Welcome to The Shelf, our weekly look at the latest movie releases on Blu-ray and home entertainment. This week is a veritable buffet of nerdly delights in new releases. From the most well received superhero film of all time to one of the most revered comic book story lines of all time, there is something for every kind of geek this week.
We may have to wait several months for the Phase One set of all the first wave Marvel movies, but today is still a day for celebration. The superhero movie that no one was quite sure would work is finally out on Blu-ray today. Marvel’s The Avengers was the most successful movie of the summer and with good reason: Joss Whedon’s epic superhero adventure balanced a brilliant ensemble cast, dazzling special effects and action, and a tight script with humor minus the cheese. The release is loaded down with all the bonus features you could hope for on a movie like this: alternate and deleted scenes, two behind-the-scenes featurettes, a gag reel, and a new Marvel One-Shot: Item 47. We’re so jazzed that we can finally take this home and watch it on repeat ad nauseum, we’re giving away a Kotobukiya ART FX Mark VII Iron Man statue to celebrate.
James Bond looks really good for 50. The British spy who taught us the meaning of cool is getting a dazzling boxed set for his 50th Anniversary (in the movies) this year (in addition to a 23rd film). The Blu-ray set Bond 50 includes all 22 of MI6’s most famous Double-0’s adventures. Six actors have portrayed Bond on film through 5 decades and, unlike other franchises from the ’60s, Bond has held up over time. The box includes several documentaries new to the set, with “Being Bond” as a stand-out as all of the actors to portray James Bond return to reflect on the role and how it changed their lives and careers. Also nifty, the set has left an open space in the box for a disc for Skyfall, November’s Bond release starring Daniel Craig.
The Dark Knight Returns is quite often pointed to as the moment superhero comics got real. The animated film of The Dark Knight Returns is a well done adaptation that certainly deserves to occupy space in your Blu-ray collection. Peter Weller is a pitch-perfect selection as Batman in the latest offering from the DC Universe that bookends nicely with its adaptation of Miller’s other classic Bat-tale, Year One. Thanks to constant picking at the best parts by previous adaptations of Batman, TDKR doesn’t feel quite as fresh as it should, much like the problem that plagued John Carter‘s box office, but the film holds its own, and there is nothing cooler than seeing Carrie Kelly whip across screen in red and yellow glory. The disc includes two bonus episodes of Batman: the Animated Series and a great documentary on Carrie Kelly. The only thing I wish this set had is the “Legends of the Dark Knight” episode of the New Batman Adventures where the Dark Knight Returns tale is told through the eyes of a kid in Gotham. Stay tuned for interviews from the premiere of The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 with Peter Weller and Bruce Timm.
If the Paul W.S. Anderson films have left you angry about the complete pillaging of the Resident Evil franchise with lackluster results, don’t fret. We’ve got just the movie for you. Resident Evil: Damnation continues the franchise’s life of animated features with a follow up to Degeneration. The film is set between the events of Resident Evil 5 and next week’s Resident Evil 6, with Leon Kennedy once again taking the lead. The film is a mindless bit of fun if you’re not super familiar with Resident Evil as a game series (there are fans of the movies that don’t get it, unfortunate but true), but for the hardcore fans of the games, keep an eye out for tons of Easter eggs and knowing nods to classic RE moments. While the movie can sometimes feel like an extended cut scene, that’s not a bad thing when describing a Resident Evil film. The disc includes a “making of” feature and a gag reel, but we wanted to go even deeper so we sent Dan Casey to talk to the director. Thanks to our friends at TOKYOPOP, we’re also giving away three copies of the movie on DVD. Trust us and enter; You’ll never look at a licker the same way again.