Blu-Ray of the Week: Super 8 And Other Gift Ideas
With Black Friday on the way, many are looking for that special gift for that certain someone. For moviegoers, if its one film to have under your tree, I say don’t miss out on J.J. Abram’s summer hit, Super 8. A story about a group of kids that try to make a near zero-budget zombie movie has production problems as a train crashes near filming and a monster on board is unleashed into the two they live in. While there is big emphasis on the creature’s havoc, most of the story is focused of the kids and how they try to make their film. What makes Super 8 unique is how it has that sci-fi/fantasy tint that is present in most 1980 films that we normally don’t see in today’s movies. If you have a fan of Spielberg in your household, this might be the right gift for them. Bonus features include an audio commentary by Director J.J. Abrams, Producer Bryan Burk, and Cinematographer Larry Fong, an array of documentaries on the making of the film, 14 deleted scenes, and the opportunity to own a digital copy for your computer or iPod.
Speaking of Spielberg, at the start of November, Hook made its Blu Ray debut. The story of Robin Williams as a grown-up Peter Pan trying to save his kids from Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) wasn’t well-received by critics but over the years has given a better appreciation and fan base. While the treatment given is not along the lines of “Special Edition,” fans and new viewers will appreciate the new transfer given as it looks rich and spectacular in visuals with heightened colors in certain scenes and void of any dust or debris. Attached on is a DVD copy which is really a duplicate of Columbia’s Superbit DVD. Some viewers maybe bummed out about how there are no inclusions of special features, but the digital remastering is an improvement alone to recommend.
And for the Christmas lover, another Blu Ray debut that one must have is Scrooged. A black comedy about the head of a network (Bill Murray) that is in a grinchy mood about the holiday season while arranging a live televised presentation of A Christmas Carrol with a handful of stars. As one might guess, he gets the Christmas Carrol treatment himself as he is treated to different variations of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future who try to get him to change his ways. While certainly underrated, Scrooged may not be for everybody as some moments do have a dark or frightening quality such as the presence of the Future ghost or the appearance of Jacob Marley as the rotting corpse of a well-known executive. However, it does have enough laughs and holiday cheer that makes it worth your while. Again, this another flick that has little “special edition” treatment from the studio, but the Blu Ray transfer which looks impressive compared to the inferior 2001 DVD should be enough to have in your collection. Previous there was news a while back for a reissue (playfully dubbed “Yule Love It Edition”) but was cancelled a few weeks before release date. Only time will tell until a DVD release like that will be unleashed to the public.
And finally being released at last to Blu Ray and DVD is Giorgio Moroder’s infamous cut of 1927’s Metropolis. This version was made in the mid-1980s and was crafted from the most available footage at the time while being scored to a synthesizer soundtrack and pop music. The reason this version had never seen a DVD release was due to the music licensing issues and the previous restorations that has brough it back to its near original cut. The story about a dystopia that is occupied by machine laboring workers and divided by social class status was compelling back in the 1920s. Giorgio’s version was obviously made for the younger generation at the time and while the added techno score does give it a dated feel, it’s still a curious watch. Aside from a near pristine transfer, bonus features include a documentary made at the time of its restoration and scoring which makes this worth a curious look into.