Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Your DVD rack may someday look like this...

That's because Paramount has made the predictable decision of releasing a 'special edition' of the Indiana Jones Trilogy DVD set on May 13 to help promote the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Even more predictable is that a third trilogy set will be released next year to include the latest Indy movie. Failing a Steven Spielberg commentary track (ha!), I can't imagine any reason why I would buy this new set -- and keep in mind that this latest announcement includes no mention of a Blu-Ray version. What might be smarter than releasing any all new set is making the movies available as single discs for the first time, maybe with some snazzy new packaging. If Paramount is actually interested in putting out a new set that would attract double-dippers, there appears to be a good amount of potential extras out there that didn't appear on the first set.

The biggest of these would be the famous fan movie Raiders: The Adaptation, which was pitched to be included in the original set to no avail. Alexandra DuPont maintained in her original review that there are some juicy Raiders and Temple of Doom storyboards and behind-the-scenes footage out there, showing a discarded Nazi character with a machine gun for an arm and a notorious visit to the set by Barbara Streisand. Of course, who really expects Paramount to have any notable upgrades to the new set, beyond a preview for the new movie and dumbed-up cover art?
I've always thought that the best way to make a movie adaptation of the 'classic' super heroes was to set it in the time period when they were introduced (1940s-50s), to better capture the more innocent feel of the characters and their origins. Of course this would also substantially inflate any budget, but you can see the possibilities for characters such as Captain America, Green Lantern or Namor. A movie like this will probably never become reality, but as you can see above, something similar is coming to DVD. It looks like glorious animation, and Warner is doing it the right way by putting it on Blu-Ray and HD and even packing in a second disc of extras. Justice League: The New Frontier comes out next Tuesday, and it's got me very intrigued (just look at that cover art -- you even get Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter!). I'm going to have a full review up sometime next week.

Speaking of doing it the right way, many of those grindhouse-ish collections that started popping up around the time Grindhouse was released are being repackaged to sell. The Drive-In Cult Classics set gives you 8 movies for $10, and it's an interesting lot: Malibu High has been recommended to me a couple times, and the other titles give you exactly what their names suggest (and then some, probably). But really, $10? I'm in. Even more attractive is The Starlight Drive-In Collection: A Dusk Til Dawn Marathon, with 8 mostly quality titles for $21. Titles like The Van, Van Nuys Blvd., The Pom Pom Girls and Hustler Squad are well-regarded in '70s exploitation circles and were previously released in $10 double features, so it's a damn good deal.

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