New York, NY— February 3, 2021 — The Fantastic Four celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. The iconic Stan Lee and Jack Kirby creation, credited with kicking off Marvel Comics’ historic Silver Age, have starred in some of the most memorable comic book adventures of all time, and now their illustrious saga will be presented in a radical new way in FANTASTIC FOUR: LIFE STORY.
Written by acclaimed writer Mark Russell (Second Coming, Wonder Twins) and drawn by Sean Izaakse (Fantastic Four, Avengers No Road Home) , FANTASTIC FOUR: LIFE STORY will be written in the same approach as Chip Zdarsky and Mark Bagley’s hit series, SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY. FANTASTIC FOUR: LIFE STORY will tell the entire history of the Fantastic Four from beginning to end, set against the key events of the decades through which their stories were published.
FANTASTIC FOUR: LIFE STORY #1 will take place in the “Swinging Sixties” when Reed, Ben, Sue, and Johnny took that fateful journey to space that changed the face of comic book storytelling forever. Against the backdrop of the Cold War and the Space Race, a terrible accident occurs that gives them great powers and a terrible secret, entangling them in Earth’s history forever as they transform into the world’s premiere super hero team.
“What I’ve always loved about the Fantastic Four is how it reduces the cosmic struggle of human survival to the scale of a family squabble while treating personal relationships as a matter of truly galactic importance,” Russell said. “Weaving their story and their world into our story and what’s happened in our world over the last sixty years was an important reminder to me of how smart it is to approach life like that.”
“Working on a story about Marvel’s First Family is not only an honor in itself, but what makes it even more so, is being part of the team that gets to tell such a moving and heartfelt story about these iconic characters, their struggles and triumphs in a new way that draws on what has come before,” Izaakse said. “If I do my job right, this story will be one that Fantastic Four fans will remember for a long, long time.”
BURBANK, CA, February 2, 2021 – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced today that 2014’s Godzilla will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital on March 23rd. An epic action adventure directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla marked the long-awaited big screen return of the King of the Monsters.
Directed by Edwards from a screenplay by Max Borenstein and a story by David Callaham, Godzilla is based on the character “Godzilla,” owned and created by TOHO CO., LTD. Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni produced the film with Mary Parent and Brian Rogers. Patricia Whitcher and Alex Garcia served as executive producers, alongside Yoshimitsu Banno and Kenji Okuhira.
Godzilla stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass), Oscar® nominee Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Inception), Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame), Oscar® winner Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Cosmopolis), and Oscar® nominee Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), alongside Oscar® nominee David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck., The Bourne Legacy”) and Bryan Cranston (Argo, TV’s “Breaking Bad”).
Ultra HD* showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.
Godzilla will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $24.99 ERP and includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc with the feature film and special features. Fans can also own Godzilla in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on March 23rd.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray disc of “Godzilla” will feature a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar. Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.
In this gritty, realistic sci-fi action epic, Godzilla returns to its roots as one of the world’s most recognized monsters. Directed by Gareth Edwards and featuring an all-star international cast, this spectacular adventure pits Godzilla against malevolent creatures that, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Elements Godzilla Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the following previously released special feature:
MONARCH: Declassified – Discover explosive new evidence not contained in the film that unravels the massive cover-up to keep Godzilla’s existence a secret.
Operation: Lucky Dragon
MONARCH: The M.U.T.O. File
The Godzilla Revelation
The Legendary Godzilla – Go behind the scenes with filmmakers and cast for an even deeper look at the larger than life monsters in the film.
Godzilla: Force of Nature
A Whole New Level Of Destruction
Into The Void: The H.A.L.O. Jump
Ancient Enemy: The M.U.T.O.s
DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION ELEMENTS
On March 23rdGodzilla 4K UHD will be available to own for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on favorite devices from select digital retailers including GooglePlay, Vudu, Xbox and others, and will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.
