With the nearest open movie theaters likely in the next state (and scary), many fans look to home entertainment more than ever. If the kids are quarantined at home also, purchases, rather than rentals, start to look better and better for the inevitable repeat viewings. But with so many, it’s hard to know where to begin or what to afford. In this ongoing series, Superhero Hype takes a look at some of the better deals Amazon.com has running as of publication time. Please note that all deals are subject to change or sell out at any time based on supply and demand. These are the deals for Aug 26.
Starman [Collector’s Edition] [Blu-ray]
More sensitive, kind, and open-hearted than so much of John Carpenter‘s output, Starman tells the story of an alien who comes to Earth, takes the form of a woman’s dead husband, and helps her to heal while coming to understand human feelings himself. Naturally, the government wants to capture him and do bad things. In a particularly memorable scene, the Starman learns the appropriate hand gestures for dealing with road rage.
This collector’s edition includes commentary from Carpenter and star Jeff Bridges, who failed to let aggression stand even back in the ’80s.
Fun fact: a sequel TV series starred Robert Hays, and did not last long.
Weird Science (Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
Weird Science, in many significant ways, is dated as hell. It hails from a period in Hollywood comedies when women were often depicted as prizes to be won, and computers were magic boxes that could do anything. So sure, somebody probably believed that two computer nerds could just magically create a gorgeous woman who’ll do anything they ask. But it’s the naivete that’s part of the appeal. Even in the ’80s, the dirtiest thought these two boys had was to shower with the girl, keeping their underpants on. As the scope of her powers becomes even more bizarre, events take a turn for the seriously weird. Look for early star-making turns by Bill Paxton and Robert Downey Jr.
Gatchaman: Collectors Edition [Blu-ray]
American kids knew it as G-Force or Battle of the Planets, but this anime saga of ninja space pilots in bird-themed costumes has a much deeper history than that. 105 episodes, three OVAs, and a movie chronicle the saga of team Gatchaman against the evil resource-draining alien terrorists of Galactor. This mighty set includes English dubs, but not the U.S. re-edits which left out some of the more mature details for the sake of younger viewers. Learn their real names: Ken the Eagle, Joe the Condor, Jun the Swallow, Jinpei the Sparrow and Ryu the Owl, as they board the God Phoenix for the ultimate battles. A souvenir book with art by Alex Ross is included.
Speed Racer: Collector’s Edition [Blu-ray]
Here he comes, indeed! Just look at that giant head, containing 26 discs. An entire generation’s first exposure to anime came from the racing adventures of Speed, Mom, Pops, Trixie, Spridle, Chim-Chim, and the mysterious (but not really) Racer X. For the first time, this set includes original Japanese audio for the original show they know as Mach Go Go Go. He’s a demon on wheels.
Speed Racer [Blu-ray]
Although the Wachowski siblings’ live-action version of the anime didn’t prove a major box-office hit, it spawned a vehement cult following. Most film critics, asked to name underappreciated gems, would have it on the list. Turning anime into absurdly literal 3-D live-action worlds — but with a real chimpanzee, too — the film is a head trip, if a bit overlong. And it’s now just ten bucks.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World [Blu-ray]
Ten years ago, Edgar Wright’s masterpiece failed to make a dent at the box office, in part because Universal had already shown it for free eight times at Comic-Con. Looking back, it still seems remarkable that this adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comics failed to hit, though it’s one of those movies people still cosplay from and talk about. A now all-star cast includes the likes of Chris Evans, Aubrey Plaza, Mae Whitman, Allison Pill, Brie Larson, Anna Kendrick, Clifton Collins Jr., and Brandon Routh, in the tale of would-be rock star Scott (Michael Cera, against type) who must woo Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) by fighting off the baggage of her seven exes. And there’s also the problem of his current teenage girlfriend.
What’s not a problem? The Blu-ray is just five bucks. You won’t regret it.
Watchmen (Ultimate Cut) 4K
It’s not as brilliant as the recent HBO sequel series, but the four-hour version of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, including animated pirate sequences and all the scenes from the corner newsstand restored, is as close as it gets to filming the original comic in live-action. It’s enough to make a viewer wish for a six-hour version with everything including the squid, but as Adrian Veidt always says, it’s okay; nobody’s human. Viewed now, with all that Snyder has done since, it almost plays more as a subversion of his own superhero movies that he hadn’t made yet than the Burton/Schumacher Batman films it seemed to riff on at the time. But whatever one’s thoughts, this is really the only true version to watch….man.
The Fifth Element [Blu-ray] 4K
Everyone remembers Leeloo in her orange hair and bandage costume. Some remember the giant planet-sized ball of evil. But mostly, the plot of The Fifth Element gets lost amid the stunning visuals. So here’s the chance to see it look better than ever, and maybe figure out the story this time.
Ultimate Superman 4-Movie Blu-ray Collection:
This is an odd Superman movie collection, because it’s absolutely not the four anyone would expect. Maybe the title would imply all four Christopher Reeve movies, or at least the two people like, the one not everybody hates, and then Brandon Routh? Nope. It’s the original Reeve movie, the recreated Richard Donner director cut of the sequel (which has the same ending as the first film does now), the fourth Reeve movie everyone rags on, and THEN Brandon Routh. Still, for $20, it’s a good deal, and most fans love at least two, ad like one more.
Max Fleischers Superman: Collector’s Edition [Blu-ray]
Two discs, 210 minutes from the golden age of American animation. Long before Superman appeared in movies, these cartoons defined his heroics for a generation, as he fought giant robots and saved Lois Lane. No needless angst or overly complicated stories — this is just the adventures of a classic good guy with extraordinary abilities. For a mere $15.64.