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: “Titanic”
It’s hard to explain just how big of a cultural phenomenon James Cameron’s “Titanic” was to those who didn’t experience it. The movie played in theaters for nearly 10 months, with many people seeing it multiple times, while Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” dominated radio waves for just as long. Prior to the film’s 1997 theatrical release, no film had ever crossed $1 billion at the worldwide box office, yet “Titanic” brought in nearly double that, setting a record that wouldn’t be topped again until “Avatar” in 2009. Though the movie itself couldn’t possibly live up to all the noise surrounding it, especially one filled with Cameron’s corny dialogue, “Titanic” is still a mostly solid drama that’s held together by a pair of great lead performances and some fantastic moments of spectacle. Even more impressive is Paramount’s new 4K release of the film, which looks and sounds so incredible that it feels like it was just made yesterday — not that we’d expect anything less from Cameron. It may have been a long time coming for physical media collectors, but it was well worth the wait.
Extras include three audio commentaries (one by Cameron, one by the cast and crew, and one by historians Don Lynch and Ken Marschall), as well as a new retrospective, a new National Geographic special, the hour-long “Reflections on Titanic” documentary, nearly an hour of deleted scenes and much more. FINAL VERDICT: BUY
Also Out This Week:
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” — After the disappointment of 2008’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” fans practically begged Steven Spielberg and company to just leave well enough alone. Unfortunately, Disney clearly didn’t get the memo, as they’ve trotted Harrison Ford back out in his dusty fedora for one last hurrah as the adventure-seeking archaeologist, this time without Spielberg’s guiding hand. The opening sequence is admittedly a lot of fun (and the closest that “Dial of Destiny” gets to a classic Indy adventure), but the rest of the film is a pretty mixed bag. The villains (Nazis, again) are pretty dull, even with the usually great Mads Mikkelsen as the main baddie, while Phoebe Waller-Bridge fails to inspire as Indy’s latest sidekick. Though “Dial of Destiny” is a perfectly fine addition to the franchise, it lacks the magic and fun of the earlier films, especially without Spielberg in the director’s chair. Extras include a five-part making-of featurette and a score-only version of the movie. FINAL VERDICT: RENT
“Point Break” — Long before the “Fast and Furious” franchise taught us all about the importance of family, Kathryn Bigelow delivered this surf-soaked action bromance starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. Though the similarities between “Point Break” and the first “Fast and Furious” movie are undeniable (almost to the point of plagiarism), the former is a distinctly more soulful action flick — one that at least strives for deeper meaning, even if it resorts to the usual action film clichés for most of its runtime. However, what “Point Break” lacks in originality, it makes up for with panache and great chemistry between its two leads, and sometimes, that’s all a good buddy cop movie requires. Though Shout! Factory’s new 4K release doesn’t do much to impress from an audiovisual standpoint, it’s a solid if unspectacular transfer that’s worth the upgrade for diehard fans. Extras include a collection of behind-the-scenes featurettes, some deleted scenes and more. FINAL VERDICT: RENT
“The Color Purple” — Steven Spielberg was one of the most prominent directors in Hollywood when he signed on to adapt Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Color Purple” for the big screen, but that doesn’t mean he was the right person for the job. Though Spielberg is certainly a great filmmaker, his penchant for wholesome sentimentality robs the movie of any real emotion or sincerity, as it quickly devolves into a schmaltzy, melodramatic bore that undercuts itself at every turn. Certain situations are played too over-the-top to be taken seriously, while the occasional moments of comic relief are horribly misguided. Though “The Color Purple” contains a couple of good performances that help it avoid being a complete disaster — specifically, Margaret Avery and Oprah Winfrey — it’s far from the classic that its reputation would suggest. Extras include a trio of behind-the-scenes featurettes and a look at the Broadway musical. FINAL VERDICT: RENT
“Young Guns” — For a movie that starred some of the hottest talent of its time, the 1988 action-western “Young Guns” is not very good, due in large part to a weak script and bland direction. Though it features a stacked cast of young stars, including Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Lou Diamond Phillips and Dermot Mulroney, the movie lacks a compelling plot or meaningful character development. Additionally, none of the action is particularly exciting, while Estevez’s comically over-the-top performance as Billy the Kid clashes with the film’s otherwise restrained approach. Though the movie was a big enough hit to quickly earn a sequel, “Young Guns” hasn’t aged very well in the decades since its release — a fact made evident with this new 4K disc. Extras include an audio commentary by Mulroney, Phillips and Casey Siemaszko, as well as a making-of featurette and a documentary about Billy the Kid. FINAL VERDICT: SKIP
Disclosure: Bullz-Eye was provided a copy of the above titles for review purposes.