Summer DVD BBQ: What’s Cookin’?

Toast some s’mores and settle in with CG fantasies, classic toons and an Oscar nom.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete

[Blu-ray, Sony, $38.96]

The ethereal world of the popular Final Fantasy VII videogame is brought to life in this full-CG 2005 flick from Square Enix. Directed by FF veterans Tetsuya Nomura and Takeshi Nozue, the story takes place two years after the events of the game and follows Cloud as he unravels the mystery of a strange disease taking hold of his world.

This ‘complete’ edition includes extended and additional scenes, buffing the run time up to two hours. The Blu-ray HD lets the skillful animation shine, and gamers are practically peeing their pants over the sneak peaks at Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Agito XIII. The disc also carries a supplemental “Case of Denzel” episode, featurette and story digests.

[Release date: June 2]

Waltz with Bashir

[Sony, $28.96]

Director Ari Folman explores his experiences in the 1982 Lebanon War in this beautiful, haunting 2D animated documentary which combines emotional flashbacks, interviews and bizarre dream-like sequences to echo Folman’s journey into his lost memories of the horrors he witnessed. With a unique style created by animation director Yoni Goodman, graphic novel-inspired art direction and an electro soundtrack from Max Richter, Bashir is in turns mesmerizing and shocking.

The widely acclaimed film, which nabbed a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Feature among other awards, will be available as a single disc on DVD or Blu-ray ($39.95) and feature director’s commentary, a Q&A with Folman and the ‘Surreal Soldiers: Making Waltz with Bashir‘ and ‘Building the Scenes ‘ Animatics’ featurettes.

[Release date: June 23]

Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection

[Warner, $26.98]

Few would contest Chuck Jones’ stature as one of the most admired and influential icons in animation. Though his work on Tom and Jerry out of his Sib Tower 12 studios is not among the show’s most acclaimed, these 34 cartoons showcase the posing, stylization and expressiveness that made Jones an innovator and icon to thousands of future animators.

The two discs of toons span the period of 1963-67, with the furry foes rollicking through such adventures as Much Ado About Mousing, The Cat’s Me-ouch and The Mouse from H.U.N.G.E.R. The set also includes the documentaries Tom and Jerry’and Chuck and Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood by John Canemaker and Peggy Stern, which premiered on TCM in April and features one of the last filmed interviews with the toon maverick.

[Release date: June 23]

The Jetsons: Season 2, Vol. 1

[Turner, $34.98]

Ah, the wondrous 21st century: Flying cars, push-button kitchens, robomaids’ Hanna-Barbera’s vision of our latest era was a lot more exciting than the reality of H3s, Swine Flu and people using their iPhones in movie theaters. But I digress!

Season two of Jetsons actually cropped up almost two decades after the original 1962 series and features richer colors, advanced animation and even more fantastic gadgets thanks to discerning ’80s tastes. The set holds three discs containing the first 21 future-iffic episodes of the second season. Also onboard is a featurette on the evolution of this iconic series full of interviews and cool facts titled Jestons: Return to the Future. Beam me up, George.

[Release date: June 2]

Dragon Hunters

[Peace Arch, $14.99]

Based on the popular CG TV series which had a brief run on Cartoon Network, this creature-chasing tale takes place in an alternate timeline where wanderers Gwizdo and Lian Chu are badgered by a fairytale-loving young girl into becoming brave knights and helping her uncle defeat the terrifying World Gobbler dragon. Their adventures take place in a fantastical world of floating islands, beautifully brought to life by directors Arthur Qwak and Guillaume Ivernel and their talented team at Futurikon.

The film is also available on Blu-ray for $22.99, which seems worth it considering the cool creatures and dreamy landscapes. Another bonus: You can find this release bundled with a Dragon Hunters comic book.

[Release date: June 23]