The good news about this week’s DVD releases is that there are more than enough good new shows on television- including the premieres of Arrow and Beauty and the Beast this Wednesday and Thursday- for you to have to worry about the dearth of new DVD and Blu-ray options this week. The bad news, somewhat obviously, is just that. There are relatively few new DVD offerings available this week, and even fewer that are worth picking up.
The one new DVD that’s worth checking out is Prometheus. Helmed by Ridley Scott (the director of Blade Runner and Alien), the film is an ambitious, exhaustive piece of science fiction that definitely holds your interest for the two hours and change it runs. Prometheus is a semi-prequel to Alien, but never quite answers all your questions, which is arguably the biggest thing that holds me back from recommending you purchase it outright. The movie stars Noomi Rapace (the original, Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo),Charlize Theron and a whole bunch of other people whose names and faces you’ll recognize, but never be able to place and has a solid 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Also dropping this week is the inexplicably star-studded Rock of Ages, which draws on the hits of Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Whitesnake, and other classic rock artists in an effort to attain watchability. Unfortunately, it never quite gets there, unless your idea of fun is celebrity karaoke with a barely-there plot. Watch this one with plenty of friends after drinking heavily, if you insist on watching it at all.
The final new title dropping this week that’s of any consequence is The Raven. Let’s be clear, this movie is neither a great suspense film, nor a schlockfest that compels you to tune in. Unfortunately, it hovers somewhere in between and never becomes much better than mediocre. While I’m usually a fan of John Cusack, something about him as Poe seems strange and somewhat off-putting, and the giant holes in The Raven’s plot don’t help to distract from that.
If you’re insistent on buying a new DVD or Blu-ray this week, let me suggest the 30th Anniversary Edition of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, which drops today on Blu-ray, DVD and in a Blu-ray/DVD/digital combo pack. There’s also a limited-edition box set that includes a replica of E.T.’s spaceship, a steel-framed box set available at Target and a combo pack available at Walmart that includes a plush E.T. toy. I won’t lie, I’m probably going for the Walmart version. Who doesn’t need a plush E.T. to sit on their desk?! Back to the film, the transfer of E.T. is exceptional. In fact, the process was supervised by Steven Spielberg himself, just to make sure it was up to snuff. There’s a wealth of bonus features on this release, too, including a number of featurettes not included on the 20th anniversary DVD.