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Headsup: Real Ghostbusters, Ultimate Casablanca, and Hanna-Barbera

There are scads of stuff that people want you to buy, especially here ramping into the holidays. Should you? Would somebody actually want this stuff? I’ll try and help.

The Real Ghostbusters: The Complete Series

So Time-Life has taken it upon themselves to release The Real Ghostbusters. And not just, you know, release it on a bare bones set and be done with it–because for fans, having the whole thing might be worthwhile enough to snag it. Instead, they’ve really outdone themselves with a boxed set that impresses me even with the packaging–and if you’ve been around long enough you may have noticed I don’t mention DVD packaging often. That’s because I frankly don’t give a rat’s ass. I want the discs and maybe any extra trinkets that come with it. But the moment you unwrap this massive twenty-five disc set (because that’s what it takes to hold 147 episode plus all the extras) you know you’re dealing with a box that’s cool enough to keep, and you curse it because if you’re like me, you don’t have enough shelf space as it is. Anyway, it’s in a box not unlike a firehouse and has two lenticulars on it: my favorite, the ghost sawing its way out of the red symbol. You’ve got the episodes remastered and all the discs in SteelBook cases. And then when you start breaking into the thing, it will take a lot longer than the fifty-five hours to get throuhg the content. Twenty-one video commentary tracks are provided, not to mention five docus, a previously unseen pilot, a magnitude of intros, galleries, scripts, booklets–I mean, Christ, look at the picture. It’s huge. It’s pretty ridiculous, frankly, how much stuff they packed into this set. This brings new meaning to the word “comprehensive.” Well, no, that’s not right, it just is comprehensive. Should you buy it? Well, it is $179.99 and available exclusively at So it’s not cheap, but then again it is the boxed set of this series and I don’t know how you could do one better. When Time-Life sets out to smack out a definitive DVD collection, they don’t screw around. So for the ultimate fans of the show, they’re going to want to snag this. Tell them we said hi. (Click here to buy it from Time-Life.)

Hawaii Five-O: The Complete Fifth Season DVD cover art
Primeval, Volume One DVD cover art
Warner Bros. and the Homefront Collection DVD cover art

[ad#longpost]The fifth season of Hawaii Five-O is here from Paramount and CBS DVD. Cosette finds it fascinating due to how well it captures the wonderful world of Scary Retro Fashions. Me, I just find myself oddly terrified by Jack Lord’s hair. But to each his own. Here you’ve got six discs containing twenty-four episodes. There’s no bonus bits except for the promos. It’s $36.99 on Amazon at present, which is about $1.50 an episode. And let’s consider: if you’re a fan of the show, this is the only way to own it on media, although there’s places you can watch episodes online. And is this something that cries out for Blu-Ray? I’m thinking this is the best set you’re going to see on this, so the fan will want to buy. The fashion curious should rent. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Funny, when I first saw the bits of Primeval I said, “Huh, it’s like the Walking With Dinosaurs people ran out of stuff to go walk with and decided to make a sci-fi/action show.” And the initiated already know that, well, that’s exactly what it is. Time anomalies are popping up, and along with them creatures from the distant past and also the distant future. And the Brits have a team to handle the situation (of course they do, the Brits have special government operatives on hand for just about anything, if we believe popular media–and I do, honestly). This DVD set has thirteen episodes across four discs comprising the first two series, and it comes with audio commentaries, a making-of, and a larger special making-of entitled “Through the Anomaly.” It’s currently $34.99 on Amazon, which is about $2.70 an episode–I’ll leave it to fans to determine whether or not this is worthwhile, although if you’re uncertain and want to sample, rental is your best bet. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Warner Bros. and the Homefront Collection is a re-issue of three World War II musicals, which have all apparently seen Region 1 release before, but not with any swag involved, from what I can tell. And here they are presented with bonus bits. You’ve got This is the Army, the Irving Berlin musical, starring Ronald Reagan and “The Men From the Armed Forces.” It’s remastered, and comes with a new docu, “Warner at War,” narrated by Spielberg. There’s also a commentary on the film by actress Joan Leslie and a film historian, a musical number that didn’t get play in American cinemas, and restored music. Each of the three films has one of the things I love that Warner Brothers does: their “Warner Night at the Movies” bit. For those who don’t know, it’s basically where they take a bunch of short subjects and trailers and newsreels you might seen alongside the feature film and throw them in as well. It’s a nice posterity thing. Thank Your Lucky Stars, with a slew of folks, including Bogart, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Spike Jones and more. It’s also got an audio-only radio adaptation of the film. Hollywood Canteen comes with an even bigger cast list, including Jack Benny, Peter Lorre, Roy Rogers, the Andrews Sisters and more. If you’re a movie musical completist, or want to check out the musicals of the day, it’s probably a purchase. Me, I just dig the short subjects that have been added. But for everyone else, it’s worth a curious rental. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Star Wars: Clone Wars DVD cover art
Star Wars: Clone Wars Blu-Ray cover art

