Blu-ray Today: Studio Ghibli Is Great When Pigs Fly, and the Rest of the Time Too


Pom Poko – Okay, Disney, let’s see if I have your logic straight here:

Song of the South is considered unreleasable because it tells a G-rated tale, absent historical context, set in what was decidedly a non G-rated time immediately following the Civil War. Sins of omission and so forth. Got it.

In Pom Poko, a family of Japanese raccoon dogs fights to protect their land from developers…using, among other things, the power of their magic scrotums. This is just fine to distribute, so long as the English dub calls them “pouches.”

Lesson learned: it is okay to like furry characters with huge nutsacks, but not to act like slavery didn’t ruin people’s lives. As that is pretty much the Topless Robot philosophy also, it seems I’m more in tune with Disney than I thought.

John Wick – An enjoyable throwback to the days of star-driven action films that mostly relied on brawls and confined shootouts rather than massive digital-explosion extravaganzas, John Wick puts Keanu Reeves back in his comfort zone, as a guy who doesn’t talk too much but knows how to fight. In a world where there are apparently no such things as civilians, he takes on almost everybody after some stupid kid has the nerve to kill his dog. That’s pretty much the entire plot, and the rest is delicious decoration – the Blu-ray features director commentary and several featurettes.

Tales From Earthsea – After seeing Spirited Away, Ursula Le Guin gave Hayao Miyazaki permission to do an Earthsea anime, but as he was busy working on Howl’s Moving Castle, the job went to his son Goro. Le Guin initially made positive comments, but has since been more mixed, as the movie combines elements from several of her books to tell a new-ish story. I haven’t seen the movie, but I think you’d have to change some things to make the books more cinematic – The Tombs of Atuan, from what I remember, would have to be almost entirely shot in darkness to be book-accurate, for example.

Porco Rosso – One of Hayao Miyazaki’s most acclaimed films that I have yet to see, it’s the story of a World War I flying ace transformed into a humanoid pig. Miyazaki didn’t ONLY make good movies when pigs fly, but it certainly didn’t hurt.

Dracula Untold – Nope, nope, nope. Please don’t buy this and encourage Universal to stay on the path of rebooting their classic monsters as pretty-boy dorks in a shared cinematic universe. PLEASE.

Ouija – Yes, yes, I’m so very scared of a mass-produced board game that will make my house haunted. Whatever.

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story – Oddly supernatural biopic of Bruce Lee, which tells us of how his family was cursed, as depicted by a giant warrior who looks like Shredder and who shows up in dreams to fight Bruce periodically. SPOILER for a semi-true story – at the end of the movie, he dies but beats the demon, lifting the curse…and then text onscreen tells us his son Brandon died young on the set of The Crow anyway. Bummer.

Starry Eyes – An aspiring actress finds that auditioning for the right part can involve a literal deal with the devil. The stars in her eyes turn out to be pentagrams. Sounds like a true story.

Kull the Conqueror – Before everybody ragged on Kevin Sorbo for being a judgmental religious douchewad, we ragged on him because of how badly this Robert E. Howard adaptation sucked.

ABCs of Death 2 – 26 short films that involve somebody dying, by terrifying and/or amusing means. Best viewed while drunk.

Thunder & the House of Magic – Some fucking cartoon cat lives in a house where there are gadgets and an angry rabbit and Selena Gomez songs, and it’s all in 3D. And it’s called Thunder & the House of Magic.

Those are the titles on my radar today. What did I miss?