The Emmy Award-winning TAKEN, produced by DreamWorks Television and exec produced by Steven Spielberg, was Sci Fi Channel's highest rated program ever. The 10-part miniseries comes to DVD Oct. 21, 2003 in a lavish five-disc set (DreamWorks Home Entertainment, $89.95). Spanning 50 years of habitual alien abductions among three American families, TAKEN expands on many of the themes Spielberg first introduced in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, obviously with a stronger emphasis on family.
Category: Home Entertainment
Whether you were mesmerized or mystified by THE MATRIX RELOADED, you get another chance to experience the Wachowski brothers second installment on this sharp and lavish DVD, available Oct. 14, 2004 (Warner Home Video, $29.95). As far as value-added features, the 30-minute doc on the impressive 12-minute freeway chase (courtesy of ESC Entertainment and Animal Logic Films) is all we get in terms of any vfx depth.
At long last, Disney's mega hit, THE LION KING, arrives on DVD Oct. 7, 2003 (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $29.99) in a special edition worthy of the phenomenon. For starters, the two-disc set contains gorgeous transfers of both the theatrical release and the extended edition featuring the Elton John/Tim Rice song from the play, "Morning Report," digitally cleaned and enhanced in painstaking fashion by the original filmmakers from Feature Animation.
SINBAD: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SEAS (DreamWorks Home Entertainment, $19.95), DreamWorks' last traditionally animated feature for the foreseeable future, bows on DVD Nov. 18, 2003.
Back in the late '50s, Frank Capra's BELL SCIENCE films (a combination of live-action and animation) were a regular favorite on CBS. Two volumes of these WONDERS OF LIFE are available Sept. 30, 2003 on DVD (Image Entertainment, $14.99) featuring animation from Shamus Culhane, the only animator to work on the first four Disney animated features, and other artists from Disney and the UPA Studio. The first volume contains HEMO THE MAGNIFICENT and UNCHAINED GODDESS, and the second contains the Emmy Award winner OUR MR. SUN (best editing, Frank Keller) and STRANGE CASE OF COSMIC RAYS.
On September 30, 2003, FUNimation Prods, Ltd. will release the BLUE GENDER box set and will give fans the opportunity to win five animation cels from the series in a trivia promotion. By answering five trivia questions about the show, fans are entered to win one of five animation cels used in the production. All cels, valued at $250 each, come complete with multiple matching sketches.
HOLES, the family adventure concerning an ancient family curse and kids forced to dig holes to build character, comes to DVD (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $29.99) on Sept. 23, 2003. Starring Stanley Yelnats (Disney Channel's EVEN STEVENS), HOLES is based on the Newberry award-winning book by Louis Sachar.
The WB's popular SUPERMAN spinoff series, SMALLVILLE, comes to DVD in THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON set (Warner Home Video, $64.92) on Sept. 23, 2003. The deluxe six-disc package offers the origins of the characters, numerous plotlines and deleted scenes and other bonus features.
BIONICLE: MASK OF LIGHT, the first computer-animated feature based on the popular LEGO franchise, arrives on DVD Sept. 16, 2003 presented by the LEGO Co., co-producer Create TV and Film, Miramax Films and Buena Vista Home Entertainment ($29.99). The animation was performed by Los Angeles-based Creative Capers Entertainment and Taipei-based studio CGCG. Having already captured millions of 12-year-old boys in the U.S.
The WALT DISNEY TREASURES collectible DVD series continues with WAVE 3 on Dec. 2, 2003. The four new, separate, two-disc sets (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $32.99 each) include: WALT DISNEY ON THE FRONT LINES (featuring exclusive declassified material from World War II-themed productions); MICKEY MOUSE IN LIVING COLOR (VOLUME TWO); THE CHRONOLOGICAL DONALD; and WALT DISNEYS TOMORROWLAND. Each volume is fully restored and introduced by historian Leonard Maltin.
Universal Home Video has announced that the October 28, 2003 DVD release of THE HULK will feature the Xbox demo version of THE HULK game. The DVD will contain one playable level.
The film follows the origin of The Hulk when gammarays transform scientist Bruce Banner into the raging green beast. With visual effects by Industrial Light & Magic and directed by Ang Lee (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON), the film stars Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas and Nick Nolte.
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.
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.