RT on DVD: Transformers Hit Blu-ray; Watch Office DVD Blooper Reel

We bring you the most exciting news and releases of the week!

by | September 2, 2008 | Comments

Get ready, boys and girls; we’re gonna try something new this week at RT on DVD. We’ve sifted through all the breaking news, announcements, and new releases of the DVD world to bring you the most absolutely awesome and notable bits of the week. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry (from laughing), you’ll add tons of new items to your Netflix queue…

1. The Office Season Four (Plus Exclusive Deleted Scene!)

Office Season Four

Few bosses are as hellish to work with as Dunder Mifflin’s Regional Manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell). Thankfully, few sitcoms are as excruciatingly on point about dysfunctional corporate culture as The Office, making even the most familiar of awkward situations funny. Things got really good in Season Four – we saw Michael’s charity Fun Run for rabies, the freezer death of Angela’s cat, Sprinkles, Michael and Jan’s break-up, and most importantly, the public unveiling of Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam’s (Jenna Fischer) secret office romance!

Season Four is available on DVD this week, and it’s packed with goodies. (That’s what she said.) In addition to the season’s 14 episodes, catch deleted scenes, outtakes, Dwight’s Second Life gaming footage (see above), a read-through of the “Did I Stutter?” episode, a “Goodbye, Toby” music video, four episode commentaries, and more. Seasons 1-4 are also available in the Office – Ultimate Package set.

We’re delighted to bring you an exclusive deleted scene from the bonus menu from the episode “Fun Run” — all you need to know is, prepare yourself for a pants-less Steve Carell.

Next: Transformers on Blu-ray!!

2. Transformers on Blu-Ray: More than meets the eye, the ear, and all of your bodily senses
Desperate Housewives Season Four

You might already have it on DVD, but you haven’t seen this alien robot posse save Earth until you’ve seen it on Blu-ray! Nab the 2-disc Transformers release this week for tons of Blu-ray bonus material, and prepare to see every painstaking CGI-orchestrated detail in full high definition glory. The downside: Your eyeballs may never be the same again. The upside: Megan Fox in HD!

Now, the lowdown: most of the bonus material here is not new, having been made available on the HD-DVD release last October. But if you own a PS3 or Blu-ray player, the Transformers-in-high-definition experience is new to you anyway, right? Plus, this is still a mega-loaded title, accompanied by making-of documentaries, a Michael Bay commentary track, tons of featurettes, and BD-Live components ranging from downloadable Menubots, an Intelligence Mode and Profiler to provide bot and weapons data during the film, and even more immersive movie-watching enhancements.

One notable plus to seeing Transformers on Blu-ray is also a big difference between the HD-DVD and Blu-ray formats themselves; with more storage space on the Blu-ray disc, Paramount was able to fit in both 5.1 PCM and 5.1 Dolby TrueHD lossless soundtracks (the HD-DVD release included the 1.5 mbps Dolby Digital Plus track). How big a difference will Blu-ray’s lossless audio make? It depends on how much a home audio purist you are. Oh, and another Blu-ray only goodie: you can watch the Iron Man trailer in HD.

Next: Incredible Hulk DVD announced

3. The Incredible Hulk DVD gets a release date!
Incredible Hulk

Much ado was made when Universal decided to “forget” all about Ang Lee’s 2003 stab bringing the Hulk to the big screen, and indeed, The Incredible Hulk was a superhero of a different color. (Figuratively speaking.) Soon you’ll be making much ado all over again, as Universal Studios Home Entertainment packs their Incredible Hulk DVD release with a ton of new bonus features – including, perhaps, those deleted scenes featuring Captain America, Bruce Banner’s trek through the Arctic, and his fireside chat with Bettie’s shrink boyfriend.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like we’ll see the full 70 minutes of deleted footage rumored to be included in the Blu-ray set that director Leterrier hinted at back in June; Collider’s found out that only 13:19 minutes of deleted scenes will appear on a Standard release, 28:47 minutes on a 3-disc Special Edition, and 43:50 minutes on the Blu-ray release.

