As the economy continues to stabilise and studios are becoming increasingly confident as to the longevity of Blu-ray as a viable media format, Christmas 2010 will see arguably the biggest holiday season since the formats inception. With such a high volume of quality titles due for release between October and December, I thought it high time to investigate which titles will be worthy of your spending.
Rupert Murdoch's conglomerate released a quantity of new release films, but with a decided lack of quality including the remake of 1980's TV series The A-Team starring Liam Neeson, a semi-sequel/reboot of the Predators franchise, the Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz mash-up Knight and Day and the re-make of The Karate Kid starring pint sized, but tougher-than-me, Jaden Smith.
However, the real excitement from Fox's offering is in the care extended to fan favourites The Sound of Music and the mammoth 6 disc Alien Anthology. All films have received extensive film restorations and hours upon hours of new bonus features. It's still unannounced, but a late November or early December release for the 3 disc Avatar: Special Edition is looking extremely likely. Featuring three different cuts of the film, with two mammoth making of documentaries and an hour of deleted scenes, it looks like the highest grossing film of all time will get a chance to make a little bit more money.
Baz Luhrmann fans will be excited by the release of 1996's Romeo and Juliet starring Leo DiCaprio and Clare Danes, as well as the 2000's Moulin Rouge whose opulence will be on offer in the new, and by all accounts amazing video transfer. The classic Rocky Horror Picture Show receives an almighty 35th anniversary edition (has it REALLY been that long?) and the two Robocop sequels will join the previously released original in a boxset release. Finally, The Simpsons: Season 12 will be released in a dual disc set, with upscaled (but not true 1080p) video.
Warner Brothers too will see a glut of low price catalogue titles in late October, starting with the 1993 Jim Carrey franchise of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, a badly timed Lethal Weapon boxset, 1998's diabolical Lost In Space starring Matt LeBlanc, the classic and still horrifying The Exorcist in both original and special edition cuts, and the ever-green adventure The Goonies in a 25th anniversary edition.
TV fans will be pleased with the release of the recent re-imagining of the sci-fi series V: Season One, the lauded semi-sequel to Band of Brothers; The Pacific and younger Star Wars will enjoy the second season of the animated Clone Wars adventures.
Like Warner, Universal Pictures didn't have a lot of new content in cinemas this year, so are too more dependent on catalogue re-releases to keep their shareholders happy. However, their biggest drawcard is a doozy: The Back to the Future Trilogy. The three films have received extensive film remastering and according to producer Bob Gale look better than their original theatrical releases.
Alongside some newly produced extra features including our first glimpse at footage of Eric Stoltz acting out the role that would be re-cast by Michael J. Fox, all the original DVD features have been retained. Supporting this is the classic Tremors and the not-so classic Mr. Bean movies. The new release Russell Brand comedy Get Him to the Greek is, I'm told, also worth a look.
If you are under the age of 18, and are female, then Sony Pictures have the only release you'll need to be concerned by; the third film in the confusingly popular Twilight franchise, Eclipse, with some extensive extra features that fans will swoon over. That will be available in December, so...y'know, get your pre-orders in now.
The Adam Sandler/Kevin James alleged comedy Grown Ups will receive an early November release and the solid Angelina Jolie led actioner Salt will receive a release 3 days shy of Christmas day. Horror fans will be excited by the release of Sam Raimi's original The Evil Dead featuring newly restored images and extensive bonus features.
Owners of 3D Television may be excited by the 3D re-release of Open Season, back to piss off another generation of animation fans. The 2000 remake of Charlie's Angels will see a late October release for those who still treasure the pop culture curiosity. This includes me.
Disney had good fortunes in 2010 with the release of the heartfelt finale to the Toy Story franchise Toy Story 3. The quality Pixar film will see a fantastic Blu-ray release, with a direct digital 1080p transfer and two discs filled to the brim with extra features. Animation fans will continue to be excited by the release of 1992's classic Beauty and the Beast. The only animated film to have been nominated for a best picture Academy Award, the film has a place in history as one of the finest ever made. Disney has produced an amazing, gob smacking image which will blow your socks off. They've also taken the liberty of producing a new two hour documentary and included the bulk of the extra features from the previous DVD release.
For those that like their family entertainment a little on the edgy side, Disney also has your back covered with the release of the critically mauled, but no less entertaining The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. A little light on for extra features, this one smacks of a future special edition treatment, but you could do a lot worse than take a look.
Early this month sees the release of one of the biggest cinema releases of the year in Iron Man 2. The two disc set will include hours upon hours of in-depth extra features, headlined by a multi part 'making of' documentary. Younger audiences and animation aficionadas will be interested in the mid October release of the latest Dreamworks animated feature How to Train your Dragon, in an initial 2D only version. Paramount has also taken the liberty of producing a boxed set bundle of all 11 Star Trek feature films later in the month for those that haven't bitten yet.
Roadshow have an incredibly varied offering of releases, running the gamut of TV movies, TV series, new release features and BBC documentaries.
The renowned 12 part David Attenborough series Life debuts in November in a stunning 4 disc set, along with Seven Wonders of the Solar System. TV favourites Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities and Underbelly: The Golden Mile all bow at the beginning of November, as does the well produced Australian produced TV movie Hawke along with the diabolical sequel Sex and the City 2.
I dare say that some of the titles above will make it on Christmas wish lists for good children all over Australia. That's why I'm saving for mine!
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