Ultra HD Blu-ray $24.99
Standard Street Date: March 23rd 2021
EST Street Date: March 23rd 2021
Ultra HD Blu-ray Languages: English, Latin Spanish
Ultra HD Blu-ray Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Parisian French
Running Time: 123 Minutes
Rating: Rated PG-13
DOLBY ATMOS [CC]
The film adaptation of the video game series, Monster Hunter, arrives on digital streaming February 16 and disc Mach 2 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Behind our world, there is another: a world of dangerous and powerful monsters that rule their domain with deadly ferocity. When an unexpected sandstorm transports Captain Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and her unit (T.I. Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta) to a new world, the soldiers are shocked to discover that this hostile and unknown environment is home to enormous and terrifying monsters immune to their firepower. In their desperate battle for survival, the unit encounters the mysterious Hunter (Tony Jaa), whose unique skills allow him to stay one step ahead of the mighty creatures. As Artemis and Hunter slowly build trust, she discovers that he is part of a team led by the Admiral (Ron Perlman). Facing a danger so great it could threaten to destroy their world, the brave warriors combine their unique abilities to band together for the ultimate showdown.
The Monster Hunters: Cast and Characters
Monstrous Arsenal: Weaponry in the Film
For the Players: From Game to Screen
CAST AND CREW
Written for the Screen and Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson
Producers: Jeremy Bolt, Paul W.S. Anderson, Dennis Berardi, Robert Kulzer, Martin Moszkowicz
Executive Producers: Edward Cheng, Howard Chen, Hiro Matsuoka
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta, Josh Helman, Jin Au-Yeung, and Ron Perlman
Run Time: Approx. 103 minutes
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of creature action and violence throughout
4K Ultra HD: 2160p Ultra High Definition 2.39:1 | Audio English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible)
Blu-ray™: 1080p High Definition 2.39:1 | Audio English 5.1 DTS-HD MA
DVD: 2.39:1 Anamorphic Widescreen | Audio English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Batman was enjoying a renaissance as the 1970s dawned. Freed from its ties to the ABC series, editor Julius Schwartz worked with writers Frank Robins and Denny O’Neil on rejuvenating the Darknight Detective, returning him closer to his pulp-roots.
In short order, O’Neil would rise to become the premier Batman scribe of the era to be followed by a notable stretch as his editor from 1986 through the early 2000s. His impact is immeasurable. On the side, though, he aspired to be a prose writer as well and among his works from that period was a collaboration with cartoonist Jim Berry on the 1974 novel Kung Fu Master, Richard Dragon: Dragon’s Fists (1974) under the pseudonym “Jim Dennis.”
As the Martial Arts craze was beginning its descent, DC Comics optioned the novel and had O’Neil write and edit the adaptation as Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter. There, he introduced readers to Dragon, Ben Turner, O-Sensei, and most importantly, Lady Shiva.
All of the above explains why the latest DCAU release, Batman: Soul of the Dragon, is as much a celebration of that bygone era as it is a tribute to O’Neil. In this original story, now available on disc from Warner Home Entertainment, we have a reality where Bruce Wayne (David Giuntoli), training to become a hero, spends time in Nada Parbat. There, under O-Sensei’s (James Hong) guidance, he works alongside Dragon (Mark Dacascos), Turner (Michael Jai White), Shiva (Kelly Hu), Jade (Jamie Chung), and Rip Jagger (Chris Cox).
Each is there for a different reason, and while they train together, they’re not precisely close allies. Jagger betrays them all when he attempts to open the gates O-Sensei has been guarding, killing Jade in the process. The demon Nāga is nearly freed, and four of his servants escape until the O-Sensei sacrifices himself.
In time, each goes their way, with Wayne returning to Gotham City and donning the cape and cowl as Batman. When Dragon, now a spy, turns up in his penthouse, we discover that ancient evils are being stirred up, so it’s time to get the gang back together. Jeffrey Burr (Josh Keaton) is now the leader of the Kobra cult, determined to obtain the Soul Breaker from Shiva and free Nāga.
All the tropes from the martial arts films of the era are brought into play, from the music to the fight sequences, to the threat itself. Dragon here is redesigned from Caucasian to a stand-in for Bruce Lee, the clear master of the era. The film is a joy to watch, the action swift but not without letting the characters have their moments. Screenwriter Jeremy Adams does a superb job with this homage.
In the Batman: Raw Groove featurette, producer Bruce Timm discusses the notes from DC that their early drafts were too much Bruce Wayne and not enough Batman. That complaint still applies to the finished product. As he fights in costume, he stands out as an anomaly. Had Turner donned the Bronze Tiger mask, things might have felt more even-handed. Still, it’s just a quibble.
The 4k Ultra HD 2160p is pristine, capturing the colors and shades perfectly. The Blu-ray companion disc in the Combo Pack is equally good at retaining the palette and details. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio is fine, if unexceptional.
