Let's get this out of the way right off to bat: I enjoyed "Terminator Salvation." I know I'm sitting in a somewhat lonely circle, but what can I say? I'm a sucker for big, loud robots, cyborgs, whatever you want to call them, and "Salvation" has some jaw-droppingly cool scenes. The film is now hitting store shelves, and leads the DVD Report for Tuesday, December 1.
The studio was taking a gamble when it greenlit a fourth film in the venerable "Terminator" franchise. After a lackluster response to 2003's "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," many fans advocated for putting the series to bed, either to breathe or permanently. But away we went with director McG at the helm, and Christian Bale and Anton Yelchin -- two figures with legitimate geek cred -- attached to the budding sequel. The resulting story saw a band of resistance fighters battling to save humanity from the ever-evolving SkyNet. Was the execution perfect? No. Did I get what I came for? Yeah, sorta. The attack of a mecha-sized robot against Yelchin and his clan in a gas station remains one of my favorite scenes of 2009. And there are enough other balls-out battles to satisfy my metallic quota.
To each their own; those in my camp have reason to celebrate though, as the home video offering brings a fantastic hi-def transfer and a pulse-pounding audio track, one of the year's best. The Blu-ray comes as a three-disc set with theatrical and director's cuts, and includes a series of high-def featurettes highlighting every asset of this massive film. The special effects are a stand-out, and the mini-docs take us through the creation and implementation of the many impressive sequences. All in all, fans won't leave disappointed and those simply curious to check it out should find something to enjoy, too.
The other big theatrical product this week is "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," which finds Ben Stiller jetting his way to the nation's capital to free his magical museum friends. More for the family than anyone else (I found it less appealing for adults than the first one), it comes to DVD and Blu-ray with a series of behind-the-scenes and educational featurettes (and one centric to the Jonas Brothers, who have a cameo in the film).
Also releasing is "Paper Heart," Charlyne Yi's ode to love through the faux prism of her real-life relationship with Michael Cera. The film earned high marks at Sundance, and comes to home video as a tidy little package.
The rest of the notable titles fall in the Blu-ray column. Guy Ritchie's "Snatch" and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" hit the high-def format but don't really include any new special features. The '80s classic "Gremlins" arrives, as does "The Mask of Zorro" and "The Green Mile."
DVD & BLU-RAY NEWS:
The "Fame" remake dances its way to stores on January 12, with another music-laden offering, "Michael Jackson's This Is It," dropping January 26 (click here for more on that). Ricky Gervais' "The Invention of Lying" is set for January 19, the same day as Kate Beckinsale's murder mystery "Whiteout." Paul Giamatti's sci-fi indie "Cold Souls" comes February 2, with acclaimed fashion doc "The September Issue" landing late in the month on February 23. Lastly, two classics from Warner Bros. -- "Neverending Story" and "Clash of the Titans" -- will arrive March 2.
"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," Johnny Depp and Christian Bale's "Public Enemies," cooking flick "Julie & Julia," Robin Williams' dark comedy "World's Greatest Dad" and the fifth season of ABC's "Lost."