This Week on DVD/Blu-ray: 3 October 2011

Thor - Blu-ray

October already! As we skid towards Christmas, there seems to have been a global mandate this week: release the hounds! Dozens of “must own” titles hit the shelves, around the same time that our cinemas become filled with a few dozen new releases as well. It may be almost summer in Australia, but we have a feeling that film fans will not be seeing any daylight this season.

Region 1 (DVD) and Region A (Blu-ray) – US

Fast Five Blu-ray (US)Let’s not mince words. It’s The Lion King (DVD/Blu-ray/Blu-ray 3D, Disney, 4 October) that’s out this week. Actually, it’s lots of the The Lion King. Still enjoying a successful extended re-release at the cinemas, the mighty Disney animation will be released as a Diamond Edition, A Diamond Edition with DVD Packaging (just to confuse people into buying a combo pack), a 3D edition and a whopping 8-Disc Combo-pack of The Lion King Trilogy. Bringing over a bunch of bonuses from the original DVD release, along with a few hours of new features created for this Blu-ray release, this is easily the Blu-ray of choice for the week. Disney throws themselves headlong into the 3D market by re-releasing Beauty and the Beast on Blu-ray 3D the same day, and only a year after the last edition of the classic film on Blu-ray.

The only thing that could possibly have the audacity to go against this monolith is Justin Lin’s Fast Five aka Fast and Furious 5 (DVD/Blu-ray, Universal, 4 October) and it’s fully extended. That’s right, an even more epic version of the film is coming to the home format, with stacks of bonus features, including several exclusive to the HD version. The latter includes Dom Vs. Hobbs featurette, On Set With Director Justin Lin behind-the-scenes, Inside The Vault Chase featurette, Tyrese TV featurette, and pocket BLU™ Versions for Tablets and Computers.

One other release that Americans may miss, but really shouldn’t, is Submarine (DVD/Blu-ray, Starz/Anchor Bay, 4 October). Equal parts hilarious and touching, with phenomenal performances from the young cast, it comes from writer and director Richard Ayoade, perhaps best known for his role as Moss in The IT Crowd.

The Lion King Trilogy 3D - Blu-ray Set

Region 2 (DVD) and Region B (Blu-ray) – UK

Chalet Girl Blu-rayThe UK will also see a release of Beauty and the Beast (Blu-ray 3D, Disney, 3 October) on 3D Blu-ray, making Australia the only country missing out on this title this month. However, given the sheer number of titles out this week (see below), it’s not a bad idea to hold it off until next month. Of course, being Region B brethren, if you can’t wait, you can always import. It’s got three versions of the film, and also includes the 2D version of the film. Even if you don’t have a 3D TV, you can pick this up, play it now, and keep on rolling if you ever upgrade.

It may be hitting the 15th Japanese Film Festival in Australia next month, but Gantz (DVD/Blu-ray, Manga Entertainment, 3 October) is already in UK shops. Based on the Manga by Hiroya Oku and stars leading Japanese actors Kazunari Ninomiya (Letters from Iwo Jima) and Kenichi Matsuyama (Detroit Metal City, Norwegian Wood).

Finally, we couldn’t let this release slide by. Chalet Girl (DVD, Momentum, 3 October), not to be confused with the erotica of the same name, is a breezy rom-com set in the alps that is a surprisingly fun bit of fluff. We’ve covered it a fair bit here on The Reel BIts, so here’s one more plug before it hits local shores again.

Region 4 (DVD) and Region B (Blu-ray) – Australia

Thor - Blu-rayThis just might be the biggest week in the history of DVD and Blu-ray releases in Australia. Seriously. Hundreds. All gold.

First up, there’s Thor (DVD/Blu-ray, Paramount, 6 October). ‘Nuff said? One of the biggest, and surprisingly best, superhero movies of the year. Despite Australia getting the world premiere of the film theatrically, we get the home version last. You’ll find commentary by director Kenneth Branagh, Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant, Featurettes, Road to the Avengers, Deleted Scenes with optional commentary, Teaser Trailer, Theatrical Trailer and an Avengers Animated Trailer. Sadly, our interview with Jaimie Alexander and Tom Hiddleston is not included.

Let’s just say: Disney. The 30th Anniversary Edition of The Fox and the Hound (DVD/Blu-ray, Disney, 5 October) is released for the first time on the dual formats, along with a special twin-pack incorporating The Fox and the Hound 2. However, it seems that 30 years in the public eye only gets you the Music & More and “Passing the Baton” features from the original DVD, along with a new “Unlikely Friends” featurette and some trailers. Certainly not up to spec with the previous Disney classic Blu-rays, but it still looks magnificent and that’s the main thing.

Winnie the Pooh - Blu-ray CoverDisney have also got out the brand-new Winnie the Pooh (DVD/Blu-ray, Disney, 5 October) which you would have missed at the cinemas here in Australia if you blinked. Luckily, we get it several weeks prior to the US on the dual formats, but it is exclusive to Big W. Expect a “Mini-Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: The Balloon” short, The Ballad of Nessie short and deleted scenes, with the Blu-ray coming with a behind-the-scenes featurette, a Sing-Along, songs and bonus deleted scenes.

All that not enough for you? Try on the Aussie-UK co-production Oranges & Sunshine (DVD/Blu-ray, Icon, 6 October), The Human Resources Manager (DVD, Madman, 5 October), The Last Circus (DVD, Madman, 5 October), On Tour (Tournée) (DVD, Madman, 5 October), My Afternoons with Margueritte (DVD/Blu-ray, Icon, 5 October), the Tarsem/David Fincher/Spike Jonze production The Fall (DVD/Blu-ray, Umbrella, 5 October), Angèle & Tony (DVD, Madman, 5 October), Soul Surfer (DVD/Blu-ray, Sony, 5 October), the must-see Meek’s Cutoff (DVD, Madman, 5 October), A Nightmare on Elm Street – Complete Collection (Blu-ray, Warner, 5 October), Doctor Who – Day of the Daleks (DVD, Roadshow, 6 October) and just in time for this week’s release of the remake, the original Footloose (Blu-ray, Paramount, 6 October)!

Phew! Now get out there and start buying. Next week: it just gets bigger!

  • I got myself a copy of THOR3D; I really wish Australia got The Lion King 8-Disc set, instead our replacement for it is a standard 3disc slipcase