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Warner Home Entertainment Spotlights Long Halloween Part 2 and Mortal Kombat during SDCC

Warner Home Entertainment Spotlights Long Halloween Part 2 and Mortal Kombat during SDCC

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings two highly anticipated releases to Comic-Con@Home 2021 with intriguing panel discussions of Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two on Friday, July 23 at 3:00pm PT and Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms on Saturday, July 24 at 4:00pm PT.

Links to view the panels will be available when Comic-Con International announces its full weekend schedule in early July. For more information about Comic-Con, visit www.comic-con.org.

On Friday, July 23 at 3:00pm PT, WBHE will present a star-studded panel discussion of the most anticipated animated Super Hero release of the year – Batman: the Long Halloween, Part Two! Inspired by the iconic mid-1990s DC story from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two completes the two-film journey as theHoliday Killer is still at large and, with Bruce Wayne under the spell of the venomous Poison Ivy, Batman is nowhere to be found. Liberated by an unlikely ally, Bruce quickly uncovers the real culprit: Poison Ivy’s employer Carmine Falcone. The Roman, his ranks decimated by Holiday and his business spinning out of control, has been forced to bring on less desirable partners – Gotham City’s rogues’ gallery. In the meantime, Harvey Dent is confronting battles on two fronts: attempting to end the mob war while also dealing with a strained marriage. And, after an attack that leaves Harvey hideously disfigured, the District Attorney unleashes the duality of his psyche that he’s strived his entire life to suppress. Now, as Two-Face, Dent decides to take the law into his own hands and deliver judgment to those who’ve wronged him, his family and all of Gotham. Ultimately, the Dark Knight must put together the tragic pieces that converged to create Two-Face, the Holiday Killer, Batman and Gotham City itself. Watch the fun as panelists discuss the thrilling conclusion to this epic tale, including Jensen Ackles (Supernatural, Batman: Under the Red Hood) as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Katee Sackhoff (The Mandalorian, Battlestar Galactica, Batman: Year One) as Poison Ivy, Julie Nathanson (Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay) as Gilda Dent, Troy Baker (The Last of Us, Batman: Arkham Knight) as The Joker and screenwriter Tim Sheridan (Reign of the Supermen, Superman: Man of Tomorrow). Actress/host Tiffany Smith (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, DC Daily) moderates the festivities. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, the feature-length animated film – which will be accompanied by the latest DC Showcase animated short, Blue Beetle –arrives July 27, 2021 on Digital and August 10, 2021 on Blu-ray. 

On Saturday, July 24 at 4:00pm PT, WBHE celebrates the exhilarating sequel to the 2020 hit Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge with an equally thrilling (and hilarious) panel featuring the stars and filmmakers of Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms. Based on one of the most popular videogame franchises in history, Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms finds our team of heroes besieged by the enemy forces of Shao Kahn – forcing Raiden and his group of warriors into a deal to compete in a final Mortal Kombat that will determine the fate of the realms. Now our heroes must travel to Outworld in order to defend Earthrealm and, simultaneously, Scorpion must find the ancient Kamidogu before it’s used to resurrect the One Being – which would mean certain destruction of all things in the universe. Time is short and the stakes are high in this action-packed continuation of the Mortal Kombat journey. Joel McHale (CommunityStargirl), the voice of Hollywood star-turned-fighter Johnny Cage, headlines a panel that includes Jordan Rodrigues (Lady Bird, The Fosters) as Liu Kang; Dave B. Mitchell (Mortal Kombat 11Call of Duty franchise) as Raiden, Kintaro & Sektor; screenwriter Jeremy Adams (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II); producer Rick Morales (Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, Batman vs. Two-Face); and game co-creator Ed Boon (NetherRealm Studios), who serves the films as the Creative Consultant. Joshua Gray, producer and host of Mortal Kombat Events & Professional Tournaments since 2015, moderates the panel. Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms, an all-new, feature-length film produced by Warner Bros. Animation in coordination with NetherRealm Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The film arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack on August 31, 2021. 

Young Sheldon: The Complete Fourth Season Comes to Disc in Sept.

Young Sheldon: The Complete Fourth Season Comes to Disc in Sept.

