No big mainstream release for us this week so I’ll start with the best of the bunch, Star Trek Picard Movie & TV Collection. This collection features four Next Generation films and two feature-length television episodes. Also included is an exclusive 16-page comic book from IDW Publishing, featuring an original, never-before-seen storyline inspired by the iconic franchise. With a name like The Nerds Templar you know we dig Star Trek so this is a pretty sweet collection. I personally don’t own any of the Next Generation films on home video so this is a great addition to my personal collection. Obviously this is being released as a great reminder to fans to get caught up before the Star Trek: Picard series comes out in early 2020. As movies I think I like the Next Generation films more than the original series films minus Wrath of Khan of course. Star Trek: First Contact has always been a personal favorite of mine with Mr. Riker himself, Jonathan Frakes directing the film. Star Trek: Generations is great because it brings back William Shatner. Plus you get The Best of Both Worlds and Chain of Command TV episodes so all together this is a great release if you don’t own these separately and the comic is pretty fantastic.
Continuing with sweet collections, Mill Creek Entertainment has two great releases this week as well. Ultra Q – The Complete Series is the series that started the iconic Ultraman franchise. Special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya co-created Godzilla, Mothra and more and turned to TV after the success of his monsters theatrically. This release features 28-episodes remastered and restored and are the original Japanese broadcast versions. This is the black and white series that 50 plus years later is still quite enjoyable. This new release looks and sounds fantastic and is a great binge. At times it feels like a Kaiju film other times it will remind you of The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror. It was a highly influential series and this is a must own for fans.
Speaking of must own, Mill Creek also releases Ultraman The Complete Series. This is the follow up series that was in color and is probably what most people think of when you mention Ultraman. This also has been fully remastered and restored and is the original Japanese broadcasts. In a way it’s like Green Lantern in that an alien merges with a human and he becomes Ultraman to save the day. I remember watching the American rebroadcasts as a kid so it was cool catching up with it now. Sure the rubber suits and special effects in Ultra Q and Ultraman are laughable by today’s standards, but I have a soft spot for these decades old shows. I was a big fan of monster movies when I was younger and still enjoy them now. These releases are a pretty big deal for Mill Creek who over the past year has really stepped up its game with some great Steelbook releases and quality remastered products like these. I’m hoping they release more projects like these and the Mothra Steelbook because they could start to rival companies like Shout Factory sooner than later.
Next is The Lingering. If you read me enough you know I quite enjoy Asian crime dramas and Asian action/martial arts films. One genre I don’t love is Asian horror. It’s too supernatural for me. I prefer slasher and gore over ghosts and supernatural. This film is their typical ghost/supernatural film which starts out with a young boy and his mom dealing with a haunted house after the father dies in an accident at work. The film jumps years later and the boy is a grown man who returns home after the death of his mother. He needs the paperwork to the house to sell it but spirits linger (hence the title). I can’t say it was for me because again, not a fan of ghost based films. But I know there are a ton of people who do like these types of horror flicks so I can see them enjoying it. It’s not a classic like Ringu but if you like that type of movie you might like this.
Ulysses & Mona is about a reclusive artist and an art student who wants to be his assistant. It’s one of those movies you watch, you’re not quite sure what you’re supposed to get from it and pretty much forget about it right afterwards. There’s nothing exactly wrong with it, but it’s more of a single watch film to me. He’s grumpy and wants nothing to do with her at first. She grows on him and reads the situation wrong. He might be hiding a secret. Then it ends. Both leads are fine. The direction is fine. It’s under 90 minutes so the pacing is fine. It’s good enough to watch but if you forget about it and don’t remember watching it a year from now you’ll understand my point.
Last we have some holiday collectible versions of Acorn products. Each collectible includes a stand-alone holiday mystery in a limited-edition 3D package. The book-like DVD cases open to reveal pop-up collectibles. Each picture shows the face of the product and it what it looks like opened.
First is Midsomer Murders which includes the stand-alone feature-length holiday mystery, The Christmas Haunting. This is from the 16th season when DS Charlie Nelson joins DCI Barnaby and involves the murder of Conor Bridgeman during a ghost hunt at a house in Morton Shallows. Conor was having an affair and the father of his girlfriend disliked him as did the owner of the house. During a second ghost hunt, a second murder is found involving another love triangle and more backstabbing. Barnaby must put all the pieces together to see who is truly involved. Even though it’s just one “episode” at around 90 minutes it’s definitely feature-length and builds up the whodunit pretty easily in the time allowed. I like Midsomer Murders and this was good themed episode.
Second is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries which contains the stand-alone Christmas episode, Murder Under the Mistletoe. This is actually a Christmas-in-July theme and involves deaths according to the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. Instead of skiing at the chalet, Phryne, Dot, Aunt Pru and Dr. Mac must solve the murders before more people wind up dead. Phryne figures out it relates to an accident at a nearby mine a decade ago and it all has an very Agatha Christie vibe to it. This one is slightly under an hour and I breezed through it quickly.
Last we have The Brokenwood Mysteries which contains the stand-alone feature-length Christmas mystery, A Merry Bloody Christmas. A man is found dead in a Santa suit and it turns out to be the mayor who dresses as St. Nick every year for the parade. All his rival candidates are considered suspects, but more dead bodies are found and Detectives Shepherd and Sims must figure out who is the holiday killer. Like Midsomer, this one is just under 90 minutes long and is a feature-length episode.
All three releases are fun and I like the theme aspect of them. I watch the shows themselves when they come my way to review and overall enjoy them. If you are a fan of one or all 3, these are neat collectibles that make great gifts.