DVD Review: Prometheus, The Raven, E.T. & More…
New stuff for those who enjoy sitting at home:
Prometheus – Easily one of the summer’s most controversial movies, which is a good thing because summer movies are usually very simplistic and rarely controversial, this semi-sorta-prequel to Alien has its strong supporters, its ardent detractors, and old-school sci-fi fans like myself, who see this project as half good news and half bad. It’s not a monster movie, and it’s barely a typical adventure story, but love Prometheus or hate it, it is science fiction worth checking out at least once. Having already seen the film once (here’s my review from FEARnet), I will opt to wait for the inevitable (but as yet unannounced) “extended cut,” because this week’s release offers merely the theatrical version — with a whole bunch of deleted scenes thrown in to the “special features” section. Other goodies include a pair of filmmaker commentaries and a Charles De Lauzirika (he does amazing DVD supplements for most of Ridley Scott’s movies) piece called “The Weyland Files,” and other little bells and whistles.
The Raven – It’s probably because I’m a huge sucker for Edgar Allan Poe, John Cusack, and truly weird movies that I praised The Raven more than most of my colleagues. (Full review.) I still contend that for all its oddness, there’s a lot to like here, especially if you like your mystery movies stagy, gory, and strange. And hey, if you end up liking it as well, the blu-ray offers a director’s commentary, some of the inevitable deleted scenes, and a bunch of featurettes on everything from Poe to Cusack to the score. Not a bad package for a movie nobody went to see.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – The only thing controversial about this classic 1982 Steven Spielberg film is who loves it the most. (I saw it no less than five times when it came out. It was playing at a “duplex” theater near my house for, no lie, nine months.) But you don’t need me to sell you on this: E.T. (the theatrical cut, with guns, hold the walkie-talkies) with tons of featurettes (many of them NEW!), and finally available to view in beautiful Blu-ray. You have to buy this for when your kids get old enough to cry at a movie. Like six or seven years old would be my advice.
Little Shop of Horrors – This is much more noteworthy than just another catalog release, and here’s why: this long-overdue Blu-ray release includes the original “dark” ending that fans have only been able to see on freaking YouTube. You can watch the version you remember from 1986 OR you can now see the film the way Frank Oz intended … with a big finale you simply won’t believe. If you’re a first-timer, lucky you, start with the theatrical version and savor this film’s myriad assets: the great music, the wonderful chemistry between Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene, the amazing “killer plant” special effects, and the background cast (Vincent Gardenia, Steven Martin, Bill Murray, John Candy, etc,) … man, I can’t wait to revisit this flick. I even had the soundtrack on cassette!
Rock of Ages – I don’t want to sound dismissive, because I am a child of the ’80s and I actually do like musicals, but the trailer for this film made me want to claw my eyes out and jam them into my ears.
Blu-ray Hitchcock double feature! (Oh, your poor wallet.) Dial M for Murder (yes, in 3-D) and Strangers on a Train. (Sold separately.)
Catalog titles new to the Blu: Red Dawn! The Great Mouse Detective! Ice Station Zebra! Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Now there’s a cool marathon.
Next week: Moonrise Kingdom, which is great, and a re-issue of a little indie film called “Avatar.”