A Bunch of Blu 3
In this installment, we look at Clash of the Titans (2010), Spartacus, The Breakfast Club, Nanny McPhee, and Greenberg.
Sometimes, you have to feel sorry for Blu-ray. It just gets a formidable footing into the home theater market and along comes a new visual gimmick - 3D - to threat its format opportunities. Granted, the new dimensional take on titles will require the help of high definition to make its bid, but it seems unfair for another upstart to ride piggyback on something that's yet to establish its own commercial credentials. Of course, the studios are really no help. They hinder expansion by focusing on frivolous concepts like sell-through date, theatrical to digital turnaround times, and that everyman clash between rental and retail. As a result, films that should get the best preservationist treatment are taken for granted, while the most recent box office bomb is fleshed out with more added content than a box of Criterion classics. When trying to sell your elitist approach to your standard cinephile, such a strategy is, more or less, a non-starter.
Even worse, the geek freak patrol are clamoring for their own lost treasures to be transferred over in the best possible remastered manner. They will not settle for shoddy visuals or a less than completist approach to bonus features. Even when a company can't condescend to all of their demands, their sense of entertainment entitlements tends to stunt any significant growth. As we wander into the next decade of this new millennium, as 2011 promises a staggering 28 films in the trumped up 3D style, it looks like the battle will continue to wage. In one corner will be the cash kowtowing of a business model desperate to stay relevant in a realm of easy instant media access. In the other are those who want the artform given the historical respect it so richly deserves. Looking over the five titles featured in this third installment of our semi-regular Blu-ray overview, you can see that some distributors are trying to conform to the latter. On the other hand, they have to deal with the often uneventful needs as part of the former. Let's begin with:
Clash of the Titans 2010 (Score: 7)
(The Blu-ray release offers Warners' patented Maximum Movie Mode, featuring PIP commentary, featurettes and behind the scenes details, as well as deleted scenes, an alternative ending, a look at star Worthington, and more Making-of material)
Spartacus (Score: 9)
(The disc contains deleted scenes, archival interviews, behind the scenes footage, five vintage newsreels, and extensive image galleries)
The Breakfast Club (Score: 7)
(This release an amazing 12 part documentary entitled Sincerely Yours, featuring most of the cast in commentary on the Making-Of and influence of the film, a feature commentary by Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall, and a look at how "The Brat Pack" came about)
Nanny McPhee (Score: 6)
(Included on this high definition update is a wonderful commentary featuring Jones and his child stars, a collection of cast and crew featurettes, a look at the making of the movie, a gag reel, and some deleted scenes)
Greenberg (Score: 7)
(As part of the package, we get a look at LA, a talk with the director, and a basic behind the scenes featurette)