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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Pulp > Superhero > Comedy > Animation > Drama > Adventure > Travel > Journey > Jungle > Spa > Doc Savage: The Man Of Bronze (1975/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Finding Dory (2016/PIXAR/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Legend Of Tarzan (2016/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Nine Lives (2016/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)/Star War

Doc Savage: The Man Of Bronze (1975/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Finding Dory (2016/PIXAR/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Legend Of Tarzan (2016/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Nine Lives (2016/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)/Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D (2015/Lucasfilm/Disney Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray + DVD)



3D Picture: B+ Picture: B/B+ & C+/B & C/B- & C/B+ & C+ Sound: C+/B+ & C+/B+ & B-/B & C+/B & C+ Extras: C-/C+/C/C-/B+ Films: C+/C+/C+/C-/B-



PLEASE NOTE: The Doc Savage Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.



Here's our latest set of of big family releases, including two upgrades and two revisitings of established hit characters...



Michael Anderson's Doc Savage: The Man Of Bronze (1975) has been the biggest-selling DVD in Warner Archive history, as the cult film continues to find an audience.


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/12504/Doc+Savage:+The+Man+Of+Bronze+(1975/Warne


Now, they've decided to issue a new upgraded Blu-ray version that is the same transfer with only the one trailer, but the image upgrade is worth it, outdoing the DVD and showing just how good this film can look down to its production design. Thus, more on the tech portion can be found below.



Andrew Stanton is back in high CG animated form with Finding Dory (2016), a belated sequel to the hugely successful Finding Nemo (2003) that we covered in its deluxe Blu-ray 3D set at this link....


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/11938/Disney/PIXAR+Blu-ray+3D+sets:+Finding+Nemo


The story is about how Dory (well-voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) loses her way one day after her parents warnings and is swept away, leaving her spending most of the time trying to get back home. Without overdoing any illicit appeals to pity, running into Nemo in the process, we get a good adventure that has some fun moments but nothing on par with the original Nemo film. The script can only do so much in this case being a safe sequel, safe because this is a expensive production, but the money is on the screen.


Pixar/Disney have even had better sequels, but there's still enough here to enjoy and I give it points for just being different than expected. The rest of the voice cast includes Hayden Rolence as Nemo, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Idris Elba, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Kate McKinnon, Dominic West, Bill Hader, Willem Dafoe, Allison Janney, Stephen Root, Austin Pendleton and Sigourney Weaver.


Extras are split on two discs, with Blu-ray Disc One offering the CGI short Piper (about 6 minutes), Marine Life Interviews is made to look like old footage about Dory, The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar (just over 9 minutes) about how hard it was to do an octopus, What Were We Talking About? (4.5 minutes) dealing with Dory's short-term memory, Casual Carpool (nearly 4 minutes) has Director Andrew Stanton and several voice cast, which goes well with Animation & Acting (about 7 minutes) showing how intricate the voice acting here can get, Jenna Ortega looks at the real-life research on sea life for the film in Deep in the Kelp (3:20), Creature Features (just over 3 minutes) has some of the voice cast talk about their characters and we get a feature length audio commentary track with Director Stanton, Co-Director Angus MacLane, & Producer Lindsey Collins that is not bad.


Blu-ray Disc Two adds a 5-part Behind the Scenes featurette, Deleted Scenes, various trailers that promoted the film, Skating & Sketching with Jason Deamer (about 4:15) with longtime PIXAR employee & Character Art Director on character design & the studio itself, Dory's Theme (about 5 minutes) has Director Stanton talking music for the film with Composer Tom Newman & Music Editor Bill Bernstein, Rough Day On The Reef (just over a minute): A collection of fun computer glitches from the making of the movie, the odd Finding Nemo As Told by Emoji, Fish Schticks (just over 3.5 minutes) comedy bits and we get the also-odd Living Aquariums. The 4 digitally-animated 'tanks' include Open Ocean, Sea Grass, Stingrays & Swim To The Surface.



David Yates' The Legend Of Tarzan (2016) is the most expensive live-action film on the character to date, hoping to duplicate the Disney animated success (minus the musical and outright comedy part) in the flesh, bone and CGI world. Alexander Skarsgard is the title character, left in Africa when his parent die, to be raised by apes. Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad) shows up as Jane and though they make a good pair, we don't get the chemistry between them we should, while Skarsgard's ape-man is partly desexualized by the script and decolored digital work. However, the script is more like a checklist of political correctness than any kind of potential romance adventure and things get more odd as they go along.


Christoph Waltz is a boo hiss villain, genocide is nearly trivialized, too much of this period piece is sabotaged by contemporary dialogue & digital visuals that try too hard or are dull, Samuel L. Jackson shows up as an eventual friend to help Tarzan, Djimon Hounsou as a tribal adversary, then we get those digital animals. Since this is not an outright fantasy film like Disney's new live-action Jungle Book (the same 2016 year, reviewed elsewhere on this site), this film's casual use of digital animals,no matter how the CG animation turned out, has to be more careful and smart about integrating them with the live actors. The producers, apparently unsure of how to make this all work (partly from overproduction they chose) have way too much confidence in the CG animals.


There is nothing wondrous about them or just about any CG animation at this point. Having CG animation or Ultra HD cameras does not make you Spielberg automatically, a common denominator mistake of most such films of the last few decades, though Director Yates takes things seriously on his end, barely holding all this together. With that said, by losing the action, any suspense and trying to do this as 'high art' or a literature-like drama, it runs into the same trouble Greystoke (reviewed on Warner Archive Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and that is to be boring and run against what creator Edgar Rice Burroughs intended. Even box office dud John Carter (directed by Andrew Stanton, now becoming a cult item) and Doc Savage (reviewed above) are closer to their source material.


