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Guardians of the Galaxy Featurette Clips
November 17, 2014

Although the home video release is next month, tomorrow marks the release of Guardians of the Galaxy digitally. And to promote it, Marvel has been releasing a ton of clips from the extra features. Here they are, starting with the Blu-ray release trailer. (I found it interesting that instead of critics, they use quotes from celebrities. A new frontier in marketing?)

Here’s director and co-writer James Gunn talking about his vision, with the prelude of a fake video game.

Of course, we have to mention the music, with Chris Pratt talking about filming the opening scene.

Pratt also talks about the final showdown/dance-off.

Remember Benicio Del Toro as the Collector?

You can watch Bradley Cooper voicing Rocket Raccoon

and Vin Diesel as Groot

or footage of a real-life raccoon named Oreo, used as inspiration

or my favorite, designing Baby Groot.

Another Way to Get Batman: The Complete Series on Blu-ray
November 16, 2014

There’s been lots of talk about the Batman Complete Series Limited Edition Blu-ray box set, which is expensive because it comes with various collectibles, including a cute little Batmobile. Some fans have asked how they can get the episodes on Blu-ray without the extras.

Complete Classic Batman

Turns out that there’s a direct-response website where you can order that. It’s the “Complete Classic Batman Collection”, and it’s $175 (or $150 if you want DVD format). That’s the same price Amazon is selling the Limited Edition for right now, after discount, but this other set also includes the 1966 Batman movie, “Adam West Naked on DVD: Watch as Adam Takes You Behind the Scenes of Your Favorite Episodes!”, a copy of a show script, and a “personal letter from Adam West to you!” So if you haven’t ordered yet, and you like these extras better than the toy car and trading cards, here’s another option.

Disney Fairies Get an Adventure Hero Branch
November 16, 2014

You may be familiar with the Disney Fairies, the little-sister franchise to the Princesses that has a number of animated movies and a variety of merchandise available. The newest release, Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast, will be out March 3, 2015. I found it interesting for two reasons: the voice talent involved, and that they’re introducing a gang of more adventurous fairies, expanding the concept.

TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST

The film features the Scout Fairies, a fearless group who protect Pixie Hollow. They are “agile and athletic with a keen ability to spot trouble before it gets out of control.” The movie focuses on Nyx, voiced by Rosario Dawson, “a true professional who takes her job very seriously — maybe a little too seriously — allowing facts and logic to guide her every move. Driven to succeed, Nyx is often willing to let compassion take a back seat.”

Rosario Dawson as Scout Fairy Nyx

The film also features the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin (Fawn), Mae Whitman (Tinker Bell), Megan Hilty (Rosetta), Lucy Liu (Silvermist), Raven Symone (Iradessa), and Angelica Huston (QueenClarion). That’s quite the cast. The plot involves the NeverBeast, a mythical creature which I’m sure the fairies come in contact with. Fawn is an animal fairy who wants to help it, while the scout fairies want to capture it to prevent it damaging Pixie Hollow. Here’s the trailer:

Adam West Talks About Making the Batman TV Show
November 13, 2014

To commemorate the release of Batman: The Complete Series, Warner has released these short clips of Adam West discussing favorite topics about the show.

Driving the Batmobile:

Working with Cesar Romero, who played the Joker:

The show’s campy nature in pop culture:

And dancing the Batusi:

Batman: The Complete TV Series Limited Edition
November 13, 2014

It’s here! It’s here! I was thrilled to finally get Batman: The Complete TV Series Limited Edition (and you can see my pictures of the box opening). It’s been a long time (for complicated legal reasons), but the show is even more fun than I remembered.

The episodes are beautifully restored, vibrant, and colorful. The picture quality is so good you can even sometimes see Adam West’s five-o’clock shadow or Burt Ward’s much older stuntman. The show is broken up as follows: 3 discs for the 34 episodes of the first season; 6 discs for the 60 episodes of the second; and 26 episodes on 3 discs for season three. That set also includes the Special Features bonus disc. (Remember, when thinking about show length, the episodes aired twice weekly, with a cliffhanger between the two parts.) You can check out how brilliant the restoration looks in this comparison clip, with the much sharper and less washed-up new remastering on the right:

It is so much fun watching this show again. I have new appreciation for so much of this, particularly Burgess Meredith as the Penguin. And Frank Gorshin as the Riddler is mesmerizing, stealing focus whenever he appears. I now know who some of the other classic stars are, having seen the movies of, for example, Reginald Denny since I first saw the show.

The special features, while few, are more comprehensive than I realized they would be, with three featurettes at 30 minutes each.

“Hanging With Batman” mixes a current (2014) interview with Adam West with flashback material, including Batman screen tests and a much older interview, to cover his career, how he came to the role, and how it changed his life.

