It's big, it's loud and now the bonafide monster film of the year is rolling out on store shelves. Michael Bay's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" made gobs of money at the box office and now it almost singled-handedly owns the release calendar this week. But a few other titles do manage to break through the shape-shifting pack, and we'll cover them all in this DVD Report for Tuesday, October 20, 2009.
There's not much purpose in rehashing the plot to "Revenge of the Fallen," the follow-up to the bombastic intergalactic war between the Autobots and the Decepticons. Anyone interested in the DVD and Blu-ray has already seen the film, so the only thing really worth discussing are whether the presentation and special features make it a must-own. Well, if you count yourself a fan of the robot-friendly franchise, then it's a definite yes. Like the first film's home video release, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" is one of the best looking and best sounding discs around, especially on Blu-ray. Bay's films have frequently been reference-quality material for home theater systems and this one is no different. Action pops off the screen in amazing clarity and the 5.1 DTD-HD audio track could probably knock halls in your walls.
Like many of Bay's other DVDs, the bonus features also deliver. "Revenge of the Fallen" is arguably one of the biggest CGI films ever attempted and, expectedly, that lengthy and complicated process is well reflected in the extras. Highlighting the DVD content is a multi-part documentary, "The Human Factor: Exacting Revenge of the Fallen," which takes viewers through the entire filmmaking process from initial design and development to the actual globe-trotting production, to working with the visual effects teams and even the military on this hardware-packed action flick. We also get a few just-for-fun featurettes, including a "Day with Bay" which follows the fast-talking helmer through the Tokyo premiere, a look at 25 years of the "Transformers" franchise (featuring an interview with Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner), a database of conceptual artwork, pre-visualization sequences, extended scenes and more. For an exclusive look at the special features, click here.
With such a huge film dropping this week, no other studio opted to schedule a competing theatrical release title. The only other new-to-DVD title is Sony's "Blood: The Last Vampire," the live-action take on the popular anime series which follows a half-bloodsucker taking on an evil organization of vampires. There's not a ton of extras packaged here, but we do get 35 minutes or so of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, and a featurette emphasizing the considerable amount of stuntwork.
On a retro hook, Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson's landmark road movie "Easy Rider" gets the high-def treatment on Blu-ray. If you're buying this, it's because it's never looked better, but the special features are essentially ported over from the recent "35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition."
The only other release of note is "Waterworld" on Blu-ray, which, let's be honest here, isn't that bad of a film.
DVD & BLU-RAY NEWS:
Sasha Baron Cohen's "Brüno" lands November 17, with Quentin Tarantino's fantastical WWII flick "Inglourious Basterds" dropping a month later on December 15. For the ladies out there, Sandra Bullock and Thomas Haden Church's romantic comedy "All About Steve" arrives December 22.
Slim pickings, with "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" and low-budget horror "Orphan" being the only wide release films hitting street, although the limited release Woody Allen film "Whatever Works" (starring Larry David) also takes a bow. The Edward James Olmos-directed "Battlestar Galactica: The Plan" hits, along with the 15th Anniversary Edition of "Stargate" (a personal favorite of mine), the mammoth six-hour "Monty Python" documentary "Almost the Truth," and cheapie parody flick "Stan Helsing."