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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Animation > Comedy > Satire > Drama > Science Fiction > Racism > Fascism > Nu > When The Wind Blows (1986/Severin Blu-ray)

Harley Quinn: The Complete First Season (2019/DVD*)/Justice League Dark: Apokolips War 4K (2020/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray*)/V: The Final Battle (1984/Warner Archive Blu-ray Set)/Watchmen (2019 live action mini-series/HBO Blu-ray/*all DC Comics/Warner)/When The Wind Blows (1986/Severin Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: B-/B+/B+/B+/C+ Sound: B-/B+/B/B+/B Extras: D/B/D/B/A Main Programs: C+/C+/C+/B+/C+

Next up is action from animation, the pages of comic books and more...

The new foul mouthed and adult oriented animated Harley Quinn series lands on DVD in its Complete First Season (2019) courtesy of Warner Bros. and DC. Similar to the Harley Quinn comics in terms of silly over the top style and zany execution, the new show is pretty funny and again is NOT for children.

Batman villainess Harley Quinn (voiced by Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco), the main romantic interest of The Joker, stars in this TV-MA-rated series that has her facing off against Gotham. After she breaks it off with the Joker, she moves in with her friend Poison Ivy and tries to make a name for herself outside of just her association with the King of Crime. Along the way she encounters Batman (voiced by Diedrich Bader), Robin, Calendar Man, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Jim Gordon, Penguin, Bane, Lex Luthor, and many other iconic DC characters. The tone of this show is akin to the goofiness of Deadpool and doesn't hold back on the swear words, gore, and sexual content despite its animated exterior.

The voice cast also includes Lake Bell, Alan Tudyk, Jacob Tremblay, Briana Cuoco, and Wayne Knight.

13 episodes make up the Complete Season One and include Til Death Do Us Part, A High Bar, So, You Need A Crew?, Finding Mr. Right, Being Harley Quinn, You're a Damn Good Cop, Jim Gordon, The Line, L.O.D.R.S.V.P., A Seat at the Table, Bensonhurts, Harley Quinn Highway, Devil's Snare, and The Final Joke.

The animated Harley Quinn is presented in anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 widescreen with a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix, and a slightly compressed image. The animated style is similar to the DC Harley Quinn comics which has a look not too far from Batman: The Animated Series. While HD would be an improvement and fix the compression issues, the show looks as good as it can for being on DVD.

No extras.

As this originally appeared on DC Comics' streaming service, there is a season two of the show that exists as well. This is also a nice companion piece to the new Harley Quinn movie, Birds of Prey.

The new DC animated film, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War 4K (2020), assembles every DC character possible for the ultimate showdown against their mutual enemy - Darkseid. The scope is pretty massive and real fun for DC fans as characters pop up by the minute in this feature length outing. Inspired by the comics, the Justice League, Teen Titans, The Suicide Squad, and the Justice League Dark, must all team up against Darkseid and the brainwashed Batman, both of which threaten the planet! This has all been the conclusion of a storyline that started back in 2014 with the release of the animated Justice League War film.

The talented voice cast includes Tony Todd, Rebecca Romijn, Rosario Dawson, Rainn Wilson, Camilla Luddington, and Taissa Farmiga to name a few.

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is presented in 2160p upscaled 2160p 4K on 4K UHD disc with a HEVC / H.265 in 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio with regular HDR and an English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) lossless mix. The detail in the animation is a notice bump in resolution as opposed to the also included 1080p Blu-ray disc with similar sound specs. The animation is pretty sleek and on par with previous DC animated films, many of which have been reviewed elsewhere on this site.

Special Features include:

DC showcase short: Adam Strange

Darkseid: New God, Classic Evil featurette

Filmmaker Commentary

Superman: Man of Tomorrow - upcoming animated film preview

and From the DC Vault: 3 bonus cartoons.

If live action, this movie would cost even more than Avengers: Endgame, as there are just so many characters and epic action about. I enjoyed this animated outing a bit more than previous attempts, and recommend it for Justice League fans.

