Heroes and villains top this week’s new DVD offerings.
• “The Amazing Spider-Man”: The origin of the web-slinging superhero is retold.
Director Marc Webb and screen writers James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves found a way to spin the story of the comic book hero with enough originality to appease fans while not straying too far from the well-known Spidey mythology created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko a half-century ago.
The film has a few bugs. Spider-Man purists will have to deal with the adjustments made to the character’s history, especially the spider bite not being as random as before. And there’s a key story element never resolved, and it’s not a plot point that’s necessary for a sequel. Otherwise, this reboot of Spider-Man is amazing.
• “Brave”: A young Scottish girl rebels against family traditions.
With a string of well-written and dazzling-looking movies, it seemed like Pixar could do no animation wrong. But the company’s latest effort shows it isn’t perfect. The animation is still amazing, but an ill-conceived story leaves this production as appealing as a two-leaf clover.
The animation is eye-popping. The animals look so real it’s almost impossible to tell whether they are animated or filmed. Each background is a beautiful tapestry of earth tones that bring warmth to the movie. The visuals are far more stunning in 2-D; the 3-D does little except to muddle the color. But the character designs lack any originality.
• “ Savages” Grade B-minus: This is Oliver Stone’s film that’s based on Don Winslow’s best-selling crime novel.
Most of Stone’s latest film is a gritty and gruesome look at the lives of two entrepreneurs who end up being forced to work with a Mexican cartel. The film is diminished by a contrived ending and Blake Lively’s weak narration.
Also new on DVD:
“The Incredible Mel Brooks: An Irresistible Collection of Unhinged Comedy”: The 5-DVD set contains interviews, film clips and TV footage.
“Shazam!: The Complete Series”: Michael Gray stars in the live-action series based on the comic book character.
“Lost Girl: The Complete Second Season”: Anna Silk stars.
“2 Days in New York”: Julie Delpy’s sequel to “2 Days in Paris.”
“Paul McCartney: Live Kisses”: Music special starring the legendary singer.
“SpongeBob Squarepants: The Complete Fifth Season”: More wacky adventures under the sea.
“Chris Hardwick: Mandroid”: Stand-up special starring Chris Hardwick.
“Storage Wars Texas: Season 1”: Bidders fight for storage lockers in the Lone Star State.
“The Watch”: Comedy about a neighborhood watch.
“Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One”: Matt Smith plays the time traveling Doctor.
“Alice: The Complete Second Season”: Linda Lavin stars.
“Nitro Circus the Movie”: Travis Pastrana brings his insane adventures to the big screen.
“Primetime”: Frank Sinatra 1968 TV special.
“Minds in the Water”: Surfers look to protect the oceans.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Parts 1 and 2: Ultimate Edition”: Combo pack of the two films.
“Empire of the Sun”: Steven Spielberg film is being re-released to mark its 25th anniversary.