This is a good week for parents who are looking for quality films to keep their kids entertained. On the mature, more traditional front we’ve got Nanny McPhee Returns, which is a cute, well-intentioned fantasy film that should captivate kids of all ages. On the silly-but-cool front we’ve got Despicable Me, which is a thoroughly entertaining debut for Universal’s new animation department. And on the fantasy-adventure front we’ve got Legend of the Guardians, which is an absolutely gorgeous and wholly welcome alternative to the pop culture-loving animated films that Hollywood tends to favor.
It’s not all kids films, however. Adults should have plenty to look forward to thanks to The A-Team and The Town, both of which hit Blu-ray with extended cuts.
The Movie: Here’s a simple test: If you saw the trailer for The A-Team and rolled your eyes at a gang of elite, fugitive soldiers flying a tank, then it’s just not your kind of movie. If that level of absurdity didn’t bother you one bit, then The A-Team is going to deliver everything you hope it will. Great cast (I’m normally not a fan of Bradley Cooper, but he’s pitch perfect here), great action and a goofy premise that is treated with the utmost sincerity.
The Features: The Blu comes with both both the film’s 117-minute theatrical cut as well as a 136-minute extended cut that features a bit more establishing plot and character work (but no major action set pieces). There are a number of making-ofs on the disc, which aren’t particularly lengthy in nature, but they’re definitely each worth watching. In particular, the visual effects before-and-after with commentary track from Carnahan’s fx supervisor is definitely worth checking out as it highlights an impressive combination of practical and digital elements. Not only did Joe Carnahan record an energetic feature-length commentary track, but the Blu-ray comes with an added feature-length watching mode called “The Devil’s in the Details” that brings up a PiP interface that provides a kind of storyboard of the various steps of Hannibal’s plans as well as periodic appearances from Carnahan. This additional mode is neat, but it’s unnecessary since Carnahan’s actual commentary is satisfying enough on its own (and if you own a Plasma TV like I do, you may even want to turn it off since it adds dark red bars to the top and bottom of the screen).
Who Should Buy It: Action fans. If the trailer intrigued you in the least, then I assure you the movie will satisfy. If it didn’t, you clearly hate fun and shouldn’t even bother with it.