There is just one original featurette here, but it packs some great material. Batman: Raw Groove (30:30) uses a pair of historians — Cal Lutheran history professor Dr. Michaela Crawford Reaves—to tee-up the context of the era, the rise of action films, and connecting the Blaxploitation and Martial Arts genres in ways I hadn’t previously considered. There is a good assortment of film clips from the Warner catalog to illustrate the points (although it should be noted, nary a clip of Lee, the father of it all, is present). Additional detail comes from Martial Arts History Museum President Michael Matsuda before filmmakers Timm, Jim Krieg, and others chime in.
Producer Jim Krieg’s Far Out Highlights (18:03) shows him at his 70s cheesiest, giving a far more personal perspective on the era and the resulting tribute film.
Sneak Peek – Justice Society: World War II (8:07) shows Krieg making his Walter Winchell impression as he introduces audiences to the first animated feature to spotlight the first team of heroes, apparently using the Silver Age Flash as the audience’s conduit to these bygone heroes. It looks to be fun.
Rounding out the Blu-ray disc is From the DC Vault (44:41) – Batman: The Animated Series: “Day of the Samurai” and “Night of the Ninja.”
Somehow I’m over two years late on this Jeff Lemire comic, despite reading the first two (see my posts on volumes one
) right when they came out and liking the series a lot. What can I say? There are too many good books in the world, and keeping up with them all can sometimes be challenging. But I made it to the end eventually.
Royal City is a family story, and Vol. 3: We All Float On is where it all comes together. The first volume brought brother Patrick back to town, to join his siblings Richie and Tara and parents Patti and Peter — and, most importantly, brother Tommy, who died in 1993 but has been haunting the entire family, in very different ways, ever since. The second volume went back to ’93 to show the week of Tommy’s death, and now the conclusion brings in a new, unexpected family member and brings everything to the final crisis.
(No, not the usual comics kind of Final Crisis. The real people living in a real world — well, mostly real, since they’re all seeing Dead Tommy all the time — kind of crisis, where all of the problems peak at once.)
This is an ending, so I don’t want to talk much about the plot — but I will say that it does all end, and it does end well. Lemire is, as always, good at stories about people, especially damaged people, and the Pike family are all damaged in different ways. It does all center on Tommy, as it must, even though he has been dead for over twenty years.
I see that Royal City is now available as a single spiffy hardcover, and that’s probably the best way to read this going forward — it is a single story that happened to be published as individual comics issues and then three trade paperbacks for market reasons, but it would work best as a single book, since it tells a single story.
From what I take from his writings, he loved playing Cyborg, and it showed. But Ray called attention to what he claimed was at times discriminatory treatment on the Justice League sets.
From the start, this was no-win for Ray. He knew the risk and still went on. He’s taken a lot of, ” let it go, don’t rock the boat, shut up, sit down.” The comments about how he’s going to lose millions because of his big mouth are partially harsh. Those remarks come with attacks on his intelligence and race.
The “dumb darkie” stereotype is always a reason when a Black person draws attention to an injustice that may stop all that money coming in.
Orlando Jones knew the risk when he shined a light on an American Gods director. He was “rocking the boat, and better stop” was a typical post across all social networks.
Ray Fisher knew the risk, and yeah, it may be a dumb move to put at risk your seven-figure income for a purpose for some— but what Ray and Orlando did wasn’t stupid, dumb, or crazy.
Yeah, the “crazy” tag is likewise standard when Black people put their bank on the line. The perfect example is Dave Chappelle. When he walked away from $50 million, he was called crazy and stupid.
Dave, Ray, and Orlando are only doing what the great men and women who died to give us what freedoms Black people have today did.
They are calling attention to the discriminatory behavior of those in power. They did so at significant risk to their careers and bank accounts.
The entertainment industry produces thousands of underdog stories annually. The business is built on good beating evil. Reading some of the negative comments, perhaps there is a market we are missing:
CYBORG: BATMAN!! SUPERMAN CALLED ME A NIG….!
BATMAN: SHUT UP & SIT DOWN!
CYBORG: He called you a Democrat.
BATMAN: OH, HELL, NO! WHERE’S MY KRYPTONITE!?
I believe Ray; I know a guy in a similar albeit lesser-known situation with a comic company.
Let’s do some conjecture.
