THIS WEEK IN DVD’S – Dec 13, 2007
High School Musical 2 (Buena Vista)
The good news is that High School Musical 2 (Buena Vista) very well may never look better than it does on its new Blu-ray release. This record-breaking Disney Channel movie-o-rama is presented with a near-reference quality sheen and prowess. The bad news is that High School Musical 2 is that rare kind of awful film, one that all but dares you out loud to run screaming. So there you have Buena Vista’s intriguing dilemma – young girls (obviously the main demographic for the film’s appeal) will be most likely to enjoy the film on DVD in their rooms over and over again, so why even bother with a Blu-ray release? If I find out that a 12-year-old girl got a full Blu-ray setup in her room before I did, I’m gonna be pissed. Maybe Disney could make a musical about my jealousy of the situation and how me and pre-teen girls of America learned how to be friends again…
Lost: The Complete Third Season (Buena Vista)
On a better Blu-ray note, Lost: The Complete Third Season (Buena Vista) also looks and sounds exceptionally nice, but actually engages…well, kind of. It goes without saying that the last twenty minutes of the season finale here is the deliciously perfect kind of brain-hump that gets people to watch shows like Lost in the first place, but even die-hard fans must admit that there are moments of dullness in the season before its explosive climax. Rewatchability is still minimal – as much as I enjoy the show, I don’t find myself visiting and revisiting its season-long DVD box sets very often – but if you have a Blu-ray player, I’d throw this set on your rental queue for sure (at least the last disc…).
Saturday Night Live: The Complete Second Season (Universal)
Law & Order SVU: Season Four (Universal)
It’s going to take forever for every season of SNL to be on DVD, but sets like Saturday Night Live: The Complete Second Season (Universal) make it worth the wait. To have everything included here – bad sketches, musical performances and hit-and-miss joke-y ads in addition to the classic sketches we all know and love – is a gift from the TV-obsessed gods. One can seriously put on a disc of this season’s episodes and party like it’s 1976 all over again. Law & Order SVU: Season Four (Universal), however, doesn’t hold the same kind of rapturous draw. Sure, this Christopher Meloni-led crime ensemble is the kind of well-oiled series that hooks you after ten minutes of show (it’s doubtful that you’ll be able to turn an episode off once it’s started), but as classy – and nice-looking – as this box set is, if you’ve seen one episode, you’ve seen ‘em all.
Big Love: The Complete Second Season (HBO)
Far dirtier – and often more provocatively smart than it’s likely given credit for – is Big Love: The Complete Second Season (HBO). There are folks who drool over the show – my cousin doesn’t hasten for a second to call it the greatest show on the air right now – but even naysayers like myself might just start falling in love with the series every once in a while, thanks to this season-long box set. Bill Pullman’s performance as the polygamist male protagonist on the show is arguably the biggest reason for this: For a guy who was once known as the weirdo brother who showed off his ass in Weird Science, the guy mines an exceptional amount of dramatic intrigue with his role on Big Love. He’s tender, abhorrent and inescapably endearing – all at the same time. Again, I can’t help but wish the show was a bit more consistent, but as it stands, when it’s on, it’s on.
The Evil Dead: The Ultimate Edition (Anchor Bay)
Finally, we get The Evil Dead: The Ultimate Edition (Anchor Bay), the FOURTH release of the classic underground shlock-fest on DVD. As a devotee of the series – especially the near-perfect Evil Dead 2 – I must admit that I had trepidation about this newest reissue (do we really need another one?), and unfortunately, as amazing as the film remains, there’s no reason for fans to drop another forty bucks on this one. We get a handful of short new featurettes on the making of the film – best of which is the One by One We Will Take You: The Untold Saga of The Evil Dead documentary on this 3-DVD set’s first disc – but the transfer is the same as the Book of the Dead release (as is the sound mix): Really, it’s not enough to merit adding another title of the film to your shelf.
But god damn – is Bruce Campbell the coolest actor on Earth or what?