BURBANK, CA – With more than 11.4M Total Weekly Viewers in its fourth season, Young Sheldon remains the number one comedy series on network television. Laugh along with the iconic Sheldon Cooper as he begins his college career as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases Young Sheldon: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD September 7, 2021 for $24.98 SRP.

For young Sheldon Cooper, being a once-in-a-generation mind capable of advanced mathematics and science isn’t always helpful in East Texas.  And while the vulnerable, gifted and somewhat naïve Sheldon deals with the world, his very normal family must find a way to deal with him. Now as Sheldon graduates high school and embarks on his college career, a whole new chapter begins.    For over a decade, The Big Bang Theory audiences came to know the iconic, eccentric and extraordinary Sheldon Cooper. Now, with the release of Young Sheldon: The Complete Fourth Season, meets him as he sets forth on his innocent, awkward journey toward the man he will become.

Created and executive produced by Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro, executive producers of the hit TV series The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon is also executive produced and narrated by Jim Parsons, who played Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory. Steve Holland and Todd Spiewak also executive produce. The star cast features Iain Armitage (Big Little Lies), Zoe Perry (The Family, Private Practice), Lance Barber (The Comeback), Montana Jordan (The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter), Raegan Revord (Modern Family), and Matt Hobby (Hart of Dixie, Boardwalk Empire) with Annie Potts (Designing Women, Love & War) and Jim Parsons. The series is produced by Chuck Lorre Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Young Sheldon: The Complete Fourth Season includes 18 half-hour episodes:

  1. Graduation
  2. A Docent, a Little Lady and a Bouncer Named Dalton
  3. Training Wheels and an Unleashed Chicken
  4. Bible Camp and a Chariot of Love
  5. A Musty Crypt and a Stick to Pee On
  6. Freshman Orientation and the Inventor of the Zipper
  7. A Philosophy Class and Worms That Can Chase You
  8. An Existential Crisis and a Bear That Makes Bubbles
  9. Crappy Frozen Ice Cream and an Organ Grinder’s Monkey
  10. Cowboy Aerobics and 473 Grease-Free Bolts
  11. A Pager, a Club and a Cranky Bag of Wrinkles
  12. A Box of Treasure and the Meemaw of Science
  13. The Geezer Bus and a New Model for Education
  14. Mitch’s Son and the Unconditional Approval of a Government Agency
  15. A Virus, Heartbreak and a World of Possibilities
  16. A Second Prodigy and the Hottest Tips for Pouty Lips
  17. A Black Hole
  18. The Wild and Woolly World of Nonlinear Dynamics

Includes Special Feature:

Cooped Up with the Coopers

BASICS

Street Date: September 7, 2021

SRP: $24.98

Running Time: Feature: Approx. 336 min

Configuration: 2 DVD-9s

Aspect Ratio: 16×9 widescreen

Audio: English (5.1)

Subtitles: ESDH

Stories from the ’90s by Rick Geary

Self-publishing can strip out a lot of the standard bullshit of publishing. If this book had been published by a Fantagraphics or Dark Horse, it would be called something like Prairie Moons and Night Drives, or maybe True Stories and Other Lies.

But, since Rick Geary assembled it himself out of his archives and published it himself, it can be exactly what it is: Stories from the ’90s . Simple, clear, true.

Geary has been assembling his shorter stories into various books for a few years now; I think this is the most recent one, but I hope there’s at least one book’s worth left of newer work. Already available are Early Stories  (pretty self-explanatory), The Lampoon Years: 1977-1988  (mostly single-pagers from National Lampoon in its declining years, though Geary’s work was excellent), and Rick Geary’s Book of Murder  (stories about murder, more and more straightforwardly as his career went on, over a roughly thirty-year span). Older Geary fans may remember At Home with Rick Geary (from 1985) and Housebound with Rick Geary (1997); I think most of those pieces have been collected in these four books now, along with a lot of other material.

Stories from the ’90s is even bigger than the previous books – they all landed in the 80-90 page range, while this one tops out at 120. (And is slightly more expensive, though slightly cheaper than his more recent individual Kickstarted books – as usual, pricing is complicated and based on multiple factors.)