Another DC animated show, although different in tone, has also been released on disc.

V: The Final Battle (1984) was an interesting TV sci-fi mini-series sequel to Kenneth Johnson's hit mini-series ''V'' (1983) a year prior, presented in three parts and here spanning two Blu-ray discs. This edition is available exclusively from Warner Archive. (Johnson talks about the series in an interview we did with him a few years ago that you can read about elsewhere on this site).

To refresh your memory, a reptilian race that appear human-like take over the year and change the landscape of humanity. As the battle between humanity and the aliens rages on, we struggle to reclaim the planet that was once ours thanks to a group of resistance freedom fighters. The show explores many political and sociological aspects of this epic invasion.

The sequel mini-series stars Jane Badler, Marc Singer, Faye Grant, Robert Englund, Blair Tefkin, Peter Nelson, Michael Ironside, Michael Durrell, and Frank Ashmore with direction by Richard T. Heffron (Westworld sequel Futureworld, also reviewed on this site) and created by Kenneth Johnson (The Bionic Woman, The Incredible Hulk, TV's Alien Nation). The cast of the show is pretty huge with performances a pretty mixed bag.

V: The Final Battle is presented in 1080p high definition with a 1.33:1 full screen aspect ratio (the original series was framed 1.85 X 1 as well since it was cut as a theatrical film overseas) and an English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit) mix. This is a brand new master of the film which comes across quite nicely on this disc, especially compared to previous releases. The image is sharp, the special effects and makeup look dated, but overall the presentation is definitely an improvement over previous releases, so if you're a fan you'll want to check this edition out for sure.

Special Features: promo pieces for ''Next on 'V' The Final Battle - Parts 1, 2, and 3''

While it can't escape the dated feeling of a television melodrama, V: The Final Battle has a lot of imagination behind it and it is pretty fun to look back on as a sci-fi fan.

Alan Moore's graphic novel Watchmen is one of the most celebrated of all time. Genre filmmaker Zack Snyder brought the story to the big screen in 2009 with a mostly faithful adaptation to the source material, a feat that up until that point the project was thought to be 'un-filmable' after several filmmakers tried and failed. (Terry Gilliam being one of them.)

When I heard that this limited series was coming from HBO, I was a bit confused as to how that would be possible seeing how the original story / film ended on such a perfect note. Written by Daemon Lindelof (Prometheus, Lost) this sequel to the original Watchmen lore is surprisingly fresh and an interesting spin that captures the spirit of the graphic novel. While some may find it a bit pretentious, I personally enjoyed it and recommend it to fans. In my opinion, this was one of the best offerings from HBO last year.

Watchmen stars Emmy Award winning actress Regina King (The Leftovers, Southland, If Beale Street Could Talk) leading the cast as Angela Abar/Sister Night. The series also stars Jean Smart (Legion, Dirty John), Don Johnson (Miami Vice, Knives Out), Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Leaves of Grass), Hong Chau (Homecoming), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman), Andrew Howard (Bates Motel), Jacob Ming-Trent (Ray Donovan), Tom Mison (Sleepy Hollow), Sara Vickers (The Crown) and Dylan Schombing (Sharp Objects), with Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman), and Academy, Emmy and Tony Award winning actor Jeremy Irons (the most recent live action Alfred the Butler, The Lion King, Reversal of Fortune) in a show stealing performance.

Set in an alternate history, superheroes are deemed outlaws and Dr. Manhattan has gone missing. Sister Night (King) leads a daring mission that uncovers many conspiracies and alarming acts of racism, cults, and other dark truths. She soon runs into other like minded allies, including previous Watchmen Silk Spectre, who help her rage against the machine as Dr. Manhattan finally returns. Meanwhile, Ozymandias (Irons) has a sinister plan in the wake of being a God of sorts himself.

