Since there are only a couple of weeks left until the holidays, the studios are releasing some of their big titles on DVD and Blu-ray this week. Among the many hot new animated titles available this Tuesday (Dec. 10) are Despicable Me 2 (Universal Home Ent.), Futurama Vol. 8 (Fox) and a special 50th Anniversary edition of Mary Poppins (Disney).
Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, Despicable Me 2 returns to the world of Evil mastermind Gru and his three young adopted girls, who are brought in to help a crime-fighting agency to stop a nefarious super-criminal. Voice talent includes Steve Carell, Kristen Wig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Ken Jeong, Steve Coogan, Kristen Schaal, and Coffin and Renaud as the hugely popular Minions. The movie is the No. 2 most popular movie of 2013 in the U.S., and has made over $918.6 million worldwide. Despicable Me 2 is available on Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D Combo Packs, DVD and Digital HD including UltraViolet. In addition to more than 45 minutes of bonus features, Blu-ray Combo Packs will include three all-new mini-movies starring the film series’ breakout stars, the Minions.
The new 2-disc Futurama: Volume 8 release from Fox showcases the popular series’ 8th season on Comedy Central. The 13 episodes featured are “2-D Blacktop.” “Fry and Leela’s Big Fling,” “T.: The Terrestrial,” “Forty Percent Leadbelly,” “The Inhuman Torch” “Saturday Morning Fun Pit,” “Calculon 2.0,” “Assie Come Home,” “Leela and the Genestalk,” “Game of Tones,” “Murder on the Planet Express,” “Stench and Stenchibility” and “Meanwhile.” As usual, the release comes with “mind-altering, brain-exploding” extras not shown on TV. Come on, you know you want to relive the show’s homage to Game of Thrones, Zoidberg’s romance with a flower show girl who can’t smell his unpleasant odor, and the grand finale which features Farnsworth’s time traveling button that takes everyone 10 seconds back in time.
The folks at the Disney Home Entertainment have also released a special 50th anniversary edition of Mary Poppins on Blu-ray, timed with the theatrical arrival of the new Tom Hanks-Emma Thompson starrer Saving Mr. Banks, which details the making of the beloved classic movie. The all-new digitally restored musical follows the adventures of the magical nanny Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) who flies out of the windy London skies and into the home of two mischievous children. With the help of a carefree chimney sweep named Bert (Dick Van Dyke), the spirited nanny turns every chore into a game and every day into a “Jolly Holiday.” The movie received 13 Academy Award nominations and won 5 Oscars for Best Actress, Best Song, Best Music Score, Best Film Editing, and Best Special Visual Effects. It also received a special scientific award for the creation and application of Color Traveling Matte Composite Cinematography, which helped make the combination of live action and animated actors in the film possible. The Blu-ray features lots of extras, including behind-the-scenes docs about the making of the movie, its music and its pioneering effects, which blended animation with live action.