Assume there is no claim of wrongdoing by Ray; he hasn’t said anything to anyone. But two WB employees claimed Ray was loud and rowdy and called the company racist during the Emmy Awards. So bad was the outburst, the two WB representatives signed affidavits swearing to this explosion of racist hate from the actor.
If that happened, he SHOULD lose the Cyborg gig. WB would have every right to let him go. Having that kind of energy around is toxic and will most certainly lead to a bigger disaster.
Let’s change it up a bit.
Suppose Ray created Cyborg and wasn’t a relatively new actor but a well-established actor and producer. Oh heck, let us say Ray also founded the Actors Studio and the WB made millions off his students who honed their skills under Ray.
Hey, let’s go ALL OUT, shall we?
For shits and giggles, let’s imagine Ray created Cyborg, was a well-established actor and producer who founded the Actors Studio and the WB made millions off his students.
Let’s pretend he’s so accomplished his independent productions are in markets not even the WB or any other major studio is in, leading to an honor no one else in Hollywood has ever achieved.
A Nobel Peace Prize, plus his name on a school, and he rescues kittens!
Should Ray be still be fired if he accomplished all of the above?
Hating a giant corporation is the right of every American. It is not a “do what you want” card. Being loud at one of the industry’s quintessential events, calling prominent studio racist— yes, he should be terminated and banned from working with said company and their related companies and subsidiaries. Whatever he achieved in life, no matter how much money he may have, offensive conduct has consequences.
Now, let’s say Ray had IRON CLAD proof he was 2000 miles away. To save themselves from a PR nightmare, WB would move quickly to issue an apology, hire him to be Cyborg again, and the two liars would be fired, perhaps even arrested.
Now imagine if WB knew the truth but BANNED HIM ANYWAY.
That’s what happened to Ray.
He raised an issue that everyone is aware of now. Joss Whedon was fired after an investigation, and people will now tread lightly.
But why punish Ray?
There’s no way Whedon, who made Hollywood MILLIONS, was let go unless something dreadful happened. Why was Ray punished for bringing light to dark deeds?
It doesn’t matter if Ray was an entry-level actor (he’s not) or had won the Nobel Peace Prize, founded the Actors Studio, etc.— he was wronged, and at significant risk to himself, he fought to do the right thing.
The right thing cost him millions, as it did Joss Whedon.
Some think both careers are over. I hope both can return to their craft, but I’m certain Joss will make a comeback, absolutely. Not so sure Ray will, and you know why.
Hollywood takes their power to treat people like shit seriously. As evidenced by the following true story:
A major studio is aware of a director who intentionally set out to destroy a actor’s career. A career that mimics the fictional one created above, no Nobel Peace Prize but a similar resume.
Would you care that someone with power decided your fate as if you were Eddie Murphy in Trading Places?
Is there a statute of limitations on evil? Would your advice be to let the devil have his due? Would your opinion be ‘move on?’
The director let criminal treatment go, and for years he took the hit. His peers offer no help because they still have a relationship with the studio—their advice; move on, shut up, sit down. He tries, then the studio calls, they want to make his dream project!
They make it without him after giving him false hope.
He’s got a damning paper trail proving that’s his work, but they ignore him.
In our timeline, the Bronte siblings created several fictional worlds — they started with Glass Town, which grew (mostly from Charlotte and Branwell) into the somewhat separate Angria, while younger siblings Emily and Anne invented the entirely separate land of Gondal. All of those were explicitly set in odd, “exotic” corners of the real world they were familiar with, and peopled with various lords and adventurers and such. And, of course, the three sisters all published novels set in the real England of their day, all beginning with debuts in 1847.
The Brontes: Infernal Angria simplifies this, as fiction often does. There is one land: Angria. It is real, somewhere other than Earth, and accessed, wainscot-style, from the playroom of their childhood house in Haworth. Time works differently there; visitors from England can enter Angria, have any number of adventures, and return at the moment they left…but time can also pass in Angria between visits. (If the reader suspects this is entirely for storytelling convenience, he can hardly be blamed.)
Craig Hurd-Kenney makes the origin of Angria specifically in the children’s isolation and grief, starting in 1825 when their two older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died. (And a few years after their mother also died.) But he actually begins this graphic novel with a prologue set in 1861, years after all four of the younger Bronte siblings were dead, in which Charlotte’s widower attends the death of her father, Patrick, and then destroys all references to Angria in the house. This seems to be setting up a later conflict, but it really doesn’t pay off in the current version of Infernal Angria — I suspect Hurd-McKenney originally had a much longer, more dramatic story in mind, and the current 90-page version is what he and artist Rick Geary were able to actually get done in the twenty-ish years they were working on it.
