Friday, October 22, 2004

New on the DVD rack, 10/22/04

The Day After Tomorrow. I watched this tonight with the girls over Chinese takeout — KJ slept through most of it, as usual — and found it cheesy and embarrassingly silly, but reasonably entertaining. I'm not a big Roland Emmerich fan — Independence Day is the only one of his films that I've ever liked — but he certainly knows how to make big, loud, incoherent popcorn movies, and this is another one. The science is at times Hollywood enviro-terrorist puffery and at other times screamingly obtuse. The CGI is shockingly transparent, given the money Emmerich spent on it. The actors, led by an oddly restrained Dennis Quaid, play along as though inwardly aware of how dopey it all is, but with a dogged determination not to wink at the camera. You won't learn anything important watching this, but then again, you won't be demanding to reclaim the two hours of precious life you spent watching it. Best of all, it passes the wristwatch test with flying colors.

Aladdin: Platinum Edition. This is not one of my favorite films of the latter-day Disney renaissance (I'm looking much more forward to the Special Edition DVD of Mulan that premieres next week), but it's fun and fast-moving and, of course, features a raucously comic voice performance by Robin Williams. (For my money, Eddie Murphy in Mulan and David Spade in The Emperor's New Groove are immeasurably funnier in similar roles. That's just one Disneyphile's taste talking, though.) The added content should be worth perusing, however. (I'm still waiting for the Lilo & Stitch Special Edition the Mouse House shelved on us last year.)

Van Helsing: Ultimate Edition
. Frankly, I'm not all that interested in the title picture itself, which garnered tepid reviews and unenthusiastic box office. I really wanted this for the added content, which includes Universal's original classics Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolf Man together on one disc. Those three masterworks will be well worth owning, even if the Hugh Jackman thing stinks on ice, as I suspect it will.

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