Just forget the words and sing along

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Up Comments / Discount DVDs!

So, I just got home from watching the latest Pixar epic, Up. Damn you, Pixar! This is three films in a row now where you made me cry at the end! And that's a good thing.

It's just spellbinding as we watch this old man try to finally fulfill his lifelong dream. Highly, highly recommended.

And, of course, composer Michael Giacchino does another spectacular score.

Apparently, the soundtrack is only being released on iTunes. That makes me sad. I'm no fuddy duddy, but I still like to have a CD cluttering my shelf.

Highly recommended. Go see it. As always, a complete review will be coming to the website in the days ahead.

Also, I saw the film in 3D. I think that's worth noting. As we all know, 3D is currently being rammed down our throats as the future of film, and it looks like all computer animated films for the foreseeable future are going to be in 3D, so we'd better get used to it.

First I got over the sticker shock that they charge $3 more for these 3D films. $15 for an adult! Also, being one of poor eyesight, the glasses always fit awkwardly over my regular glasses. The discomfort of those things smooshed against my face made things tough to get into. And I noticed that 3D doesn't meld well with the much ballyhooed curved screens that movie theatres started installing 10 years ago. It causes things to go blurry the closer you get to the edge of the screen.

For having to pay $3 more, I kept the damn glassesIs this really the future? I don't know. All the 3D films on the horizon are animated films, a few slasher flicks, and the odd sci-fi film. As soon as we get Oscar-bait filmed in 3D, then I think it's the future.

But, I also took a moment to poke my nose in the DVD discount bins. Whenever there's not much in the new releases that I'm after, I always go poking around in the discount bins to see if there's anything I missed.

My brother was stunned to learn that I still own a VCR. I told him that I actually still have quite a few VHS tapes that I haven't upgraded to DVD yet. When I first got my DVD player, I swore I wouldn't buy a film again unless a 2-disc special edition comes along with enough bonus features to justify buying it again.

So when I looked up today and saw the 2-disc special edition of Apollo 13 for just $10, I figured, "It's time to upgrade Apollo 13."

I'm still somewhat fascinated by the space program, and Apollo 13 is still the best true space story on film so far. You all know the plot by now. Apollo 13 had one of their oxygen tanks explode on the way to the Moon, so they had to abort the mission, and all of NASA's top rocket scientists worked around the clock to figure out how to get the astronauts home alive. Featuring an all-star cast, especially focusing on Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon as the Apollo crew, Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigart. I can hardly wait to crank up the launch of the rocket through my 900W subwoofer!

I got the 2-disc, 10th anniversary edition of the DVD, and it boasts two versions of the film. These days, it's quite commonplace for a film to be released in both regular theatres and IMAX theatres. Well, back in 2003, IMAX was still experimenting with their technology to show regular films in IMAX, and decided to test it on Apollo 13. So, on the 10th Anniversary DVD, you get both the original theatrical version and the IMAX version. Since the IMAX technology was still experimental, the film had to be re-edited to an IMAX-friendly length, and thus the IMAX version is a half-hour shorter than the theatrical version.

For bonus features, there's a documentary about the making of the film, a documentary about the real events, a documentary about the evolution of the space program, a running commentary with director Ron Howard, and a running commentary with the real Apollo 13 commander, Jim Lovell.

I also snatched out of the discount bin a little ol' western by the name of Quigley Down Under. It's one of those films that I always run into on late night TV and enjoy. Tom Sellick plays Matthew Quigley, an expert sharpshooter from the Wild West who accepts a job on a cattle ranch in Australia. When he arrives, he finds that the job is to murder the Aborigines who still live on the rancher's land. Naturally, Quigley tells the rancher to go eff himself, and it turns into kind of a "Die Hard across the Outback," as Quigley uses his skills to outsmart the rancher's henchmen and bring the rancher to justice. Professor Snape himself, Alan Rickman, plays the villanous rancher. It's also got a great music score from a legendary composer named Basil Poledouris.

So, why did I fish this one out of the discount bin? Well, back in high school, I had a friend named Travis. Travis was one of the few fellow movie buffs in my high school, and he's frequently loan me films from his vast VHS collection. He'd even regale me with tales of his uncle in Vancouver who owned a Laserdisc player...Laserdisc being the format of choice for home theatre enthusiasts in the late-80s/early-90s. "But the best film on Laserdisc has to be Quigley Down Under," Travis would tell me. "That part at the start of the film? Where Quigley first shows off his rifle? When my uncle cranks that up through his sound system...the whole room shakes!"

So whenever I spied Quigley Down Under in the DVD discount bins, I'd think, "I wonder how that rifle shot would sound pumped through my surround sound system and my 900W subwoofer?"

Travis, if you ever read this, it sounds damn fine.

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