And, of course, the whole point is that its full of oddball Geary stories. There are some long ones, like “Prairie Moon” and “Tragedy in Orbit” and “Mr. Nickelodeon” and “Our Illustrious Visitor of 1959,” but that’s only “long” in context: there are a passel of three-pagers and a half-dozen longer than that, but most of the work here is in single-page form. Geary was always deeply quirky in his short comics, full of strange transformations, matter-of-fact narration of bizarre events, random juxtapositions, and a sprightly, conversational tone no matter the style or matter of a story. This book has one Mask story – yes, the  same character the movies were about; it was a comic first, with work by a whole lot of different people – a couple of Geary-esque retelling of unlikely historical events, and a whole bunch of one-pagers on topics like “Desperate Clergy,” “Secret Places of My Shameful Past,” “Transgression Hotline,” and “Yes, It Happened.”

Geary’s art is mostly softly rounded here, full of people pulling faces during their madcap antics. His lettering is precise and lovely, either in bigger stories or framing those tiny little boxes of enigmatic objects he did a lot early in his career.

This is one of the most Rick Geary books possible, and it is wonderful. The only way I know of to get it is directly from the author, but don’t let that stop you: he uses one of the major amalgamators for merch (Storenvy), and it all works well. Hornswoggler says check it out.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Black Hammer, Vol. 1: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, and Dave Stewart

So this is much more of a conventional superhero thing than I thought it was. Oh, it’s pretty good – Lemire is a strong writer, as always, and Ormston does that pseudo-horror look that is nearly a Dark Horse house style (or maybe just rules the Mignolaverse). But I was expecting something quirkier. (Note that Black Hammer is four years old. I had plenty of time to get more details; I just didn’t bother.)

It’s not clear if this was really a team. No name for the group is given in this first collection. But a half-dozen of the superheroes who used to defend Spiral City have been stuck on a farm somewhere in the middle of nowhere for ten years, after a battle with Darkseid “the Anti-God”. They saved the world, and ended up here. The creators don’t tell us how or why in this story – I’m sure it becomes clear later.

None of them are Black Hammer. Black Hammer isn’t the name of the group either. Black Hammer was another guy, the one who died as part of the whole saving-the-world thing. (Or maybe afterward, discovering that they really can’t get out of this small bit of farm landscape with one small town.) The actual hammer he used – this is a superhero comic, so obviously “Black Hammer” is a large Black man who carries a hammer to hit things with until evil is vanquished, because superhero comics are still written for the particularly stupid children of 1938 – is lying on the ground in a field, as if to shame Chekhov into thinking a gun on a mantlepiece could ever be sufficiently obvious.

Black Hammer, the series, is not exactly a pastiche – it’s not “doing the favorite superhero stories of my youth, only as if written by a functional adult” like Astro City has generally aimed for, or “I want to tell stories of these existing characters, but the IP owners haven’t hired me to do so, so decipher this really transparent code” like a dozen others. The characters are pastiches, though — most of them very obviously so:

