The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Four-Disc Extended EditionDisney
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 5.75 (out of 10)
I was not a fan of this movie. It was overlong with its theatrical release, and now comes this four-disc megaset with an extended edition. Extra scenes help to make the experience all the more boring.
Seriously, I don't know what happened to me with the Narnia thing. As a kid, I dug the books. I even liked the crappy cartoon. But when I sat down for this puppy, I thought it was smug, pretentious crap. Tilda Swinton was completely uninteresting as the White Witch; Liam Neeson did a phoned in, boring voiceover for Aslan the lion; and the look just struck me as unimaginative.
Special Features: Four discs packed with commentaries, bloopers, practical jokes and wild sex. (Actually, no practical jokes and wild sex. This is a kid's film.) For die-hard fans of the series (and I know you are out there, because you called for my head when I denounced the film), this is your dream come true. For people who just can't get it on with Narnia, this is sort of hellish. I did like the feature-length documentary on C.S. Lewis, exclusive to this set. It was better than the actual movie.
Oldboy: Three-Disc Ultimate Collector's EditionTartan
Special Features A
DVD Geek Factor 9.5 (out of 10)
The first edition of Oldboy was a great disc. The film, chapter two in director Chan-wook Park's revenge trilogy, is a masterpiece and begs to be viewed if only for the octopus-eating scene (even if James DiGiovanna found the movie lacking). In the end, this was the only really good movie of the trilogy, with Lady Vengeance, the conclusion, being an OK film, and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance being quite the mess.
For those unfamiliar with this film, be aware that it is disturbing, violent and contains sexual problems that would make the sickest individual cringe. It also happens to contain one of the greatest fight scenes ever put to film involving a hallway and a long, single dolly shot. Incredible.
There's a sick sense of humor that goes along with the sick movie. Oh Dae-su is one of the more memorable characters of the last 10 years. If you missed it the first time around, get thee to a DVD store and watch this.
Special Features: The three-disc set comes in an attractive tin, and when wrapped, it is sure to make people think they are getting candy for Christmas. On top of the film and some commentaries, you get a cool graphic novel of the movie and a disc dedicated to production diaries covering every day of the shoot. Give this to an Oldboy fan, and they most assuredly will freak in a good way.
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 5 (out of 10)
You know, the more I think about it, the less I liked this one. There were much better animated movies this year (Monster House, A Scanner Darkly), and the plot just never catches fire. I'm also starting to get fed up with Owen Wilson, who voices the main character in this movie and hasn't made anything worth watching since The Wedding Crashers. And let's face it: Vince Vaughn carried his ass in that one.
The plot of this one has something to do with a racecar (Wilson) getting detoured and winding up in some sort of automobile ghost town. He breaks the law, and is forced to repave one of their streets by a cranky judge car (Paul Newman). While doing the work, he falls in love with the small-town life.
The cars are nice and shiny, and Newman gets a couple of laughs. Overall, this one is just a little too boring. It gets a marginally passing grade, because it's pretty, and the kids will like it. Knock it down a grade if you don't give a crap about automobiles.
Special Features: A special-to-DVD animated movie featuring Mater the tow truck is probably this disc's best feature. There are also some deleted scenes, a conversation with director John Lasseter about the roots of his film and the One Man Band short.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: 2-Disc Special EditionDisney
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 5.5 (out of 10)
This bloated, overlong sequel features some of 2006's best visual effects (Bill Nighy's tentacle face), but it is done in by a terrible Orlando Bloom performance, useless subplots and the director's reluctance to trim the film down. Johnny Depp remains fun as Captain Jack Sparrow, and here's hoping they calm down on the next one and release something that flows better.
Special Features: I am not a big fan of the movie, but this is a decent two-disc set. Commentaries, production diaries, documentaries on Davy Jones and Captain Jack Sparrow make this a fun watch. There's even a segment about the retooling of the amusement park ride to make it relate more to the films.