‘Wreck-It Ralph,’ ‘Schindler’s List’ on Blu-ray among new video releases

By Rich Heldenfels Beacon Journal popular culture writer

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Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly)tired of being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix, Jr. (voice of Jack McBrayer), the good guy star of their gamesets off on a quest to prove hes got what it takes to be a hero. His arcade-game-hopping journey kicks off at Game Central Station, an industrial power strip that serves as the central hub connecting every game in the arcade. Wreck-It Ralph also features the voices of Jane Lynch and Sarah Silverman. (Disney)

The world of video games has inspired quite a few movies, but it’s hard to think of one as clever as Wreck-It Ralph.

The tale of a video-game villain who wants to be seen as good received overwhelmingly positive reviews, did relatively well at the box office and was nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature. (Brave won the Oscar.) The more than able voice cast includes John C. Reilly, Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman and Ed O’Neill. The pace is good, and the visuals (especially in Blu-ray) work nicely, particularly when they are used to contrast the styles of different video games.

It is available Tuesday on a standard DVD (Disney, $29.99) a Blu-ray/DVD combo ($39.99) and a combo adding the 3-D version and a digital copy ($49.99). Extras include deleted and alternate scenes, commercials for video games featured in the movie, and Paperman, which won the animated short-film Oscar. (The combo with the 3-D Ralph also includes a 3-D version of Paperman.)

Also on Tuesday is the release of Steven Spielberg’s classic Schindler’s List in a restored, 20th-anniversary set (Universal, $34.98 Blu-ray/DVD/digital combo, $22.98 DVD/digital set). One of Spielberg’s greatest films, it is also a thematic companion to his Saving Private Ryan, particularly on the question of sacrifice for others. Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson, in his best performance) is confronted not only by what he has done, but also whether he could have done more to save Jews from the nightmares of the Holocaust; Private Ryan ends on the question of how people must live to justify others’ sacrifice on their behalf.

The restoration, at least on Blu-ray, is excellent. The extras on the set are from previous releases.

The third-season premiere of Duck Dynasty did extraordinary numbers for A&E, reportedly topping even some broadcast-network shows among young-adult viewers. You can backtrack on the beard-laden phenomenon with the Tuesday release of Duck Dynasty: Season 2 Volume 1 (Lionsgate, 13 episodes, $19.98 standard DVD). Extras include nine bonus scenes that have not been televised.

Also of note: Tristana, the classic by Luis Bunuel, arrives on DVD (Cohen, $19.98 DVD, $24.98 Blu-ray) in a restored version and package that also includes a booklet, an alternate ending and commentary including Catherine Deneuve, who starred in the movie. The booklet also has selections from a diary Deneuve kept while making the film, about the dueling (and damaging) relationship between a young woman (Deneuve) and an older man (Fernando Rey) who becomes her guardian and her seducer. I saw this the first time when I was in college; it, and especially Deneuve’s performance, has stayed with me ever since.

In case you’re looking for Oscar winners Argo, winner of the Academy Award for both best picture and best adapted screenplay (by Chris Terrio), is currently available on Blu-ray and DVD. So is a documentary feature Searching for Sugar Man. Life of Pi, from best-director winner Ang Lee, will be on DVD, Blu-ray and 3-D Blu-ray on March 12. Django Unchained (best supporting actor, Christoph Waltz, and original screenplay, Quentin Tarantino) arrives April 16, Les Miserables (best supporting actress, Anne Hathaway) is due March 22. Lincoln, with best actor Daniel Day-Lewis, still has not announced a release date, nor has Silver Linings Playbook (best actress, Jennifer Lawrence).

Down video road: The Sandlot will be released in a 20th-anniversary Blu-ray/DVD package on March 26. The third and fourth seasons of Felicity, the drama series starring The Americans’ Keri Russell, will be reissued on May 7.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including in the HeldenFiles Online blog, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter. You can contact him at 330-996-3582 or rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com.

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