Blu-ray Today: The Domination of Cumberbatch


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Extended Edition – 25 new minutes in the film, and ten hours more of extra featurettes and documentaries make this release the version for completists, if there still are any at this point. I’m more fond of this second movie than the first, but it’s still loaded with unnecessary spectacle – most notably the shield-surfing on molten gold near the end, or the extended barrel escape that feels like a prototype for a Disneyland Splash Mountain makeover.

It’s a shame Smaug must inevitably be offed – he’s the most interesting character in the movie. On the plus side, at least his inevitable arch-foe Bard is more than just a boring cipher onscreen, as portrayed by Luke Evans.

Now, Peter Jackson, can we maybe get to see a trailer for part 3 that’s coming out in like a month?

Maleficent – What a mixed bag this is. Disney themselves telling you that the original Disney movie on the subject of Sleeping Beauty was an unreliable narrator, and that the actual story involves Maleficent basically being raped. The production design is wonderful, and Angelina Jolie is as meant for the role as anybody could be, but the script is so awkward it feels like it was forced into existence because it needed to be, and not because there was any new tale to actually tell here.

Hercules – Dwayne Johnson stars in a movie that baited and switched audiences with its marketing that depicted a monster-fighting hero; in the movie itself, those sequences are just tales he tells about himself. The Rock is game for anything, that much is clear; but based on reactions to this and his last few films, he could stand to be a bit more discerning.

The Doctor and the Devils – How the hell did I not know about this movie of 19th-century body-snatching? Timothy Dalton, Jonathan Pryce, Stephen Rea, Julian Sands, Patrick Stewart and Twiggy all star in this 1985 yarn about a doctor who becomes increasingly indiscriminate regarding the source of his fresh cadavers.

Christmas Bounty – WWE’s The Miz is basing his entire current gimmick around this TV movie in which he plays one half of a pair of romantically bickering bounty hunters. It does not sound good.

Sherlock: Limited Edition Gift Set – It’s a big day for Benedict and Martin; if you don’t cotton to their witty dragon-Hobbit banter, you can score this three-season Sherlock set complete with a new bonus disc and mini-busts of Holmes and Watson to fap to place upon your mantelpiece.

Doctor Who: The Matt Smith Years – Fezzes are cool, but this set is cooler, featuring every Matt Smith episode plus the Christmas specials, anniversary special, 2013 Doctor Who Proms Concert, Matt Smith’s two Sarah Jane Adventures episodes, The Five(ish) Doctors, An Adventure in Space and Time and more. 16 discs for around $140 seems fair enough, though most of these episodes are still available on-demand on my cable system.

Merlin: The Complete Series – Also 16 discs, but this one comes with FRIDGE MAGNETS!

Planes: Fire and Rescue – Fuck this movie for even existing.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: 50th Anniversary – Loaded with kid-friendly features like sing-alongs and drawing tutorials, this disc also ties in to today’s Cumberbatch theme by featuring a trailer for that upcoming Pengwings cartoon he’s in, plus a movie-money coupon to go see it.

There are some other rereleases with new covers and nothing else coming out today, but overall, those are my top picks. What would you add? What Cumberbatch connections have I missed?