The nine episodes span three Blu-ray discs and include It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice, Martial Featus of Comanche Horsemanship, She Was Killed By Space Junk, If You Don't Like My Story Write Your Own, Little Fear of Lightning, This Extraordinary Being, An Almost Religious Awe, A God Walks Into a Bar, and See How They Fly.

What I enjoyed about the writing of the show was how the first three episodes were mostly used for world building and around the appearance of Silk Spectre, things finally start to fall into place. Of course in the Zack Snyder movie, the giant squid at the end was taken out, however in this new program that element is included in a very cool way I won't spoil here. The ending of the show is a bit of a downer for me personally, but I enjoyed the series overall. At the time of this writing, it's unlikely that the series will continue, but I think this story sits fine as a being a one off limited series.

Watchmen is presented in 1080p Blu-ray with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and great sounding audio mix in lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1. Comparable to the original streaming broadcast via HBO and television broadcast, this beautifully shot program is captured fine here, however, I'm a bit disappointed it didn't get a 4K UHD release (at least at the time of this writing.) It is known that HBO hasn't released too many of its programs on the new format yet, and so maybe they are still testing the waters.

The score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (Nine Inch Nails) is the backbone of the whole piece, with intense and heavy themes that perfectly capture the mood. The soundtrack sounds exceptional here and sounds fantastic independently as well.

Special Features:

Watchmen: Unmasked

2019 New York Comic Con

Watchmen: Masked and Dangerous

Watchmen S1: Trailer

Character Trailers: Sister Night, Blond Man and Looking Glass

Becoming Sister Night

Notes from the Watchmen graphic novel artist Dave Gibbons

Rorschach featurette

Watchmen: Alternate History

It's Raining Squids

Squid Shelter with Tim Blake Nelson

Andrij Parekh on Directing

Sadiqua Bynum runs, jumps and falls for Sister Night

Anatomy of a Fight Scene

Glimpses - The Visual Effects of Watchmen

PLUS two Blu-ray/DVD exclusives...

    Hooded Justice

    and The Colossal King - Adrian Veidt

Being a fan of the Zack Snyder film, I would have been a bit happier to see some of the original cast from that return as opposed to some of the casting here. However, I understand them wanting to keep the two separate, especially since Snyder abandoned that original ending from the graphic novel. This is a very interesting take on the material and HBO did a great job of producing this program.

And finally, we have a Blu-ray reissue of the nearly-feature length animated film, Jimmy T. Murakami's When The Wind Blows (1986) with narration by David Bowie and music by Roger Waters. Just after the war a British man come home James and tells his wife Hilda in the countryside and said there might be another war and to prepare a shelter for the nuclear fallout. As they follow the government leaflet on what to do to survive, little do they know how soon their live will depend on it...

James come home and starts building a fallout shelter to survive the blast from a nuclear bomb, the food, the supplies and what to do. At first, his wife laughs and they reminisce how they survived the last war. But no sooner than said a nuclear bomb goes off, James and Hilda manages to survive the initial blast, but with limited food and supplies they could only wait. But without any news, running water, electricity, power they soon were starving, and unaware that they were already dead and dying from radiation poisoning and as their bodies start to fail them. The only thing keeping them going was each other keeping their spirits up and the hope of rescue (which never comes).

This was one of many animated films from the 1980s teaching about nuclear fallout. While there is some useful information there are some outdated information, namely how to survive a nuclear blast and emergency services. Extras include documentary from film's director, making for When the Wind Blows, audio commentary, interview with Raymond Briggs, Protect and Survive a Nuclear Attack, Isolated Music (David Bowie) and effects audio tracks and trailers.

This new Severin Blu-ray seems to be pretty much a repeat of the excellent, out of print limited edition from the now sadly defunct Twilight Time label. Sound seems exactly the same too, though I was not as impressed with the 1080p 1.33 X 1 color picture. You can read more about the film, which we have now reviewed for the third time, at this link:


- Ricky Chiang (Wind) and James Lockhart


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