“Holy Memorabilia Batman!” is all about the collectibles associated with the show, mostly based on the separate holdings of Ralph Garman and Kevin Silva (who has the Guinness-approved world’s largest collection), which are amazingly extensive. They each have separate rooms featuring display cases. Also included is a guy who builds Batmobile replicas. It was interesting to note that none of these dedicated fans talk about comic books at all.

“Batmania Born! Building the World of Batman” is the more extensive piece. It starts with fans reminiscing about the show, including Bruce Timm, Dan DiDio, Jim Lee, Mike Carlin, and Paul Levitz. Also participating are Burt Ward (who points out some of the more suggestive material that I previously hadn’t recognized), Julie Newmar, and Stanley Ralph Ross, a writer on the original show (in what I think is archive footage). It’s striking how, although in the first special feature, West describes the show as a comedy, so many of the then-young viewers loved it straight. They thought it was the best adventure, although now they recognize the fantasy involved.

Burt Ward as Robin and Adam West as Batman

I liked the way many of the commentators placed the show in the cultural context of the 1960s, particularly in how it appealed to different age groups in different ways. They also discuss the design of the unique settings, costumes, and the animated opening, comparing it to the comics of the time. I hadn’t realized how important the Batman show was, as Carlin points out, to drive sales of color television, with the bright looks used. As this special progresses, they even talk about why the show ended and the effects of the series.

This is a surprisingly good documentary that I may end up watching again before I finish watching this set. Whoever selected the show clips to go along with it should get special recognition for picking out some amazing footage.

The longest additional piece is “Bats of the Round Table”, at 45 minutes. In it, Adam West, Kevin Smith, Jim Lee, Ralph Garman, and Phil Morris get together for a meal and discussion about the show. It’s really neat to see the emotion in West’s face as people talk about how much they appreciated him and the series. He lost a lot of years because of this show, and it’s great that he’s still around to see the effect he’s had, now that it’s again ok to like it (instead of looking down on it).

“Inventing Batman: In the Words of Adam West” features the actor walking us through the first two episodes, “Hi Diddle Riddle” and “Smack in the Middle”, commenting on the notes that he made in those first scripts about building his character.

Yvonne Craig as Batgirl

The 12-minute “Na Na Na Batman!” has famous people, such as those starring on Arrow, The Mentalist, Supernatural, and The Following, remembering the show and the theme song. Holy cross-promotion, Warner!

My favorite was when the young lady who plays Arrow’s sister reminds them she wasn’t alive when the show was on. And how the folks from The Following apparently did commentary after filming a fight scene, since they have dried blood on their faces. Many of the guys ooh and ahh over Catwoman and Batgirl, and then the gals come back to talk about the Batmobile.

A section titled “Bat Rarities! Straight From the Vault” includes these few short but juicy items:

  • Batgirl Pilot (8 min), starring Yvonne Craig, in which we learn that “Gotham City abounds in girls of all shapes and sizes — debutantes, nurses, stenographers, and librarians.” Nice to know those are the only options. Batman and Robin guest star as they all fight Killer Moth in the library.
  • Burt Ward Screen Test With Adam West (6 min)
  • Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell Screen Tests (4 1/2 min)
  • James Blakeley Tribute (2 1/2 min), in which the post-production supervisor on the show talks about the use of the sound effects

(The studio provided a review copy.)

LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League Announced
November 13, 2014

As a followup to the LEGO Batman movie, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has announced that LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League will be available on Blu-ray (list price $24.98), DVD ($19.98), and digital on February 10, 2015.

LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League

The purchase version of the movie will come with an exclusive Batzarro minifigure while supplies last. The direct-to-home-video movie is described as “action-packed and hilarious”, and I have to admit, based on the trailer below, the alternate Justice League versions are pretty funny, if broadly drawn. The plot is described as

Batman has joined the newly formed Justice League in order to keep tabs on Superman, a mistrust that is complicated by Superman’s clumsy — but well-meaning — clone, Bizarro. Bizarro’s creation of the Bizarro League has caused confusion amongst the world’s greatest Super Heroes, but an even greater and mysterious threat may force the Justice League and Bizarro League to band together to defeat evil.

Lego Justice League vs. Bizarro League

The special features on this release include the TV special Lego DC Comics: Batman: Be-Leaguered, a featurette on Bizarro, and bloopers. Here’s the trailer, featuring Greenzarro and Bizarra, among others:

(Surprised, in a kids’ movie, to see Green Lantern Guy Gardner refer to a frightened character as “such a pussycat”, since it seems to be a really obvious placeholder for something else, but I suppose that’s a skill in writing for all ages — hide the stuff only adults will get.)



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