This week's retailer exclusives gives me a great opportunity to talk about SteelBooks
(SB) and my own SteelBook collection and the little bit of drama (for Bond Blu-ray enthusiasts anyway) that surrounded the original debut of Secret Agent 007 onto high definition.Quantum of BluI've mentioned before
that I'm not an enthusiastic SB fan. But just for the sake of having some examples of them in my Blu-ray collection (which ultimately came in handy during some product design assignments I got to work on), I ended up finding a fun motivation to pick a few up. The motivation: The name is Bond. James Bond.
The year was 2008, but unlike the release that took place earlier this month when the Bond 50
box set debuted, the films were released in two waves of smaller groups three or four films at a time over a period of several months.
But some retail chains were allowed to offer exclusive SB packaging for selected titles. I love me some James Bond every now and then, so I figured this would be a fine way to get some SBs in my library. And since this is a film series, I realized having all my James Bond films sharing the same SB packaging would look nice on my shelf.
So that's how I started my SB and James Bond collection.SteelBook Royale
The first wave was released on October 21, 2008. And Best Buy was the first retailer to offer them exclusively in SBs. I picked up Dr. No
, From Russia with Love
and For Your Eyes Only
The second wave of Bond Blu-rays debuted on March 24, 2009 and this time, Amazon offered them in SBs exclusively. I picked up two more, Goldfinger
and The World Is Not Enough
By this time, 11 out of the 20 total pre-Daniel Craig James Bond films were out on Blu-ray. The titles that were out that I didn't add to my collection were Live and Let Die
, The Man with the Golden Gun
, Licence To Kill
and Die Another Day
. Casino Royale
(2006) and Quantum of Solace
(2008) both debuted on Blu on October 21, 2008 and March 24, 2009 respectively, but were not offered on SB in the US. I figured that Craig's Bond films defined an entirely new era of 007 movies, so I was content to own those two in the standard plastic Blu-ray cases.
But of the original Bond classics, there were nine left still to come out. Did they release them? No. Why not? For the same reason it took four years for there to be a Bond film made between Quantum of Solace and the upcoming Skyfall. MGM was broke.
Licence to Blu - Uh...NOT!
Even as Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace were being produced, MGM, a co-distributor with Columbia Pictures of the James Bond films, was mired by over $3 billion in debt. This prevented any more home videos releases until their financial state was resolved.
After spending several months soliciting bids from studios and other investors to buy itself, MGM finally filed for bankruptcy on November 3, 2010. It came out of bankruptcy the following month and was able to finaiize distribution deals that not only allowed production of Skyfall to proceed but eventually lead to the January 2012 announcement of a new 22-movie Bond 50 box set and further releases of each of the movies separately.
For Your Blu Eyes Only...
The new Bond 50 box set went on sale October 2, 2012 in both Blu-ray Disc and DVD formats. It includes 22 James Bond films produced by EON Productions plus a bonus disc exclusive to the box set. Two other well-known James Bond films, Never Say Never Again
and the 1966 spoof Casino Royale
, were not produced by EON, so they are not included in this set. But they each have been released on Blu-ray already.
The remaining nine classic Bond films that we were waiting for when the other eleven were released finally got their individual releases on Blu-ray. However, for a short period of time, you'll need to do some hunting to find them as they are all retailer exclusives, each available only either at Best Buy, Target or Walmart.
Target Retailer Exclusives - Available Now
Walmart Retailer Exclusives - Available Now
Best Buy Retailer Exclusives - Available October 23, 2012
This exclusivity is a limited time thing. I expect in about three or four months, the titles will be available to buy from other retailers. And of course, the previous eleven titles that debuted back in 2008 and 2009 have also been re-issued individually with updated packaging art....but not on SteelBook
However, none of the nine new individual releases will arrive in SteelBook packaging in the US. There will be one title released on SB this December, GoldenEye
, from an online UK retailer Play.com
. But it's a Region B disc
, and like we talked about last week
, this UK release will only play on Region B Blu-ray players.
