Blu-ray Today: Battlestar Galactica, My Little Pony, Oblivion, Swamp Thing, More

By Luke Y. Thompson in DVDs
Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 8:00 am

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Battlestar Galactica 35th Anniversary - Though the more recent incarnation is that rare beast of a reboot that's more beloved than the original source material, it may be hard to remember that there was a time when fans were outraged. Starbuck's going to be a woman? Cylons look like humans? No other alien races? What? And yet nowadays, I feel like I'm going way out on a limb in defending the original movie/TV pilot, which is a great piece of '70s sci-fi featuring a large ensemble cast of characters who all get at least some development (Ray Milland, Jane Seymour, Noah Hathaway and Rick Springfield are some of the bigger names less remembered as appearing). The miniature effects are still pretty fantastic, the four-eyed soul singers amazing, and the B-plot which involves a literally soul-sucking casino makes for a fun metaphor amid the existential galactic battles. (Has anyone yet made a T-shirt that says "My Col. Tigh has an Afro?" Because I'd totally wear that.) Now, having said all that - BOOOOO to this "anniversary" edition having no extras. I can't imagine Dirk Benedict and Richard Hatch were unavailable.

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Have I ever mentioned my theory that all the ponies are named after sex acts? Because I can think of obscene connotations for Pinkie Pie, Twilight Sparkle, Apple Jack, Rainbow Dash and Snuggle Bubble Muffin. This is probably about as original as the theory that Scooby-doo smokes pot, but when I mentioned it to someone last week, this totally not-fictional anecdotal person said, "You should write about that." So I Just did. Because I already reviewed the movie. And I figure anyone reading this site is probably already scarred enough by brony fanfic that the notion won't upset them too much. P.S. if any of you can explain why the human girls grow horse ears and wings at the end, I probably don't want to actually know the answer but try me anyway.

Freaked - Erstwhile Bill S. Preston Esquire, a.k.a. Alex Winter, codirects and stars in this '90s freakshow comedy gem that got unfairly buried theatrically. Mr. T plays a bearded lady, Bobcat Goldthwait a guy with a sock puppet for a head, Keanu Reeves a Latino dog-boy and Winter a half-Gremlin. Soundtrack by the likes of Henry Rollins and the Butthole Surfers. It also stars Randy Quaid, Brooke Shields and William Sadler. If you're not yet sold on this, you may not be one of my regular readers. And maybe you're not worthy (yes, mixed-up reference. But what are you gonna...SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES!).

Oblivion - Regardless of what anyone else may say, I stand by my assertion that this is follow-up from the director of Tron Legacy is a beautiful movie, well-paced and nicely told. Many others will say it rips-off countless previous movies, yet the primary influence seems to be The Twilight Zone, which is usually fine by me, and I have to claim skepticism if you can tell me you see that one major plot twist coming. And no, I don't mean the "Morgan Freeman is actually a good guy!" one, because duh. I had to actually explain to a colleague that there isn't any time travel going on. And I know some people can't stand Tom Cruise, which is fair enough. Then again, I like Tron Legacy too, so your mileage may vary accordingly; customer reviews on Amazon, at least, suggest that now the hype has died down, people are appreciating what it is.

A Boy and His Dog - If Tom Cruise isn't your thing, revisit a more classic post-apocalypse world and one of the first big roles for Maverick's fellow '80s hunk Don Johnson, who plays a young drifter with a psychic canine companion. Based on a Harlan Ellison story, it's a bit like Scooby-doo...if Shaggy and Scoob got nuked and were into sex and cannibalism.

Robin Hood/The Sword in the Stone/Oliver and Company - It's a Disney middle-of-the-road threefer. These animated features have their fans and their moments, but are among the company's more uneven efforts. Anybody remember Madam Mim, Sir Hiss, or the lyrics to "Why Should I Worry"? If yes, you know what you're buying. If no, I suggest renting first.

Swamp Thing - As '80s comic-book adaptations go, this one wasn't too much of a travesty if you can forgive it its limited budget, though we're long overdue for a reboot. Ray Wise plays Dr. Alec Holland, who dives into the swamp after being set ablaze with chemicals, only to be reborn as a rubber-suited monster (Dick Durock) with super powers appropriate to the limited resources the filmmakers had. Directed by Wes Craven, of all people, who gets a commentary track on this edition, though sadly the "international" extra footage of Adrienne Barbeau nude has not been restored.

Eddie the Sleepwalking Cannibal - I remember that I wanted to see this. Still do. The title alone is a big win.

I know it's a big week this week and there are more potential picks, but those are at the top of my list. What would you add? That DVD set featuring the new Doctor is probably a good bet...

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