A roundup of some the recent and upcoming sci-fi and genre Blu-ray releases.
Bedtime Stories. April 5 (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, $39.99) Adam Sandler courts kid audiences with this fun fantasy film, now available in a multi-format, wallet-emptying set. Despite a strong transfer, the extras are short and slight, offering few insights into the film's making or its ideas. Unless you're switching to all-HD, all the time, this is an unnecessary purchase on Blu-ray since the standard-definition version is cheaper and won't look considerably worse.
The Day the Earth Stood Still. April 7 (Fox Home Entertainment, $39.99) A three-disc set offers a second chance for sci-fi fans to see Keanu Reeves' remake of the 1951 classic. A screenwriter commentary, picture-in-picture footage and multiple featurettes augment a solid transfer, but there's nothing here special-effects fans haven't seen before. A case study in how not to remake a classic film, made more glaring thanks to the inclusion of the original, superior film on disc three.
The Thirteenth Floor. April 14 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, $28.95) Josef Rusnak's computer-based thriller arrives on Blu-ray 10 years after it was eclipsed in concept and execution by The Matrix. A radically inconsistent transfer adds nothing to the viewing experience, while the bonus materials jettison some of the content previously included on standard-definition releases. The film is worth revisiting for its artistic merits, but this pricey set is only for folks already in love with it.
Hellraiser. Apr. 21 (Anchor Bay, $29.97) Clive Barker's goth-sexual creepfest is brought back to life in this glorious new high-definition set. The film looks terrific, but it's the epic collection of interview footage, images and featurettes that give this release scope and substance. An essential addition to the collection of any horror or genre fan, as well as a terrific example of the opportunities presented by the Blu-ray format.
The Matrix 10th Anniversary Edition. March 31 (Warner Home Video, $34.99) The Wachowskis' original masterpiece enjoys the deluxe treatment in this expansive new set. Loaded with commentaries, featurettes and documentaries, this is a treasure trove of background material—whose appeal is unfortunately lessened by its availability on virtually all previous editions. A worthy, encyclopedic package and single-serving acquisition for folks who didn't like the sequels, but if you're a fan of the film series, you probably already have everything that matters about The Matrix.