So for GoldenEye
, On Her Majesty's Secret Service
, Tomorrow Never Dies
and maybe The LIving Daylights
(just to have a token Dalton Bond even tho' I really didn't enjoy his Bond), I will have to be patient and wait maybe until next year to see if somebody finally offers these on SB in the US. I mean, I just can't have my classic Bond collection not be all SteelBooks now, right?
"The Enterprise Incident"
Over the weekend, Star Trek
turned 46 years old.
On September 8, 1966, NBC first aired an episode of Star Trek
at 8:30 p.m. The episode was titled "The Man Trap", and it was television audiences' introduction to Captain James T. Kirk, First Officer Spock, Chief Medical Officer Leonard "Bones" McCoy and the missions of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise
. Forty-six years later, people the world over recognizes these names along with the phrases "Beam me up, Scotty," "Space, the final frontier," and "These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise."Star Trek
originally ran on NBC for three seasons. I didn't discover the show until the 1970's when it aired in syndication. I would've been a pre-teen at the time. And I ate it up! It wasn't just the atmosphere and adventure of the show that reeled me in or its optimistic view of the future, but the look and structure of it too. There was no Internet back then, but I found books like The Making of Star Trek
, the Star Fleet Technical Manual
, the Star Trek Concordance
, and magazines like Starlog
. And the background information they offered on this show that aired just in reruns Mondays through Fridays fed my youthful, voracious interest in the show, schooling me on the meaning of the uniform colors, rank braid on the sleeves, insignias worn by the crew and what all the details about the classic starship were called and used for. I was always drawing as a kid, and I doodled my fair share of starships, phasers and Starfleet officers back then.
Original 1966 broadcast trailer (left) and the 2007 trailer to promote the Remastered version of "The Man Trap" (right).
Neil Armstrong was just months away from taking mankind's first steps on the moon when Star Trek
's last episode aired in primetime on 1969. Ten years later, Star Trek
was reborn in a series of motion pictures featuring the original cast and later spun off into four new television series. With another motion picture due out next summer
, Star Trek
continues to thrive with the support of its trend-setting "trekkies" (or "trekkers" if that's your preference).
Waking up last Saturday morning, my only plan to celebrate Star Trek
's birthday was simply to pull out my Blu-ray set of Season One of Star Trek
that evening and watch "The Man Trap" right at 8:30 p.m. But another notion popped into my head after stimulated by a couple of sips of coffee, a desire to do something else to celebrate. And being that guy who is always taking pictures, I thought about what photos I could possibly take. Looking around my living room that could be a set for The Big Bang Theory
, my brain flashed with the idea of calling a row of Star Trek
books sitting on a shelf a "return to tomorrow"
, the significance being that the books documenting the science fiction show's history would be poetically titled after an actual episode of Star Trek
"Return to Tomorrow"
my idea, thank you very much! And the rest of my morning was dominated by a mix of brainstorming other original episode titles that could inspire other photos and setting up those Star Trek
collectibles into pretty pictures. Out of 79 episode titles, I used six. And I am pretty pleased with myself and the results.
I've included two here. The rest you can see in their own collection, or menagerie
, on Flickr
And Live Long and Prosper.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Midnight July 2, 2012
IMAX 3D @ Rave Motion Pictures 18 + IMAX @ The Promenade @ Howard Hughes Center
I'll give this 3 1/2 out of 4 web shooters. I might've given it only 3 except the teenage girl sitting next to me cried at all the right parts that a teenage girl's supposed to cry. So 1/2 point for that! The writing was wonderful, Garfield and Stone were GREAT as Peter and Gwen, and I especially like the tone of the first half of the movie. I even appreciating some of the risks and surprises they put in the story to keep us jaded and annoying comic book fans surprised. But I think The Dark Knight Rises
in two weeks will be outstanding. And for the love of film scores, Mr. Horner, stop re-using your Star Trek II music
in your new scores!!!! Those ten seconds pulled me right out of the film.
