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Headsup: Dragons, Dancers, and Doom

Disclaimer: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment requests that we note it provided a free copy of Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham for review purposes. The opinions I share are my own.

Cover art for the Dragonslayer 4K UHD release.

Set in sixth-century England, an ill-tempered, fire-breathing creature—ominously known as Vermithrax Pejorative—terrorizes its citizens until a young sorcerer’s apprentice named Galen (Peter MacNicol) is reluctantly tasked with confronting the beast. For Galen to succeed, it will take more than magic to defeat the dragon. – from Paramount

They just don’t make films like Dragonslayer anymore. Partly because, obviously, it’s solidly in the subgenre of “1980s fantasy movies” and it’s no longer the 1980s. But the feel of those films and the style and manner of FX was something unique to that time period. Anyone who’s old like I am will understand this. Kids, you can ask your parents, but I’m not sure if they can properly relate it. Anyhoo, this is smacking into 4K, and doing so with one of the best bonus bits we’ve seen in some time: the director Matthew Robbins teams up with Guillermo Del Toro provide a commentary. (Their work together goes back to at least Mimic.) Also, there’s a featurette revisiting the film, one on how Star Wars influenced it, and a dragon-focused featurette. Also: more. Any fan of the film is going to want to own this one. The bonus bits make it a winner. You can grab it at Amazon.

Cover art for the Flashdance 4K UHD consisting mostly of the famous silhouette in the chair shot

Jennifer Beals stars as Alex—a fiercely determined 18-year-old with one all-consuming dream to study at the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance. Working during the day as a welder and at night as an exotic dancer, she bravely pursues her dream and undertakes an unforgettable journey that reveals the power of her convictions. — from Paramount

Speaking of 1980s, Adrian Lyne’s Flashdance is also of its time. It has a killer soundtrack and some great dance choreography (and such great welding!). It’s turning 40 this year and in addition to showing back up in some cinemas at the end of this month, it’s hitting 4K Ultra HD. The upgraded video quality is all you have, unfortunately. If you own one of the more recent releases, you probably already have Lyne talking about the film, plus two other retrospective featurettes that clock in at a total of around 24 minutes. If you’re one of the hardcore and you want this looking as good as it ever has, then this is for you. It can be found at Amazon.

Cover art for The Doom That Came to Gotham 4K UHD release

Inspired by the comic book series by Mike Mignola, Richard Pace and Troy Nixey, Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham is a 1920s-based tale that finds explorer Bruce Wayne accidentally unleashing an ancient evil, expediting his return to Gotham City after a two-decade hiatus. The logic/science-driven Batman must battle Lovecraftian supernatural forces threatening the sheer existence of Gotham, along the way being aided and confronted by reimagined versions of his well-known allies and enemies, including Green Arrow, Ra’s al Ghul, Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc, Two-Face, James Gordon and Bruce’s beloved wards. Prepare for a mystical, often terrifying Batman adventure unlike any other. – from Paramount

If there’s anything that is a welcome smashup, it’s Batman, Lovecraft, and Mike Mignola. The original Elseworlds comic was co-written by Mignola and drawn in his style by Troy Nixey. That’s the one thing I wish they had managed to keep in this translation to animation: that Mignola-esque style. It works so very well for the themes that he plays around with. But regardless, it can be fun to see what they’ve done with the pantheon of Batman characters when shoved through this filter. And there are bonus bits to be had: an audio commentary that includes co-director Sam Liu and scribe Jase Ricci and a behind the scenes featurette. Fans of the Bat will definitely want to explore it. For those that wish to own it, you can procure it from Amazon.

Cover art for the Star Trek: The Next Generation 4-Movie Collection 4K UHD release, featuring the crew and their rogues gallery.

All four big-screen adventures featuring fan-favorite Star Trek characters Picard, Riker, Data, LaForge, Worf, Troi, and Dr. Crusher arrive for the first time ever on 4K Ultra HD™ with Dolby Vision™* and HDR-10 on April 4, 2023, just in time for First Contact Day (April 5th, the day Vulcans first made contact with humans). The journey begins with original cast members Kirk, Scott, and Chekov in a story that spans space and time in STAR TREK: GENERATIONS, continuing with a terrifying face off against the Borg in STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT, a dangerous plot against a peaceful planet in STAR TREK: INSURRECTION, and a familiar old foe returning in STAR TREK: NEMESIS. – from Paramount

So let’s say you’re a Trekkie (or Trekker or Trekster or whatever the hip fans call themselves these days) and you learn that the 4K versions of the Next Generation feature films are hitting. Oh sure, you could go snag them all individually to replace your non-4K editions, but you could also save a few bucks and get the whole thing done in one fell swoop with this Star Trek: The Next Generation 4-Movie Colletion set. So the good news is that you get the upgraded video, which is nothing to sneeze at. The not so great news is that there’s no new bonus bits, only the legacy ones you probably have seen before. But the decent news is that the legacy content is nothing to sneeze at either. We’ve said before that Paramount does not skimp when it comes to bonus content on the Trek franchise, so the myriad commentaries and featurettes have made their way to this set as well. Excellent. If you want to upgrade to this, Amazon can help you out.