Monday 19 November 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Blu-rays

With Christmas fast approaching, it's a week dominated by releases for kids, and thanks to some '80s re-releases arriving on Blu-ray, for those trying to relive some of their youth as well.

An absolute must own for any child of the '80s, the classic story of Number Five, the robot with a soul, who meets Ally Sheedy's Manic Pixie Dream Girl (surely the only instance of a Manic Pixie falling for a non-human?), Short Circuit is released on blu-ray for the first time this week. From the director of War Games, it's dated in places (let's not talk about Fisher Stevens' role right now), but it's a whole lot of fun for all the family, with Number Five easily being be one of the most lovable cinematic characters of the 1980s.

Last Christmas's biggest festive family film arrives on DVD and Blu-ray, just in time for that yearly event that will be with us in no time. It's definitely aimed for the younger members of the family, but I'd rank Arthur Christmas ahead of Aardman's other film from this year, The Pirates!, thanks to some spirited voice performances and some nicely realised set-pieces. I doubt that it's destined to be a classic, though.

The second of this week's '80s re-releases, the Disney released Flight of the Navigator is surprisingly traumatic, depicting a young boy ripped away from his family by a UFO, only to be returned 8 years later to see the hollow shells that used to be his parents destroyed by his absence. Luckily, that same boy also gets to spend the second half of the film flying around in said UFO, making friends with tiny aliens and the shipboard computer with the voice of Pee-Wee Herman, so it's not all bad.

In what is best described as an informal discussion with the View Askewniverses proudest sons, the one time Jay and Silent Bob performed a series of dates around the UK where they waxed lyrical about their careers and personal lives in fairly gruesome detail. This is going to sound like a thinly veiled insult, but having seen both of Kevin Smith's "An Evening With..." DVDs, it's probably fair to say that at this point in his career, Smith is a better stand-up comedian/orator than he is a film director. I haven't seen this one yet, but it's sure to be appreciated by fans of Mewes and Smith's filthy brand of humour and precisely no-one else.

Again aiming for the little kiddy market, Dr Seuss' The Lorax has Danny DeVito providing the voice of the hairy orange peanut that, like a lot of Seuss' stories, is big on message. From what I've heard, The Lorax treats its environmental conservation story with little subtlety, to the point where it's almost insufferable for the parents who have to watch it with their little ones. Still, it looks well animated and should keep the kids happy for an hour or so.

It's easy to bemoan the loss of the old school projectionist and instantly bad mouth the existence of digital prints and modern methods of film projection, but often the argument is coming from those who, with all due respect, don't have a clue what they're talking about. As an advocate for independent cinema and someone with fairly strong, but mixed feelings about what is good for film in the long run, I'm keen to see what the old guard think about the state of their industry.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, the message in THE LORAX is not subtle at all. But it's not really a bad movie.