2012: Single Disc Version (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6.75
(OUT OF 10)
Yes, this is a crap movie, but it's a crap movie that's damn fun to watch. John Cusack, aka Lloyd Dobler, is residing in Los Angeles in 2012, the year when the Mayans predicted we'd all be toast. Thanks to some nasty solar flares, it looks like that is certainly going to be the case.
Cusack is the right guy for movies like this. Seriously: How many actors out there do you want to see die less than John Cusack? He's just so lovable, and you root for him throughout this thing, no matter how stupid it gets. And believe me: It does get stupid. It's a $200 million movie about a little girl outgrowing her bedwetting phase.
Woody Harrelson, who had a banner year in 2009, is great fun as a raging lunatic DJ who gleefully watches as molten lava swallows him up. With each passing year, I love Harrelson more.
By the time some sort of ark thing is racing toward Mount Everest at the film's end, you'll probably be a bit worn out. But, I assure you, things will look great as you are being worn out. This movie had some of the best CGI I've seen yet. I love that shot of L.A. going belly-up into the ocean.
If The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure are guilty pleasures for you, add this one to the Favorite Disaster Flicks list.
SPECIAL FEATURES: A "Roland's Vision" picture-in-picture commentary (named after director Roland Emmerich), additional commentaries and an alternative ending that truly sucked and needed to be changed. Also available in a two-disc version with more features.
Clash of the Titans (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES C-
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 4.5
(OUT OF 10)
This Greek mythology epic hasn't aged well. Actually, it's downright deteriorated through the years. Still, there's some fun to be had in seeing the work of stop-motion-animation artist Ray Harryhausen—and Laurence Olivier's Zeus playing with the clay toys.
Harry Hamlin had his most memorable film role as Perseus, son of Zeus and the owner of very fine hair. On his way to his eventual wedding with Andromeda, Perseus must face off against such dreaded horrors as the Kraken, giant scorpions, Medusa and, worst of all, an overacting Burgess Meredith.
The best effect in this film is the winged-horse Pegasus, followed closely by yucky Medusa. It still nauseates me when her head is cut off, and all of that goo comes pouring out. That was sick!
Every minute featuring the Greek gods standing around and talking about humanity is pure camp at its worst. Olivier makes the best of it, essentially playing the Marlon Brando role from the Superman films. However, the others, including Maggie Smith, look embarrassed, as well they should.
Some of the stuff is so bad, it becomes great. I love the moment when the brave Perseus is afraid to pick up his sword because there's a big snake on it. Meanwhile, his two friends are fighting for their lives against giant scorpions. I would understand this fear if the damn snake had a rattle on it, but it's just a python. The flying gold-owl thing is this film's answer to R2-D2, minus all of the fun and charm.
This is being remade this year, and I say: Bring it on! It's a great story, and it begs to be retold. Just, please, don't have all that goo come out when Medusa gets her head cut off. That really does make me sick.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Some chats with Harryhausen as he discusses each of the characters he animated. There's also a decent collector's booklet attached to the case, a nice trend with Warner Bros releases.
Where the Wild Things Are (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B+
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 8
(OUT OF 10)
A million thank-yous to director Spike Jonze for getting things right with this stunning and mesmerizing adaptation of the classic Maurice Sendak book. Thanks to his casting of the amazing Max Records as Max, and his visualization of the infamous Sendak beasts, Jonze hits perfection.
The more I see this film, the more Records stands out as a major find. His interaction with Catherine Keener as his mom, and the way he performs with the monsters, are amazing for a kid his age.
It's criminal that this movie wasn't nominated for art direction or soundtrack Oscars. Heck, with 10 nominations this year, it's criminal it didn't get a Best Picture nod.
SPECIAL FEATURES: An HBO First Look featurette is actually quite good, and there are a lot of short films, including enjoyable ones about the Records family, pranks on the set and the difficulties of filming a dog. I know this movie took a long time to make; maybe it's because they had the time of their lives making it, and never wanted to stop.