Blu Tuesday: A Bug’s Life, Batman and Terminator 2

The wealth of Blu-ray titles being released this week is actually pretty incredible (in fact, most of the month has yielded a nice selection for HD enthusiasts), but you’d be wise to get in on the fun now, because the future is looking pretty dim – at least in the short term. Nevertheless, there are plenty A-list titles to last you through the upcoming drought, and most of them are good enough to warrant headlining their own column.

“A Bug’s Life” (Walt Disney)

It may not be one of Pixar’s most popular films (in fact, it’s curiously missing from just about every marketing campaign of the last decade), but “A Bug’s Life” is still a solid entry in the studio’s 14-year history. A clever reimagining of Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai,” the film features all of the usual Pixar trappings (humor, heart and charm), not to mention an awesome voice cast including the scene-stealing Kevin Spacey and Richard Kind as the villainous grasshopper and his dim-witted brother, respectively. Oh, and that cute little girl providing the voice of Dot? It’s none other than “Heroes” hottie Hayden Panettiere in one of her very first film roles. What’s ultimately so great about the new 10th anniversary Blu-ray release, however, is that it not only includes the previously released bonus material, but two brand new special features as well. The first is a 21-minute roundtable discussion with co-directors John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton and producers Darla K. Anderson and Kevin Reher where they reflect on the making of “A Bug’s Life” with stories about pitching the idea to Disney and screening the film for President Clinton at Camp David, while “A Bug’s Life: The First Draft” offers a never-before-seen look at the film’s original concept starring a completely different main character. It’s exactly the kind of fan service moviegoers don’t see enough of these days, but when it comes to a company like Pixar, you shouldn’t expect any less.

“Batman” (Warner Bros.)

It’s hard to imagine anyone that wanted a copy of “Batman” on Blu-ray didn’t pick up the anthology box set collecting the first four films when it was released a few months ago, but those holding out strictly for the Tim Burton original will be pleased with Warner’s new digibook release. Though the 1989 film doesn’t quite hold up when compared to Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the franchise, it’s still a solid entry in the history of comic book films that, if nothing else, offers a great performance from Jack Nicholson as a more classic version of the Joker. The set is also jam-packed with all of the special features from the 2005 DVD reissues including a director commentary, an in-depth look at the history of Batman, and hours of production featurettes about the making of the film. The digibook release also features slick packaging with a 48-page booklet filled with essays and a script excerpt, as well as a digital copy for those on the go.

“T2: Judgment Day” (Lionsgate)

With McG’s “Terminator Salvation” arriving in theaters this week, now is the perfect time to brush up on the only “Terminator” movie that has mattered thus far with Lionsgate’s re-release of “T2: Judgment Day” on Blu-ray. The new Skynet Edition is shaping up to be the perfect high-def demo disc thanks to its THX-certified 1080p video transfer and 6.1 DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio track, but it also eight hours of special features including a James Cameron audio commentary, a second commentary with 26 cast and crew members, and a new picture-in-picture video track boasting an entire film’s worth of behind-the-scenes footage. Of course, diehard fans will no doubt be enticed by the limited edition, and why wouldn’t you? Along with the new Blu-ray, the set also includes a copy of the Extreme Edition and Ultimate Edition on DVD. Oh yeah, and it’s all housed in a 14” T-800 Endoskull bust sure to make your friends jealous.

Also Out This Week:

“Valkyrie” (MGM)
“Paul Blart: Mall Cop” (Sony)
“My Bloody Valentine 3D” (Lionsgate)
“24: Season Seven” (20th Century Fox)
“True Blood: The Complete First Season” (HBO)

  

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