DVD-News: Cute and Cuddly Edition

Time flies, January is already gone and I’m still working on getting something new for the website done! Plus there was a certain frustration over a highly anticipated movie we watched over the holidays that turned out a terrible disappointment – to the point that I actually shelved its review indefinitely.  So there will be some archival stuff first in 2015 with a whole planned series of translated articles and maybe some other shorter ideas which I still have to figure out. Bbut to show that this site is not dead and will be still alive this year, here is a short-ish article with some news – the only ones I’ve been able to find so far – and a bit of general news observation about what’s going on in the business at the moment. Overall, it’s rather slow and unexciting from my viewpoint, but let’s see…

The Penguins of Madagascar are coming, not long after their cinema release in late November. The US gets the Blu-Ray and DVD releases on March 17th, Germany follows on March 26th and the UK has the rear on March 30th. I have to admit that I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the trailers look awesome and although it doesn’t seem to have been much of a financial hit, most reviews look good. It seems pure Dreamworks fun – unlike some other recent movie of the studio! I haven’t even looked up the special features of the discs, but ever since Dreamworks has switched to Fox as a distributor, there hasn’t been anything much in terms of bonus materials anyway.

The new 4K restoration of My Fair Lady wasn’t released on December 9th as originally planned – but why is still a mystery. There’s a long thread in the Home Theater Forum, where Robert Harris, who is working on the restoration and the release with Paramount, confirmed the delay, but wasn’t able to disclose any details. I’m still confident that he does all the right things to make this the best possible release of the movie, since he is the foremost expert on all things My Fair Lady and knows what has to be done. He will probably be able to tell the full story of the delay after the disc has finally been released – it was supposed to be a Blu-Ray/DVD combo, but maybe that is going to change too.

And there were also some very sad news from the animation industry – in January it was widely reported that Dreamworks Animation is shutting down its original PDI/Dreamworks studio in Redwood City, eliminating 500 jobs over both parts of the company including their now-headquarters in Glendale. Apparently Dreamworks Animation had bitten off far more than it could chew in the last few years with the release schedule of three movies per year not working out as intended. There had been rumours about the demise of Dreamworks before, but this is especially sad because the one part of the company on which it had originally been founded is now being shut down.

On a related note, there has been some outrage over the fact that the LEGO Movie was not nominated for the best animated feature at the 2015 Oscars. The Variety article makes some good points, but overall it seems that a movie which just wants to be fun and also has a snarky and satirical side is not really considered Oscar material nowadays, because everything has to be gloomy and pessimistic. The bigger problem seems to have been that there were too many animated movies competing for the five nomination slots and The LEGO Movie didn’t make the cut for the Hollywood people – perhaps because it was not really an American movie, with its animation done in Australia and Lego of course being Danish.

The whole home video business also seems to be in a bit of a limbo at the moment. The demise of disc-based distribution channels have been prophesized a lot, but in the end neither DVD nor Blu-Ray will be going anywhere soon – it seems just that television has shifted to online streaming instead. It also took only about a decade to go from standard definition to high definition, but suddenly that’s not even enough with a new 4k Blu-Ray standard being formulated right now. Similar to the Superbit DVDs of the early 2000s, there are now also “4K mastered” Blu-Rays, which are still in 1080p, but supposedly look superior because they were converted directly(?) from a 4k master – which just goes to show that initial releases were simply not up to snuff yet. Blu-Ray still suffers from the same teething problems as the DVD did in the late 1990s

Since I have still not yet jumped on the Blu-Ray/HD bandwagon, my interests have shifted from the technical side to the content itself – I will still write DVD reviews, but it may come to nobody’s surprise that my articles have transformed more into reviews of the actual movie or tv series with the technical review tacked on as a bonus. The main reason for DVDLog has always been to get people interested in movies and tv series and the technical side has always been somewhat secondary – that’s how it’s going to stay. I will keep the name DVDLog though – until maybe I find something better, because there’s still a spare domain name in my webhosting contract!

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