THE CORE, the high-tech sci-fi thriller starring Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank about a team of geophysicists that travel to the earth's core to save the planet, bores its way to DVD on Sept. 9, 2003 (Paramount Home Entertainment, $29.99). There are plenty of digital vfx disasters to dazzle the eye, courtesy of Frantic Films, CREO, Fantasy II Film Effects and Rising Sun Pictures, and the work was recently highlighted at VES 2003: A Festival of Visual Effects.
Category: Home Entertainment
Following the indispensable first DVD set of THE OUTER LIMITS, arguably the best sci-fi anthology series in TV history, MGM Home Entertainment recently released SEASON 2. Cut short because of plummeting ratings in the '64-'65 season opposite THE JACKIE GLEASON SHOW on Saturday nights, the 17 episodes on the three-disc set (a bit steep at $69.96) nonetheless offer some series highlights despite creative compromises as a result of network interference on the part of ABC.
SLEEPING BEAUTY Disney's ambitious fairy tale spectacle from 1959 - the first animated feature drawn and photographed in Technirama 70mm -- arrives on DVD Sept. 9, 2003 in a lavish two-disc special edition (Walt Disney Home Video, $29.99). The movie looks stunning with the entire digital cleanup, though some preservationists and historians may argue about the accuracy of the colors and precision of the aspect ratio (it should be 2.2:1, not 2.35:1).
Disney's PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, which emerged as the live-action surprise of the summer, and has amassed more than $280M to date, arrives on DVD on Dec. 2, 2003 from Walt Disney Home Entertainment. The two-disc set (priced at $29.99) will include a bounty of supplemental riches, including audio commentaries by director Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp, deleted scenes, a "making-of" featurette, "Moonlight" scene progression, blooper reel and an interactive history of pirates.
STITCH! THE MOVIE (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $29.99), the DVD premiere sequel to LILO & STITCH that's currently in stores, concentrates more on the antics of the mischievous alien than on the domestic crises of the little Hawaiian girl, as they try to thwart the other 625 alien experiments on the loose. But that's because it serves as a bridge between the successful and gorgeous feature and the upcoming LILO & STITCH: THE TV SERIES, premiering Sept. 20, 2003 on ABC's Saturday morning lineup and on the Disney Channel.
DECODE Entertainment is building its licensing and merchandising designs by signing a deal with Universal to acquire U.K. home entertainment rights to its preschool property, THE SAVE-UMS!
The Save-Ums! follows 3D action heroes who aim to help prepare preschoolers for their role in the 21st century. The pintsize Save-ums utilize whimsical helicopters, space ships and other gadgets to solve problems and nurture an interest in technology as well as critical thinking.
Mondo Media has released a second collection of its HAPPY TREE FRIENDS Web series on DVD. The series features various cute and cuddly characters that find themselves in all sorts of limb-maiming mayhem. Second Serving features 17 regular episodes, two new episodes, four interactive smoochies, six holiday kringles and bonus features include behind the scenes, character interviews, sing-a-longs, board-to-episode comparisons and a special mystery character show.
With "El Barto" and company recently hitting its 300th episode in its 14th season as the longest running sitcom on primetime TV, Fox Home Entertainment released THE SIMPSONS SEASON THREE on DVD ($49.98) on Aug. 26, 2003. Like its smash hit predecessors, this latest four-disc set comes jam-packed with extras of interest to enthusiasts. Some of the Season Three celebrity guest stars included Magic Johnson, Sting and the late Steve Allen.
OK, the TWO TOWERS DVD (New Line Home Entertainment, $29.95) arrives in stores Aug. 26, 2003, looking glorious in its widescreen edition and packed with the kinds of extras we've come to expect (two documentaries, eight featurettes, plus Sean Astin's short film, THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT, along with the making of it). But keep in mind: this is the theatrical version of Peter Jackson's blockbuster fantasy. There's the extended version still to come on Nov. 18, featuring some 43 extra minutes. So hold on tight and enjoy the second part of the journey.
The second season of FUTURAMA, Matt Groening's Emmy-Award-winning JETSONS-meets-SIMPSONS satire of pop culture hits DVD shelves on Aug. 12, 2003 (Fox Home Entertainment, $49.98). Life among the beer-fueled robots in the year 30003, starring Bender, Fry, Leela and Nibbler, was vastly improved the second time around, according to many fans. And the digital animation was better too.
Walt Disney Home Entertainment ups the LILO & STITCH ante with a new DVD board game, LILO & STITCH'S ISLAND OF ADVENTURES ($29.99), available Nov. 11, 2003. In keeping with the home entertainment division's "immersive" theme, the DVD provides nearly 60 minutes of new content that expands the home theater family experience. Players interact with favorite and new characters from Disney's beloved animated film. They'll race around the game board in a quest to capture Stitch's lost cousins, while playing dynamic on-screen games, singing, dancing and having fun.
All 26 episodes comprising the first season of ROCKY & BULLWINKLE & FRIENDS, from 1961, arrives in a must-own four-disc set on Aug. 5, 2003 (Sony Music Video, $39.98). Certainly one of TV's wittiest animated series, producer Jay Ward, partner Bill Scott (the voice of Bullwinkle and others) and their wacky writing staff never pandered to children. Despite the dated Cold War material, painful puns and other cultural clichés, the cartoons hold up very well.
