Blu-ray Today: Disney, Dinosaur Batman and Dwarfs


Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem – So, yeah, I actually watched this animated feature, which seems to have been primarily conceived in order to sell toys of Batman riding a robot dinosaur – which he only does during a brief virtual reality sequence. His Batcycle does transform into a robot wolf, though.

Here’s the thing – for what it is, I can’t hate it. It’s pretty clear that somebody came to the creative team and said “Sell some toys,” and with that mandate and the implied secondary mission to be kid-friendly, they did the best they could. Echoes of the Paul Dini/Bruce Timm series remain, as Troy Baker’s Joker is clearly a version of Mark Hamill’s, and this Gotham could almost be from Batman Beyond with its flying cop cars.

Yes, Batman does needless detective work to follow clues to the Joker’s hideout, when he probably should have guessed all along that it was at the abandoned amusement park on the pier. And yes, Clayface violates the laws of conservation of matter constantly, turning into everything from a teenage girl to a huge T-rex. But for a kid-safe Dark Knight who’s still friends with the likes of Green Arrow, this Batman isn’t a bad one to introduce to kids.

If you’re a grown-ass adult, though, it isn’t necessary to own or even watch.

Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection – Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky. All these shorts, among them such gems as “Paperman” and “Feast” have been on other discs, alongside the features they screened with…except for “Frozen Fever,” which won’t be out on the Cinderella Blu-ray for another month, but if you have daughters they’re gonna be Veruca Salt and want it NOWWWWWW! That said, it could be a decent deal if you much prefer all of these to the longer films they preceded, and don’t want to look online and find places that stream them for free.

Once Upon a Time: the Complete Fourth Season – Speaking of Frozen, before that gets its inevitable live-action remake someday, here’s the closest thing – Elsa and Anna coming to Storybrooke. I will probably never watch this, so you can let me know if that’s a good thing.

Atlantis: Season 2 Part 2 – A cliffhanger ending for a show that did not get renewed. But while it lasted, it featured Hercules, Jason and Pythagoras all working together, which may make it the only show ever to do that.

Troma’s War – Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman likes to proclaim that he was one of the first directors to mention AIDS in a wide-release movie, though considering that the context is a terrorist with AIDS wanting to rape people, I’m not sure how proud he should be. More interesting are the retroactive comparisons one can make with Lost, as Troma’s War centers on a disparate group of plane crash survivors who find themselves on a mysterious island where they uncover a massive conspiracy. Sadly, the film mostly devolves into cheaply shot war sequences that go on and on, making you wish they’d die and meet up in the afterlife to end it.

The Seventh Dwarf – yet another cheap-looking rip-off of Shrek‘s post-modern fairy-tale aesthetic, this one features Norm Macdonald as a dragon, at least.

Hackers: 20th Anniversary Edition – A movie about hacking from the days of dial-up, mostly notable for being an early star turn from both Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie, (who briefly got married afterward). A cult film beloved by many who have actually seen it (I’m not one of them, yet), and the first of many films in which Jolie showed she was no prude about nudity, it also features Penn Jillette in an actual acting role. The main extra is an hourlong documentary in three parts – I’m guessing Ms. Jolie was a little hard to get to.

Nomads – Lesser-known John McTiernan movie from 1986 that sees Pierce Brosnan as a French anthropologist battling wandering evil spirits. New features include interviews with actress Lesley-Ann Down and composer Bill Conti.

Vendetta – This WWE prison flick features Dean Cain battling the Big Show in what the company unironically describes as “Hell in a Cell.” (Also the name for a certain type of cage match in pro-wrestling). Directed by the Soska sisters, who usually make horror, but are big wrestling fans and were last seen playing corpses in their prior WWE film See No Evil 2.

Burn, Witch, Burn – Richard Matheson cowrote this ’60s British horror film that stars Peter Wyngarde, better known to all awesome people as Klytus from 1980’s Flash Gordon.

Those are the top releases I see coming out today. Anything else on your list?