Friday, June 28, 2013
"An Example of Disney Dropping the Ball!"
Last month, I paid sixty dollars for both Disney releases of My Neighbor Totoro and Howl's Moving Castle. Two quality releases by Disney and now over a month later, I purchased the Lilo and Stitch double feature release. Upon popping the disc into my PS3, I was quite horrified with how Disney properly handled this release. It's a shame.
In Lilo & Stitch, an alien escapes and crashlands on Hawaii and is soon adopted by a little girl named Lilo (voiced by Daveigh Chase, The Ring and Donnie Darko). Lilo is a troubled little girl who is on the verge of being taken away from her sister, Nani (Tia Carrere, Wayne's World and Showdown in Little Tokyo). The more Lilo tries to teach Stitch about manners, it all backfires and draws social worker Cobra Bubbles (voiced by Ving Rhames, Pulp Fiction and 2012: Zombie Apocalypse) from taking Lilo away from Nani.
I find the film to very enjoyable. I think the voice cast is very well done; and to be honest, having Daveigh Chase playing the sweet and innocent child Lilo to playing the evil and sinister child Samara in The Ring in the same year is quite a feat and shows range. Also, with Rhames as Bubbles makes it feel as if Marcellus Wallace was brought into the world of animation as in the first few scenes we have him walking around with the briefcase. And with director Chris Sanders doing the voice of Stitch is another fine tuning to the film. I give Lilo & Stitch a 5/5.
Sadly, Lilo & Stitch fell victim to the curse of the early to mid-2000's straight to video sequel craze over at Disney. This end result has given us three cheaply animated straight to video sequels from 2003 to 2006. And instead of giving us the first straight to video sequel, Stitch: the Movie; we're given the 2005 sequel, Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch.
In Stitch Has a Glitch, it is discovered that Stitch was not completely finished when his creator, Jumba, was arrested by the Grand Council. Stitch now has these sort of panic attacks where his evil side comes out and he must destroy anything in his path. This comes at the time where Lilo is entering a hula festival that her mother once did in the early 1970's.
The problem that I have with the film is that it caters too much to children that the over all message is watered down. In the finale where it's supposed to be this emotional scene, is wasted because this sequel is marketed to a very younger crowd and would probably give them nightmares. The charm of the original film is lost in this sequel as well. Another strike to this film is that they recasted the voice of Lilo with Dakota Fanning which took me out of the film almost the whole time. I know that Daveigh Chase was getting older at this point, but, it was no problem for Disney to have her voice Lilo for every other incarnation of the character except for this film. Because the following year, she did the voice for Lilo in Leroy & Stitch. I give this film a 2/5.
Lilo & Stitch is presented in a 1.66:1 transfer in MPEG4 and in 1080p; Lilo & Stitch 2 is presented in 1.78:1 and in 1080p with an MPEG4 transfer. Regarding the first film; I think that this is the best that the film has ever looked. I cannot find any real complaints regarding the transfer of the film. It is amazingly done by Disney. I give Lilo & Stitch a 5/5. The sequel, only thing was that it had an odd dead grain floating at the top of the screen in the opening title sequence. Other than that, I couldn't find many other problems with it. I give it a 4.5/5.
Both films contain quite a few audio tracks for the film. We have both films in English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0. The dub tracks included is French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish dubs in Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is pretty strong on both films. No real complaints towards it. 5/5.
This is where Disney dropped the ball on this Blu-ray release. ALL OF THE BONUS MATERIAL IS ON THE DVD DISCS! Do you know how infuriating this is? Even the director's commentary for the first film is left off the Blu-ray, how do you miss that? I stopped buying DVD in 2008 and for the fact that Disney screwed the films on this release is beyond dumb. 2.5/5
Despite the fact that Disney just threw this out there to the public with no real work put into it is a joke. This looks like something that Mill Creek would do with the Disney/Touchstone and Sony films that they release. The pop up menu is a joke too. It's only options are "Continue" and "Menus". That's it! Nothing else. No buttons to change audio or subs or chapter points.
Lilo & Stitch got an individual release in Japan and I'm considering importing it to see what that looks like. Bashing aside on the U.S. release; Disney did give us solid presentations on both films. I can recommend the release for that reason alone, but, if you're a person who craves bonus material, you're going to be disappointed. I give this release a questionable 4/5.
"Ohio Has Some Problems."
I like to stroll around the video rental section of my local Drug Mart. It's one of the last places that still rents out movies these days. While checking out the small stack of used Blu-rays, I found a used copy of The Watch for sale. And on top of that, there was a sale with two dollars off the price. For eight dollars, why not?
A small town in Ohio has a serious problem on their hands as a night watchmen for a Costco is killed in a gruesome fashion. Evan (Ben Stiller), is the dead man's boss and vows to catch his killer. Evan starts up a neighborhood watch and is met with an unlikely group. While out on duty, the group discovers a weapon from another world and soon after, alien life.
I thought the film was pretty funny. Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and British actor Richard Ayoade made this film hilarious. One scene where Ayoade's character describes a home invasion scenario had me laughing hard. There was also a scene where Vaughn's character, Bob, has an emotional heart-to-heart moment with Evan. It kind of made me miss whenever Vince Vaughn used to do serious movies like The Cell or The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
I think it shows that Seth Rogen did have some input on this film as he's credited as a co-writer on the script. Some moments do feel as if it was supposed to be Seth Rogen-esque with how some characters react to certain situations. Which I felt it was a good thing; as we also have Rogen doing more than just acting. One problem I did have, not spoiling the film, was that some of the jokes did tend to drag a bit. I give this film a 4.5/5.
20th Century Fox has given The Watch a very nice visual presentation. We have the film in 2.35:1, 1080p, and with an MPEG4 transfer that stays around the 30 Mbps range according to my PS3. It's a pretty solid transfer for the film. Couldn't find one real complaint with this transfer. Demo material if you ask me. I give the video presentation of The Watch a 5/5.
Surprisingly, 20th Century Fox presents the film in a wide variety of audio and subtitle tracks for the film. For the main audio presentation, we have the film in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and it's a pretty solid throughout the film. For a rental release, Fox gives this their all. 5/5.
This rental version of the film does not contain any bonus material as found on the general release for the public. We do not have the supposed unrated cut, but, the theatrical cut is pretty entertaining as is. Sadly, I have to give the extras a 0/5.
Considering this is a rental version, I'm sure most of the public will probably just get their hands on the regular release. I can recommend the film, whether if it's both releases of the film. This film will have some replay use in my future. I give The Watch a 3.5/5.