'Heroes' leads another Universal Blu-ray surge

by Doug Nye

McClatchy-Tribune News Service (MCT)

26 August 2008


“Heroes,” the television series that already has created a cult following and garnered numerous awards, is among four Universal titles that arrives on Blu-ray Tuesday (Aug. 26).

The high-definition format with its superior picture and sound quality is perfect for this science-fiction saga created by Tim Kring. Universal is releasing both “Season One” (2006-07, $99.98) and “Season Two” (2007, $69.98) in Blu-ray.

If you haven’t gotten into “Heroes” yet, this is a great way to do it by watching each episode commercial-free. You’ll find it difficult to take a break.

Season one’s 5-disc set includes 23 episodes as well as a 73-minute unaired premiere episode. Season two’s 4-disc set includes only 11 episodes because the writer’s strike prevented production of any more. Happily, the series returns to NBC for its third season on Sept. 22.

Without revealing too much, “Heroes” is about ordinary people who suddenly find themselves possessed with extraordinary powers.

A Texas high school cheerleader, Claire Bennet (played by Hayden Panettiere), can regenerate her body no matter how horribly she is injured. New Yorker Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) discovers that not only can he fly but so can his politician brother Nathan (Adrian Pasdar).

Japanese-born Hiro Nakamura (marvelously played by Masi Oka) can transport himself to the future and back as well as make time stand still. Los Angeles police officer Matt Parker (Greg Grunberg) can read the thoughts of others.

Niki Sanders (Ali Lartner) has the power to call on the strength of her deceased twin sister Jessica. Issac Mendez (Santiago Cabrera) has the ability to paint the future and, well, you get the idea.

Meanwhile, these gifted people have to contend with the mysterious curiosity of Claire’s father Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman) who knows of their existence. Then there is Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) who travels from his native India to America to find out if such people do exist as his deceased father believed.

“Heroes” is the best sci-fi show to come along since the first five seasons of “The X-Files.”

Universal’s remaining Tuesday Blu-ray releases include:

“End of Days” (1999, $29.98) Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Jericho Cane, an ex-New York cop, who hasn’t believed in God since the murder of his wife and daughter. Cane rethinks his theology when he finds himself in a face-off with Satan (Gabriel Byrne) who has come to earth to search for his chosen bride. It’s late December, 1999, and if she can bear him a child before 2000 arrives, the world will end.

“Miami Vice” (2006, $29.98) Based on the 1980s TV series, Colin Farrell plays Sonny Crockett and Jamie Foxx plays Rico Tubbs, roles previously portrayed by Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, respectively. In this Farrell-Foxx update, Crockett and Tubbs again find themselves heavily involved in tracking down drug dealers after they investigate the deaths of two federal agents. The story might be thin, but the film has a winning style and Farrell and Foxx click. Directed, written and produced by Michael Mann who originated the TV show.

“U-571” (2000, $29.98) During World War II, the crew of an American submarine is sent on a mission to board a disabled German sub and grab a secret Nazi decoding machine. Unfortunately, things don’t go exactly as planned. Plenty of action and explosions that will rock your sound system. Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, David Keith and Jon Bon Jovi headline the cast.

Other Blu-ray titles to be released Tuesday (Aug. 26):

“The Adventures of Robin Hood” (Warner, 1938, $28.99) This is a historic release because it is the first 1930s Technicolor movie to be available on Blu-ray. Anyone who saw how sparkling the print looked on standard DVD can imagine how it will look in the high definition format. Errol Flynn plays the dashing Robin Hood, Olivia de Havilland is Maid Marian, Claude Rains is the wicked Prince John and Basil Rathbone is the dastardly Sir Guy of Gisbourne. The climatic sword fight between Flynn and Rathbone is one of the most memorable sequences in movie history.

“Pale Rider” (Warner, 1985, $28.99) Clint Eastwood plays the mysterious stranger known as Preacher who shows up in a gold mining camp and helps the prospectors who are being harassed by a mining company. Michael Moriarty, Carrie Snodgress and John Russell are also in the cast. Good western which contains elements of “Shane” and Eastwood’s own “High Plains Drifter.”

“What Happens in Vegas” (20th Century Fox, 2008, $39.98) Cameron Diaz stars a woman who heads to Las Vegas after being dumped by her current steady. In Vegas, Diaz meets Ashton Kutcher and the two have a wild night of partying. Both are surprised when they wake up the next morning and discover they are now husband and wife.

“Dude, Where’s My Car?” (MGM, 2000, $39.98) A younger Kutcher and his buddy Sean William Scott wake up one morning to discover their car is missing. The two then set out to find it and have various unforgettable adventures along the way.

“Redbelt” (Sony, 2008, $38.96) Chiwetel Ejiofor plays a Jiu-Jitsui master who is forced into the Ultimate Fighting circuit to pay off debts in this solid film from writer/director David Mamet. The cast includes Tim Allen and Joe Mantegna.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (Walt Disney, 1993, $39.99) Tim Burton’s stop-motion animated film about Halloweentown’s Jack Skellington who finds his way into a weird world known as Christmastown gets the high-def treatment.


All prices listed are the suggested retail price and can be purchased cheaper for those who shop around or go to www.amazon.com.

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