  • Golden Gail is Mary Marvel, with the serial numbers crudely altered
  • Abraham Slam is the standard WW II strong guy, powered by gumption rather than magic or superscience
  • Barbalien, Warlord from Mars is J’onn J’onz lightly run through a Edgar-Rice-Burroughs-inator
  • Madame Dragonfly is Madame Xanadu with details changed, your standard ’70s horror host with weird and mysterious powers (and a tragic backstory involving accidentally creating a muck-monster boyfriend and eventually losing him)
  • Col. Weird is an ’80s-style reimagining of Adam Strange, transformed by his journeys through the Anti-Zone into a distracted, ghostly, transitory presence
  • Talky-Walky is Weird’s robot sidekick, more or less an equal member of the group on the farm
Black Hammer: Secret Origins  collects the first six issues of the main Black Hammer series, beginning when those six have been living on “The Farm” for ten years. Some of them may have been aging, such as Abraham (though this is unclear: we don’t know when this story takes place and he’s been around since 1939 without any powers to keep him young), while Gail has definitely not been aging, which is a plot point.
Speaking of the unclear timeline: Gail and Abe are clearly WWII heroes, with forty or fiftyish years of history behind them. That puts us in the ’80s or ’90s. Weird and Barbalien are ’50s characters with some history as well, Weird specifically a ’50s character with a later (’70s or ’80s) spin put on him. Dragonfly was probably the “newest” character if we think of them as being part of an established universe. But all of them probably had at least a decade’s worth of adventures behind them, and most of them multiple decades.
This is a combination “introducing the team” arc – they each get an extended flashback to show their origins and life back in Spiral City – and examination of how well they’re all getting along here on the farm. Abe is doing best: he’s making time with a local age-appropriate waitress (ex-wife of the unpleasant local sheriff) and finally gets into her pants during this story. Gail is doing worst: she’s stuck in the superhero body of her nine-year-old self and has been repeating the same grade in a crappy rural school every year. Barbalien might be becoming a churchgoer. Dragonfly is mystical and detached, and clearly has Deep Secrets that readers will need to wait to learn. Weird is barely sane at the best of times, fading in and out of reality. Talky is just keepin’ on keepin’ on.
Near the end, there is a Shocking Event from Outside, and everyone who has ever read a superhero comic will immediately see the next three or four plotlines coming out of that. (Most obviously: Black Hammer II! The sensational character find of whatever-the-hell-year-this-is!)
I’m being pretty dismissive here, because this is all very deeply derivative stuff. Lemire makes that clear in the sketches and other materials collected after the story: there are even ’80s DC Universe-style character sheets for all of the major characters (and several who didn’t make it in). The derivative-ness is the point. This is a story for people who want more stories about superheroes like these, written by someone who understands how actual human beings talk and drawn by someone who has experienced actual cast shadows, studied the ways clothing actually drapes, and experienced the touch of actual human women.
That is not my particular jam, but I’ve started this, so I think I’m going to try to read it far enough at least to see how they get back to Spiral City. (And how long Black Hammer I stays dead: my bet is not all that long.) But know that this is very much a “wouldn’t it be cool if Jeff Lemire could write without those suits at DC screwing it all up?” book.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Making Friends: Back to the Drawing Board by Kristen Gudsnuk

Hey! Remember when I said that I thought Kristen Gudsnuk’s middle-grade graphic novel Making Friends  was a lot of fun, but that I missed the random background goofiness in the world that Gudsnuk brought to her previous book (for adults, as much as any book about superheroes is) Henchgirl ? Sure you do!

Well, Gudsnuk had a sequel to Making Friends a couple of years ago – I just found out about it recently, since I guess I don’t spend as much time keeping track of comics for middle-graders as I should – and I’m happy to report that Making Friends: Back to the Drawing Board  shoves the Weird Stuff meter way over into the red zone before it’s done, in a very integrated and fun way. So I do hope to keep using Gudsnukian as an adjective and looking forward to the day when everyone does.

Making Friends followed seventh-grade motormouth Dany – seriously, she’s one of those people (I was intermittently one of them at a slightly later age) who cannot shut up to save their lives even though she knows she’s saying things the wrong way – as she adjusted to life in middle school, where her old friends had a completely different schedule. She thought her life would be perfect if she just had one really good best friend, so, when a magic sketchbook fell into her life from her deceased Great-Aunt Elma, she made herself the perfect friend, Madison Fontaine.

(See my post on the first book for more on where it went from there.)

It’s now a little later in the school year: there’s still a gaping hole in the gym ceiling from , and Dany has been using her reality-warping powers in lots of ways, none of which could ever backfire on her…as far as she’s ever foreseen. But Madison is now even better friends with Cara McCoy, another cheerleader, and Cara is not Dany’s biggest fan. Cara isn’t a “mean girl,” though she does get mean in the ways middle-schoolers do. Honestly, it’s pretty clear than Dany can be annoying regularly, and is exhausting nearly all the time.

So Dany thinks: I just need to use the notebook again, to make things better. I’m too busy and too lazy to get everything done – what if there were two of me? So she uses the notebook to create “Cloney,” a version of herself with a ponytail who lives in a “Pikkiball.” And it actually seems to go OK at first: the two Danys get along with each other, Cloney is happy to take original Dany’s place at school, and nobody is an evil twin or from the dimension of death.