George Lucas promises to flog the deceased equine mammal until he can’t any longer–and thus we have Star Wars: Clone Wars, the first animated Star Wars feature film. Personally, the character design on this gives me nose bleeds, but I gave up on this franchise a while back. And this is nothing: wait until the next trilogy. I did tell you to expect it, after all. Anyway, we’re dealing with both the DVD and Blu-Ray flavors of this.

The DVD comes with a commentary from the director, scribe and others. There’s featurettes, including one on the voice actors and recording sessions, as well as a musical featurette. There’s also deleted scenes and some extra webisodes, plus the obligatory digital copy. The Blu-Ray version comes with video commentary, and the majority of the featurettes and such in hi-def–along with a Concentration-esque game that isn’t exactly going to be a selling point for the hi-def version.

So the question is obviously: do you need to buy either one of these, and if so, which one? Well, it’s a matter of the main content, isn’t it? If you enjoyed the film or the TV series that followed, then that settles that. As to which version–well, you know I’m a commentary junkie, and the video commentary idea is a good one. Considering also that right now you save all of fifty cents by buying the DVD over the Blu-Ray, if you have the capability, go for the hi-def. (Click here to buy the DVD version from Amazon.; Click here to buy the Blu-Ray version from Amazon.)

Casablanca Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-Ray cover art
Futurama: Bender's Game DVD cover art
Shrek the Halls DVD cover art

Many times studios come out with limited edition, high dollar special editions that come with lots of trinkets that you might not give a damn about–but the completist video collector-type person inside you cries out for it. Believe me, I know what you mean: how many times am I even going to pull out the spinner that came with my five-disc Blade Runner briefcase edition? Maybe once. Maybe. But if I hadn’t have gotten it, it would have kept me up nights. You know what I mean. Some films you just want everything. And that’s the draw of this Casablanca Ultimate Collector’s Edition on Blu-Ray. I mean, it’s freaking Casablanca for God’s sake. So I pretty much was already on board. But then you get the hi-def bit, plus a reasonable slew of bonus materials, and it’s sealed. You get audio commentaries with two separate film historians (Roger Ebert and Rudy Behlmer if you’re keeping score at home). There’s a feature-length Bogart docu, a retrospective docu (and a separate short one with the children of the stars), additional scenes and outtakes (soundless), a Bugs Bunny cartoon, a TV adaptation from the 50s, a docu on studio head burrito Jack Warner, and more. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a hardcover photo book, a passport holder and luggage tag, lobby poster cards, replicas of correspondence and you can mail away for a poster. So should you buy it? Well, if you’re a Casablanca junkie and you want it on Blu-Ray, then your path is clear: this is the only way to snag it. Granted, it’s $41.49 for pre-order as I write this, but that’s a lot of swag and content–and it is Blu-Ray. And did I mention it’s Casablanca? All seriousness aside, though, this is a damn nice set and the hi-def is good, too. I think you need to own some version of this–everybody–so if you just need to own it so I can keep talking to you, the 2-DVD set they released previously is just $10.99 as I write this. And, of course, if you don’t have Blu-Ray capability, the DVD version of the Ultimate set is available for $38.99. I can’t speak for any differences between the DVD and Blu-Ray, as they only sent me the Blu-Ray. (Click here to buy the Blu-Ray Ultimate Collector’s Edition from Amazon.)

