Thursday, December 27, 2012

DVD & Blu-Ray Update Christmas 2012

Greetings! I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and that Old Saint Nick was kind to you all! This year I was fortunate enough to receive several films on DVD and Blu-Ray and I hope many of you cinema enthusiasts were just as lucky!

Welcome to the new format my DVD and Blu-Ray Collection Updates will take on!

1. Garfield Holiday Celebrations
For years I would anticipate the annual Garfield Christmas and Halloween holiday television specials While they ceased airing on television in the United States by the year 2000, Canadians were fortunate enough to have the specials continue to air on the youth-aimed channel YTV. However, this year I was sad to learn that neither the Garfield Halloween nor the Garfield Christmas specials would be airing this year. While it certainly was not the end of the world, part of what made both holidays so special to me were the TV specials, especially these two. Fortunately, the large gaping whole would not be there long as I received the DVD collection of the three Garfield Holidays cartoons. Now, no matter what the networks decide, I'll have these hilarious and heartwarming specials at my disposal to enjoy every year! Both the Halloween and Christmas specials are excellent and should be viewed at least once while the Thanksgiving special remains unseen by me...until Thanksgiving 2013!

2. Wall-E (Blu-Ray + DVD)
Pixar's Wall-E is nothing less than a masterpiece. Yes, people complain that the second half of the film is noticeably inferior to the first half, and yet I cannot bring myself to agree with that sentiment at all. Indeed the film takes on a completely different tone than it initially opened with, however in my view it was not in any way that even minimally changes the quality of the film. It is still just as endearing and well-crafted as the first hour. The animation is spectacular, the score is beautiful, and the story and characters are all engaging. What else can  be said? This one is beloved for a reason.

3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Diamond Edition (Blu-Ray + DVD)
I'm not going to lie. As a child I was that boy who hated all 'girly' things and thought they were stupid. Fortunately I have grown up and realize that a lot of the things (films especially) that I loathed for being 'girly' are actually pretty good (especially the Disney princess films). Over the years I have gained a greater appreciation for most of the Disney princess films, however Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs remains the one Disney Princess film that I have not seen since childhood and thus have not been able to appreciate with the benefits of age and wisdom. The film is primarily known for its innovation in film animation as the first feature length animated film and for how it launched Walt Disney Animated Pictures into the realm of legends. Since then and to this day Disney has produced some of the greatest animated films of all time that endear us as children and only grow stronger as we get older. Disney has a great track of releasing Blu-Ray's with outstanding picture and sound quality, so I am eager to watch this film for the first time in ages.

4. 12 Angry Men Criterion Edition (Blu-Ray)
I first saw this film in a Canadian Law class I took back in high school and I have to admit that I was skeptical. That year I heard nothing but praise from fellow students for the Paul Haggis film Crash and found myself not only disappointed by the film once we watched it in class, but frankly I despised it for its mediocrity. So when 12 Angry Men became the subject of discussion, I was very wary of the positive buzz I had heard now that it was also coming from the same Crash loving crowd. Fortunately, I was proven wrong and could not have been happier. This film is outstanding. Easily one of the most gripping times I have spent watching a film and that is thanks to all the elements of film making. The direction, the performances, the all adds up to this masterpiece that deserves every amount of praise it gets.

5. Cars 2 Future Shop Exclusive Metal Case (3D Blu-Ray + Blu-Ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
Yes, the Cars films are the lowest points for Pixar. You know, I know it. No need to dwell to much on that fact or why this may be. Why? Because frankly, while they may the studios worst films, neither of them are nearly as terrible as the public claims. Cars is odd, predictable, and unremarkable...but no more than a lot of other films. There is nothing about it that warrants absolute loathing. At best the film deserves apathetic reactions, but hate? There are far worse films out there. In fact while it is not a grand slam, I do think that some of the themes in the film are worth being explored. Cars has its heart in the right place. Cars 2 on the other hand? Well...once again I do not think it deserves the amount of hate it gets, but while Cars was underwhelming, the sequel is just baffling. Again, there is nothing downright awful or offensive about it, but for the first time Pixar produced a film where the humour, story, and message did not amount to anything more than fluff for very young children who need to be babysat by uncle TV for an hour or two. So why ask for the film on Blu-Ray? Well, I am a completest. Yeah.

6. Finding Nemo Future Shop Exclusive Metal Case (3D Blu-Ray + Blu-Ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
I will not dwell on this for too long. Finding Nemo is beloved by just about everyone and for good reason. It has a great story with an important message for parents more than children, the humour is great with mature jokes, the characters are endearing, the score is beautiful, and the animation is spectacular. While it may not be my pick for the best Pixar film, it is certainly among their five best works in my estimation and it is actually one of the few Pixar films where my opinion of it never changes. It is an outstanding film for all. Not surprisingly, it looks stunning on Blu-Ray.

7. Ben-Hur Fiftieth Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition (Blu-Ray)
I first saw Ben-Hur in a high school history class and surprisingly found myself engaged with it the whole way through. The story was fascinating and the journey Ben-Hur goes through was enticing in its danger and emotional turmoil. The film is grand in every way possible. From the locations, to the sets, to the score, to the costumes, to the performances and of course the famous chariot race...this film is the very definition of an epic and continues to immerse me into its world every time I watch it. It is a massive achievement and excels in all aspects of filmmaking. This set comes with a grand amount of goodies such as a replica of Charlton Heston's journal, a 64 page booklet filled with rare pictures from the films prodction, and of course the film itself along side hours of special features. This film comes highly recommended and if you like it than this set is one to own as well.

8. Casablanca 70th Anniversary Limited Edition Giftset (Blu-Ray)
What can I say about Casablanca that you have not heard already? Well let us start with this set in paticular. Alongside the film itself on a Blu-Ray transfer with a mountains worth of extra features, this set also contains some great goodies as well. Inside you will find some coasters, a mini-poster for the films french release, and a 60 page booklet with production notes, drawings, and photos from the set. If you are a fan of this film this set is a must own! As for the classic film itself? Once again, it deserves the place it holds in history. An endearing story, great characters, masterful performances. This films ranks among the best films of all time and deserves no less than such appreciation. I highly recommend  both this set and the film.

Does my family know me or what? My brother got me these replicas of Harvey Dent's 'lucky' coin from The Dark Knight. One piece is from his glory days as Gotham City's District Attorney and one from after his transformation into the villain Two-Face, complete with the ashes covering one side as depicted in the film. Rest assured I will be using the second coin to make all the unimportant decisions.

What are your thoughts on these films? What did you get for Christmas? Sound off below and thanks to everyone one who checked this post out!

1 comment:

  1. I agree about CARS, there not awful but just average, especially CARS 2 which takes the franchise in a really odd direction.