But there’s other stuff going on in the background. Dany’s parents have mysteriously won the lottery. Her mother has lost a lot of weight suddenly. Some other relatives, we see later, have had equally surprising life changes. All soon after Great-Aunt Elma passed and her stuff was bequeathed to her family – interesting!

Gudsnuk doesn’t underline that; the reader has to pick up on it. Or maybe it’s that Dany doesn’t pay much attention to it, since she’s self-absorbed in the ways only a twelve-year-old can be, and the book is from her point of view.

But Back to the Drawing Board is a book where things get even nuttier than in the first book. It builds slowly at first, but the back half of this one is full of all kinds of weird magical powers and events: it is (he said approvingly) deeply Gudsnukian and lots of fun. There is an even bigger magical conflict at the end of this book, and, this time, it’s not all Dany’s fault – though she and her friends do need to be the ones to make everything right.

Gudsnuck has a slightly looser line here than in the previous book, as if she’s drawing at white-hot speed and trying to get to all of the good stuff in her head. I found it a bit too loose here and there, but it works almost all the time. And her people are energetic to a fault: she’s particularly good at a cartoony open-mouth pose when they run into yet something else bizarre and unexpected.

Obviously, the core audience for this book is middle-school girls. But I’m about as far from that demo as you can get, and I’m looking forward to Book Three later this summer, so take that as a recommendation. If you’re an adult, I’d still start Gudsnuk with Henchgirl, but, if you like that, you’ll get a hoot out of these books, too.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Veteran WB Director Jay Oliva Forms Lex+Otis

Veteran WB Director Jay Oliva Forms Lex+Otis

Digital Dimension Entertainment Group (DDEG) and Lex+Otis have formed a joint venture studio, KRAKN Animation, with locations in Montreal and Los Angeles.

Headed by Louis-Simon Menard, CEO & President of DDEG, and Jay Oliva, Founder & CEO of Lex+Otis, who serve as Co-Owners, KRAKN will provide pre-production and animation services that feed the market’s appetite for premiere real time 2D and 3D series and features.  

“Our mutual passion for immersive and engaging storytelling, and desire for doing things differently is what unites us,” says Menard. “DDEG’s Meduzarts Animation has been collaborating with Lex+Otis on several noteworthy projects for years. The creation of an integrated animation studio became a natural next step for both companies.” 

Digital Dimension’s Meduzarts Animation studio has recently been collaborating with Oliva and The Stone Quarry Animation on Netflix’s Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas. The series, which features an all-star cast including Joe Manganiello, Dave Bautista, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Christian Slater, Ella Purnell and more, serves as a prequel to Snyder’s Netflix Original zombie heist action film Army of the Dead. Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas is Executive Produced by Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Wesley Coller, from The Stone Quarry, alongside Jay Oliva and Shay Hatten.  The two studios are also collaborating on Snyder’s recently announced take on Norse mythology for the streamer, Twilight of the Gods.

“I’ve long been an admirer of Digital Dimension Entertainment Group and their groundbreaking work as one of the top animation studios in the world, so the opportunity to collaborate and finally be part of a studio together with them is a dream come true,” Oliva explained. “Both creatively and technologically, Lex+Otis and Digital Dimension strive to push animation to its limits, and both studios have filled their rosters with some of the finest animation talent in the world. Further, both studios rank among the best in the business, in particular with regard to real-time 3D animation. Pooling our mutual talents and visionary approaches will truly bring the best of both worlds to KRAKN.”

Fresh off the launch of the Netflix’s worldwide anime hit series Trese, Lex+Otis (L+O) continues to move forward at lightspeed on several new series for the streaming service and in development of two dozen additional projects. Among the upcoming, already-announced Netflix series from Lex+Otis is the star-studded Ark: The Animated Series, featuring the voices of Russell Crowe, Elliot Page, Vin Diesel, Malcolm McDowell, Michelle Yeoh, David Tennant, Jeffrey Wright, Gerard Butler, Karl Urban and more.

