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New on DVD: 'Tron: Legacy' rides on coolness factor

Also reviewed: 'Casino Jack,' 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,' 'Little Fockers.'

April 03, 2011|By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund "Tron: Legacy."
Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund "Tron: Legacy." (Disney Enterprises )

Tron: Legacy

Walt Disney, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99/$49.99

The 1982 sci-fi adventure "Tron" was a dry piece of computer geek philosophizing elevated by trippy special effects; the belated sequel "Tron: Legacy" is much the same. Jeff Bridges returns as idealistic computer-programmer Kevin Flynn, while Garrett Hedlund plays his son Sam, who gets sucked into the computer grid and finds himself drafted into gladiatorial games and rebelling against the system, just like his pop. The technological explanations are wonky and the "fight the power" plot is pat, but aside from the creepy de-aging effects used on Bridges, the visuals in "Tron: Legacy" pop like a psychedelic light show, and the Daft Punk score is appropriately futuristic. The overall coolness of the movie covers a lot of flaws. The DVD/Blu-ray set offers plenty of behind-the-scenes material, some of which can be watched simultaneously with the film on a laptop or iPad, via Disney's innovative "second screen" app.

Casino Jack

20th Century Fox, $22.98; Blu-ray, $29.99

For a case study in how not to dramatize a true story, compare the documentary "Casino Jack and the United States of Money" with the feature film "Casino Jack," which stars Kevin Spacey as convicted influence-peddling lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The former is informative and fairly useful as a recap of a complicated story; the latter is an exaggerated semi-comedy that turns all its themes and tangled back story into on-the-nose dialogue. If it were funnier or slyer, this heroes-and-villains take on the Abramoff saga might have worked. Instead it feels like a feature-length blog post. The DVD and Blu-ray don't add much, just a few deleted scenes, a gag reel and a featurette.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

20th Century Fox, $29.98/$34.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

After the mild disappointment of the not-enchanting-enough "Prince Caspian," the "Narnia" film series regains its stride with "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," which sees the two youngest Pevensie children journeying back to a mystical land with their huffy cousin Eustace in tow. The kids take to the seas with Narnian King Caspian to find seven lost lords and have rousing adventures in exotic locales. The movie is exciting and visually splendid — it's just a lot of fun to watch. The double-disc "Dawn Treader" DVD includes a commentary track by director Michael Apted and producer Mark Johnson, deleted scenes, an animated short and featurettes. The Blu-ray adds even more goodies.

Little Fockers

Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.98

"Meet the Parents" was funny enough, and the sequel "Meet the Fockers" wasn't completely awful, but with "Little Fockers," whatever charm or novelty this series once contained has vanished. There's scarcely a minute in this supposed "family comedy" that doesn't contain a scatological or sexual joke, and the shtick of having Ben Stiller play a man who's perpetually embarrassed in front of his father-in-law (played by Robert De Niro) has become more cruel than cute. If you do happen across the "Little Fockers" DVD or Blu-ray, stick with the featurettes, deleted scenes and gag reel, where at least you can enjoy seeing how much fun the cast was having during the production.

And…

"I Love You, Phillip Morris" (Lionsgate, $27.98; Blu-ray, $39.99); "Sarah Palin's Alaska" (Discovery, $19.98); "Taxi Driver" (Sony Blu-ray, $24.95); "Tron: The Original Classic" (Walt Disney, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99)

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