Two films mark this week as a major release date for the young and young at heart. Ponyo was supposed to have been on the shelves before Christmas, and then again in January, but each time they pushed the date back. Unfortunately I can’t read the official Studio Ghibli site, nor do I know which country it is telling us the DVD date is for. But Amazon seems to think it will come out Tuesday, so unless they pull another last-minute reschedule we may hopefully see it this time.
The award for best drama performance while wearing a rug-thick costume with built in animatronics goes to Where The Wild Things Are, the Spike Jonze implementation of the famous children’s book. This live-action film is designed for slightly older kids than the animated Ponyo, but both are wonderful stories that any adult can relate to.
Then there are two made-for-TV programs that you might think were for children, but they aren’t. The 1966 BBC program Alice in Wonderland was definitely built for adults, and even originally aired after 9PM. This masterpiece had such starts as Michael Redgrave, Peter Cook, Peter Sellers, and John Gielgud in it, and its release onto DVD is long overdue.
The other one goes by the shorter title Alice, and was on the Sci-Fi Channel in December. Also designed for adults from the same source material, this one stars Caterina Scorsone, Andrew Lee Potts, Matt Frewer, Tim Curry, Colm Meaney, Cathy Bates, and many others. I don’t think it is any great surprise both of these are hitting the shelves the same week that the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp version opens in Theaters. And that one also has some amazing actors, including Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway; one would think this story draws almost as many quality actors as Hamlet, a tale everyone wants to be in at least once.
For fans of disaster movies, 2012 does its best to kill off the entire planet, and you can’t get much more disastrous than that while we are all stuck in a single gravity well. While this one feels a bit more like a thrill ride than a movie, it is fun.
Speaking of fun, do not miss Gentlemen Broncos; while more a story about a Sci-Fi author than science fiction itself, this one is downright funny.
For classic TV, this time around it is Doctor Who: Dalek War, two John Pertwee era stories. Frontier in Space is grand space-opera told on a tiny budget, and features not only the Daleks but is also the last time we saw Roger Delgado as The Master. Planet of the Daleks may look like a Hartnell story, but it does have some original Dalek background information, plus after the photo layout I just have to grin any time I see Jo Grant with a Dalek.
Besides the previously mentioned Ponyo, there are several other anime titles this week. The Yozakura Quartet don’t play instruments, but are a mixed-blood (demon and human) demon fighting team; this boxed set is the complete collection. Season three of ARIA The Origination is also out, and the 13 episodes are packaged up with the OVA for extra value.
Eureka Seven: Good Night Sleep Tight Young Lovers was a re-imaging of sorts; they took all the same characters from the same world but changed the core premise of Eureka herself. That change to the character’s origin completely changed the dynamic of the plot line. Which means, even if you own the original TV series, you haven’t seen this story yet.
Kurokami The Animation Part 1 show a run time in the product description of 200 minutes, which tells me it is only the first 8 episodes of this 24 episode series. Since that would make the combined total for all three DVD releases somewhere around $90, I think I will watch it on Crunchyroll first and decide if it is worth that much cash, or if I should wait for a less expensive “Complete Series” release.
And I think I finally understand why they delayed Ponyo; because also on Tuesday there will be Special Editions of three other Studio Gibli classics; Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and My Neighbor Totoro. If you are missing any of these, now is the perfect time to add them to your collection.