It’s a good week for DVDs because of hobbits, monsters and Mr. Bean. All hit stores March 24.
Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” trilogy — noteworthy for the way Jackson has transformed the book into a visual feast and delivers the tentpole moments — ends with uninspired battles and muddled characters.
Jackson’s skill as a storyteller — so well displayed in the “Rings” movies — has been replaced by a mishmash of action with recycled characters. The most annoying example is that Ryan Cage’s role of Lake-town flunky, Alfrid, has been expanded from a meaningless player to a painfully unfunny comic relief.
Appearances by Cate Blanchett as Galadriel and Christopher Lee as Saruman feel forced, as if Jackson was more interested in giving loyal fans a treat rather than keeping the story structure on track. Just because this is the end doesn’t mean everyone needs to take a curtain bow.
“Into the Woods” is a musical journey full of strong performances, a beautiful fairytale landscape and a story that is emotionally haunting.
The stories meet and move on but always feel connected by the themes of growing up, parenting and sexual awakening. Generally, these heavy plot lines don’t become too cumbersome, except with Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford ). The song addressed to her by the big, bad Wolf (Johnny Depp), “Hello Little Girl, “ takes on a creepy tone as it’s performed here.
It’s the only musical miscue as the cast handles the edgy Sondheim musical score with great ease and passion.
Climb up a beanstalk to see this movie musical.
You can get caught up with his brilliant work through an anniversary collection that includes 14 episodes of the TV series starring Atkinson. The shows were originally produced between 1990-1995.
The set also includes previously missing scenes from the original U.S broadcast and a 40-minute documentary.
Also new on DVD March 24