The third of four Futurama movies is out on DVD from Fox: Bender’s Game. This time out they tap into something that has and will continue to provide endless stores of friendly mockery: fantasy role-playing. I recently told my “trying to play Star Frontiers with my grandmother” story to yet another person who I believe counts it as one of the saddest gaming-related stories they’ve ever heard. But regardless, the jokes stem from this wonderful wellspring. This release comes with an audio commentary with a slew of people: Groening, executive producer David X. Cohen, friend of Needcoffee Billy West, John DiMaggio and Tress MacNeille, the director Dwayne Carey-Hill, co-scribe Mike Rowe and producer Claudia Katz. There’s a story animatic, a convo regarding the influence of D&D on the series and the lives of some of the creators, a how-to art featurette, a gallery, a blooper reel, an anti-piracy PSA parody, and a short deleted scene animatic. As to whether or not you should own this, that’s entirely up to you as a Futurama fan (or not). I would say at $14.99 (current price on Amazon), you won’t be straining anything if you want to add it to the shelf. But if you have any doubts, rental first is always a safe plan. (Click here to buy it on DVD from Amazon.)

I don’t watch television, so I had no idea that Shrek had already made the leap to a made-for-TV special with the majority of the cast intact: Shrek the Halls. I can only assume they just went ahead and recorded the voice sessions around the time of the second or third movie or whenever they decided they could squeeze paychecks out of the character from now until the end of time. Don’t get me wrong: I have no dislike for the character, more like apathy. The first film I thought was cute but not worth the squizzillion dollars it made at the box office. I thought the second film was actually an improvement on the first. But now we hit this–and at first when I thought we were talking about a special, I thought a special, like at least an hour-long deal. But it’s less than a half-hour. There’s two sing-alongs (featuring the penguins from Madagascar and not Shrek characters), songs from other DreamWorks animated films, a set-top game that’s at least Shrek-related and then a demo of a Shrek game. Why they didn’t just call this A DreamWorks Animated Christmas is beyond me. Frankly, unless your kids are dying to have this, I would wait: there will be a Shrek boxed set at some point in the future that will have this special as an extra. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Paul McCartney: The Space Within US Blu-Ray cover art
Hey There, It's Yogi Bear! DVD cover art
The Man Called Flintstone DVD cover art

Paul McCartney’s latest tour DVD has hit Blu-Ray, The Space Between US, capturing his 2006 tour. Unfortunately, this doesn’t do a great job of capturing the performance, as it tends to get distracted from the stage performance by numerous shots of the audience, plus other bits about talking about Sir Paul instead of actually watching Sir Paul. You have to program a playlist that skips everything and sticks with the songs, so at least you have that option. But a concert film should be a concert film IMO. Especially for those of us homebodies who live in a cave, even a Techno one. In addition to the main event, you get some bonus songs, interviews, a featurette and more. If you’re a Sir Paul major enthusiast or completist, then you might want to consider picking this up. Right now it’s $19.49 at Amazon, which isn’t bad for a film that at least looks and sounds good. If you’re uncertain, though, rental is the way to go first. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Warner Brothers has released two remastered Hanna-Barbera classic feature films, Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear! and The Man Called Flintstone. Three guesses where they came from. I remember both of these films but I don’t recall seeing them in a re-run at the cinema. I don’t even recall them being anything other than “extended episodes” of the series, so there’s no telling in what capacity I first saw them. But in Yogi’s feature, he and Boo Boo get shipped off to a zoo only to escape and make their way back to the park. In Fred’s feature, it’s…well, if you think about it, it’s almost the plot of the Chris Rock/Anthony Hopkins film, Bad Company, isn’t it? Regardless, both films are remastered but come as bare bones releases. They’re both available for pre-order at $12.99, so if you absolutely have to own them, I suppose you could go for it–I’m sure there are many who have been jonesing for them. But I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that these will end up like they were rumored to at one point: as bonus features on an Ultimate Collection somewhere down the line. I could be wrong, but I just get that feeling. (Click here to buy Hey There It’s Yogi Bear! from Amazon.; Click here to buy The Man Called Flintstone from Amazon.)