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Agent DVD

John Latchem

Agent DVD Insider

, Managing Editor

A graduate of UCLA, John Latchem worked as a newspaper editor and did freelance work for such publications as The Hollywood Reporter before joining Home Media Magazine in 2005. He serves as editor of the reviews and TV DVD sections, as well as the annual Agent DVD consumer issue that coincides with San Diego Comic-Con International.
 

May 04, 2010
‘Iron Man’ Back in Retail Spotlight



The May 7 theatrical debut of Iron Man 2 means retailers are keen on offering “Iron Man” product this week. Not only did two new volumes of “Iron Man” cartoons hit DVD May 4, but some retailers put the 2-year-old DVD of the first movie back in the new-release section.

Wal-Mart offered the 2008 film on DVD for $13, while Best Buy offered it at $12.99 for DVD and $19.99 for Blu-ray.

Best Buy also had the recent Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel DVD discounted 50%, to $9.99.

As Mothers Day looms on May 9, the big retailer with the most noticeable themed display was Best Buy, which offered a selection of mom-friendly hits for $4.99 or $9.99 each.

Target tagged a selection of DVDs for moms at $4.99 each and offered Blu-ray Discs at $12.99 apiece.

Wal-Mart had the exclusive distribution for Fox’s Flicka 2, offered at $13 on DVD and $15 as a two-pack with the first movie.

Best Buy exclusively offered the Blu-ray Disc version of WWE’s Wrestlemania XXVI.


By: John Latchem


April 30, 2010
Trading ‘Galactica’


The new BSG DVD packaging


Universal Studios Home Entertainment recently re-released Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series in newer packaging that is much simpler than the limited edition released last July. That set offered a Cylon action figure, but the discs were housed in flimsy cardboard sleeves that made scratching the discs more of a problem.

The earlier version of Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series, released July 2009.

Except for a few minor details, the new packaging is basically an outer box wrapped around season sets that already exist (which is the usual Universal strategy for complete series).

Other than the streamlined design, the biggest difference between the two versions is the new set includes The Plan, the BSG TV movie released late last year. Such re-releases are often the focus of fan ire, since many who bought the first iteration might like the second version better and would have waited had they known it was coming. (A majority of fans had to expect the re-release, since that’s how the industry works. But the specific packaging design was the variable.)

Kudos to Universal, then, for quietly offering fans a chance to obtain an empty (no discs) version of the new packaging to which they can transfer the discs from the old. The trade-in offer expires May 31, and you can get details by e-mailing universalcanadahomevideo@nbcuni.com.

Be warned, though. To get the new packaging you have to cut up the boxed set you already have — Universal is asking fans to send in the top and triangular flap of the first-season box contained in the set.



I was lucky enough to get the updated Blu-ray boxed set directly from Universal, so I decided to trade in for the new DVD packaging. The studio estimates two to four weeks for shipping, but my set showed up about a week after I sent the request.

At first glance the DVD version doesn’t appear to contain the TV movie The Plan as promised. You can tell the Blu-ray version comes with The Plan since the movie’s case is slotted after all four seasons. But when you look at the DVD version of the set in stores, it seems to be the four seasons without the extra movie.

Well, it turns out the DVD complete series contains a disc for The Plan in the fourth season, but not any separate packaging (which is kind of a bummer). The replacement set I received didn’t have an empty peg for it among the season four discs, but it turns out the box as a whole offers enough room to slide in the entire packaging for The Plan that I already had, after the four season boxes (just like the Blu-ray).

On further inspection, the Blu-ray box art indicates it’s a 20-disc set, while the DVD set indicates 25 discs, the same configurations as the limited edition, though The Plan should have added one disc to both totals. So confusion about the movie’s inclusion is understandable, but it turns out to be only a minor quibble, as the final product looks great on the shelf. These new complete series sets also have single boxes for the second and fourth seasons, which originally split in half for DVD sales, so that’s a plus.

BSG Complete Series DVD configuration

BSG Complete Series DVD Set with The Plan inserted

 

By: John Latchem


April 27, 2010
Retail Gets ‘Complicated’


Wal-Mart's It's Complicated Special Edition


The April 22 mega-release of Avatar has apparently thinned out the herd a bit. Among new releases April 27, only It’s Complicated and a few Paramount TV DVDs (The Hills: Season 5 and Tales From the Dark Side: Season 3) saw a widespread retail presence. Other titles, such as The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, were scattershot at best, with many stores not stocking Blu-ray versions of the movies.

As far as exclusives go, Target offered It’s Complicated DVDs packed with Mamma Mia!, while Wal-Mart offered an It’s Complicated DVD configuration with a bonus disc that included a digital copy of the film and six free MP3 downloads.

Wal-Mart also had the exclusive title Little Hercules in 3D, starring Hulk Hogan.

Speaking of Avatar, Target is offering a $20 gift card with purchase of the Avatar Blu-ray at $24.99 and a Sony BDPS360 (BD Live compatible) Blu-ray Disc player at $124.99.

Best Buy is now accepting pre-orders for HBO Home Entertainment’s True Blood: The Complete Second Season, which streets May 25. Fans who order a copy in stores or at BestBuy.com/TrueBlood can get a “Real Blood Is for Suckers” poster.

