BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (OPINION) — This week’s new DVD and Blu-ray releases show that films can miss whether they are made with massive production budgets or produced with very little money.
“Eternals” Grade 2 stars: Films in the Marvel Universe had been so consistently good that it was inevitable there would be the occasional misfire. That happens in a big way with this bloated production that never works on a personal or super power level.
The Eternals are a group of immortals from the planet Olympia who have been hanging around Earth for thousands of years. They have been using their skills and knowledge to help mold the human race.
That changes when the Eternals discover their true mission. They must choose between completing the task they have been waiting thousands of years to do or save the humans.
“Eternals” started out from a bad spot as the feature film is based on one of the weakest publications created by comic book legend Jack Kirby. It was one thing for the story with all of its players to start unfolding on printed pages back in 1976. It ends up being a mess trying to introduce and foster a multitude of characters in one movie.
“The Avengers” worked because those characters were introduced in individual films. “The Eternals” is a jumbled mess because it has to include the origin story plus detail the long lives of the 10 major characters.
There are a few good action scenes but overall, it feels like an eternity watching “Eternals.”
“Settlers” Grade 2 stars: This film that looks at life in the frontier of space is painfully frustrating. It starts with a great concept but the writing by Wyatt Rockefeller (who is also the director) makes too many glaring errors for the project to ever gain strength.
The idea is solid. The film takes place on a remote homestead that is in the Martian frontier. A refugee family from Earth struggles with the harsh world while clinging to the hope of a better life. This is disrupted when strangers appear in the surrounding hills and attempt to run them off.
Remmy (Brooklynn Prince), a spunky 9 year old, is faced with the harsh realities of their life from which her mother (Sofia Boutella) and father (Jonny Lee Miller) have tried to protect her.
That concept works because the film draws parallels to what life would have been like in the Old West. Brave settlers were on their own facing the natural dangers of their environment and the unnatural dangers from humans.
But, Rockefeller kills this concept with sloppy writing. The viewer is thrown into this situation with no explanation. These settlers aren’t bouncing around the Martian landscape (that should have one-third Earth’s gravity) in spacesuits but are living the kind of life one would find on Earth. That includes an atmosphere that is so good, there are winds to help dry the laundry left on the line.
Also new on DVD and Blu-ray as of Feb. 15
“Heels: Season 1”: Starz series that looks at the costumed heroes who face the emotional and physical challenges of small time professional wrestling. Stephen Amell stars.
“Soumaya”: A practicing Muslim who works as a manager at a company in charge of security at Charles de Gaulle Airport becomes a suspect in an incident that killed 130 people.
“Monday”: Two people must deal with unexpectedly falling in love. Sebastian Stan stars.
“They Say Nothing Stays the Same”: An aged Japanese ferryman’s livelihood is threatened by progress.
“Wolf”: A man who lives like a wolf is sent to a clinic to get help.
Available through digital platforms
“The King’s Man”: A look at how the Kingsman becomes the world’s very first independent intelligence agency created to fight master criminals. Ralph Fiennes stars. It will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Feb. 22.
“The Ledge”: Rock climbing adventure between two friends turns into a terrifying nightmare.
“Caged Birds”: Young radical lawyer’s efforts to improve the prison system gets sidetracked by a new alliance.
“Worst to First: The True Story of Z100 New York”: The documentary looks at the against-all-odds story of the launch of the iconic and most successful radio station in history.