In any case, I’d like to take a moment here to point out what few people seem to realize: Ang Lee’s oft-derided 2003 Emo-Hulk wasn’t much worse than Louis Leterrier’s Bourne Identity Hulk. Lee’s Hulk (2003) scored 61 percent on the Tomatometer; Leterrier’s Incredible Hulk (2008) scored 67 percent. Hulk (2003) grossed $132 million domestically; Incredible Hulk (2008) made $134 million. (And actually, Hulk brought in about $2 million more internationally, beating its successor, and cost $12 million less to make.)*

*Estimates provided by Box Office Mojo.

Next: Band of Brothers coming to Blu-ray

4. Band of Brothers on Blu-Ray in November
Band of Brothers

Also coming to Blu-ray this fall is HBO’s celebrated mini-series Band of Brothers. While plans to bring the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning series to Blu-ray had been previously announced, no official street date had been set until now. And although specific details on the set have not yet been released, we know that Warner Home Video and HBO will include all ten parts in a six-disc set with a street date of November 11, 2008.

We can surmise that the set will include the previously released behind-the-scenes documentary, We Stand Alone, which accompanied both the 2002 standard DVD and a 2007 Japan-only HD-DVD set. The November Blu-ray release will also utilize its Blu-ray capabilities with a Picture-in-Picture commentary by the E “Easy” Company veterans and Interactive Field Guide containing interactive timelines, maps, and soldier profiles.

The Band of Brothers Blu-ray set will retail for the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) of $99.98.

Next: Disney joins the Blu-ray revolution

5. Disney unveils Blu-ray slate, launch of BD-Live network
Disney Blu-ray

I know, I know. It’s Blu-ray this, Blu-ray that these days. But here’s one last major bit of Blu-ray related news: Disney is going Blu in a big way!

Launching what they call their Platinum Collection, Disney will release five of their classic titlesPinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Fantasia 2000 and Beauty and the Beast – on DVD and Blu-ray throughout 2009 and 2010. The first release will be the 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition of Sleeping Beauty, which will be released October 7, 2008. Sleeping Beauty will also be the first Disney title enabled with the BD-Live Network which allows users to interact with each other (initially in the U.S. only). A worldwide BD-Live Network will be enabled starting with the Snow White Blu-ray release in the fall of 2009.

Also released in Disney’s wave of Blu-ray will be Destino, a six-minute animated short created by Walt Disney and artist Salvador Dali in 1954; left unfinished for decades, the film was completed by Walt’s nephew Roy E. Disney in 2003.

Next: Blu-ray has a new High Def competitor…and it ain’t HD-DVD

6. It’s DivX vs. DVD again, 10 years later
Divx HD

Another day, another format war. Just when we’ve begun coming to terms with Blu-ray’s victory over HD-DVD, another conflict may be on the horizon: Blu-ray vs….DivX?

Last week DivX, Inc. and LG Electronics announced production of a new LG DVD player that will play DivX files in high definition. The newly certified DivX player could give a high definition experience to users who have burned high definition DivX files to a DVD or USB drive, all while maintaining high definition audio and visual quality.

Almost exactly a decade ago, pundits were examining a parallel argument; could DivX eradicate the DVD? In an article dated August 13, 1998, SF Chronicle writer Dan Fost took a gander at both sides of the debate; DVDs were fairly new on the scene, and only just beginning to push out the antiquated, vulnerable VHS format. (“The long-awaited DVD revolution appears poised to catch on.”) Ten years ago, opponents to DivX cited its “self-destruct” mechanism – the condition that pay-per-view downloaders would only have a limited window to view their movies. But what if the time window point was moot? What if, in today’s age of Netflixing and video-on-demand, viewers embraced a high definition alternative to buying or renting Blu-ray discs?