Best Buy also offered a $10 savings with purchase of catalog Blu-ray titles Armageddon and Tombstone together.

By: John Latchem


April 24, 2010
Updating the Files: ‘Lost,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Robin Hood,’ ‘The A-Team’


Checking in with some bits and pieces from the past week:

End of the Beginning for ‘Lost’

As “Lost” rushes toward its series finale May 23, plans are already in place to release the complete series on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Lost: The Complete Sixth and Final Season (five-DVD set $59.99, Blu-ray $79.99) and Lost: The Complete Collection (38-DVD set $229.99, 36-disc Blu-ray $279.99) are slated for Aug. 24 (order date July 13).

The sixth-season set will include original scripted content that delves deeper into the stories, from the show’s creators; deleted scenes; behind-the-scenes footage; commentaries; bloopers and more. The complete series will contain all the extras from the individual seasons, plus an exclusive bonus disc with at least two hours of content.

More Robins for the Hood

Just in time for the May 14 theatrical bow of Universal’s Robin Hood remake from Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment May 11 releases four vintage “Robin Hood” movies at $14.94. The selection includes 1946’s The Bandit of Sherwood Forest, 1948’s Prince of Thieves, 1950’s Rogues of Sherwood Forest and 1960’s Sword of Sherwood Forest.

These aren’t the only “Robin Hood” DVDs piggybacking the new movie. Reality Films April 27 releases the documentary Robin Hood: The Truth Behind Hollywood’s Most Filmed Legend (reviewed here). And Classic Media May 11 offers Mr. Magoo in Sherwood Forest ($9.98), which combines into a single movie the four-part episode “Mr. Magoo’s Robin Hood” from the 1964 series “The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo.”

Pounding Out the Pity

Speaking of piggybacking, Anchor Bay Entertainment in June will release UFC: Rampage Greatest Hits, a collection of mixed martial arts fights featuring Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, who plays B.A. Baracus in the new A-Team movie (the role Mr. T played on the TV show). The DVD streets June 1 at $19.97, with the Blu-ray on June 8 at $29.97. Fox releases The A-Team June 11.

The Galaxy’s a Stage

Finally, an odd tidbit from the realm of so-called “legitimate” theater. It seems CBS Consumer Products is preparing an interactive stage show called “Star Trek Live” to be performed five times a day starting June 11 at the 300-seat Astronaut Encounter Theater at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex near Orlando, Fla.

Based on the franchise (though the plot seems more like the new movie), the 30-minute experience combines special effects and audience interaction, letting fans play new cadets at Starfleet Academy, where they will have to learn quickly about living, traveling and working in space and about the latest in communication and technology.

Sounds like a smart way to get the word out about this obscure franchise. ;-) Actually, the NASA connection makes a lot of sense.

This wouldn’t be the first interactive “Star Trek” experience for fans. Universal Studios theme parks in the late 1980s and early 1990s offered The Star Trek Adventure, which cast audience members as Starfleet officers and Klingons as they filmed an episode, and let participants buy a tape of the final result. And The Star Trek Experience operated out of the Las Vegas Hilton from 1998 to 2008, letting fans sip drinks at Quark’s Bar from “Deep Space Nine,” travel back in time to fight the Klingons, or fight off an invasion by the Borg. Highlights from the Vegas exhibit are available on the bonus disc of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Motion Picture Collection DVD and Blu-ray.

Maybe they should bring the whole Star Trek Experience to Florida.

By: John Latchem


April 23, 2010
The “South Park” Syndrome



The pop culture world is abuzz about Comedy Central censoring even the name of a certain religious prophet on “South Park,” following death threats against the show’s creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The network even bleeped the whole final speech “about intimidation and fear,” they said.

Further, Comedy Central pulled reruns of the episode and won’t let it stream on the “South Park” website. Naturally, this has sparked a whole debate over the value of free speech in our society, and how reticent some of us are to protect it. Jon Stewart devoted a lengthy segment to the subject on the April 22 “Daily Show,” denouncing anyone who would threaten violence over a political or religious disagreement.

So what now? A lot of fans are wondering what this will mean for the eventual 14th season DVD set of the show. As the DVD (and Blu-ray) won’t be released for another year, I imagine that decision is a long ways off.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the censorship carried over to home video. The character in question did appear uncensored in the “Super Best Friends” episode from the fifth season, but that was before the controversy erupted a few years ago, and that episode has since been yanked from SouthParkStudios.com, which streams every episode for free. The season 10 episode “Cartoon Wars” specifically addressed the reaction to images of him, while also censoring his appearance. This censorship carried through to the DVD. I only hope they don’t leave the latest episode off the DVD altogether. (Ironically, the character has appeared briefly in the opening title sequence of every episode for the past few years.)

After all, the whole point of these episodes has been to demonstrate how absurd the censorship was to begin with, and for a network to step on that message is to neglect the very reason it took a chance on the series in the first place.
 

By: John Latchem



Geared towards comic book and genre fans, Agent DVD Insider scoops DVD and Blu-Ray release announcements and news, along with commentary from industry experts and fellow comic fans.





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