This week’s home entertainment offerings include the big hit (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation), the middle-of-the-pack performer (Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials), the disappointing sequel (Ted 2), and the outright bomb (The Fantastic Four).
The Maze Runner is yet another post-apocalyptic YA novel series that has spawned a series of movies that target the teen audience. Unlike the case with The Hunger Games however, the chief protagonists in The Maze Runner are males—and, judging from the box office results, at least where teen-seeking post-apocalyptic movies are concerned, girls rule and boys drool. Will Hollywood ever get the message and start producing more films for women of all ages again?
Seth MacFarlane’s Ted, an unlikely R-rated comedy about a foul-mouthed talking Teddy Bear, was one of the unlikely hits of 2012, earning over $218 million just in North America. But in spite of the return of Mark Wahlberg and his potty-mouthed plushie, Ted 2 (Universal, “R” in theaters, the DVDs are “Unrated,” 243 min., $29.94, BD $34.98) was unable to recreate box office magic of its predecessor. Your interest in, or avoidance of, this movie should be predicated on your tolerance for scatological, sexual, and stoner humor. This is one of those film where they throw every possible joke at the wall—a few of them stick, so your enjoyment of the film is a matter of your tolerance level, and how desperate you are for a laugh (for there are some here).
TV on DVD
Netflix has garnered wide praise for many of its releases (most notably its two fine Marvel Comics-based series), but the streaming service has had an occasional misfire like Marco Polo: Season 1 (Starz, 547 min., $39.98, BD $49.98). Produced by the Weinstein Company, this Marco Polo series is actually a bit better than the critics rated it—especially if you like old school miniseries with plenty of pageantry to go along with the all-too-predictable narrative tropes.
Also out this week is House of Anubis: Season 1 (Nickelodeon, 641 min., BD $24.99), the live-action teen drama set in a British boarding school that airs on the Nickelodeon network. Another kid-targeting show due out on Tuesday is the ninth season of the “super sentai” series Power Rangers. Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series (Shout Factory, 870 min., $19.97) collects all 40 episodes of the ninth season of the American Power Rangers series. Yet another teen-targeting drama is Teen Wolf: Season 5, Part 1 (Fox, 440 min., $29.98), which collects the first half of the latest season of the MTV horror series that is based on the 1985 Teen Wolf film.
For fans of vintage TV this week’s top offering is Barnaby Jones: The Complete Collection (VEI, 6700 min., $200.00), which collects the groundbreaking private detective series that starred Buddy Ebsen and lasted for 8 seasons of CBS where it introduced many of the forensic elements that have dominated modern crime shows.
Also out this week is One Piece Season 7, Voyage 4 (Funimation, 300 min., $39.98), which contains episodes 422-433 of the rollicking pirate saga, which remains one of the most popular anime series in Japan where it has reached 722 episodes (and is still ongoing).
Another anime TV series debuting here on disc this week is Chaika: The Coffin Princess—Season One Collection (Sentai Filmworks, 300 min., $59.98, BD $69.98), which collects the 12-episode 2014 Bones series based on the action/fantasy light novels written by Ichiro Sakai that is set in the aftermath of a 300-year long war that has finally seen the dissolution of the Gaz Empire.
Yet another offering of interest is the anime movie, Hayate the Combat Butler! Heaven Is a Place on Earth (Sentai Filmworks, 70 min., Subtitles Only!, $29.98, BD $39.98), a 2011 film produced by Manglobe and based on the popular action-packed harem comedy manga by Kenjiro Hata.
Vintage anime offerings this week include the Blu-ray debut of the classic 1989 anime film The Venus Wars (Discotek Media, 102 min. BD $29.98) based on the science fiction manga by Yaoshikazu Yaushiko (published here by Dark Horse), the BD debut of the 1982 TMS anime film Space Adventure Cobra (Discotek Media, 100 min., BD $29.95), and the 1994 anime movie Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (Discotek Media, 102 min., $19.95), which adapted the popular martial arts video game.
This week’s re-priced re-release is the Majestic Prince Complete Collection (Sentai Filmworks, 600 min., $79.98, BD $99.98), which includes both seasons of the anime series produced by Dogakobo in 2013. Each of the seasons was previously released at ($59.98, BD $69.98) each.