Battlestar Galactica: The Plan
Star Edward James Olmos takes over the directorial reigns for this two-hour companion piece to the acclaimed SyFy series, which does a second lap through the show’s epic moments, this time from the perspective of the enemy robot cylons rather than the survivalist humans. The direct-to-video special is no replacement for the epic series, but a delicious treat to self-admitted geeks who devoured every episode and have a whole in their lives now that the series is gone.
Special features include deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes docs, including an interesting day-in-the-lifer that follows Olmos on set. The Blu-ray packs all that plus a trivia game.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs — The cutesy prehistoric animated series shows it’s probably headed toward extinction with an only occasionally amusing third outing, centered around Sid the Sloth (voiced by John Leguizamo), who tries to raise baby T-rexes that hatch out of eggs he finds. Ray Romano’s dry humor as a Manny the Mammoth and Denis Leary’s wry cynicism as Diego the Saber-Toothed Tiger fall a little flat. The most entertaining extras are slapstick-heavy shorts starring the mute, hapless Scrat character.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Those Aren’t Pillows Edition — John Candy and Steve Martin teamed for this 1987 John Hughes comic masterpiece about an uptight businessman (Martin) trying to make it home for Thanksgiving who travels with an insecure, motormouthed stranger (Candy). A formidable tearjerker, the film catches you off-guard by cracking you up endlessly, only to sucker-punch you with surprising sentiment that shows you just how much you’ve come to care about the characters.
The long-overdue new DVD follows up a bare-bones 2000 release with cast interviews and retrospectives on the departed Candy and Hughes. The special features are well done, but the movie cries out for more — an everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink Criterion Blu-ray treatment.
Phil Villarreal’s humorous money-saving book, Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, is available at bookstores and on Amazon.