This week’s home entertainment releases include a surprisingly accomplished and powerful contemporary western, the final Maze Runner film, a rare sequel (Paddington 2) as good or better than the original, the final season of the Static Shock animated series, two classic parody cartoon series from the 1970s, and the high definition debut of one of the most popular seasons of the original Sailor Moon anime.
This week’s release with the biggest box office is the final film in The Maze Runner
trilogy, The Maze Runner: The Death Cure
(Fox, “PG-13,” 144 min., $29.98, BD $34.98, 4K $39.99). Based on the YA novels by James Dashner, The Maze Runner
is the fifth highest-grossing film series based on teen-targeting novels, trailing Harry Potter
, the Twilight Saga
, the Hunger Games
, and Divergent.
The plot parallels of this dystopian sci-fi tale with The Hunger Games
are quite close though the Maze Runner
books feature primarily male protagonists.
There are other, better options for both pre-and-post-adolescent viewers due on Tuesday. Younger viewers (and their parents) will enjoy the animated/live-action hybrid Paddington 2
(Warner Bros., “PG,” 120 min., $29.95, BD $35.99), one of those very rare sequels that is just as good, if not better, than the original. For whatever reason Paddington 2 didn’t connect at the box office like its predecessor, but it is well worth checking out on disc (or streaming for the kids).
Those who enjoy westerns should check out Hostiles
(Lionsgate, “R,” 134 min., $29.98, BD $39.99, 4K $42.99), which features spectacular vistas and a righteous performance from Christian Bale plus great work from Rosamund Pike and Wes Studi. This is a modern western that treats Native American culture (and languages) with respect. The narrative rambles a bit between taut opening and closing action set pieces, but Hostiles
is a solid genre outing, which is especially heartening at a time when the Western has largely disappeared.
For crime film aficionados there is the heist film Den of Thieves (Universal, “R,” 149 min., $22.99, BD $34.99), which pits a group of L.A. Sheriff’s deputies led by Gerard Butler against a gang of thieves headed by Pablo Schreiber. This project was 14 years in the making, and it shows (the film has only a 41% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes), but those looking for a gritty crime movie could do a lot worse.
This week’s other major release is Forever My Girl (Lionsgate, “PG,” 108 min., $19.98, BD $24.98), the romantic saga of a country music star, who tries to win back the girl he left at the altar eight years previously.
TV on DVD
This week’s top DVD release for comic book fans is Static Shock: Season 4
(Warner Bros., 276 min., DVD-R, 24.99), the final (2004) season of the show during which the Milestone Comics hero interacts with all sorts of DC heavyweights including Batman and Green Lantern. Static Shock
was the rare Saturday morning cartoon that ever dealt with social issues. This is a MOD (manufacture-on-demand) release so you have to preorder it (and the DVD-R format is somewhat less trustworthy than regular commercial DVDs).
This week’s release with the biggest reputation (deserved or not) is Shameless: The Complete Eighth Season
(Warner Bros., 662 min., $29.99, BD $39.99), but for geek viewers this week’s hidden gem is The Dogfather: The DePatie-Freleng Collection
(Kino Lorber, 117 min., $19.95, BD $25.95). The 17 Dogfather
shorts, which were produced from 1974-1976, were the final theatrical cartoon series created by De Patie-Freleng. This canine-starring parody of The Godfather
was later broadcast as part of the NBC Saturday Morning Cartoon show Pink Panther & Friends
. Extras include commentaries as well as two documentaries about the making of these cartoons.
Equally interesting to fans of classic TV animation is Misterjaw: The DePatie Freleng Collection (Kino Lorber, 206 min., $29.95, BD $39.95), which collects all 34 1970s sharkmania cartoons created by Termite Terrace veteran Robert McKimson in the wake of the tremendous success of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. Misterjaw was a (blue) Great White Shark, who wore a bow tie and top hat and appeared on The Pink Panther Laugh and a Half Hour Saturday morning show on NBC.
Other offerings include the 2017 Boomerang series Wacky Races, Season 1, Part 1 (Warner Bros., 88 min., $14.97), a contemporary remake of the 1968 Hanna/Barbera series, and Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: Super Sentai GoGoFive: The Complete Series (Shout Factory, 1,245 min., $59.97), which presents all 50 episodes of the original Super Sentai series that provided the basis for the eighth season of the U.S. Power Rangers show.
This week’s only overseas series is the ITV show Unforgotten: Season 1 (PBS, 270 min., $34.99, BD $39.99), which collects all six episodes of the award-winning UK police procedural.
For those who enjoy classic “magical girl” anime series this week will see the release of the high definition Blu-ray edition of the fourth season of the original Sailor Moon anime series in its original uncut form, Sailor Moon, Super S, Part 1
(Viz Media, “TV-PG,” 475 min., BD/DVD Combo $69.99, Limited Edition $79.99). The Limited Edition
comes in a chipboard box and includes a 96-page booklet, the Sailor Moon Super S TV Special,
Cast Interview, and trailers.
This week’s top release for those who enjoy science fiction anime is Kado: The Right Answer—The Complete Series
(Funimation, “TV-14,” 300 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98), an original 2017 CGI anime from Toei Animation that follows Japan’s top negotiator as he deals with an interplanetary being that claims to want to advance the evolution of mankind.
Also of great interest are Koro Sensei Quest Shorts (Funimation, “TV-14,” 120 min., BD/DVD Combo $39.98), which contains all 12 ten-minute episodes of a web animation based on a spin-off manga (by Kizuku Watanabe) of Yusei Matsui’s Assassination Classroom; and Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid: The Complete Series (Funimation, “TV-14,” 325 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98), a 13-episode 2017 series from Kyoto Animation that is based on fantasy/comedy manga by Coolkyoushinja (published here by Seven Seas).
For those who enjoy classical music and anime, there is ClassicaLoids: Season 1 Complete Collection (Sentai Filmworks, “TV-14,” 625 min., BD $79.98), which collects the first 25 episodes of anime comedy series produced by Sunrise and NHK that debuted in Japan in 2016.