Meduzarts Animation specializes in content for mature audiences, collaborating with clients such as Netflix, Legendary Entertainment, WB Games, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Bethesda Softworks. Franchises the studio has worked on include Spider-Man, Mortal Kombat, The Elder Scrolls, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6, Avatar, Lord of the Rings, Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Dawn of War, Star Wars, to name a few.

About Digital Dimension Entertainment Group

A winner of six Emmy® Awards and four Visual Effects Society Awards, the Digital Dimension Entertainment Group is headquartered in Montreal. Employing 200 people, its creative productions have been broadcast around the world for more than 25 years. Its studios include Meduzarts Animation, Saturday Animation and KRAKN Animation, each of which is set to release new series in the upcoming months, including several original brands currently in development.

New Images from  Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two

New Images from Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two

There are new faces aplenty, and one notable (masked) face missing, as the plot continues to unfold in Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two will be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting July 27, 2021, and on Blu-ray beginning August 10, 2021. 

The four new images from the film are:

Poison Ivy takes command of Gotham City’s criminal forces – and Bruce Wayne’s mind – as Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two begins. Katee Sackhoff (The Mandalorian, Battlestar Galactica) provides the voice of Poison Ivy. 

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two could be subtitled “Rise of the Villains” as most of Gotham City’s rogues’ gallery joins the fracas – including Mad Hatter and Scarecrow. Voiceover superstars John DiMaggio (Futurama, Batman: Under the Red Hood) and Robin Atkin Downes (The Strain, Constantine: City of Demons) provide the voices of Mad Hatter and Scarecrow, respectively.

Laila Berzins
A new Falcone comes to the table as Carmine “The Roman” Falcone’s daughter Sofia arrives for  Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two. Laila Berzins (Genshin Impact) gives voice to Sofia, and Titus Welliver (Bosch) voices Carmine.

Batman is conspicuous in his absence as the mob wars and the influx of classic villains dominate the news in Gotham City. District Attorney Harvey Dent (voiced by Josh Duhamel) and Police Commissioner James Gordon (Billy Burke) lament their missing colleague while hoping the Batsignal will finally get his attention early in Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms hits Disc Aug. 31

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms hits Disc Aug. 31

BURBANK, CA – The fate of the universe once again hangs in the balance as warriors come together for one final clash in Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms, an all-new, feature-length film produced by Warner Bros. Animation in coordination with NetherRealm Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The film arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack on August 31, 2021.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms will be available on Blu-ray (US $29.98 SRP; Canada $39.99 SRP) and 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (USA $39.99 SRP; Canada $44.98 SRP) and Digital. The Blu-ray features a Blu-ray disc with the film in hi-definition and a digital version of the movie. The 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc featuring the film in hi-definition, and a digital version of the movie. Pre-orders will be available for the Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack beginning June 28, 2021, and for Digital starting on July 8, 2021.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms picks up shortly after the explosive finale of Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge, the 2020 blockbuster hit that initiated these animated films – which are based on one of the most popular videogame franchises in history. In Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms, our team of heroes are besieged by the enemy forces of Shao Kahn – forcing Raiden and his group of warriors into a deal to compete in a final Mortal Kombat that will determine the fate of the realms. Now our heroes must travel to Outworld in order to defend Earthrealm and, simultaneously, Scorpion must find the ancient Kamidogu before it’s used to resurrect the One Being – which would mean certain destruction of all things in the universe. Time is short and the stakes are high in this action-packed continuation of the Mortal Kombat journey.

Joel McHale (Community, Stargirl) and Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) return to their lead roles as Hollywood star-turned-fighter Johnny Cage and all-business warrior Sonya Blade, respectively. Also returning for the sequel are Jordan Rodrigues (Lady Bird, The Fosters) as Liu Kang; Patrick Seitz (Mortal Kombat X, Aggretsuko, Naruto: Shippuden) as Scorpion & Hanzo Hasashi; Artt Butler (Her, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as Shang Tsung & Cyrax; Robin Atkin Downes (The Strain, Batman: The Killing Joke) as Shinnok & Reiko; Dave B. Mitchell (Mortal Kombat 11, Call of Duty franchise) as Raiden, Kintaro & Sektor; Ikè Amadi (Mass Effect 3, Mortal Kombat 11) as Jax Briggs & One Being; Grey Griffin (The Loud House, Young Justice, Scooby-Doo franchise) as Kitana, Satoshi Hasashi & Mileena; and Fred Tatasciore (Robot Chicken, Family Guy) as Shao Kahn.

