for a film that’s 75 years old.
What Else Is There? In addition to the incredible slate of extras that were released with previous versions on Blu-ray and DVD, this set comes with an all-new feature-length documentary, “The Making of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” But if that isn’t enough, it comes with three collectible pins, a hardcover book, a diary and a snow globe that glows red like the ruby slippers.
How Badly Do I Want It? If you think you would have any interest in seeing the film in 3D, this is an absolute must-have, as it includes that amazing conversion, plus the original 2D version and all of its extras.