It’s been awhile since my last Blu-ray column (two weeks ago, I attended a brand retreat in Walt Disney World with Hanes and returned with a non-swine flu), but luckily, I didn’t miss too much. In fact, with the exception of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (which you should definitely pick up, by the way), there were no other major releases last week. This week is a different story, however, with a few A-list titles, a slew of movies from the Paramount and MGM vaults, and an awesome collection that sci-fi fans are going to want to check out.
By far the biggest surprise of the year, Pierre Morel’s “Taken” is a good old fashioned action thriller that doesn’t waste a single minute on pointless exposition or silly subplots. Liam Neeson is excellent as the Jack Bauer-type who jets off to Paris when his teenage daughter is kidnapped by human traffickers, and then proceeds to kick the ass of each and every person involved until there’s no one else left to punish. Though I’ve yet to actually check out the extras on the Blu-ray release, the U.K. edition sported some pretty cool bonus material including a picture-in-picture geographical locator, a making-of featurette, and side-by-side comparisons for six of the film’s key sequences. I’d expect the U.S. version to feature the same, but here’s hoping we get a few exclusives as well.
With J.J. Abrams’ big screen reboot of the sci-fi classic tearing up the box office in its first week in theaters, it’s really no surprise that Paramount would want to take advantage of the hype train by releasing all six of the original “Star Trek” films on Blu-ray for the first time. As we’ve already seen from the Season One release, however, Paramount’s HD reissues are more than quick cash grabs, but rather serious undertakings meant to please the most loyal of fans. The same appears to be true of the “Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection,” a seven-disc box set that includes remastered editions of all six movies (sorry, no director cuts this time around) and an additional disc of bonus material entitled The Captain’s Summit. Suffice it to say, this is a no-brainer Day One purchase for any real “Trek” fan, but at such a great price ($79.99 on Amazon), I’d even say it’s worth it for the casual fan as well.
Fans of the “Underworld” series won’t agree with what I have to say about the third installment of the popular vampire/werewolf action series – namely that it’s as unnecessary as it is uninspired – but that doesn’t change the fact that the Blu-ray disc is a pretty solid release. For starters, the film’s trademark blue-hued visuals transfer over wonderfully to high definition, but even more impressive are the extras included on the disc. The movie may not be worthy of consideration for just anyone’s collection, but then again, neither were the first two films. “Rise of the Lycans” is strictly a fans-only affair, and while that may make this release less significant when compared to the above titles, it’s still a solid piece of fan service that deserves at least some kind of mention.
Also Out This Week: