New and noteworthy DVD releases this week: Indy hits the small screen, plus collectors' editions of some old favorites.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Harrison Ford's long-awaited return as the iconic adventurer had its pros (seeing him back onscreen after all these years) and cons (pretty much everything else), but Lucasfilm spared nothing in its DVD/BD release.
The convoluted story now set in the 1950s involves a quest for an otherworldly crystal skull that takes Indy and his sidekicks Mutt Williams (Shia LeBeouf) and Marion Ravenswood (Karen Allen) on a South American trek that ends up Cheesy Encounters of the Bombastic Kind. If you're a diehard series fan, go for it -- the DVD is L-Loaded with featurettes on everything from the re-creation of the score to interviews with everyone involved to the real-life legend of the crystal skull to trailers to the pre-production process....
- Related Link: Comcast.net Interview with Indy producer Frank Marshall
The Ultimate Matrix Collection (Blu-ray) The first Matrix broke amazing new ground as a benchmark of special effects creation that changed the moviemaking landscape forever. Unfortunately, the sequels, while well-produced, suffered from hammy, dragging storylines and bloviating actors (yeah you, Laurence "Izznn't thaaat worth dyyying fooorr!" Fishburne). Still, if you're a fan this is truly the ultimate set, with some 35 hours of content spread over seven discs (much of it not in HD). Each movie is examined in detail, and getting its own disc is The Animatrix, a startlingly good collection of animated shorts in high-def. To give an idea of just how much stuff is on here, the photo gallery holds 1,000 stills.
Halloween 30th Anniversary Commemorative Set No "boos" here! Just in time for my favorite holiday comes Anchor Bay's 6-disc limited edition set that includes the long-unavailable extended edition of the first Halloween and a restored version of the original 1978 release upgraded with widescreen and full-frame presentation and Dolby Digitial 5.1 sound. Also here are the 4th and 5th films (2 and 3 were done by a different studio), a Halloween: 25 Years of Terror documentary, and a bonus Halloween Blu-ray. It's all packaged in a numbered box (hurry, only 20,000 sets will be released) adorned with a 3-D replica of Michael Myers' mask.