The Ben Affleck superhero actioner, DAREDEVIL, based on the Marvel comic book, comes to DVD (Fox Home Entertainment, $29.98) armed with more features than fearless protagonist Matt Murdock. Among them is an hour-long collection of interviews with people that worked on the comic, including creator Stan Lee, Frank Miller and director Kevin Smith.
PIGLET'S BIG MOVIE (Buena Vista Home Entertainment, $29.99) hits the DVD shelves July 29, 2003 featuring extra goodies such as PIGLET'S BIG BOOK OF MEMORIES (find Piglet's lost drawings) and THE WORLD ACCORDING TO PIGLET (a 3D book of memories filled with favorite "Pigletisms"). The movie provides the lovable pink fellow with his first starring role (voiced by John Fiedler in his 35th year doing the cherished role). PIGLET was directed by Francis Glebas (FANTASIA 2000's "Pomp & Circumstance"), produced by Disney Toon Studios and animated by Walt Disney Animation Japan.
With FINDING NEMO overtaking THE LION KING as the box office leader in animation, Buena Vista Home Entertainment has announced that the Disney/Pixar blockbuster will debut on DVD on Nov. 4, 2003. The two-disc Collector's Edition ($29.99) will feature a new original short film, EXPLORING THE REEF WITH JEAN-MICHEL COUSTEAU, the classic Pixar short, KNICKKNACK, and the following extras: Filmmakers' visual commentary (including deleted scenes and recording sessions).
DKP Effects recently partnered with Rhino Home Video and Warner Strategic Marketing to bring a new interactivity to the booming DVD format: DVDn. The first title, SCOURGE OF WORLDS: A DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ADVENTURE ($24.95), released earlier this summer, is intended to be a true hybrid of features and gaming.
The wait is over: Warner Home Video is finally releasing the first of its LOONEY TUNES DVD box sets on Oct. 28, 2003. The digitally remastered, four-disc set, titled THE LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION ($64.92) contains 56 classic toons devoted to BUGS BUNNY (disc one), PORKY PIG and DAFFY DUCK (disc two), plus two survey discs that are billed as PREMIERE COLLECTION VOL. ONE and TWO.
U.K.-based Entertainment Rights Plc has signed an exclusive distribution deal with Rhino Home Video for the North American home video and DVD distribution rights to Hasbro's TRANSFORMERS ARMADA animated TV series. Previously, Entertainment Rights secured the international television, and video and DVD rights to the series. The company announced the sale of the show to more than 70 countries, including Sky One and GMTV in the U.K., Teletoon in France, Cartoon Network and Telecinco in Spain, Fox Kids in Italy and Cartoon Network in Australia. The series currently airs in the U.S.
In anticipation of The SCI FI Channel's new four-hour BATTLESTAR GALACTICA miniseries (premiering December 2003), Universal Home Video will launch the landmark 1978 TV series on DVD, Oct. 21, 2003. The six-disc Complete Epic Series collection is priced at $119.98, while the subsequent feature is repriced at $19.98.
EM.TV & Merchandising AG made a substantial move in the home entertainment field, signing a three-year license agreement with Universal Family Entertainment, to exploit the German entity's libraries of DVD, VHS, music cassette and CD media sectors. The contract, according to EM.TV, is in the lower single-digit million euro area.
KOCH Entertainment Distribution, a growing music and video distributor in Port Washington, New York, signed an exclusive distribution deal with AnimEigo, a leading Anime label that specializes in releasing the finest Japanese Animation and Samurai films in the North American market. KOCH will distribute AnimEigo's entire catalog, which includes well-known classic titles such as MACROSS (the series that became the core of ROBOTECH), BUBBLEGUM CRISIS, URUSEI YATSURA, KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD, OH MY GODDESS!
KING OF THE HILL SEASON ONE, the start of the Texas-sized redneck comedy by Mike Judge (BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD) and Greg Daniels (THE SIMPSONS), bursts onto DVD (Fox Home Entertainment, $39.98), July 1, 2003. The collectible three-disc set follows the daily lives of "propane and propane accessories" salesman Hank Hill and his wild family and friends. More than seven million fans tune in each week to enter this ruckus world of BBQ and power tools animated by Film Roman.
MUTANT ALIENS, the latest feature by maverick animator Bill Plympton, who is graphic in both his art and point of view, resurfaced in a fully-loaded DVD on July 1, 2003 (Ventura Distribution, $19.90). In MUTANT ALIENS, an astronaut left in space returns after 20 years with a vengeance after being betrayed by a greedy corporate shark.
That elusive kangaroo from down under made his DVD debut on June 24, 2003, when KANGAROO JACK (Warner Home Video, $27.98) hit stores with a host of supplements. With VFX by The Secret Lab and animatronics by Neal Scanlan Studio, you can get a closer look at the celebrated work. Visual effects supervisor Hoyt Yeatman contributes audio commentary to go along with segments on animal casting sessions, gags and outtakes and marsupial magic.
COWBOY BEBOP THE MOVIE makes its eagerly awaited DVD debut on June 24, 2003 (Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, $26.95) in a worthy special edition. Based on the popular anime TV series, the feature couldn't be more topical with the unleashing of a deadly viral infection by terrorists. The film not only looks striking in this widescreen anamorphic transfer (the production companies include Bandai Visual Co.