Stop-motion and CG animation bring a number of bizarre and more familiar animals to the screen in three of todays feature film home video release. If you missed them in the theater, nows your chance to see Wes Andersons latest quirk fest, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Warner Bros. talking animal pic, Racing Stripes, and Lions Gates horror video game adaptation, Alone in the Dark.
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou stars Bill Murray as a depressed oceanographer who attempts to connect with his long-lost son (Owen Wilson) during a mission to hunt down the giant shark that killed his partner. The film also stars Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum and Michael Gambon, as well as aquatic creatures brought to life through stop-motion animation under the supervision of The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick. Extras on the single-disc version include commentary by Anderson on select scenes, deleted scenes, interviews with cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage. Also available is a two-disc Criterion edition with ten deleted scenes, interviews with the screenwriters and composer Mark Mothersbaugh, an Albert Maysles documentary titled The Life AquaticA Movie, the video journal of an on-set intern and Seu Jorges musical performances of David Bowie songs. Released by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, the single-disc lists for $29.99 and the Criterion edition for $32.99.
Racing Stripes stars Malcolm in the Middles Franky Muniz as the voice of an abandoned zebra who has grown up thinking he is a racehorse. With the help of his barnyard pals, Stripes overcomes his physical differences and gets a shot at his dream of competing in a big race. A number of celebrities lend their voices to the animal characters, and David Spade and Steve Harvey show turn up as a pair of CG-animated horseflies that shoulder good deal of the comic material. Featuring visual effects by Hybride, Digital Dimension and Digiscope, the film was directed by animator-turned-helmer Frederik Du Chau (Quest for Camelot), who provides commentary on the DVD. Other bonus features include a virtual comic book titled The Racing Stripes Prequel, a never-before-seen alternate ending, an outtakes reel, a How to Make Animals Talk featurette, acting class with the animals and their trainers, deleted scenes, Buzz and Scuzz’s Flying Fiasco Challenge and a look at the films music with Sting and Bryan Adams. The Warner Home Video DVD can be picked up for $27.95 or less.
Alone in the Dark may have accurately described the few who went to see Christian Slaters latest film in theaters. However, the home video market should be kinder to this monster movie based on Ataris video game of the same name. Featuring a heaping helping of digital animation and other visual effects by Toybox, the film centers on a paranormal detective (Slater) whose investigation into the mysterious death of a friend leads to a showdown with demons worshiped by an ancient culture. Tara Reid, Stephen Dorff, Frank C. Turner and Mathew Walker also star. Director Uwe Boll (House of the Dead) lends commentary to the DVD, which lists for $27.98.