Blu-ray! DVD! I don’t partake in the physical media stuff so much these days, since I really enjoy streaming movies and keeping my shelves uncluttered, but I still do pop in the occasional physical media. And I do get some stuff sent to me from home video folks, and so this column will be where I write a little bit about the DVDs and Blus that come my way in the mail. It’ll be sporadic - we’re not yet on that many lists, so I don’t get a ton of stuff - and it’ll be limited to the stuff I’m interested in. Which means you won’t be getting my review of House Season 7, even if they send it to me (and they probably will). You don’t want to sit through reviews of yoga DVDs and random direct to video movies, so why bother writing it up?
If you’re a PR rep for a home video company and would like your product up for consideration in this column, drop a line to devin at badassdigest.com!
Mystery Science Theater XX: Shout Factory has done an incredible job with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 releases, and the latest is no different. Volume 20 (!) is all Joel, and it features two of the show’s most classic episodes, Master Ninja and Master Ninja II. The other episodes included are Project Moonbase and The Magic Voyage of Sinbad.
Sadly, we don’t get a Joel figure with this set - rather the add-on is a stressball in the form of the title planet. If you’re a fan of MST3K this set is a no-brainer; the Master Ninja eps are classics, and the other two are pretty great as well. I like Mike plenty, but I’m a Joel guy, and so a full set of just his stuff is good for me. The 20th volume leaves just 80 some-odd episodes unreleased, I believe, so that means Shout Factory is about halfway through the series.
Raging Bull 30th Anniversary Edition: Double dipped already! Martin Scorsese’s classic was released on Blu back in 2009, and here we are with an all-new two-disc set celebrating the movie’s 30th anniversary. Is it worth picking up if you already have the old Blu? There are only a handful of new features, as well as the inclusion of a DVD; everything else from the previous edition has been ported over, including the three commentary tracks and the feature length making of.
The new features are nice, but I’m not sure they demand a buy if you already have the disc. There’s a look at the collaboration of Scorsese and De Niro, which is short but interesting, and there’s a feature that has fans and opponents of the real Jake LaMotta reminiscing about him, which is pretty great. Another feature has a hodge podge of filmmakers talking about the movie’s impact on their work, while the fourth has a new interview with Scorsese.
If you didn’t buy the original Blu, this is a must-own disc. If you have the old one in your collection you should take time to think about whether 60 or so minutes of new features are worth the upgrade for you.
Dance With Wolves 20th Anniversary Extended Edition: This should be labelled ‘For the Hardcore Only.’ This Blu contains the FOUR HOUR cut of Dances With Wolves, a cut that I still have not been able to get through all the way. It’s a long, slow movie in the superior theatrical cut, but the extended edition is sheer overkill. For some reason the theatrical is not included on this disc, which means that the 25th Anniversary Edition will probably bundle both cuts.
The special features are almost all ports from the previous DVD; there’s a trivia track and a ‘quiz’ game on the film disc that may be new, while there’s a featurette about life on the frontier on disc 2 that is definitely new. Otherwise everything else - the commentaries and the feature length making-of - are all carried over from the DVD. The Blu is a huge step up in quality from the DVD, but without the theatrical cut it’s tough to recommend this one except to those who truly love the movie or are unwilling to wait for the inevitable next release.