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Coming Soon…to Your Living Room: ‘Book of Life,’ Studio Ghibli Doc

Mexican culture, super heroes and a look inside Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli all team up on store shelves for this week's home entertainment releases on Blu-Ray and DVD.

Mexican culture, super heroes and a look inside Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli all team up on store shelves for this week's home entertainment releases on Blu-Ray and DVD. Check out the new titles below, and let us know which ones are on your wish list.

The Book of Life (2014)

Blu-ray two-disc set ($39.99) and DVD ($29.98) available from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez, creator of the Nickelodeon series The Adventures of Manny Rivera, and produced by Guillermo del Toro, The Book of Life follows Manolo, a young man who sets off on an epic quest spanning three separate worlds in order to defend his village and reunite with his one true love.

Reel FX produced the animation for The Book of Life, which features the voices of Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Ron Perlman, Kate del Castillo, Christina Applegate, Diego Luna and Ice Cube, and boasts a unique visual style inspired by the Mexican holiday The Day of the Dead.

Packed with extras, this release from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment includes The Adventures of Chuy, featuring the film’s lovable scene-stealing pet pig, and three featurettes, “Closer Look at The Book of Life, “The Music of Life,” and “Digital Carpenters: The Art Direction of The Book of Life.” Also included is the Music Machine, featuring Latin-inspired versions of popular songs by Mumford & Sons, Radiohead, Elvis Presley, Rod Stewart and more, and the “No Matter Where You Are” music video by Us The Duo, as well as image galleries and audio commentary by director Jorge R. Gutierrez.


Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (2015)

Blu-ray/DVD combo pack ($24.98) and DVD ($19.98) available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

In Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, Cyborg discovers an imminent threat in the depths of the oceans so powerful that it rallies together the newly formed Justice League. Meanwhile, wandering thousands of feet above the ocean floor is drifter Arthur Curry, a man with strange powers who may be the last chance to bridge the ancient Atlantean world with our own. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League must band together as they face off against warmongering Orm, an army of sea creatures, otherworldly weapons and perilous odds. In this all-new epic adventure from the DC Universe, mankind’s only hope of escaping from the darkness lies with the guiding light of Aquaman.

Blue-ray extras include “Scoring Atlantis: The Sound of the Deep,” which delves into the film’s musical score; “Robin and Nightwing Bonus Sequence” with video commentary from producer James Tucker; “Throne of Atlantis: 2014 New York Comic Con Panel,” featuring the entire lively one-hour panel discussion between actor Matt Lanter, producer James Tucker, screenwriter Heath Corson, character designer Phil Bourassa and dialogue director Andrea Romano; “Villains of the Deep” documentary exploring the biographical details of the villains ranging from Ocean Master and Black Manta to King Shark; a Sneak Peak at the forthcoming Batman vs. Robin and bonus cartoons from the DC Comics Vault.

The DVD will have the Batman vs Robin sneak peak and the bonus cartoons.


The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (2013)

DVD ($29.95) available from Cinedigm.

Directed by Mami Sunada (Death of a Japanese Salesman), this critically acclaimed documentary feature offers a never-before-seen look inside the inner workings of Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli, one of the world’s most enigmatic and successful animation studios and the creators of Spirted Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro and other animated masterpieces.

Granted near-unfettered access to the notoriously insular Studio Ghibli, Sunada follows the three men who are the lifeblood of Ghibli -- the eminent director Hayao Miyazaki, the producer Toshio Suzuki, and the elusive and influential “other director” Isao Takahata -- over the course of a year as the studio rushes to complete two films, Miyazaki's The Wind Rises and Takahata's The Tale of The Princess Kaguya.

The result is a rare “fly on the wall” glimpse of the inner workings of one of the world's most celebrated animation studios, and an insight into the dreams, passion and singular dedication of these remarkable creators.


My Little Pony: The Movie (30th Anniversary Edition)

DVD ($14.93) available from Shout! Factory Kids.

In this classic big-screen debut of My Little Pony, the Little Ponies must stop the evil witch Hydia and her two incompetent daughters Reeka and Draggle from covering Dream Valley in purple goo called “the Smooze.” The Little Ponies find help from the friendly Grundles and the magic powers of the Flutter Ponies. But will that be enough to save Ponyland? Join Megan, Baby Lickety-Split, Spike and the Bushwoolies for My Little Pony’s greatest adventure!

Originally released on June 20, 1986, My Little Pony: The Movie was produced by Hasbro, Sunbow, Toei Animation and Marvel, and was distributed by Dino De Laurentiis. The movie features features an all-star voice cast, including Danny DeVito, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Rhea Perlman and Tony Randall.


Regular Show: Mordecai Pack (2014)

DVD ($19.95) available from Cartoon Network.

Cartoon Network’s beloved blue jay takes the spotlight in the all-new DVD, Regular Show: Mordecai Pack. Created by J.G. Quintel, Regular Show follows two best friends and park groundskeepers, Mordecai and Rigby, a blue jay and a raccoon whose attempts to escape their everyday boredom take them to fantastical – and sometimes unintended – extremes.

Packed with 16 hand-picked, Mordecai-centric episodes from the Emmy Award-winning animated comedy, Regular Show: Mordecai Pack follows everybody's favorite slacker blue jay, his best friend Rigby and the rest of the gang on their extreme and surreal misadventures.

Fans of the series will want to add this DVD to their steadily-growing home entertainment collection, joining the likes of Regular Show: Rigby Pack, Regular Show: Mordecai and Margaret Pack, and Regular Show: Fright Pack among others, as well as the first three full-season home entertainment releases of the series.

Regular Show: Mordecai Pack includes the following episodes: “Bet to be Blonde,” “Country Club,” “Paint Job,” “Guy's Night,” “Caveman,” “Every Meat Burritos,” “Real Date,” “Saving Time,” “New Year’s Kiss,” “Laundry Woes,” “Dodge This,” “Portable Toilet, “Play Date,” “Tants,” “Bad Portrait” and the classic Maxin' and Relaxin’.”

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.