National Catholic Register

Arts & Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Picks & Passes 12.16.12

BY Steven D. Greydanus

Film Critic

December 16-29, 2012 Issue | Posted 12/12/12 at 12:40 PM

 

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) PICK

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) PICK

Finding Nemo (2003) PICK

Up (2009) PICK

The Dark Knight Rises, the ambitious finale to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, is now available on home video in a Blu-ray/DVD combo edition. You can also pick up the entire boxed trilogy in a five-disc Blu-ray set or a three-disc DVD set. As a whole, the trilogy offers a vigorous and satisfying new reading of who Batman is and what he stands for.

Bleak and apocalyptic, the third and final chapter is more hopeful than the second and provides welcome moral clarity on the earlier film’s moral ambiguities. Tom Hardy’s frightening Bane recapitulates both of the villains from the previous films, and Anne Hathaway is a breath of fresh air as Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman. Though not without flaws, it brings the Batman’s personal story to a satisfying finale.

Two Pixar family-themed classics are newly available in multi-disc Blu-ray/DVD editions.

Finding Nemo, recently rereleased in theaters in a 3-D edition, and Up are both back in five-disc and three-disc collector’s editions. (The five-disc editions include 3-D discs requiring a 3-D enabled Blu-ray player.)

Finding Nemo isn’t just stunningly gorgeous — it’s also the best father-son story in Hollywood animation, and Marlin is perhaps my favorite animated father figure. Up opens with one of the best tributes to lifelong love that I have ever seen in any film, let alone a cartoon — and that’s just in the wordless prologue.

Both sets come with plenty of bonus features — many previously available; some new. On Finding Nemo, be sure to catch the CineExplore audio/video commentary, the filmmakers’ roundtable discussion and the alternate opening sequence.

Finally, first-time director Benh Zeitlin’s film Beasts of the Southern Wild is a boldly original work depicting the harshness and beauty of a fictional Louisiana bayou community called the Bathtub. Through the eyes of a near-feral young girl named Hushpuppy, we see a world of magic and danger: hurricanes and floods, death and monsters.

Catholic writer Graham Greene said that a film should show the world both as it is and as it should be. In its hardship and brutality, Beasts offers an imaginative picture of the world (or part of it) as it is. But in its celebration of community, beauty, self-reliance and closeness to the earth, we can see a glimpse of how the world should be.

 

Content Advisory: Beasts of the Southern Wild: Brief suggestive content; menace and rough treatment of a child; heavy drinking; some profane, obscene and crude language. Mature viewing. The Dark Knight Rises: Much intense action violence, including fatalities and crippling injuries; a nonmarital bedroom scene (nothing explicit); some language. Older teens and up. Finding Nemo: Animated high excitement and menace; parental-separation theme. Could be frightening to sensitive youngsters. Up: Some menace and peril; an off-screen action death; sober depiction of mortality and grief. Kids and up.