The Shelf: Indiana Jones and “The Cabin in the Woods”
By A Real Person on September 18, 2012
Indiana Jones comes to Blu-ray, The Cabin in the Woods unleashes its genre bending awesomeness on home screens, and two great classics make their way to Blu-ray in new editions.
From the John Williams score to the iconic fedora, every moment of the Indiana Jones films is burned into our memories. Thankfully, this week we get to burn a crisper image into our memory banks, as Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures is released on Blu-ray. Technically, it’s the complete cinematic adventures: Young Indy had his own TV show for a while, in which he encountered nearly every significant historical figure of his lifetime, but including all those episodes as well would break the bank for most of us.
People joke about which one of the discs they think may end up on eBay, but truth be told, every installment post-Raiders had its detractors, and each one works if viewed in the context of being a tribute to the B-movies of the era depicted onscreen. Raiders of the Lost Ark is all adventure serial; Temple of Doom combines Busby Berkeley musical, jungle adventure, and a deconstruction of gender roles from the ’30s (both Willie Scott and the younger, more callous Indy are played as caricatures of the sexist stereotypes of the time); Last Crusade recalls the propaganda films that had such heroes as Popeye easily triumphing over hordes of cartoonish Nazis; and Crystal Skull evokes alien invasion cheese of the Cold War era.
Most of the extras from the 2003 DVD set remain, and an all-new behind-the-scenes doc on the making of Raiders features outtakes, deleted scenes and other never-before-seen stuff. If you’re still on the fence about buying the set, Nerdist News is giving one away; enter the contest by Sept. 25, 2012 to score this home-entertainment Holy Grail and relive Indy forever.
Kinda-sorta from two of the people who brought you The Avengers this year – Joss Whedon co-wrote the script with director Drew Goddard, and Chris Hemsworth is in the cast – The Cabin in the Woods relied primarily on a “don’t spoil the twist!” word-of-mouth campaign that was fun but may have done the movie a disservice by not emphasizing clearly enough just how different its content is. Far from the Evil Dead archetype the title may suggest, it’s a sly satire on society’s visceral need for horror movies, and the cynicism often involved in churning them out. Which isn’t to say it doesn’t have its share of scares and gore as well – the final blow-out showdown between [spoilers deleted – sorry!] is one of the nuttiest monster’s balls we’ve ever seen onscreen.
Yes, the disc does come with commentary by Whedon and Goddard, as well as featurettes on the making of the movie, the makeup effects, the digital effects and more.
Also out this week
Relive the days when every Tim Burton-Johnny Depp collaboration was an unexpected joy. Arguably the director’s only movie set in the real world, it’s a celebration of the creative urge even when completely misguided and all out-of-proportion to talent. The new digital restoration comes with a Tim Burton commentary track and several featurettes, and the film’s ensemble of Burton “regulars” is one of his most effective such assemblages, with an Oscar-winning turn by Martin Landau, and surprisingly strong support by the less screen-seasoned likes of Lisa Marie and George “The Animal” Steele.
It’s easy to see David Fincher’s 1997 thriller as godfather to the Saw movies – like them, it posits that people who don’t appreciate their good life will be rejuvenated after being put through a terrifying ordeal which anticipates their every move and threatens to strip them of everything. While not as acclaimed as Fincher’s later work, the Michael Douglas-Sean Penn starrer is most interesting as a preview of things to come, while still being pretty effective at suspense. Also, the notoriously precise director – and D.P. Harris Savides – supervised the new transfer.