New to the Mortal Kombat Legends voice cast are Matthew Mercer (Critical Role, Justice Society: World War II) as Stryker & Smoke; Bayardo De Murguia (Tiny Pretty Things) as Sub-Zero/Kuai Liang; Matt Yang King (Mortal Kombat 11 video game, Justice League vs. The Fatal Five) as Kung Lao; Paul Nakauchi (Carmen Sandiego, Overwatch) as Lin Kuei Grandmaster; Emily O’Brien (Days of Our Lives, Constantine: City of Demons) as Jade; Debra Wilson (World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, MADtv) as D’Vorah.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms is directed by Ethan Spaulding (Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge, Batman: Assault on Arkham) from a script by Jeremy Adams (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II) and based on the videogame created by Ed Boon and John Tobias. Rick Morales (Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, Batman vs. Two-Face) is Producer. Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) is Producer. Executive Producer is Sam Register. Ed Boon (NetherRealm Studios) is Creative Consultant.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms Special Features

Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital

  • The God and the Dragon: Battling for Earthrealm (Featurette)Go behind the scenes and inside the creative process of bringing Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms to action-packed life on screen.
  • Voices of Kombat (Featurette)Join Joel McHale, Jennifer Carpenter, and the cast as they detail the process of creating unique and compelling voices for the larger than life characters in the film.
  • Kombat Gags: Gag Reel (Featurette)Step inside the VO booth with the cast of the film for all of the flubbed lines and outrageously improvised lines from the cutting room floor.
  • Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms Audio Commentary (Audio Only)Producer Rick Morales and Screenwriter Jeremy Adams take the audience inside the art of writing and animating the film in this feature length audio commentary.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.

BASICS

Blu-ray – $29.98 USA, $39.99 Canada

4K UHD Combo Pack – $39.99 USA, $44.98 Canada

Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray Languages: French, German, Latin-Spanish, English

Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray Subtitles: Dutch, French, Latin-Spanish, English-SDH, German – SDH

Running Time: 80 minutes

R for strong bloody violence throughout and some language.

REVIEW:  Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

REVIEW: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Reviewing any adaptation requires two trains of thought: is it a good representation of the source material, and is it a good story standing on its own. Frankly, I don’t play video games or watch much animation these days, so in watching the 4K Ultra HD release of Sony’s 2005 Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, I had to view it as a story only.

I do know how wildly successful and popular the Final Fantasy franchise has been through the years and apparently this seventh iteration was a real big deal once upon a time. So, I’m told the film begins where the game left off which means it has to recap enough for those, like me, new to this, and fast enough so as not to bore the diehard fans.

Apparently, the film left something to be desired and the 100-minute film was beefed up with more material and it’s this “Complete” version we have, now running 2 hours 6 minutes. That’s a good thing since this takes some getting used to. Apparently, the evil Sephiroth tried to suck the soul out of the planet, only to be defeated by Cloud Strife, but not before the major city of Midgar was destroyed. Now, two years have passed and our protagonist is asked to aid the world once more in defeating the antagonist, who has managed to send his spirit into the terrible trio of Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo.

There’s fighting, magic, meaningful exchanges, and action. Does it make a whole lot of sense to someone new to the franchise? No, not really. Too many elements show up without context so it’s a nicely produced CGI animated feature that doesn’t work for outsiders. Watching it can feel endless for those not in the know and for those familiar with the franchise, I’[m told this is a very strong, successful entry.

The film is released in a combo pack containing the 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital HD code. The anime CGI animation is quite strong with striking visuals. The 4K version is stronger than the Blu-ray, especially with the color grading, but both have a relatively weak source material to work from given the film came out 15 years ago. As a result, there are some transfer issues, more notable in the Blu-ray than the 4K so it’s nice to have both. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Japanese track is excellent, superior to the English track.

