Blu Tuesday is a weekly column where we review the newest Blu-ray and 4K releases, along with a brief rundown of the included bonus material, to determine whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping.
Pick of the Week: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
The unexpected death of Chadwick Boseman shocked movie fans around the world, leading many to wonder if the Black Panther franchise could even continue. Marvel and director Ryan Coogler ultimately decided to carry on, but they were left with the impossible task of producing a follow-up to the hugely successful 2018 original without its main star. While the decision to kill off T’Challa in lieu of recasting the role might have seemed like the respectful thing to do, it not only starves the MCU of one of its most exciting and important characters but forces the much less compelling Shuri into a leading role. Letitia Wright does fine for what she’s given, but it’s obvious that Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole are trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole, no doubt a result of the late-stage rewrite. Though “Wakanda Forever” certainly has its moments, including the introduction of Tenoch Huerta’s Namor, whose comic-book backstory has been cleverly reimagined here, the film can’t escape the shadow of Boseman’s absence.
Extras include an audio commentary by Coogler, Cole and cinematographer Autumn Durald Arkapaw, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at making the film, a gag reel and some deleted scenes. FINAL VERDICT: RENT
Also Out This Week:
“Chicago” — It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since “Chicago” was released in theaters, single-handedly reviving the movie musical at a time when most studios avoided them like the plague. The film’s success — $306 million at the worldwide box office and six Academy Awards, including Best Picture — was unprecedented but not at all unwarranted. In fact, the movie still holds up remarkably well thanks to some clever staging, a trio of great performances from Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere, and all the catchy tunes from Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb’s original stage musical. Though it would have been nice if Paramount had prepared something a little more special for the film’s 20th anniversary, this new SteelBook release is better than nothing. Extras include an audio commentary by director Rob Marshall and writer Bill Condon, as well as some extended musical performances and a retrospective with the cast and crew. FINAL VERDICT: BUY
“Mickey & Minnie: 10 Classic Shorts – Volume 1” — In celebration of the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company, this compilation contains 10 animated shorts featuring the studio’s flagship characters, Mickey and Minnie, including the duo’s first appearance in “Steamboat Willie” (1928) as well as other classics from the ‘30s and ‘40s like “Brave Little Tailor,” “Hawaiian Holiday,” “Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip,” “Mickey’s Delayed Date,” “Figaro and Frankie,” “The Little Whirlwind,” “On Ice,” “Bath Day” and “Thru the Mirror.” Though it’s a pretty barebones release — there’s nothing else included besides the shorts themselves — it’s great to see these older cartoons fully restored in high definition, even if the digital scrubbing of the film grain removes some of their charm. FINAL VERDICT: RENT
Disclosure: Bullz-Eye was provided a copy of the above titles for review purposes.