Meanwhile, Toshiba’s got a nifty upconverting player on the market – not official HD quality, but darn near it, according to one reviewer…

Next: iTunes offers Tropic Thunder DVD bonus feature for download

7. Tropic Thunder Rains DVD bonus mockumentary Madness on iTunes
Tropic Thunder

If you loved Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder, and you can’t wait to get it on DVD…then you’ve still got a ways to wait. But in the meantime, you can watch the Rain of Madness mockumentary, a featurette on the movie-within-the-movie, available now on iTunes!

Rain of Madness details the making-of experience of the cast and crew of Tropic Thunder – the fake movie, not the actual movie. Stars Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Nick Nolte, Steve Coogan, Jay Baruchel, and Bill Hader appear as their characters; after watching the “doc,” you can continue your descent into the heart of Ben Stiller’s darkness online at www.RainOfMadness.com.

Next: A monster MGM gift set for the musical lover in your life

8. A Huge MGM Musical box set for the low, low price of…$500
MGM Musicals

If there’s a musical lover in your life, it’s time to start saving up. MGM has announced plans to release a ginormous collection of their classic movie musicals, just in time for Christmas shopping season. Just how ginormous will this box set be? Oh, only about 61-discs huge, that’s how big.

MGM’s Hollywood Musicals Collection will include 50 classics spanning multiple eras in the film musical, from the Golden Age to the modern age. Titles vary from veritable classics (South Pacific, Carousel, The Sound of Music) to questionable flicks (The Apple, anyone?) and also include musicals from the 1970s, 1970s (Hair), 1980s (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), and 1990s (Moulin Rouge). Of course, this musical bonanza will cost you a pretty penny – it retails for $499.98. Available November 11. (Amazon‘s got the set for $374.99.)

Next: Desperate Housewives – The Fourth Season

9. Desperate Housewives – Fourth Season
Desperate Housewives Season Four

It’s hard to remember a time without the devious, domestic dramas of the ladies of Wisteria Lane. (Okay, the time was technically 2004.) Three foreign remakes, spin-off games, novelizations, reality TV imitations, a line of dolls, and one designer perfume (it’s real, and it’s called “Forbidden Fruit”) later, Desperate Housewives is not only a hit show, it’s a runaway franchise. All of which makes this week’s Desperate Housewives – Season Four a must-watch for millions of fans the world over – or at least in North America, which will get the DVD set months before everyone else.

For just $59.99 (suggested retail price), Desperate fans can snag the fourth season set, which comes with deleted scenes, bloopers, and featurettes on the show’s fictional couples, the men of Wisteria Lane (a featurette filmed “in one of Hollywood’s trendiest bowling establishments,” for what it’s worth), and most interestingly, a behind-the-scenes look at putting together an episode, step by step, from casting to the writers’ room to the actual filming and beyond.

Next: The Promotion

10. The Promotion – 47% Tomatometer

Sean William Scott and John C. Reilly go head to head in The Promotion, a comedy that rumbles with the kind of corporate culture-induced agony seen in the aforementioned The Office. Unfortunately, first-time director Steve Conrad (who penned screenplays for The Pursuit of Happyness and The Weatherman) serves up a tonally inconsistent blend of screwball humor and subtle indie-film quirk. The Promotion is out on DVD this week.

Bonus features include six deleted scenes and a featurette.

Next: Married Life

11. Married Life – 58% Tomatometer

Set in the 1940s, director Ira Sachs’ romance/suspense thriller/black comedy highlights the intricate dealings of a married couple (Chris Cooper and Patricia Clarkson), the husband’s confidante (Pierce Brosnan), and the mistress who becomes the object of both men’s obsession (Rachel McAdams). Unfortunately, its talented cast couldn’t save Married Life from its middling Tomatometer; critics were split over the period melodrama.

Bonus features include three alternate endings and a commentary by director Sachs.

To revisit past RT on DVD columns, peruse our archives here!

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