This is not exactly the prettiest movie ever made considering the inherent source flaws, the animation detail which is well below modern standards, and the bleak color spectrum content, but Sony appears to have done everything within its power to make this look as good as it can. Mild adds to sharpness and a fairly good HDR color grading run have improved the look of the movie a good bit over Blu-ray but do be aware that the steady stream of aliasing remains for the duration.

There are no new features, but the 2009 Blu-ray release’s special features carry over intact. These include Legacy of Final Fantasy VII (6:38);  Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII (23:55); Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII Compilation (29:43); On the Way to a Smile-Episode: Denzel (28:07), an OVA focusing Denzel, set between the game and the film; Sneak Peek at Final Fantasy XIII (7:12); five trailers for Advent Children Complete.

REVIEW: Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1

REVIEW: Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1

Warner Animation has been more miss than hit when adapting long comic book serials into a 90 minute or less feature film. Thankfully, they finally learned the lesson and are adapting Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s thirteen-part Batman: The Long Halloween into two films. The first part is out tomorrow and I am quite pleased with it.

The overarching plot has to do with the serial murders of people connected to crime boss Carmine Falcone (Titus Welliver) as the triumvirate of Commissioner Gordon (Billy Burke), District Attorney Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel), and Batman (Jensen Ackles) all occurring on holidays. The hunt of the Holiday killer propels events as each attempt to thwart the next killing fails, leaving the good guys reeling and Falcone scared.

Set early in Batman’s career, a recurring theme is his lack of skill and experience as a detective. This is hammered a little too hard and neglects the years Bruce Wayne spent training before returning to Gotham City to assume the guise of the Dark Knight.

The adaptation, written by Tim Sheridan and nicely directed by Chris Palmer, is more faithful than its predecessors while still modifying events, none of which are objectionable. There is a lot of duality seeded throughout but my favorite are the subplots contrasting the marriage of Jim and Barbara (Amy Landecker) Gordon (complete with young Babs and James Junior) with that of Harvey and Gilda (Julie Nathanson) Dent. Another nice touch is the stirring romance between the bat and the cat, as Selina Kyle (Naya Rivera) gets more screen time.

Loeb has a formula for Batman stories which started here, stretching out a story to ensure each key member of the rogues’ gallery gets used to help spur sales. But, as we see so many of them locked up in Arkham Asylum, it feels overstuffed considering where we are in the Caped Crusader’s career. And the extended use of the Joker (Troy Baker) begins to feel like padding, slowing the actual mystery. Instead, I would have preferred seeing more of Gordon and Batman sifting through the clues with Julian Day (David Dastmalchian), better know as Calendar Man.

An interesting point is raised that the Gotham underworld is under attack, not from Holiday, but from the increasing number of crazed villains drawn to the city or its protector.

The suspects are nicely given their moments, notably Carmine’s son Alberto (Jack Quaid) and rival Sal Maroni (Jim Pirri). Others are mentioned but we don’t get to them until part two. Speaking of which, we end the film on a fine note, not a cliffhanger, but questions left to solve and the viewer eager for part two, scheduled for digital download on July 27 and on disc August 10.

The look is wonderfully atmospheric and the thick outlines of the characters actually work given the subject matter. The action sequences are thankfully not overblown and the Batmobile gets some nice moments. All of this is well-supported by Michael Gatt’s score.

The movie is out on Blu-ray and Digital HD and looks just terrific on disc, with a good, solid color scheme, and no obvious errors. The key extra contained on the disc is the most disappointing DC Showcase offering of the lot. Sheridan utterly fails in adapting The Losers, a collection of World War II heroes who lost their solo strips. Rather than give us an interesting, character-based story about heroism and loss during the war, we get the trite visit to Dinosaur Island. Captain Storm, Johnny Cloud, Gunner, Sarge, and Pooch are joined by the token Henry “Mile-a-Minute” Jones, and the Chinese Special Agent Fan Long. It’s such a wasted opportunity.

Sadly, there is nothing else of note other than the obligatory Sneak Peek of Batman: The Long Halloween – Part Two (9:10). The disc is rounded out with From the Vault – Batman: The Animated Series: “It’s Never Too Late” (22:24).