The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition (Blu-ray)
MOVIES ALL GET AN A
SPECIAL FEATURES A-
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 9.999999 (OUT OF 10)
You forked out money for the theatrical-cuts Blu-ray last year—and you will have to keep it, because that's the only Blu-ray package with the theatrical cuts, and you are a super-geek who knows you must have that in your collection.
However, you also have those old extended-edition standard DVDs eating up space on your movie shelf, just screaming, "Replace me ... you can fit at least 10 Blu-rays here!" Now you can.
I prefer these extended editions of the Peter Jackson classics. Each of the films gets punched up with additional scenes, taking them beyond their already majestic grace into something altogether awesome. I love these movies; I will always love these movies ... and I am not ashamed.
I await Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies with an intensity that has me, and those around me, questioning my manhood. I might actually read the book again. Did you hear that? I might actually read a book for a second time!
I must downgrade this one ever so slightly from a perfect 10, because the theatrical cuts aren't included as part of the features—so that Blu-ray with the theatrical-cuts is going to continue eating up space on my shelf.
Otherwise ... geek bliss!
SPECIAL FEATURES: You get extensive commentaries from Jackson, the cast and the crew on all of the films, and many discs of behind-the-scenes stuff called "The Appendices." The special features are in standard-DVD format rather than Blu-ray, so this package gets an ever-so-slight downgrade from perfect. Otherwise ... super-geek bliss!
SPECIAL FEATURES F
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6.5
(OUT OF 10)
An all-time classic makes it to high-definition, and the results are very pretty.
Jonathan Pryce does career-best work as Sam Lowry, a factory worker "somewhere in the 20th century" who has grandiose fantasies involving flying through the clouds in a suit of armor in pursuit of a blonde beauty. When he discovers his blonde beauty is a real person, a truck driver and criminal suspect (played by Kim Greist), he risks it all to prove his love for her ... with rather bleak results.
The film is a dark, twisted and funny variation on George Orwell's 1984. It was futuristic when it came out, but is now timeless, a biting statement on government control and strangling technology. (Love that ductwork!)
The awesome cast includes Robert De Niro as a covert repairman, and Michael Palin as a soft-spoken torture expert. The cast also includes Katherine Helmond, Bob Hoskins, Jim Broadbent, an insanely funny and tightly wound Ian Holm, and Gilliam's younger daughter, Holly, in a hilarious cameo.
Gilliam battled with the studio (mainly Sid Sheinberg) back in 1985, with his movie barely getting a national release. Sheinberg actually got a brutal "Love Conquers All" cut made, which aired on broadcast television and changed Gilliam's bleak story into a full-fledged, happy romance.
SPECIAL FEATURES: No features. Universal released a plain Blu-ray of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas before Criterion reissued their package of the film on Blu-ray. Here's hoping Criterion follows suit, and reissues their brilliant Brazil package, which includes tons of features and the "Love Conquers All" cut.
Jackass 3.5 (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6
(OUT OF 10)
It's almost as fun watching the Jackass crew's outtakes as it is watching the stuff that made it into Jackass 3-D. They did so many stunts that they couldn't fit them into one movie, so here's another one. (Paramount did a similar thing with Jackass Number Two and released Jackass 2.5.)
Steve-O must've been pissed. He did stuff for Jackass 3-D that hurt like a bitch—and didn't make the cut. There's a sequence in which he gets his ass bit by a massive snapper turtle, and another in which he gets knocked off a balance beam and into an actual fire. He wound up in a burn unit, but the footage was kind of dark, so it wound up on this disc instead of the theatrical release.
My favorite sequence involves Chris Pontius wearing a wooden shell over his cock while a woodpecker goes to town on him. Watching his face in horrified anticipation of the moment when the woodpecker makes penile contact is golden.
Of course, watching this is a bit sad, knowing it's the last hurrah for the late Ryan Dunn. The film has a lot of backstage interviews, and Dunn appeared to be having a lot of fun. He died a dumb death for sure, but, man, that guy could take a hit.
I would like to give a shout-out to Dave England's facial expressions. The look of fear and pain in this guy's eyes during and after every stunt is a franchise highlight. Nobody cowers and screams as well as that guy.
There is no poo and minimal barf in this one.
SPECIAL FEATURES: More deleted scenes, a retrospective and outtakes.