Blu-ray Today: Guardians of the Galaxy, Time Bandits and Multiple Nerd-a-versaries


Time Bandits: The Criterion Collection – If you don’t own Time Bandits in some form, I’m just going to say it: you are a terrible person. Terrible to yourself, mostly, for depriving yourself of one of the most amazing fantasy films of all time, about a group of little people who used to work for God (Ralph Richardson), but then stole his map of time and used it to become robbers, kidnapping a boy from the present day while on the run from both their former employer and the embodiment of Evil incarnate (David Warner). An early Terry Gilliam feature, it was thought of as a mini-Monty Python reunion at the time, with John Cleese as Robin Hood and Michael Palin as half of a dorky couple who keep reoccurring throughout history. As a kid, however, I had no knowledge of that – just that it was an epic time travel adventure culminating in the time of legends with a spectacularly dark and downbeat ending. But of course you know all this. If you didn’t, you’d be a bad person.

Bonus features include an audio commentary with Gilliam, Palin, Cleese, Warner and fully grown former child star Craig Warnock, new featurettes and set photos, plus a brand new transfer of the film itself. Jolly good. Thank you very much. Thank you very, very much.

Guardians of the Galaxy – Never heard of this movie in my life. Anybody know what it’s about?

Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series – I guess we’re not going to wait for the Christmas episode, then. All righty. Peter Capaldi’s debut season as the Doctor was not quite what anybody expected, as he was written very inconsistenly (a function, perhaps, of his unusual regeneration) and mostly seemed to function as a cock-blocker for Clara’s new boyfriend Danny Pink, a former soldier both she and the Doctor seemed cluelessly disrespectful to most of the time. Then there was an ongoing storyline that seemed to be about heaven, but actually was just a new female version of the Master trapping souls in Cyberman bodies. The best episodes were the ones that let the Doctor be a sarcastic dick, especially to younger children, WC Fields style. Our best hope is that the next season will be better tailored to Capaldi’s considerable talents.

Batman: 25th Anniversary Diamond Luxe Edition – There’s little on the disc itself that hasn’t been available before, save one new documentary, but there’s also a rerelease of the previous Blu-ray at Toys R Us, and it comes with an exclusive NECA Batman action figure, scaled down from their 18″ Michael Keaton sculpt and packaged on a retro-style Toy Biz card.

Gremlins: 30th Anniversary Diamond Luxe Edition – Again, the movie is unchanged from the prior Blu-ray, but a bonus disc includes new interviews with cast and crew, a creature creation feature, footage of Hoyt Axton hanging out between takes, and digital comics that expand on the story.

Natural Born Killers: 20th Anniversary Diamond Luxe Edition – How well I remember walking into the theater, having read the reviews, expecting a radically new take on visceral cinema. What I got? Oliver Stone’s idea of subtlety, which was interspersing clips of Robert Downey Jr. as a reporter with clips of him made up as the devil, to make the point that the media can be evil. I know those that love this surreal serial killer movie really love it – as a nihilistic, anarchistic semi-goth teen I was primed to dig it, but thought it was stupid overkill (which is also how I feel about most of Stone’s movies since then). I’d be interested to see how it plays 20 years on; it probably does seem downright subtle now. This edition doesn’t have many new features, but it does include the unrated and R-rated cuts.

The Green Mile: 15th Anniversary Diamond Luxe Edition – Are you starting to get the picture with Diamond Luxe editions? Old disc, new package, occasionally very little added? The supernatural Stephen King prison flick has one notable addition: a feature length documentary that was originally trimmed down to 26 minutes on prior releases, as well as a tribute to deceased cast members like Michael Jeter and Michael Clarke Duncan. I liked this movie well enough when it came out; nowadays, Duncan’s portrayal of the “magical Negro” archetype is more often considered offensive (he’s huge, mentally handicapped, makes white people feel better about themselves and can literally suck the evil out of you), though there was much awards talk at the time. As I recall, it wasn’t just Duncan – most of the characters were broad archetypes, which is what happens when you turn a whole series of novels into one film.

Under the Dome: Season 2 – There was a season 2? Okay.

Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead – Nazi zombies fight Communist zombies. In theory, it could be a dense critique about the dehumanizing nature of totalitarianism as it exists on both the far-right and far-left. In practice, I suspect it will not be.

Dragon Ball Z: Season 9 – This is the last one? Buu.

Those are my top choices. What did I miss? (Don’t you dare say Forrest Gump. Like Robert Zemeckis in that movie, I have digitally rewritten history in my mind and that film was never made.)