Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on Facebook and Twitter with your friends.
WHAT: Ex-convict Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is given a chance at redemption when genius inventor Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) enlists his help to break into his company’s research facility and stop former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from weaponizing Pym’s groundbreaking particle technology. In order to do so, Scott must assume the mantle of the Ant-Man using a suit that grants its wearer increased strength while microscopic and the ability to telepathically control ants.
WHY: “Ant-Man” may have been a decade in the making, but despite its troubled production, director Peyton Reed has produced a funny and fast-paced standalone adventure that weaves in small references to the MCU without feeling slavish to the material. In keeping with Marvel’s tradition of exploring different genres with each new movie, “Ant-Man” is primarily a heist film that strikes a nice balance between comedy, action and drama. It’s also a movie that has serious daddy issues, featuring parallel father/daughter stories that drive the overall narrative, add some emotional weight and strengthen the connective tissue of Marvel’s expansive cinematic universe. Though it’s difficult to know exactly how much of Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish’s original script was retained in the final version, the former’s fingerprints are all over the film, especially the climactic third-act battle that takes place entirely inside of a little girl’s bedroom. Still, while “Ant-Man” isn’t quite as out there as Wright’s version likely would have been (even for a movie about a guy who talks to ants), it’s an undeniably unique comic book film that’s loaded with charm.
EXTRAS: In addition to an audio commentary by director Peyton Reed and star Paul Rudd, there’s a behind-the-scenes look at making the movie, a visual effects featurette and some deleted scenes.
FINAL VERDICT: RENT
WHAT: Set in the late 1960s, before their introduction to the despicable Gru, the Minions send Stuart, Kevin and Bob on a journey to find their tribe an evil boss to serve. They’re eventually recruited by supervillain Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock), who plans to steal the Queen of England’s royal crown and take over the world.
WHY: After emerging as the unexpected stars of “Despicable Me,” it was only a matter of time before the Minions were given a movie of their own. Unfortunately, what anyone at Universal failed to realize is that the yellow, gibberish-speaking henchmen only work in small doses. Or maybe they did but simply didn’t care, because “Minions” is an uninspired cash grab that feels more like an attempt to sell branded merchandise than create a film that actually contributes something to the franchise. Nobody cares what the Minions were up to before meeting Gru, including the movie’s writer, who can’t even produce a mildly interesting story about the creatures’ origins. And when your protagonists don’t have any distinct personalities or character-defining arcs, no amount of silly, pantomimed humor changes the fact that without someone to truly invest in, it’s a pretty one-dimensional experience.
EXTRAS: The Blu-ray release includes three new shorts starring the Minions, a series of featurettes about making the movie, and an interactive map with fun facts about each location visited by the Minions in the film.
FINAL VERDICT: SKIP