Ultimately, the film is a victim of mixed and contradictory ambitions. Who is this film really made for? Not younger audiences as the script things its inoculating us against any racism and/or colonialism the original books might offer. That might be intellectual essay writing, but it is to good storytelling. The cast is likable, but the script and odd mix of producers sort of leave them stranded. A better script would have settled any baggage in the first 10 minutes, then they could have gone on with the film and it could have been a real winner. The character is still great and commercial as Disney's hit run recently proved, even of the many live-action TV versions did not.


The Legend Of Tarzan forgets to really show the legend (Jackson's function at times is like characters in a Western dealing with fact versus myth, but the script can't even do that well) because it is shying away from it. Instead, we get a sometimes bizarre mix of elements that never add up. Jim Broadbent and Ben Chaplin also star.


Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds trailers for upcoming other films, five Behind The Scenes/Making Of featurettes: 15+ minutes of Tarzan Reborn, the slightly longer Creating The Virtual Jungle, three action scenes (also combined at about the same length!) dubbed Battles and Bare-Knuckled Brawls, Tarzan and Jane's Unfailing Love (6 minutes), and the 2.5 minutes Gabon To The Screen and a PSA Stop Ivory in that is strongly and rightly against poaching.



Barry Sonnenfeld's Nine Lives (2016) is yet another dud from the one-time cinematographer, this time with Kevin Spacey as a billionaire not able to be with his daughter or wife (Jennifer Garner) enough, so he buys them a cat, but in a bizarre twist of fate, his mind and soul land up in the cat's body! Christopher walken also is cast to try to make this absurd and predictable romp somehow funnier, but it is barely watchable to begin with despite the talent.


The script is uninspired, tired, forgettable and does zero to get the audience to even begin to attempt to suspend disbelief. I'm in disbelief this was even greenlit. If it was an attempt to have Look Who's Talking with a cat in place of babies, BAD IDEA!


Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the discs add two Making Of featurettes: Letting The Cat Out Of The Bag and Russian For Harding Cats.



Last but not least, J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D (2015) upgrades the original Blu-ray/DVD set we covered a few months ago at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/14128/Star+Wars:+The+Force+Awakens+(2015/Lucasfilm


The Lucasfilm/Disney co-production adds a Blu-ray 3D with the previously-issued Blu-ray and DVD from that review. Thus, extras from that now older set including Digital Copy, Deleted Scenes and featurettes Secrets Of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey, The Story Awakens: The Table Read, Building BB-8, Crafting Creatures, Blueprint Of A Battle: The Snow Fight, Force For Change, ILM: The Visual Magic Of The Force and John Williams: The Seventh Symphony. New extras is the very nice, solid DigiPak case box include a lenticular cover, a new Abrams feature length audio commentary track, Deleted Scenes and three new featurettes: Dressing The Galaxy, Foley: A Sonic Tale, and Sounds Of The Resistance. The additions are all most welcome.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image on Force is very impressive, starting with Kodak Vision 3-series 35mm and 65mm negative film, then a conversion that is nice and smooth throughout. The regular 2D Blu-ray included here as well still looks fine and this is a very well-shot film, so the 3D has great moments, but the 2D still has great moments as well. The anamorphically enhanced DVD is passable at best, now with the 3D also making it look limited.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Savage can show the age of the materials used, but as noted above, look better than the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on the DVD reviewed before and I should add the color improves with the definition. Unless a ton of money was spent, I don't see this looking much better than it does here.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Dory is very similar in high quality to that of Nemo years ago, in part because the makers are keeping with the style of the original film, yet some of the animation is more complex and 'human world' animation maybe too slightly silly for its own good. Still, it is impressive throughout in keeping with the best Pixar Blu-ray releases to date. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Tarzan is the first all-digital live action shoot of the character theatrically and it looks pretty good for that, but detail, depth and Video Black are not always top rate, though we expect the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray might correct these limits. Thus, it has some nice shots, but never looks as good as Greystoke (reviewed on Warner Archive Blu-ray elsewhere on this site), yet not as flat and problematic as the Bo Derek/Miles O'Keefe and more recent Warner/Casper Van Dien theatrical dud. The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on the included DVD is especially soft and unwatchable.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 AVC @ 38 MBPS digital High Definition image transfer on Lives is a mixed HD shoot, the poorest Blu-ray performer on the list and has some bad shots and even a little motion blur throughout. I just thought it all looked a little strained and the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on the included DVD is so soft that it almost landed up being rated lower than I gave it.


Dory, Tarzan and Force were all Dolby Atmos 11.1 theatrical sound releases, but only Tarzan is here in that format, which has its moments, but is not so shockingly spectacular that it offers many demo moments and even some sound moments disappoint. Dory and Force (the latter with the same sometimes mixdown issues from the earlier Blu-ray) are here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mixes that leave Dory tying Tarzan for best sonic performer here and Force a close second. Needless to say the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on their respective DVDs sound poorer and are adequate-at-best.


Lives has a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix that is very uninspired and its soundfield is weak, so the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 is really weak. That leaves us with the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix on Savage sounding warmer and a little thicker than the older DVD's lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound, but the new track also reveals some harmonic distortion and that leaves the improvements more limited than I would have liked.



To order the Doc Savage Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo


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