So Infernal Angria is one part secret history — this is what the Bronte children were really up to — and one part unfinished drama. We see the Brontes enter Angria and have adventures and interactions there, but it’s all fairly thin and quick and melodramatic, as one might expect of plot points based on the stories told by a bunch of nineteen century pre-teens — it’s almost a distraction to the real concerns, back in England, which center on whether going to Angria at all is a good thing. The core tension is between the nature of Angria, that time-stopping power which is health-reviving for English travelers, and their father’s religion. Hurd-McKenney is not always clear why these things should be in tension, unless he’s implying Angria is an alternative afterlife. (My understanding is that the Brontes’ fictional worlds were not pagan, so they should be as close to their god in Angria as in England. Hurd-McKinney, or his characters, seem to have different ideas but don’t quite make them clear.)
I think this is Hurd-McKenney trying to construct a plausible secret history based on real history, and not quite succeeding, to my mind. It’s also possible that the original conception of a longer, fuller story would have had more room to make that conflict clearer and stronger. But, as it is, it feel like the Brontes, as they each sicken and get near death in turn, make random choices about who they feel about Angria and Heaven without quite saying what those choices are and what the stakes are.
So I can’t find Infernal Angria entirely successful. It’s interesting, and knotty, and a thoughtful weaving of secret history. but everything didn’t quite come together the way I would have liked. I should admit that I came to it as a fan of Rick Geary, the artist, rather than as a Bronte scholar or knowing anything about Hurd-McKenney — so the fact that I think the pictures are more successful than the framework they support might just be what was to be expected. Either way, it’s quirky and specific: fans of the Brontes, of secret history, of 19th century literature in general, and of vague religious conflicts will find things of interest here.
(Note: this book is not available from the usual hegemonic Internet retailer, nor from B&N or IndieBound — finding it might be a problem. ISBN is 9781532386244, if you want to do some searching.)
Tell No Tales: Pirates of the Southern Seas By Sam Maggs and Kendra Wells 160 pages, Amulet Books, $12.99/$21.99
Sam Maggs has carved out a fine career writing imaginative young adult fiction and graphic novels. Here, she teams with artist Kendra Wells to tackle the two best known female pirates: Anne Bonny and Mary Read. They are sailing the high seas along with Calico Jack and having a grand old time.
There’s a four-page text section discussing the historic facts behind the pirates and its makes far more interesting reading than the simplified tale presented ahead of it.
Being a pirate wasn’t easy and it was harder for women. In both cases, Bonny and Read had to discuss themselves as men to fit in, with all the complications attendant to that. At the time, Bonny had left her husband and married Jack, only to fall for Read, thinking she was a he. After that, speculation remains whether or not there was bisexual hanky-panky going on.
Instead, we get a 16 year Bonny, plucky as all get out, who captains her own ship and goes on adventures with Jack and later meets Read. The British navy are seen as a mere impediment, a distraction from their adventuring.
The plot has many a side trip and we get contemporary social outrage over injustices that were normal life of the day, so you’re constantly taken out of the story.
The characterizations are 21st century, dialogue complete with emojis, and everything sanitized for your reading pleasure. This commits the same sin as Cleopatra in Space does, using the names for identification but none of the actual person.
Wells’ art is also too simplified so it’s hard to tell teens from adults. There’s too much Manga to the faces and none of the grit and texture of life aboard a pirate ship. That said, the color is nice and many of the pages are well designed.
While fanciful and colorful, this is a misfire on many levels and can’t be recommended.
This is volume seven of something, I’m coming to it about two years later, and I’m typing this on Christmas day between other festivities.  So I expect this will be a short and perfunctory post — those of you who care about Squirrel Girl likely read this book a while ago, and I don’t have high hopes of convincing any of the rest of you at this point.
So, first up, this comes after the previous collections of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comic: one
. And also the OGN
, which slots in around volume four or so.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 7: I’ve Been Waiting for a Squirrel Like You is written by Ryan North (except one short story in issue 26), drawn by Erica Henderson (except issue 26, though she wrote one story there) and colored by Rico Renzi (who only did part of issue 26). It collects issues 22-26 of the comic of the title and something called A Year of Marvels: The Unbeatable #1 — which is actually written by Nilah Magruder with layouts by Geoffo and final art by Siya Oum — that I think was part of some series of one-offs (maybe to introduce new talent?) that I have never heard of before and which is unconnected to the main story.