Fourth of July, 2012
Regal Marina del Rey 6
This movie went to so many wrong places! The kind that make you - or at least me - go, "I want to laugh, but is it okay to laugh; I don't know if other people in the theatre will be offended?" Every opportunity to make some racial, sexual, religious or socially stereotypical remark was not missed, which sometimes made several scenes run a beat or two too long. But I was entertained. And is Seth MacFarlane a geek or what?! I mean that seriously because I don't watch Family Guy
regularly and the 1980 movie Flash Gordon
is a major plot device in this film, to the point of re-creating scenes and using the score from that movie to move this story forward. Also loved the original score for Ted
by Walter Murphy, of cool, swinging jazz like on MacFarlane's CD
. Anyway, for a matinee price, it was good.
July 5, 2012
@ home on DVD
I felt compelled to revisit this film after seeing it referenced throughout Ted. Loved it as a kid, but it hasn't aged well. On this viewing tho' I finally noticed just how game the British actors were playing their parts. I re-watched the interview with Lorenzo Semple Jr. too that's included on the DVD. He falls just short of saying people who take comic book characters seriously are stupid. I wonder what he thinks about the comic book films that've come out today.
July 5, 2012
@ home on Blu-ray Disc
Starting my look back at selected Batman films before I see The Dark Knight Rises, I begin with Tim Burton and Michael Keaton's Batman. Amazing as ever on Blu-ray, this film will never fail to entertain me. Nostalgically, it reminds me of how grateful I was to finally see a successful tonal shift from camp to dark in the depiction of my absolute favorite comic book character. Then, it has Jack Nicholson brilliantly playing the life out of The Joker! I remember there were those who felt Cesar Romero had a better laugh. Pshaw! Jack's Joker hooked you in from the start and then kept you intrigued and amazed with the character throughout the rest of the film. This Batman wasn't the perfect Batman (that one arrived sixteen years later), but Burton and Keaton's take on Bruce and Batman fit fine in the world Burton created for The Batman, at a time when there were no other successful superhero movies but one, Superman: The Movie, and that had come out eleven years earlier at the time. Plus, the sentiment in '89 was that for all that could've gone wrong with Batman, the re-introduction of this dark creature of the night was a seminal moment for the cinematic Batman. On top of that, for better or worse, Tim Burton made it okay for Hollywood to tweak classic superhero costumes. That's a pretty big deal imo too (even tho' I wasn't 100% happy with the costume change at the time).
The Flash (1990)
July 6, 2012
@ home on DVD
After watching Tim Burton's Batman, I followed it up with the pilot episode of The Flash which came out a year after the movie. Ugh, I was always able to look past the awkwardness of the pilot before, but seeing it immediately after the brilliance of Batman was a mistake.
I discovered a wonderful place yesterday: the audio/visual section of the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library
While meandering around the lower level, I found the Documentaries and Special Interests section where there were many titles I'd never imagined existed, like Star Wars vs. Star Trek: The Rivalry Continues
and Best of Filipino Food Vol. 1
. I checked out Pioneers of Television Season 2
and watched the first of four episodes on it. Science Fiction
covered primarily the 60's, interweaving the origins of Star Trek
, The Twilight Zone
, Lost in Space
and Time Tunnel
through new and archival interviews with the series' casts, some of whom guest-starred in popular episodes of the other shows. I was surprised how much time they spent delving into the creators of the shows, mainly on Gene Roddenberry and Irwin Allen with a little on Rod Serling, as well as material on Shatner and Nimoy's early acting days. There were a few things I learned from it (As a Trek and TZ fan, so much of it I'd already known), but the new interviews (the DVD was released in 2011) and several stills that I'd never seen before I enjoyed a lot. The rest of the 50-minute episodes are Crime Drama
, Local Kids' TV
. I'm looking forward to seeing and enjoying them too before I have to return this disc back to the library next week!