DVD-News: Autumn Surprises

First an apology – I had plans for some new reviews, but I just don’t have the time to sit down and write at the moment, so I’ll have to postpone that a little bit. But I assure you that I have something cooking with some discs lying around which really desperately need to be written about, and I’m going to do it sooner or later. Instead, I can only urge you to wander over to DVD Savant, where Glenn Erickson is always writing up a storm with two sets of reviews each week – I don’t know how he does it! But meanwhile a quick little news update, because I really want to keep up with what’s going on: Dreamworks’ two 2014 movies are coming to home video in the very near future, but first there’s a surprising announcement about one of my favourite musicals (plus another update from Criterion!)… 

This comes from Parade Magazine via The Digital Bits – Paramount is releasing a 50th Anniversary Edition of My Fair Lady on December 9th and this time it’s not a rehash: a completely new 4k digital restoration directly from the 65mm negative has been made with the involvement of Robert Harris, who had already spearheaded the previous photochemical restoration effort from the 1990s. The transfers of all previous DVDs were from a 1998 master and Paramount’s previous Blu-Ray was taken from a 35mm reduction print of the old restoration, so this is going to be something entirely new. It’s apparently going to be a 3-disc Blu-Ray/DVD combo set with only one DVD, so that the extras – the press release says more than 90 minutes of new material – will probably only be available on Blu-Ray, but at least the new restoration will also be available on DVD, too. It also looks like the old extras, most notably the 1994 documentary hosted by Jeremy Brett, seem to be absent, so the old special edition is still worth keeping. The list price is a hefty $42.99, but I’m sure that with Amazon’s generous discounts I will still be able to afford this release.

Great news also from Criterion: a new edition of Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits is being released on December 9th in the USA as separate Blu-Ray and DVD editions. Criterion has done a new 2k restoration, hopefully getting the colour timing right after so many disappointing previous DVD and Blu-Ray releases! This also marks the return of the wonderful audio commentary as an extra in the American market after Criterion’s original 1998 DVD, but while there are three new featurettes, the bonus material does not look all that exciting considering the apparent non-involvement of Terry Gilliam. Myself, I’m going to skip this one since I still have the original Criterion disc and the US Anchor Bay release, which still looks fantastic – but this may be a worthwhile upgrade to Blu-Ray one day!

In other news, it turns out that Germany is getting Mr Peabody & Sherman first on September 19th, with the UK following on October 6th and the US only on October 14th. Sadly, it looks like Dreamworks has dropped the ball completely on the extras department since the distributor switch from Paramount to Fox: there don’t seem to be any worth mentioning, just a few clips from the original cartoons and no audio commentary or documentaries at all.

With How To Train Your Dragon, all is well again with the release dates – the US releases are coming on November 11th, the UK gets it on November 17th and Germany has to wait until December 1st. This means I’ll be buying the German disc of this movie, too, given that there won’t be much happening in the bonus materials here too and the differences between the regions will be pretty minimal.

And there’s also something new on the revitalized DVD News Index – I’ve added a Google Calendar with all the release dates which I will maintain in addition to the index table. This is more or less out of self-interest, so I can keep an eye on things, but I’m only going to add those releases to the calendar which are also in the list.

Note: I created that snazzy retro-poster last year with the fun Pulp-o-Mizer website.

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