The Unbeatable is a perfectly OK sixteen-page story in which Squirrel Girl’s sidekick Tippy-Top (a squirrel) teams up with Rocket Raccoon (from the Guardians of the Galaxy) to defeat a villain in New York’s Central Park, who has brought trees to life and intends to Conquer the World! So, yeah, that’s a thing tacked on the end of this book.
The aforementioned issue 26 is a jam issue — I suspect it was also the “help Henderson stay on track with monthly deadlines” issue, since drawing twenty-plus pages of girls and squirrels monthly is relentless and time-consuming — featuring stories drawn by Madeline McGrane, Chip Zdarsky, Tom Fowler, Carla Speed McNeil, Michael Cho, Razzah, Anders Nilsen, Rico Renzi, and Jim “Garfield” Davis. It has a lot of clever stuff, but — since it’s all officially stories told by characters from the Squirrel Girl comic — it’s also pretty inside-baseball, amusing and fun but slight and entirely for fans.
The main bulk of the book, though, is a five-part story in which Doreen Green (also known as the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) and her best friend and roommate Nancy Whitehead win a computer-programming contest to go to the Savage Land, the alien-created area of Antarctica where dinosaurs still roam. Complications ensue there, not least the discovery of “Ultron, who is a dinosaur now.” (One might be surprised that it took North, famously creator of Dinosaur Comics, to get dinosaurs into this book.) If you are wondering if Doreen and her friends — including a supposedly-unfriendly programming team from Latveria, Doctor Doom’s homeland — defeat Ultron and save the world, please see the title again.
As always, this is fun and zippy and does not take itself entirely seriously. It is a comic set in a superhero universe featuring a young woman who is a bit zaftig, has sensible hair and a reasonably sensible costume, and prefers to talk to people rather than punch them. Of course it ended: how could such a thing last? (Has she been rebooted with peekaboo cutouts and a tragic backstory yet?)
 Not a whole lot of festivities, since it is 2020, but small, sensible, socially distanced festivities.
2020 felt like a disaster movie made real, as we hunkered down from the pandemic, watched racial strife and political shenanigans raise the stakes, all culminating in a universal desire to either end the year quickly or calla do-over. Set against the claustrophobia of being trapped at home, Paramount Home Entertainment gave us Love and Monsters, featuring the remaining five percent of humanity, living underground because the surface was no longer safe.
Good timing. On the other hand, the film has been in development since 2012 and was scheduled for release right as the world shifted on its existential axis. Paramount decided to push it out in the few theaters open and then make it available for streaming or, as of tomorrow, on disc.
Most apocalyptic films are dour and depressing, aimed at adults, or filled with adolescent wunderkinder rising against adversity, aimed at tweens and teens. This film, though, might be the apocalyptic film for the whole family.
Meet Joel (Dylan O’Brien), one of the survivors, but not good enough to hunt and gather, but is relegated to being the cook, a necessary but unglamorous role. He misses his Aimee (Jessica Henwick), his girlfriend, while everyone else in his group has paired up. Chatting by radio just isn’t working for him. Miserable and in love, he decides to brave the elements and go in search of her.
Now, the world changed after we obliterated an oncoming asteroid, without factoring in how the fallout would alter the ecology. Animals, fish, birds, and insects all grew to mammoth proportions and mankind was no longer atop the food chain. Instead, they fell to the bottom as their ranks were depleted by the hungry hungry wildlife.
So, it’s no fun, but thankfully Joel encounters Clyde (Michael Rooker) and Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt), who guide him. Nothing is as it appears from here on out and while predictable in places, it’s also heartwarming and fun. The overall story is fine, not demanding too much of its audiences, which we definitely could use.
The film is available in the usual assortments including the $k Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital HD combo pack. The 1080p transfer is excellent and there is enough of an improvement in the 2160 Dolby Vision edition to appreciate the subtleties that are brought out. The colorful world benefits from the Ultra HD. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack complements it nicely.
There is a perfunctory assortment of extras on the Blu-ray disc including seven deleted scenes (11:50), Bottom of the Food Chain: The Cast of Love and Monsters (7:43), and It’s a Monster’s World: Creating a Post-Apocalyptic Landscape (7:04).