Dru on Blu: October-December 2013

Dru here, back with another instalment of my occasional DVD column. There’s some interesting stuff announced for home video release between now and year’s end, so let’s get to it.

That right there is none other than the intro for the TV movie/backdoor pilot for Will Eisner’s The Spirit, starring none other than Sam “Flash Gordon” Jones!  As far as I know, this one has never been released on home video — maybe on VHS, decades ago — but certainly never on DVD. This is coming to us from the good folks at Warner Archive, which means it won’t be remastered, won’t have any special features, and won’t ship to Canada… but if you can manage to get your hands on it, none of that matters! The film itself is special feature enough! We at 24 Panels have never been able to see this one ourselves, so you can bet we’ll be smuggling a trunkful of these across the border (along with some duty-free Disaronno!). Hopefully we’ll be able to bring more coverage of this long-awaited release in 2014. The real question is who wears a domino mask better: The Spirit or me?

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If you listened to our Summer Movie Round-Up live episode, you’ll recall that my biggest surprise of 2013’s summer movie season was that R.I.P.D. was only the third-worst comic book movie released! As of October 29, you can relive the mediocrity at home. My pick for second-worst of the summer, RED 2 (featuring Bruce Willis in his finest role as retired CIA agent Frank Moses), hits home video the following month on November 26. I watched them back-to-back in the cinema. Soon you’ll be able to experience my pain yourself! It’s a Mary-Louise Parker (and her calves) double-feature!

I’ve actually really been itching to revisit Man of Steel lately, which is surprising as my enjoyment level of the film dropped precipitously on my second theatrical viewing. Come November 12, however, I’ll have my chance to give it a third chance, which will perhaps be the charm. (Maybe I’ll give Sucker Punch a third chance while I’m at it.) Man of Steel is a film full of glorious moments, beautiful production design, wonderful actors, and spectacular action that all adds up to less than the sum of its parts. Nevertheless, it kickstarted DC’s reboot of a cohesive film universe, and only time will tell if that’s a good thing or not. I only know one thing for certain: if this home video release doesn’t have footage of Henry Cavill in the Christopher Reeve costume (which he auditioned in), WE RIOT!

Continuing my reverse-countdown of the summer’s worst comic book movies, fourth worst belongs to 2 Guns and since I actually thought the film was quite a bit of fun, maybe I should abandon the “worst” idea and just say it was the fourth best? In terms of bonus features, it looks like there’s going to be a featurette that involves Steven Grant, the writer of the original graphic novel, for those interested in the process of adaptation, along with a bunch of other featurettes, deleted scenes, and a director/producer’s commentary.

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It’s pretty cool to finally be getting Tank Girl on Blu-ray. Looks like the “collector’s edition” is going to boast a commentary with director Rachel Talalay and Tank Girl herself, Lori Petty, as well as a separate interview with Malcolm McDowell. I’d love to hear Naomi Watts’ recollections about the film, but I guess that’ll have to wait for the 30th anniversary edition. This streets on November 19.

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Here’s something unexpected. We all knew that we’d be getting a slightly bloodier cut of The Wolverine on home video, but who could have predicted that the “unleashed extended cut” would be a full forty minutes longer than the theatrical cut? I’d be a bit more heartened if it was billed as a director’s cut, but it does seem like 20th Century Fox is doing right by Wolverine on this release. [UPDATE: The extended cut is actually only 12 minutes longer. Adjust your expectations accordingly.] Like some previous Fox releases that load the 3-D Blu-ray release with all the bonus features (e.g., Prometheus), you have to buy the 3-D version to get the extended cut and all of the features, but it looks like it’ll at least be worth it. Here’s what you get in addition to the extended version: a director’s commentary (extended cut only), alternate ending, Second Screen compatibility (you’ll need a tablet for that), a featurette called “The Path of the Ronin,” and a set visit for the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past. Sign me up! The Wolverine streets on December 3, so pour yourself a hot toddy and add it to your Christmas lists.

Summary

Dru

Dru Jeffries is the co-host of 24 Panels Per Second. Follow him on Twitter @violetbooth.

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