Published on April 16th, 2011 | by Greg0
New on Blu-Ray: Secret of NIMH, Teen Wolf, And The Resident
We have three movies for your consideration today- one good, one great, and one utterly forgettable. Can you guess which is which? All of them are new on Blu-ray, and two of them are simply re-releases of old classic 1980′s flicks, while the other is a recent movie starring Hillary Swank and Christopher Lee that you probably have not heard of.
Michael J. Fox had a pretty fantastic, if too-brief, career where most things he touched were golden. Best known for his role in “Back to the Future”, he made several other movies that must have seemed a bit of a stretch- the plot for Teen Wolf screams B-movie. We hadn’t seen the flick in years, and were surprised- while cheesy, the idea of “teenager realizes that he is a werewolf” was pretty well-formed here and it’s easy to see where shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” were influenced by the comedy/supernatural take. The rest of the cast is largely forgettable, but the soundtrack is fun, and it’s an easy to like film. On Blu-ray, though, we gained little- the video transfer is surprisingly weak with muted colors and only slightly better than DVD. The special features are equally minimal, with only a trailer for the film and a trailer for an upcoming MTV show. Sound is also only so-so despite being DTS, with some synch oddities and a clear lack of polish. Rated PG, $15 available now.
The Resident is from studio Hammer Films- which tells you something. This formerly-acclaimed maker of horror and suspense manages to grab a good cast but coasts on starpower alone. The script is shambles- predictable to a fault. And the premise had promise, along the lines of “Single White Female”, showing the tricky world of a woman trying to rent in the big city. Of course, there are plenty of questionable decisions by the characters, but if you can suspend your disbelief, there are some fun scenes. It’s not a terrible movie- just inessential and forgettable. At least it’s fairly good-looking, though, if only be comparison to the 80′s flicks reviewed above and below. Video is sharp and clear, even when paused, and audio is full 5.1 and uses it quite well. Both bass and dialogue are well-served, and the blacks are pretty crisp. The only bonus is the trailer, but frankly, anything else would have been unnecessary- except, perhaps, for a version where Cinematic Titanic has their way with it. At least it is short, at 91 minutes. Rated R, $16 available now.
Best for last- The Secret of NIMH is a childhood classic for several of our writers, from the era when Disney was failing to produce a strong level of animated films. Like “All Dogs Go To Heaven”, this is a Don Bluth film and offers, in retrospect, a fairly gloomy tale. Based on the book, the story of Mrs. Brisby (or Frisby in the original), a mouse who is forced to seek help from the secretive and super-intelligent rats that have escaped from the National Institutes of Mental Health. A crow, voiced by Dom Deluise, is unforgettable. And adults will find plenty to like, while kids are sure to be entertained. The score is powerful, and we liked the inclusion of the audio commentary track. But the transfer here is abysmal- colors weak and muddy, often grainy, with scratches visible on the screen and even some weird focus issues. The Blu-ray feels like a DVD, sadly, with no restoration. The audio fares a bit better, but is still only offers two channels and can feel a bit uneven. Overall, though, it’s a great movie and most people might not notice- but we’d still suggest sticking with the DVD version until a truly high-definition restored edition is available. Rated G, $15 available now.