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DVDs That Live a (Shelf) Life of Action

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones Vol. 1 DVD
Bourne Ultimatum DVD cover art
Transformers DVD cover art

First up, let’s talk the massive twelve-disc set that is The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Vol. 1, out from Paramount. Now I never watched this series when it first hit television (I don’t really watch television, as long-time readers will know), so it was a surprise to me when I learned that this hadn’t been originally a series of made for TV movies–because that’s certainly what it is now. Apparently, bits with an actor by the name of George Hall playing an older Indy are completely excised, and what were single episodes have been spliced to create the seven TV-movies we now have. I fear I can’t comment on whether or not this is detrimental to the content we have here because I’m not familiar with its original version. That being said, I think it’s a shame that we don’t have both versions available to us so I can make up my own mind on the subject. And with that being said, George Lucas altering his shit and pretending it never existed in any other form? Well, I never!

Anyway, since we’ve already established that this isn’t the series as you might have known it, we do have to give credit where credit is due: those of you with any sense of math have picked up on the fact that we’ve got seven feature-length films but also twelve discs. That equals a crapload of bonus bits. Because the story of Young Indy is one of both adventure and history, there’s a boatload of educational bits. For example, the telefilm “Passion for Life” takes up one disc, but the special features for it take up the entire next disc: a total of six featurettes. Most of the telefilms have features on a separate disc (although some are comprised on one disc) and the twelfth disc is an interactive bonus disc. So if you liked the series and can get past the re-edit, then you’ll probably be satisfied–again, I’m stuck with this version having not seen the originals. I will only say that it’s sad that the TV series gets a crapload of bonus bits while the original Indy trilogy only got a single bonus disc. Sad, I tell you.

So, we come to Bourne 3, The Bourne Ultimatum. I must admit that I’ve always liked Matt Damon and was pleasantly surprised that with the first film he proved himself to be a capable badass. I was mostly pleased with the first two films, and Number Three appears to be no different, with the added bonus of Scott Glenn, David Strathairn and Albert Finney added to a cast that’s already got Joan Allen in it. A decent action flick with things that blow up plus that cast and I’m in, no questions asked. At first, when I heard about this Universal DVD release, I was expecting the standard bare-bones initial release with some sort of special edition coming afterwards. Well, while this isn’t a special edition, it’s not lacking. We do get a commentary with director Paul Greengrass, deleted scenes and five featurettes, which includes a look at the film’s locations, a fight training featurette, and a driving training featurette plus more. Will there be a fourth one, is what everybody asks. Let’s see, did the third one make money? Oh, it did? Well, there you go.

So that brings us to the two-disc set of Transformers, and I think most people either tolerated this film or hated it. No, honestly, we took a poll around DragonCon and that was the consensus. Even going into it knowing that Michael Bay films require not just a suspension of disbelief but a vivisection of disbelief, I still lost it in the final third and couldn’t get it back. Nothing to do with Shia LaBeouf, who I actually enjoyed (and who appears to be It-Boy to Hate these days, go figure), and nothing to do with the effects, and I wasn’t even taken aback by the new Bot designs. The plot just got too stupid even for me. But again, if you liked the film (and people did enough to give it a $700 million worldwide take, so what the hell do we know? They all agreed with Siege, no doubt.) you might want to entertain this set: the first disc comes with a commentary from director Bay, and the second disc comes with bonus bits covering interviews, behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes concept art and more. Bear in mind, though, especially as we get closer to the sequel, there’s going to be some kind of three-disc ubermongo edition, mark my words.