WF DVD Report takes a quick glimpse at Fletch: The Jane-Doe Edition, Spider-Man 2.1, The Batman: The Complete Third Season, Teen Titans: The Complete Third Season, and The Venture Brothers: Season Two.
First off, I’d like to extend my apologies to both the readers and the studios. I had every intention of providing full-length reviews for each of the titles listed here. Due to complications in my schedule, among other things, I was unable to fulfill that duty. With any luck, I’ll be able to curb this in the future to provide full-length, in-depth reviews for every title that comes across my desk! WF DVD Report strives to provide quality and variety, and we hope to continue bringing you top-rate reviews for the foreseeable future. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the five titles covered here! Which of these five titles actually had a nice batch of solid extras? Well, let’s find out!
• Fletch: The Jane-Doe Edition – I have no idea who started the trend for giving these special editions such odd names, but it needs to stop. I’d be fine with just Fletch: Special Edition, but I guess Universal feels the need to set it apart from other special edition re-releases. As for the movie, everything you’ve heard about it is true. Not only is this one of Chevy Chase’s best films, but it’s one of the best comedies from the 80’s. The plot itself, Chase as an investigative journalist wrapped up in a murder, works perfectly in context of the movie. Chase is given the opportunity to really let loose in this movie, donning a host of disguises and accents. It’s really his show and the movie flies because of it. His dry sarcastic style makes even the most bizarre line knee-slapping hilarious. The extras on this new special edition release, however, are a bit of a letdown. Totaling just over thirty minutes of extra content, the behind-the-scenes look don’t completely live-up to expectations. The effort is there, and you can tell there’s some solid work put into this, but I was hoping for more (given just how popular this movie is). It’s disappointing, yes, but the disc deserves to be picked up regardless. I also wonder why Universal includes the theatrical trailer on this release, a movie from the 1980’s, yet on not one any of their recent movies. Weird. Despite the lack of any real juicy extras, I still consider this a Highly Recommended release.
Fletch: The Jane-Doe Edition was released on May 1st, 2007.
• The Venture Brothers: Season Two – This is, without a doubt, my favorite show from the [adult swim] brand on Cartoon Network (aka The Detour on Canada’s Teletoon). I’m not sure what it is, but it grew on me quickly. I can remember not even liking it at first, but somehow falling for it quickly (it must have been that Fantastic Four spoof episode, which wasn’t even the best episode of their first season). The second season of The Venture Brothers is just packed with great jokes, great animation and superb story-telling. It has a quick wit about it, never pausing to clue the audience in on a joke (much like the late, and very missed, Arrested Development). Instead, the show relies on it’s sharp writing to sell jokes, and it rarely fails. The pace never lets up, with even the weaker episodes surpassing today’s most popular animated television comedies in quality. It’s a great series, and thankfully, the extras do not disappoint, either. The extras include a bizarre tour of Astro-Base Go and a full selection of commentaries and deleted scenes. Out of all the DVDs reviewed in this special “In Brief” column, this set easily had the best extras (and the best packaging, hands down). This release comes Highly Recommended. Everyone should give The Venture Brothers a shot, no question.
The Venture Brothers: Season Two was released on April 17th, 2007.
• Spider-Man 2.1 – Released just in time for Spider-Man 3, director Sam Riami presents the extended vision of this popular comic book sequel. While eight minutes may not be worth double-dipping, there is some excellent new material here. The one scene that fans will undoubtedly love is seeing J. Jonah Jameson donning the Spider-Man tights. For me, that’s the highlight of this new expanded edition. However, the new scenes don’t really add to what is already not just a great Spider-Man movie, but a great movie overall. And for all you action-junkies, two of the big battles in this movie (i.e., the clock tower sequence and the train battle) are slightly extended with new special effects shots. Thankfully, they fit seamlessly into the feature. The extras, however, fall flat. After the spectacular extras on the original Spider-Man 2 release, there’s really not much else to say about the movie, and it shows in these extras. And yes, there is plenty of Spider-Man 3-related material, though most of it is already online. It’s a no-brainer that comic fans and Spider-Man fans will pick up this disc (and they should). However, for the casual fan, I will Recommend this release if you can find it for around $10.
Spider-Man 2.1 was released on April 17th, 2007.
• The Batman: The Complete Third Season -A show that continues to improve with each season, Warner Bros. Home Video has given us the entire third season a nice, tight, two-disc set. This season sees the introduction of Batgirl to The Batman’s world, and it’s handled great. While fans may complain that Batgirl being introduced before Robin is wrong (not really, folks), it works in the context of this series. Not only do we get a new hero, but also a host of new villains (e.g., Poison Ivy, Maxie Zeus, etc.). After looking back at the rather toyetic first season, and a second season where the series started to show growth, this season seems more refined and slick. The characters are coming more into focus and the cast is expanding, and it’s simply great! It’s not a perfect season, there are some clunkers, but it’s one worth picking up for all fans of the Dark Knight. The two-part story Batgirl Begins and Gotham’s Ultimate Criminal Mastermind are worth the sticker price alone. Outside of the trailers, the sole extra is a short featurette on the changes made to The Batman during the third season. Topics including Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon, and the introduction of the new Batmobile are covered. It’s a nice featurette, though I’d love to see more. A major step up in both quality programming and extras from previous sets, The Batman: The Complete Third Season comes Recommended.
The Batman: The Complete Third Season was released on April 10th, 2007.
• Teen Titans: The Complete Third Season – If you’re a fan of the Teen Titans animated series, you know what to expect here. While I found the series amusing and sometimes engaged, I never really latched onto it like other DC Animated Series. However, given the great comedy hi-jinks and solid action, I can understand why it has attracted such a rabid fanbase. The overriding arc for this season focuses on Brother Blood, but does include a few one-shot episodes (which I found to be more enjoyable than the over all Brother Blood storyline). If you’re reading this, then there’s a good chance you’ve already watched the Teen Titans series. If you haven’t, give the series a shot. I can’t say this would be the perfect season to start on, but it is worth checking out for it’s extreme take on some of DC’s classic heroes. Outside of a couple of trailers, the sole extra for the set is a quick look at the villains who appeared during the show’s third season. Fifteen minutes in length, the featurette includes interviews with some of the creative team behind the show. Despite the short running time, it’s worth a look. Fans of Teen Titans have already picked this title up, but for those looking for a different take on super-hero action, this DVD releases comes Recommended.
Teen Titans: The Complete Third Season was released on April 10th, 2007.